In recent years the Saturday after Thanksgiving has become a day to celebrate shopping with small local businesses. Such was the case on Sat Nov 28 at the SouthEnd Market
While several area farmers markets are closed for the holiday weekend, this Saturday, Nov 28, everyone at the SouthEnd Market in Charlotte was celebrating with Center City Partners second Small Business Saturday of the season. If you missed this one, no worries, there will be another in SouthEnd celebrating the neighborhood, again centered at the market on Saturday Dec 12, 2020.
While the SouthEnd Market is open every Saturday from 9am to 1 pm; the Small Business Saturday festivities will be from 10am to 3 pm on Nov 24 and Dec 12.
For me, every Saturday is a shop local/shop small experience. There was a time when people use to stop me at the grocery store to see what was in my cart. Now, that hardly happens, but not because people are somehow curious about what groceries I buy; but because I hardly shop at grocery stores any more.
I love that I can buy nearly everything Tom and I need at a local Charlotte area Farmers Market. I usually stop at several on any given Saturday morning. And weekdays of busy weeks find me at local farm stores. Its simply too easy not to shop local in Charlotte!
Shopping at the SouthEnd Market at Atherton
If you’ve been following my social media lately, you’ll see that I have concentrated the past couple of weekends at the SouthEnd Market at Atherton; and the new-this-year, Uptown Farmers’ Market. To promote these two markets in a series of blog posts sponsored by Center City Partners, I’ve been sharing videos and recipes via social media to tell you about all you will find at these two center-of-Charlotte farmers’ markets.
Each of these markets is outdoors and very walkable to and from nearby neighborhoods. Both are dog friendly and both are doing an excellent job of keeping everyone – vendors and customers alike, compliant with all the updated COVID regulations.
I remain grateful and thankful that local farmers’ markets have remained opened through all that has been going on for the past several months. If you haven’t shopped at local market yet, give it a try. It’s all outside, and a great way to connect with people even from a safe six feet.
Be sure to Wear Your Mask, take along hand sanitizer to use along the way, and you will be good to go.
Just a Taste of What You’ll Find at the SouthEnd market
In this video, originally posted a week or so ago on my Facebook profile page, I ambitiously mentioned that I would be posting recipes each day. Well, as you know that didn’t happen.
Instead they are all here in this single post. In addition to recipes and photos I have also included several videos in the post. If you are a subscriber and got this via email and don’t see any videos, then simply click on the title and read the post directly from my website the videos and video recipes will show up for sure.
In the video above, and in the copy below just a taste (and some recipes) of what you can expect to find at the SouthEnd Market at Atherton. And, after you shop local at the market, be sure to check out the details on a fun little holiday contest the end of this post that will keep you shopping local, so you can cook and eat local for a long time to come!
Loving all the Local at SouthEnd Market
First things first. I am glad to give you a quick rundown of all you will find at the SouthEnd market on any given Saturday, but the very best way to keep up to speed is to sign up for the market newsletter. It will come straight to your inbox on Thursday or Friday with all the latest updates and info. You can sign up and read more about the market here.
But First, Coffee, Tea or something more to give you a Boost
You’ll find the white tents of the SouthEnd Market behind the Atherton center right along the fencing on the SouthEnd rail trail. Start at one end and casually meander your way to the other.
Just in case you left your house without your morning cup-o-Joe, you’ll be glad to know there are two ways to energize if you are moving slow. One is a delicious cup of coffee from the second Charlotte location of Not Just Coffee; and the other is a bit more fun or maybe more cerebral, perhaps offering more inspirational motivation than actual energy, but you know me, I stop there every time because when you are a food and travel writer – everything is a photo op!
From Mushrooms to Microgreens, CBD Chocolate to Compost
Not only will you find hand made jewelry, fresh flowers and homemade baked breads and pastries at the SouthEnd Market. You’ll also find CBD oils, and a whole line of tasty CBD chocolates from Queen Hemp Company; plus a great collection of environmentally friendly cleaning and cosmetic products from a company called Ekologicall.
And of course you will find lots of delicious fresh produce from several of the market vendors. These include Paul Brewington of Brewington Farms, You might remember that Paul and I talked about NC peanuts in this Fun Eat Local video, click here to watch it again.
As of this writing, Paul continues to have his addictive boiled peanuts at the market along with seasonal sweet potatoes, apples, peppers and even some late harvest tomatoes!
In addition to the Brewington Farms booth at the SouthEnd market, you’ll also find a variety of seasonal certified organic produce from Coldwater Creek Farms at one end of the market and at the other, another lovely selections of seasonal produce from Seven Sisters Farm. ( You’ll hear more about Seven Sisters in the Uptwon Farmers’ Market post next week)
Both of these farms are four season farms and you can expect a selection of delicious produce from them all year long. Until we have a first frost, root vegetables and leafy greens are king. Seven Sisters also has delicious fresh pecans from the big pecan tree in the center of their property – its the one you’ll see on their logo.
Great Grains at the SouthEnd Market
And, be sure to pick up several bags of the locally milled grains from Coldwater Creek. They grind their own cornmeal, whole wheat flour and stone ground grits.
