Soda City – The Little Market That Could

One thing that always amazes Farmers Market Finds is the way a small-market can make such a difference in a community. With all of the growth and changes that have come to Columbia, South Carolina in the last 19 years I have called it home, I am happy to report that it has been able to maintain its small town feel. One of the things that keeps the city feeling connected is the Soda City Farmers Market. Held in the heart of downtown every Saturday, I think of Soda City as the “little market that could.” Over the past 12 years I have watched this “little market” blossom into a not-to-be-missed Saturday event. Downtown Columbia, SC on a lovely Saturday!

Couched between tall bank buildings, downtown hotels and offices, the Soda City Farmers Market takes three quiet weekend streets and turns them into a lively, entertainment filled affair.  Soda City enjoys being the best of both worlds – an award winning market and a lively crafts fair.  The Soda City Farmers Market is known as the best place around to “go green”.  It offers an amazing selection of fresh produce, handcrafted goods, and ready-to-eat foods. That’s why it has been voted Columbia’s “Best Green Business” and “Best Fresh Produce” for the second year in a row.

From southern classics to foods from all over the world await you at the Soda City Farmers Market.

Southern classics as well as  foods from all over the world await you at the Soda City Farmers Market.

While you can certainly find great southern food, like boiled peanuts and Ben’s World Famous Barbeque, at the Soda City Farmers Market, you can also find a wide array of food vendors representing countries as varied as France, Peru, Bulgaria, and West Africa. Stop by MiBek Farms for great pasture raised beef that is free of hormones. For local flavors, check out Indah Coffee for South Carolina fresh roasted coffee or some mind-blowing oatmeal from the Savannah Oatmeal Company.

Savannah Oatmeal Company at Soda City Farmers Market. Turning Columbia into a city of oatmeal lovers!

Savannah Oatmeal Company at Soda City Farmers Market. Turning Columbia into a city of oatmeal lovers!

In addition to world class food products, Soda City also has amazing arts and crafts vendors. Farmers Market Finds has featured quite a few Soda City vendors such as Kyle Smith Pottery, Sup-Dog Co., and the awesomely cool train art captured by Frank Heflin. Frank has been taking photos of the graffiti-covered freight trains that pass through the area. You would be amazed by some of the interesting artwork you can find on the side of a freight train. Also, take a minute to shop the unique handcrafted jewelry of Spread Love Designs, gorgeous purses from Nana by Sally, and be sure to smell the fabulous soaps from Inglenook Soaps. The market hosts up to 100 vendors each week, with over 800 vendors cycling through annually. A list of vendors and events for the upcoming Saturday can be found on the markets Facebook page.  Let me assure you that  every Saturday is a great Saturday to visit the Soda City Farmers Market.

Artwork from Columbia's own Ernest J. Lee

Artwork from Columbia’s own Ernest J. Lee “The Chicken Man”

The Soda City Farmers Market is completely self-supporting and is dedicated to giving back to Columbia. Soda City Friends, is a non-profit arm of the market whose mission is to imagine and provide unique educational events at all participation levels, benefiting non-profits helping disadvantaged people, pets, and places. To do this Soda City Friends is hosting its First Annual Gervais Street Bridge Dinner on October 18, 2015. This event will take place at one of the most iconic bridges in Columbia and host a dinner for 1,000 people!  The dinner will be a beautiful, seated, sunset dinner served in courses, with cocktails, beer, and wine. The proceeds from this benefit will go to the Congaree Riverkeeper, a non-profit organization from each side of the river, Canoeing for Kids, and Harvest Hope Food Bank.

The iconic Gervais Street Bridge will host a dinner for 1,000 people hosted by Soda City Friends.

The iconic Gervais Street Bridge will host a dinner for 1,000 people hosted by Soda City Friends.

Whether you’re in Columbia for business or pleasure or, like me, a northern transplant, make sure to head down to the Soda City Farmers Market and enjoy a wonderful shopping experience. Also, make sure to check their Facebook page for details on their midweek market starting this fall! The Soda City Farmers Market is dog and cat friendly, so feel free to bring the whole family. Woof!

Soda City Farmers Market
1500 Block of Main Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Every Saturday (Rain or Shine) 9 am – 1:00 pm

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