A New Take on the Roadside Market

What does the first bite of summer taste like to you? Is it a firm, juicy, sweet peach? Or is it a basket of freshly picked berries? How about corn on the cob, steamed in the husks and dripping with butter and salt?

For me, summer’s all about the tomatoes. Although the supermarket kind are marginally better than they once were, there’s nothing like the richly flavored absolutely fresh fruit—eaten out of hand, in a salad, or my favorite, the BLT (and for someone who does not cook, I’ve raised the BLT to an art form).

Fresh local fruits and vegetables have health benefits, as well. Free of genetic engineering and as close as possible to organically grown, they are bursting with vitamins and antioxidants. And since they don’t require a lot of cooking, if any, they’re great for eating on the go (or for people who truly cannot cook).

The Downtown Sumter Farmer’s Market is open on Saturday mornings from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Come down to Rotary Centennial Plaza at the corner of East Liberty and South Main Streets for a great selection of local produce, along with preserves, stone-ground corn meal, freshly baked breads and lots more. You’ll also find cut flowers for sale, straight from the gardens of Sumter. And there’s both art and music, giving a taste of local talent.

Back to tomatoes for just a moment…I promise. Prior to the 16th century, as a member of the nightshade family, they were believed to be poisonous. But later, the French referred to them for a while as pommes d’amour, “apples of love,” and I like that a lot better. A world without sun-warmed, vine-ripened tomatoes isn’t one that I want to live in!

For more info on the Downtown Sumter Farmer’s Market, please call the Swan Lake Visitors Center at (803) 436-2640 or toll-free, 1-800-688-4748.

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