Mecklenburg County Market: A Hidden Foodie Gem

Mecklenburg County Market: A Hidden Foodie Gem

Now that Charlotte is finally starting to thaw out after the deep chill of February, it’s time to start heading back out and enjoying the bounty that comes from the Piedmont’s local farms and purveyors. There are multiple great farmer’s markets in the Queen City, but Charlotte is also home to North Carolina’s oldest farmer’s market, the Mecklenburg County Market. The small locale sits quietly at 1515 Harding Place behind Carolinas Medical Center and has been in operation since 1937. The produce alone is reason to go and check it out, but there is more there than just fruits and vegetables. Hard-to-find Honeybell Tangelos were even spotted there during their extremely short season.

Oranges, bok choy and dozens of other fresh produce selections are available for purchase.

Oranges, bok choy and dozens of other fresh produce selections are available for purchase.

The doctors at CMC must be actively keeping this place a secret because it doesn’t seem to get too busy, and anyone driving by would be hard-pressed to notice it—even though it is a great place to stop in and get a get a healthy snack or quick lunch. Several small booths are set up by other purveyors inside the market. Beverly’s Gourmet Foods offers everything from prepared lasagnas and casseroles to vegan dishes and soups or salads.

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The Charlotte Pie Authority can make customers custom pies, or classics like this chocolate truffle one topped with chocolate shavings.

 

For something a little more indulgent, look to Detra “Denay” Dennis, owner and head baker at Charlotte Pie Authority. She offers a variety of fillings in her flaky, crumbly pies. This includes chocolate truffle, lemon chess, southern pecan and many more. She boasts about her somewhat uneven crusts and imperfect crumb toppings, saying that it is just proof that a machine didn’t mass produce what her customers are eating. Real-deal handmade pies are harder to come by outside of one’s own kitchen these days, according to Dennis.

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This sign stands on Dennis’s table where she passes out free samples of her pie flavors for the public to try.

This market is what is so great about Charlotte. People who care about what they eat and what they sell to customers who care equally as much. The medical staff at CMC has some explaining to do—and then some recommendations to dole out. Source ingredients and eat locally, and you’ll be guaranteed a better meal in your own home as well as when you go out, because those same farmers are selling to your favorite chefs. In short, go for the produce, stay for the prepared goods and come back again later that day for a second taste of dessert.

RĂ©my
My love affair with well-executed food, drink and service culminates in my writing, editing and photography.

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