Farmers Market at the Agricenter. Photo Credit: Andrea Zucker

Farmers Market at the Agricenter. Photo Credit: Andrea Zucker

From Farm to Memphis

 A neighborhood guide to the best farmers markets and locally sourced restaurants in the Mid-South

It’s easy to think Memphis food is about barbecue and barbecue alone -- especially when you consider we host thousands of smoke masters every May. But that’s a picture of the Memphis food scene that gets more incomplete by the day. In truth, this is a thriving and diverse community of farmers, chefs, artisans and eaters who are constantly looking for food experiences that are unique, local, and authentic. Now that it’s spring, that means it's time to take stock of the bounty brought to us Memphians by a handful of pop-up farmers' markets and locally sourced restaurants that dot our neighborhoods and bring our people, purveyors and consumers alike, together.

People at the Memphis farmers market

Farm To Market

Memphis Farmers Market / South Main

One of the first to launch on a regular basis almost ten years ago, the Memphis  Farmers Market is located in Central Station at the corner of South Front Street and GE Patterson, and just a few blocks away from the National Civil Rights Museum. Keeping with the seasons, the Memphis Farmers’ Market is open from April to October, featuring producer-only farmers, craftspeople, and artisan food makers. The market also operates under a pavilion, making it a bit of a throwback to a time when most markets operated in fixed structures.

Woman standing next to her booth at the Memphis farmers market

Cooper Young

The tree-lined streets, cozy craftsman cottages and cool local restaurants and record stores of Cooper-Young have been attracting locals and savvy tourists for years now. Its farmers’ market gives us yet another reason to check out one of the city’s coolest neighborhoods. Unlike the Downtown Memphis Farmers Market, Cooper Young’s is a year-round marketplace that happens every Saturday from 8am to 1pm in the parking lot of First Congregational Church at 1000 South Cooper.

 

South Memphis

Located at 1400 Mississippi Blvd., the South Memphis Farmers Market is more than a once-a-week seasonal pop-up. It’s also a year-round grocer designed to provide access to healthy and affordable foods to one of the most historically important communities within the city. Home to Stax and Hi Records, South Memphis is often described as the soul of the city, the place where the Memphis sound of the 60s and 70s thrived. It’s also why the farmers market is so important. While open on Thursdays between the months of May and November, The Grocer is open every day, providing the community with daily fresh fruit and produce from local farmers and vendors, as well as important staples.

Overton Park

The Overton Park neighborhood is one of the oldest in Memphis, and yet it’s running one of the more progressive farmers markets in the city. In partnership with Overton Park Conservancy and Rhodes College, a team of students, teachers and community members are working together to bring under-served communities locally-sourced healthy food products. Connected by the Greenline from Shelby Farms (a massive park just a few miles east of the city) to Midtown, the Overton Park Farmers Market sees a future food system that supports a thriving local food economy that benefits all Memphians. The market is located at the East Parkway Pavilion in Overton Park and is open every Thursday in April through October from 3pm to 7pm.

Sausage, egg and cheese biscuit from Porcellino's. Photo Credit: Holly Whitfield
Mushroom salad from Bounty on Broad. Photo Credit: Holly Whitfield
Quinoa crunch bowl from Lyfe Kitchen. Photo Credit: Holly Whitfield
The Kitchen at Shelby Farms. Photo Credit: Maggie Johnson
Porcellino's, Lyfe Kitchen, Bounty on Broad: Holly Whitfield; The Kitchen: Maggie Johnson

Farm To Table

Bounty on Broad

Located in the hopping Broad Avenue Arts District, Bounty On Broad is one of the best new additions to the Memphis food scene. With a focus on local ingredients and specialty cocktails, Bounty offers a smart take on American classics that is constantly being reimagined with the seasons.

Porcellino’s Craft Butcher

Another restaurant that ties its menu to the seasons and local ingredients is Porcellino’s Craft Butcher. A working butcher shop and sundry store, Porcellino’s sources its lamb, pork and beef from regional farms in Missouri and Tennessee, and has hopes to expand that work to an even bigger network of regional farmers. It’s also a great place for small plates and great cocktails. 

Lyfe Kitchen

The world of fast casual dining has been in flux for a while now, bringing better and healthier options to people whose lives never seem to stop moving. LYFE Kitchen is the newest addition with its health-conscious menu and commitment to bringing people great tasting good food that allows you to Love Your Food Everyday (LYFE).
 

The KitchenShelby Farms Park

What better setting for healthy locally sourced food than Shelby Farms? That’s the idea with the forthcoming The Kitchen at Shelby Farms Park, a community bistro in the new LEED certified event center. The focus here will be farm-fresh food that gives visitors an experiential history lesson in the park’s role as an agricultural hub and working farm. In addition to the bistro, The Kitchen will also open a “grab-and-go” café for people who want to sit outside and eat in nature.

Peter Short