Farmers markets open on Square, 18th Street

Zoë Donovan, Staff Reporter

People in the community and surrounding areas who would like to shop local for fresh produce and handmade crafts can stop at the two farmers markets that Charleston offers every week.

Raine Zhu
Vendors sell their wares at the Farmers Market on the Square Wednesday morning. The farmers market is open every Wednesday from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. Charleston also offers another farmers market on 18th Street. That one is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon.

The Charleston Farmers Market on the Square takes place on Wednesday mornings from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on the Charleston Courthouse Square.

The Market on the Square will run every Wednesday morning in June through October, and it has been a part of the Charleston community for more than three decades.

The 18th Street Market takes place on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon in the Coles County Health Department parking lot off of 18th Street, for which it is named.

The 18th Street market entered its fifth season on May 18 and will run every Saturday morning through Sept 28, rain or shine.

A rainy Saturday morning on June 15 actually put that to the test. Vendors had to huddle under the Health Department’s canopy to get away from the rain to sell their goods.

“We were devoted,” said Cathy Fidler from Pine Rock Bakery and Fidler Farms.

Fidler said she makes homemade baked goods that she brings to the market; she is a vendor at both of the markets.

Steve Runyon, owner of Home Again Consignment, said he started the 18th Street Farmers Market five years ago.

“I really felt the Charleston Community needed to have a farmers market on a Saturday,” Runyon said. “They had had (The Charleston Farmers Market on the Square) for many, many years. There are a lot of families where it’s just not convenient during the week.”

Runyon said the 18th Street market has grown considerably since its first year when it had around 12 vendors.

On most weeks, the 18th Street market now has between 20 and 24 vendors.

Runyon said in 2015, the 18th Street Market implemented EBT payments, which allow for debit or credit card transactions and purchasing of Market Bucks, so that if shoppers do not have enough cash, they can always use a card.

Runyon said the main reason they use the Market bucks and EBT system is because they approached the federal government about being approved for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

SNAP works to provide access to healthy food for individuals who need financial assistance in their food budget, he said.

SNAP cards require an EBT system to be used, so by including it, it also allowed for “Market Bucks” to be purchased with a traditional debit or credit card as well.

Both farmers markets primarily use Facebook to keep the community up to date.

The 18th Street Market’s page can be found here.

The Market on the Square’s page can be found here.

Zoë Donovan can be reached at 581–2812 or at [email protected].