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Produce 101: The best produce in town is just around every corner


Almost everyone loves fresh produce. But growing your own fruits and vegetable isn’t an option for most. If that’s the case, there are several places around town that have done all the hard work for you.

"I actually grew up eating home-grown vegetables, fruits and livestock” said Artie Watson of Bartlett. “But now as I’m gracefully maturing, I realized I had to go back to that tradition."

Watson said choosing locally-grown foods also gives her peace of mind. "It’s such a relief to know you’re not consuming pesticides and antibiotics when you purchase locally-grown foods. And, it’s even better to be able to actually taste the foods you’re eating."

Here are some places Watson and several of our readers suggest trying when you’re looking for some of the best produce in and around town.

  • Memphis Farmers Market: Located at Central Station on South Front Street, the Memphis Farmers Market is open Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. "The Memphis Farmers Market is a great place to shop for local products since the merchants grow, assemble or make the products they're selling," said Memphian Susan Patton. "The merchants are willing and able to answer all your questions about what's in their products or how it's grown."

    In addition to the produce, Patton said you can also find a variety of products that you don't normally find at a farmers market. "They have a variety of products like cake, crafts and flowers," said Patton. "I also like the idea of helping my community and keeping local money local. They even have a dog sitter so I can enjoy shopping while my little, fat dog has fun."

    Check out their website for great information like how local foods and good health go hand in hand or the Memphis Farmers Market Harvest Calendar. Head downtown this Saturday and help Memphis Farmers Market celebrate National Farmers Market Week.

  • The Agricenter's Farmer's Market: Conveniently located on Walnut Grove just south of Germantown Parkway, The Agricenter's Farmer's Market is open Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The market is closed on Sunday. "The Agricenter is a great place to get produce," said Watson. "It’s conveniently located, and I can find the things I want."

    Lisa Westbrook of Cordova, agreed. "I love to go to the Farmer's Market at the Agricenter on Saturday morning," said Westbrook. "It's great to get vegetables that are fresh, in season and reasonably priced. I want to support local farmers as much as possible, and this is one way to do that."

  • The Fresh Market and Whole Foods Market: Downtowner Ed Guiragos prefers shopping at The Fresh Market and the Whole Foods Market. "I’m not sure how much of what I buy at Fresh Market and Whole Foods is locally grown," said Guiragos. "But when I do see vegetables and fruits that say locally grown I take a preference to it because they generally taste better since they’re picked much closer to the height of ripeness. Produce that has to travel long distances is often picked before it's fully ripened – and generally tastes that way. Being much closer to market, there is little or no need for unwanted preservatives."
  • Neighborhood or family-owned stores: If you can’t make it to any of the farmers markets, Wendy Coltharp, a New Albany, Miss., residence suggests visiting local, family-owned stores. "We have a family-owned store called Stokes that has wonderful produce," Coltharp said. "They have a lot of locally-grown vegetables and fruits, and they’re less expensive than many of the grocery-chain stores in our area."

    Coltharp also suggests keeping just keeping your eyes open. "There are great fruit and vegetable stands all over town; you just pay attention. Trust me, it's worth it."