For weeks, I was counting down the days until April 13, 2019. Why, you ask? Because it marked the start of the outdoor market season for The Market at Pepper Place! I have been visiting the market regularly for almost ten years so, despite a rainy morning, my husband, kiddos, and I packed up and headed downtown.
What: The Market at Pepper Place opened in 2000 and now hosts over 100 tents of vendors selling produce and products either grown or made within 200 miles of the market.
Where: Pepper Place is located downtown on 2nd Avenue South in the area previously occupied by the Dr Pepper Syrup Plant and Bottling Company, hence the name “Pepper Place”.
When: The market is held, rain or shine, most every Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The outdoor market takes place in the warmer months, and during the winter there is a smaller indoor market.
The Market at Pepper Place is a tremendously fun family outing! It is stroller-friendly, dog-friendly, and has so much to explore! Here are my top five reasons you should visit as soon as possible:
- Fresh Local Produce: So, this one is kind of obvious. But I cannot express just how amazing the fruits and vegetables at Pepper Place are! From root veggies in the winter to peaches in the summer, you will always walk away with something delicious — all while supporting local farmers!
- Trying/Learning New Things: One of the benefits of buying products directly from the farmers and makers is that you get to learn how it was grown or made! You also get the benefit of detailed information before you try something new. Every vendor is so knowledgeable and passionate, and I love listening to them describe the items at their tent. I am often inspired to try new fruits and vegetables at the market. Pepper Place is actually where my love of kohlrabi was born. What is kohlrabi, you ask? Well, as it was described to me, it is a vegetable in the cabbage family but is sweeter/milder than cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc. The texture is like a broccoli stem and it is delicious cooked or raw (I have tried both). I now look for kohlrabi every time I go to the market and have even tried to grow it myself! I have not grown it successfully (I’ll save my “The dog dug up my garden” rant for another post), but I have found it at the market a few times.
- Baked Goods and Prepared Foods: I love bread! It is a deep love that cannot be satisfied in a single slice. At Pepper Place there are multiple bakers and bakeries selling their delicious breads and treats (and handing out free samples). But, there are also pie vendors, pound cake vendors, tents selling breakfast burritos, and farmers selling homemade pickles and jams! So, no need to eat breakfast before you go! (There are also vendors selling local meats and cheeses, but that is just not usually my priority.)
- Live Music: I hate this word but, Pepper Place just has a great “vibe”. Part of that is thanks to the live music playing, which provides a great atmosphere for shopping and exploring. My toddler especially loves the music and often sits with his dad to listen and watch the furry friends who are visiting the market.
- Quality Time: When I was single, my roommate and I used to visit the market on Saturdays. It was a great time to get some coffee or tea, shop, and catch up on the weeks we had each had. Now, I go with my husband and kids. The pace and energy are different with kids, but it is equally rewarding. I love watching my son admire the items for sale and answering his questions. It also helps me convince him to try new vegetables when I say, “Remember buying this at the market?!”.