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Discover Appalachian communities through food markets

Food can bring people together. And when it’s in abundance at a local marketplace, food can be the center of the community.

Many major cities have marketplaces full of organic groceries and restaurants, like Park Place Market in Seattle or the French Market in New Orleans.

Appalachia, too, has its own marketplaces - which offer an inside look at the foods that are central to the community. From canned goods and fresh eggs to pickled vegetables and spice mixes, the foods found in these community markets help tell the story of the people.

1. Capitol Market

800 Smith Street

Charleston, West Virginia

This year-round market is tucked into a turn-of-the-century train station that features both indoor and outdoor spaces. Inside, you’ll find specialty shops that feature handcrafted chocolates, local coffee, hand-rolled sushi, a high-end wine shop, fresh seafood, a sit-down Italian restaurant and more. Outside, you’ll find seasonal produce and plants from local farmers, including Christmas trees in the winter, hanging baskets full of flowers in the spring and homegrown tomatoes all summer long. The Capitol Market is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit

2. Pittsburgh Strip District

Between 11th Street and 33rd Street, from the river to Liberty Avenue

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Pittsburgh Strip District is more than a marketplace - it’s an entire neighborhood full of international restaurants, produce merchants, grocery stores, hot food vendors and boutique shops. The area previously served as an industrial center with mills and other production shops before the industry decline. Now, you’ll find streets lined with vendors selling everything from pierogies and pepperoni rolls to pasta and cheese. Don’t forget a stop at the famous Pennsylvania Macaroni Company - or Penn Mac - to purchase all your Italian provisions. Hours for individual vendors and stores vary. For more information, visit

3. Chattanooga Market

1829 Carter Street

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Since its opening in 2001, Chattanooga Market has named one of the “Top 10 Public Markets in America” by Frommers. The seasonal Sunday market features over 50 farms, which sell a variety of meats, produce and dairy. In addition, there are over 130 artisans offering their arts and crafts, like hand-blown glass, paintings and more. The market is held April through November on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit

4. The S&W Market

56 Patton Avenue

Asheville, North Carolina

Ranked as one of “The 10 Best New Food Halls Across the U.S.” by Fodors, The S&W Market in Asheville showcases the region’s local independent restaurants and beer in a 10,000-square-foot space. “Originally built for the S & W Cafeteria in 1929, the reimagined food hall fulfills the market’s original mission by offering affordable, fresh fare, and the energy that made it an exciting destination so many years ago,” the website reads. The food hall features five food stalls, Highland Brewing downtown taproom, event venue and more than 170 interior seats and an outdoor patio. This market focuses on prepared foods and features items central to the food culture of the region: buttermilk fried chicken, pimento cheese, sweet pickle relish, local honey and more. The S&W Market is open Monday and Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday, it is closed; Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit

5. Pizitz Food Hall

120 19th Street North

Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama, is one of the largest cities in the Appalachian region and contains a diverse assortment of offerings at the Pizitz Food Hall - from an Ethiopian restaurant and Mexican paletas made with local produce to Japanese-Hawaiian poke bowls and Israeli falafels and kebabs. The 30,000-square-foot-space full of 18 different stalls also offers comfort food items, like waffles, fried bologna biscuits and local coffee. Plus, the food Hall also featured a bar, soda fountain and independent movie theater. The Pizitz Food Hall is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, visit

Notable Nearby Markets:

While these markets are located in states that have areas within Appalachia, they are just outside of the general region. Despite that, they still serve Appalachian communities nearby:

● West Side Market in Cleveland, Ohio

● Ponce City Market in Atlanta, Georgia

● Charleston City Market in Charleston, South Carolina

● Findlay Market in Cincinnati, Ohio

● Krog Street Market in Atlanta, Georgia

● Nashville Farmers Market in Nashville, Tennessee

● Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Markets - whether offering fresh produce or freshly prepared meals - offer insight into the foods important to communities. From global influences combined with local flavors, the food represents the communities and helps tell a piece of their story. Many market spaces carry both new and cherished foods that will satisfy consumer demand. And with each bite, not only are customers contributing to the local economy, but they are consuming a piece of culture, as well.

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