I wish I had a video of farmer and owner Brad Hinkley sharing his recipe for the grits he and his wife Donna produce at the farm. I promise I will get one soon. Brad is usually at the Davidson Farmers Market while Donna holds the fort down at the SouthEnd market.
He likes to share his “six-pack method “for cooking grits. If you are not a big drinker, then you might just want to go with a timer. Brad’s recipe is not one for the faint of heart.
It involves a low and slow flame on the stovetop. Here is the premise – you open the first beer ( or alternative beverage) in your six pack as you start to boil the water; then add the grits. Once the liquid in the pan comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Open your second beer. Keep stirring occasional, once you have finished the six pack , the grits are done. The End.
Locally Cultivated Wild Mushrooms
I’ve been shopping with Hiram Rameriz at Urban Gourmet Mushrooms Farms for as long as I can remember. While he is most often at the Matthews Community Farmers’ Market on Saturdays, he is represented by Ann Hamilton at the SouthEnd Market. I buy bags of these mushrooms each week and the possibilities on your table are endless. Chop them and use them in sautes and stir fries, in risotto or simply tossed on top of a seared steak or chop
One of the most popular dishes I make with them is my Wild Mushroom Parmesan! Try it, then make it your own. You will find the recipe as well as some others calling for wild mushrooms here – scroll all the way to the end. The crunchy fried petals of the UGF oyster mushrooms are also great all on their own with a fun dipping sauce or piled up on a sandwich with local lettuce and slaw and a little homemade remoulade.
Cornbread and Veggie Chili
While we are talking about local veggies, let me share another of my favorite farmers’ market recipes – a super simple vegetarian chili. At the SouthEnd Market I also found Linney Water Mill’s Cornbread mix at the Coddle Creek farms booth. Together they make for a wonderful meal!
In the photo I have the chili topped with a fresh organic avocado ( ok, I did have to go the the grocery store for this one) and an edible bloom and cilantro microgreens from Mouna Bowa farms. Look for more details on Mouna Bowa when I write about the Uptown Farmers’ Market next week.
The recipe for the cornbread is right on the bag – I used a cast iron skillet for baking, but you could use a cake pan as well. Meanwhile, here is the chili recipe. With the sweet local carrots we are getting this time of year at the market ( Seven Sisters and Coldwater Creek both have them) and Urban Gourmet Farms Mushrooms, this one is a keeper I promise!
Heidi Billotto’s Help-Yourself-To-Seconds Veggie Chili
Start with a local green pepper and a local onion
2-3 large local or organic carrots
1-2 lb. local or organic cultivated wild mushrooms
Your favorite extra virgin olive oil ( see my olive oil note a little further on down)
A 28 oz can organic diced tomatoes
1 can organic red kidney beans
2 Tbsp. organic chili powder from the Savory Spice Shop at Southend
1 Tbsp. organic ground cumin from the Savory Spice Shop at Southend
Salt and pepper to taste from the Savory Spice Shop at Southend.
Instead of pepper, ask the staff at the Savory Spice Shop in SouthEnd for Heidi’s Hot Pepper Blend. It’s a mix of equal parts of coriander seed, plus pink reunion, lampong and tellicherry peppercorns. Take the whole spices home and grind them as needed in your coffee grinder! You’ll never go back to plain ole black pepper, again.Heidi Billotto
Mince the onion and green pepper by hand and set aside. Then finely chop the carrots and mushrooms in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Keep pulsing with quick on/offs until the veggies resemble the texture of ground beef. Saute all the veggies in the olive oil until tender and slightly caramelized. Add in tomatoes and beans, with the liquid and the spices. Stir and simmer 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste and enjoy!
Perfect Proteins Locally Raised, Caught or Made
When it come to proteins the vendors at the SouthEnd market offer something for everyone.
Fresh caught, premium local and domestic seafood from Lucky Fish Seafood is always a good choice. I am delighted to share that Mike also carries a fabulous locally tea smoked trout that I simply adore. We enjoy Peaceful Valley Farms smoked trout as a snack with crackers; or whipped with the local chevre from Blue Goat Dairy into a lovely smoked trout spread. This time of year we love the smoked trout on salads with a host of fresh or roasted root veggies and local greens.
Blue Goat Dairy is another vendor at both of my featured markets. Look for more on them in the post next week.
Follow this link to hear more on the trout; and to see how to make the salad.
And, because several of you have asked, here is the how to on easy roasted root veggies:
Slice or chop a selection of local root vegetables. Place them on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Drizzle your favorite extra Virgin olive oil over all. I am partial to Charlotte’s own Olive Crate Ultra Premium Extra Virgin Kores Estate Olive Oil. I’ve written about them lots in the posts in these digital pages. You can order online for home delivery here.
Windy Hill Farm Chicken on the Grill
If you are looking for poultry, pork or beef to go with those roasted veggies, be sure to stop by the Windy Hill Farm table. In next week’s post on the Uptown Farmers market I will share my recipe for Peking Duck using their pasture raised birds.
But this week, we’re taking chicken to the grill. Super simple and so many variations for you to try.
