Most independent stores do one, or maybe two things really well. Tony Caputo's Market & Deli does five. To begin with, you have the old-world butcher shop, run by talented Italian expat Frody Volgger and offering pasture-grazed, heritage breed meats from small local farms, as well as a number of cured and smoked creations. You've also got specialized areas for artisan cheeses, an olive oil and vinegar bar, a section boasting the world's premier chocolate products, and a deli cafe, which makes it an ideal weekend stop for both shopping and eating.
Some markets are strictly produce, while others offer a variety of arts and crafts but little in the way of sustenance. The Charleston Farmers Market offers both. Held each Saturday in historic Marion Square, this market plays host to a wide variety of local farmers and growers, offering fruits, vegetables, meats, milk, eggs, flowers, and more. The market's also a popular spot for food vendors serving up breakfast and lunch, as well as local artisans selling all manner of things artsy and crafty. The only real downside? It's not year-round, so be prepared to make other Saturday morning plans in January, February, and March.
Whether you're looking for fresh produce or a fresh meal, you can find it at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. The oldest public market in the city — and conveniently located in downtown — Sweet Auburn offers a number of stands offering fruits, veggies, all sorts of meats, and baked goods, as well as a veritable food court filled with an amazing variety of ready-to-eat meals. And for first timers, don't worry about the heat — the market is happily housed in its original building from 1924, which was recently restored.
The Bay Area is home to many a market, but few offer the fantastic views of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Situated outside the iconic Ferry Building with the Bay on one side and the skyline on the other, this certified farmers market is operated by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, ensuring that the producers selling there are certified by the counties in which they grow. It's open on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and also offers a section for prepared foods and products, as well as a wealth of food trucks and local restaurants serving up ready-to-eat meals.
Okay, so you can't technically buy anything at the Aalsmeer Flower Auction — unless you're running a flower wholesaling business — but that doesn't mean it's not worth the trip. Open to the public on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the world's largest flower auction is a sight to behold, with self-guided and guided tours available. Roughly 20 million flowers are sold at the auction each day, and the building itself is the world's fourth-largest by floor space, covering 10.6 million square feet, or 243 acres. So way more than your garden at home.
Its neighborhood has seen its share of hard times, but that hasn't stopped people from flocking to Findlay Market. Opened in 1855, this historic market's main building sports a cast and wrought iron frame that was one of the first in the U.S., and it's surrounded by other older buildings and a revitalized area. But the architecture's not the draw here. As it should be, it's the food, with a plethora of meat counters inside the main building, produce stands outside, and small shops surrounding the two-block area selling all manner of specialized food stuffs.
Situated in the shadow of the state capitol, the Dane County Farmers Market isn't just a local highlight. As the largest producer-only farmers market in the country, there's no where else you can go with more vendors selling products they actually made and/or farmed themselves. Since 1972, the market has been held in the square on every Saturday with few exceptions, ducking into nearby buildings when November arrives and the weather turns too cold — just take note that even when it's nice and sunny, pets aren't allowed on the square.
Not all farmers markets are created equal. Take the Santa Fe Farmers Market for example. Started in the late '60s, this year-round market — located in the Railyard — is the largest in the state, featuring over 150 active vendors and hundreds of different products. What sets it apart, though, is its commitment to ensuring that 100% of the vegetables, fruits, and plants are grown locally, as well as at least 80% of the ingredients and materials used to make all processed foods and craft items. While there's a wide variety of food on offer, it's one of the premier spots in the country to pick up the ingredients for a Southwestern feast.
Looking for stuff to bring some holiday cheer to your home this year? There's no better place to search than Christkindlmarkt. This legendary holiday market hosts over 200 different vendors during its run through December 23. On offer are everything from jewelry and stained glass ornaments to hand-carved decorations and hand-knit clothing. In addition, plenty of traditional German and Austrian foodstuffs are available, including bratwurst, roasted almonds, and strudel, and be sure to catch one of the daily glassblowing or ice sculpting demonstrations. Of course, no holiday market would be complete without St. Nick, who makes appearances every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Many people associate "decay" with D-town, but that couldn't be further from the truth at Eastern Market. Every Saturday, this local food district packs in over 250 independent vendors and merchants selling super-fresh and in most cases locally-sourced food stuffs, flowers, and other goods. Occupying six blocks, the market also boasts roughly 30 full-time tenants, and should you think this is a passing fad, know that they've been hosting a market here since 1891.