When you tell someone that you’re headed to Buford Highway, there are generally two reactions: “I love that place! Have you eaten at (restaurant)?” Or “Gosh, you’re going to get mugged!” See, Buford Highway is a stretch of road housing most of Atlanta’s truly great ethnic food. It gets a bad reputation, but if Anthony Bourdain has been there, it can’t be bad, right?
One of the highlights of Buford Highway is the Buford Highway Farmer’s Market. It’s not a true farmer’s market with stands selling local produce from the backs of pick-up trucks. Nope, this is a Costco sized building housing foods and ingredients from around the globe. There’s a food court, a handmade tortilla station, a fish market, a panaderia, a steamed-while-you-wait dumpling area, and of course, aisles of groceries and mountains of produce. You could easily get lost in the Farmer’s Market, and we did several times, losing parts of our group to enticing pastries or fascinating meat products.
We we spent a little over two hours in the Market, and left with over two hundred dollars worth of groceries. The verdict? If you’re in the area and you don’t shop here, you should. If you’re not in the area, it’s worth a day trip.
The highlight of the Buford Highway Farmer’s Market is the produce. Here, you can find all the herbs, greens, and unusual fruits you need for that recipe you’ve always wanted to try but never been able to find the ingredients for. We picked up pink lemons, sweet limes, ugli fruit, ginger, giant garlic, chunks of aloe, hand-made tofu, and a variety of herbs and spices. We eyed the purple sweet potatoes, the Belgian endive, and the huge jackfruit, but we knew we would quickly run out of car space if we bought everything we actually wanted. Maybe we should come back with a UHaul?
My little brother, a student in the food science department of Missisissipi State University, was amazed by all the ingredients he found that he had only heard about in class or from friends. He picked up a variety of curry ingredients and teas from the Asian section- did I mention that the shelf stable foods are divided by region, making it incredibly easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.
The main sections of the store are the Asian section and the Latin food section, but there are also Eastern and Western European sections that we noticed. We were able to skip the section labeled “America,” which featured gems like Mrs. Butterworth syrup and Hershey’s bars. Is that what other people think we eat here in the USA? If so, I’m cool with being represented by Mrs. Butterworth.
If you decide to make the trek to Buford Highway Farmer’s Market, I recommend bringing a cooler. You can’t pass up the deals in the seafood and meat departments, and when handmade tofu is only 99 cents a block, you’re probably going to want some.
If you get hungry while you’re shopping, there is prepared food in various areas available for purchase, including the steamed to order dumpling that I mentioned at the beginning of the post. You can also check out the food court, which offers a variety of food from around the world. There is a crepe making station, a hot food station, a cold case, and a hot food bar measured by the pound. You can also pick up drinks from the cold case- and yes, these go beyond your ordinary Sprites and Mexican Coke. I picked up a ginger beer from Jamaica, while my little brother had a ramune and my husband had a mango juice. My mom stuck with what she knows- Diet Mountain Dew.
Dont worry about bringing cash to Buford Highway Farmer’s Market if you don’t want to, as they take debit and credit cards.
While you’re in the area, be sure to stop by any of the local taquerias, Chinese restaurants and more that Buford Highway is known for. You won’t be sorry.