Saturday at the Market 

Kick your weekend off right

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The Charleston Farmers' Market has been up and running for a few weeks now, and I finally got a chance to take a quick tour last Saturday before a drizzling rain sent me running to the car.

My main destination was Meat House, Jason and Katie Houser's stall, which features housemade specialties like country pâté, tasso ham, and grass-fed all beef hotdogs. We chatted with Jason, the former chef at Muse, and bought some of his applewood smoked bacon, breakfast sausage links, and hotdogs. He also stocks raw milk, duck eggs, and specialty cuts of pork. He is currently butchering whole hogs (procured locally) in Muse's kitchen, but hopes to expand his operation as he establishes a customer base. With sausages as good as his, he shouldn't have any trouble.

We bought some lunch at Melt, a gourmet sandwich shop that serves open-face creations like scrambled eggs, baked ham, and aged cheddar on Tuscan bread and shrimp, asparagus, eggs, chives, tomatoes, and roasted pepper aioli with feta cheese on top of French bread. You can submit your own creative sandwich ideas at their website (meltcharleston.com). They say they've become so popular at the Market, they've had to hire more staff. That's a good problem to have, and a sign that people in Charleston appreciate a good sandwich, something that can be hard to find around here. We hope a permanent storefront is somewhere in their future.

The Messy Apron had samples of chilled beet soup, which was the most shocking pink I've ever seen a non-processed food item be. I took home some chilled strawberry yogurt mint soup. It was good, but seemed like it'd be better served by calling it a smoothie rather than a soup. Overall, it's a cute concept, and they use very fresh ingredients.

Coco's had a long line of hungry market-goers, eager to get their hands on those addictive baskets of freshly fried mini donuts. So simple — fried dough with sugar — but oh so good.

The rain kept me from exploring the entire market, but the small strip that I strolled through had an impressive variety of food: produce from Thackeray Farms, locally made goat cheese from Giddy Goat, fresh flowers from Wadmalaw, fresh eggs and raw milk — the evolution of the market continues.

Make plans to visit the Market on Saturdays from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. It's a great way to get your weekend started.

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