I always try to encourage farmers market shoppers to buy whole birds and learn to cut up your own; but there is no changing old habits and so I’d rather have you buy local cut chicken portions than not to buy local at all. These Windy Hill Farm drumsticks made the most perfect Chicken and Rice dish. I cooked the rice while the chicken was grilling and then tossed it all together with a sauce just like the one in my Seafood Pot Pie recipe, found here. Or, you could grill the chicken drumsticks first and then slather them with your favorite BBQ sauce to serve; or grill them and then pull the meat off the bone to use in risotto or a chicken chili or this recipe for chicken and dumplings. You are just not going to go wrong.
To grill the chicken pieces
First remove them from the packaging and then rinse with cool water. Pat dry with paper towels. This is an important step as wet chicken ( or any other meat), won’t brown. Place the chicken pieces on a platter and season with salt and Heidi’s Hot Pepper Blend. Place the chicken on a oiled grill grid over a hot flame, seasoned side down. Now season the top side with salt and pepper. Close the grill and allow the chicken to cook for 7-8 minutes. Open grill, use tongs to carefully turn the chicken pieces over and continue to cook for an additional 7-8 minutes. If the chicken is looking too browned at the halfway point, lower the flame a bit. To keep the meat moist, allow the chicken to stand, off the grill for about 5 minutes after cooking.
If you re cooking chicken breast, the overall timing will be a bit less. if you are grilling boneless chicken breasts, it will be less time on the grill than bone-in chicken breasts. Adjust your timing accordingly.
Its the Peanut-iest!
I am a peanut butter lover from waaaay back. But when I first tasted Coddle Creek Farms Mama Young’s Nourishing Nut Butters, made in Mooresville, NC, they won me over all over again. You simply must try them all. You can find the entire line at the SouthEnd Market, so plan to try a couple of new ones each week.
New Product Alert!! Don’t miss the brand new Sweet & Spicy Peanut Butter. Simply stir it into a saute of veggies with a protein if you would like; add rice or rice noodles and a squirt of fresh lime and you have the quickest, easiest, peanut noodle dish ever! You could also use the Sweet & Spicy Nut Butter on that grilled chicken with a bit of dark roasted sesame oil and a squeeze of fresh lime…just sayin’!
After All The Cooking, Let’s Compost
Composting has been on my bucket list for years now. But, each time I looked into the possibility; it just seemed like too big of a project to handle from beginning to end. But not any more.
Now Crown Town Compost makes it incredibly easy. Here is how its done. Go to the website ( here is the link) or go to the booth at the SouthEnd Market. Sign up to participate. If you are a homeowner it will cost you $20 a month if you drop off and pick up at the SouthEnd Market. If you would like to have a home service pick up, then the monthly subscription fee is $30.
I keep a paper berry container from the market on my counter as I cook. I fill it with scrapes and then after the chopping is done, I take the whole thing over to the compost bucket I keep beside my kitchen trash can.
There are also subscription options to get a slightly bigger container for your home and of course, there are opportunities for commercial restaurant and business accounts. Contact the team at CrownTown to learn more.
You will get a Crown Town Compost bucket when you sign up to store your household food waste. Drop it off at the market each week and they’ll exchange it for a new clean one. That’s it.
I love it. Now I am no longer throwing food scrapes, coffee grounds, tea bags and the like into a landfill. And in the spring when I need some soil, I can get it from CrownTown! There is not one thing about this not to love.
Honestly, I think a year long subscription to CrownTown’s services would make a fabulous holiday gift for any homeowner or homecook on your list. You’ll find of the details on the CrownTown website, here. Go talk to them at the market, they can answer any questions. Or, midweek, contact them at 704-930-6314 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more #TellThemHeidiSentYou
Heidi’s Holiday Contest – Cook and Post A Pic to Enter
I hope this post has inspired you to shop local and cook local. Just in case you need a little more inspiration, let me offer you this fun little challenge. Next weekend, Saturday Dec 5, 2020 go and shop local with the many farmers and vendors at the SouthEnd Market at Atherton. Or, if you were there on Saturday Nov 28 or any week previous that’s even better. Cook with all the local product you purchased at the market. I’ve given you lots of recipes and links to recipes to serve as inspiration and some food for thought, in this post.
Once you prepare a dish, before you eat or serve it, take a photo of it and post it on your social media anytime before Dec 10, 2020. Be sure to tag me in your post, that’s @heidibillotto on instagram or @Heidi Billotto on Facebook. Just type, @Heidi Billotto or @heidibillotto, look what I made! – or something like that.
I would , of course, love it if you followed me on my social media feeds and subscribed to this blog as well, if you are not already, but neither are a requirement to be able to enter or win here.
On Friday Dec 11, I will hold a random drawing and one of you will win a $50 gift certificate to shop local at the SouthEnd Market at Atherton. I will announce the winner on my social media feeds and in my email newsletter. The winner may pick up the gift certificate on Saturday Dec 12; or any Saturday before January 31, 2021 at the SouthEnd Market swag and market table.
I’ll do the same sort of contest next week featuring vendors from the Uptown farmers’ market, but dates will vary slightly so stay tuned.