My recent post on creamed corn made me wonder: what is in season in South Carolina this time of year? At both the Marion Square market downtown and the Mount Pleasant Farmer's Market, you have to look carefully to figure out if you're getting true local produce. Both markets have established some strict rules governing what can and can't be sold at the market, with the goal of fostering local agriculture, but there are some wrinkles.
Mount Pleasant has mandated that all produce sold must have been grown in the State of South Carolina, while Marion Square seems to be a little more liberal (judging by the boxes of yellow bananas you can find there.)
Under the "50% Rule" at both markets, produce vendors must have personally grown at least 50% of the items being sold at their tents rather than reselling other farmers' wares. This is in effect only during the area's early and late harvest seasons: mid-May until mid-July for the first period, then the beginning of September until the end of October.
The "Local Season Rule" takes it a step further: for items that have come into season locally (meaning in Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Georgetown, and Colleton counties for Mount Pleasant and East of I-95 for Marion Square) no secondhand sales are allowed at all, guaranteeing the farmer who grew it is the one selling it (assuming no one cheats, of course--but be careful, the Market Manager has the authority to "remove questionable items").
Great, but what's in season when? Right now here's the list: asparagus, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, collards, cucumbers, green onions, kale, mustard, potatoes, strawbeerries, summer squash, and turnips.
I'm off to the Marion Square market in the morning, so I'll be checking these items out.