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Feb 2, 2004 03:08 PM

ISO Chef who's into Farmers Markets--in NC, SC, GA or AL

  • j

I'm a writer doing an article on Southern Farmers Markets in the specific states of North & South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. I'm looking for chefs to interview in each state about the farmers markets they know and love. Can Southern chowhounds recommend some top chefs who are big supporters of the local markets in their areas? Any leads would be appreciated -- thanks in advance!

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  1. In Greenville S.C., John Malik of 33 Liberty is a big proponent of local farmers. I can't say how much of his procurement is actually done at the farmer's market per se, but I know from his well-written weekly e-mail newsletter that he seeks out small local producers for everything from veggies to dairy. (864) 370-4888 John and his pastry chef wife Amy have already been in the national foodie press several times, which is really an accomplishment coming from a city like Greenville which doesn't really have a "food scene".

    In Asheville N.C., I have run into my favorite Chef, Hector Diaz, owner of Salsa and Zambra at the small but excellent tailgate market outside the French Broad Food Coop. (828) 232-1060 Hector has been featured in Southern Living a time or two, but he deserves national attention in my opinion. He is a genious with flavor combinations and using ingredients in surprising ways. I find his story quite interesting. He's from Puerto Rico, worked in kitchens in NY before opening a hole-in-the-wall Carribbean rest. in Asheville. That rest. has expanded and now he also has an tappas restaurant (he was actually a few years ahead of the curve on that least around here).

    (phone numbers are for the restaurants)

    1. In Columbia, SC, I know that The chefs Bill Murphy & Lee Talmage of Hampton Street Vineyard Bistro (803) 252-0850 use the local farmers market.

      1. Morningside Farmer's Market in Atlanta has a chef demonstrate every Saturday May-October. A google web search on "morningside farmer's market" will yield much more information than I could. We frequently spotted local chefs shopping there.

        Also Bacchanalia's (also Atlanta) owners have a very strong committment to local, organic produce.

        1. Check with Scott Peacock of Watershed (404-378-4900). Not only does he have a terrific cookbook out (with Edna Lewis), his highly praised restaurant is very close to Atlanta's major farmer's market - the Dekalb Farmer's Market. I am sure he would be able to provide you with information.

          1. b
            Bryan Andregg

            In the triangle region of NC there are several chef/owners who support their farmers markets very strongly.

            Mad Hatter - Jason Balius - 919-286-1987, Jason is the owner and buys as much of his produce as he can from the farmers market and the DIG program (

            Magnolia Grill - Ben Barker - 919-286-3609, Ben and his wife Karen do amazing, award winning food some of which is sourced from the local farmers markets.

            Nana's and Pop's - Scott Howell - 919-493-8545 (Nana's), Scott is an avid supported of the Durham revival and buys much produce from local farmers markets.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bryan Andregg

              I've personally seen Shane from Four Square at both the Caborro and Durham farmer's markets buying for the restaurant. Also, I do think his food is the best of the region. They have a website, so you can contact him via that.

              Certainly one could make enormously strong arguments for both Mag Grill and Nana's (especially when it comes to putting the scene on the map). It's just that they seem to always get the run, and 4-Square is really coming on strong.