Photo by Milk + Honey Photography

A Love for Local

Behind the scenes at the Ballantyne Farmers Market

By Allie Papajohn | A web-only feature

Now, you can turn a routine grocery store run into the best lunch break ever.

Thanks to the new Ballantyne Farmers Market, Charlotteans can peruse tent after tent of local farmers, vendors and artisans on the second Wednesday of each month, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., at Brixham Park. Since its launch on May 8, 2024, shoppers have had the pleasure of picking up fresh produce, eggs, cheese, baked goods, raw and prepared meats, locally roasted coffee, flowers, honey, jewelry and more.

Ballantyne Farmers Market founder Robert “Ernie” Adler is one person to thank. As the owner of Ernie’s Smokehouse BBQ and a longtime participant in competitive grilling, Adler wanted to set up at a weekday farmer’s market. The trouble, he found, was that there were very few of those around town.

After connecting with Carolina Kramer, customer engagement manager at Northwood Office, the two realized they had a common interest.

“It was a perfect fit since Northwood had been discussing trying to get [a weekday farmer’s market] started,” says Adler.

Once Adler got the green light, he reached out to farmers and vendors to build a list of participants. He contacted over 200 potential vendors and landed on an initial roster of about 30 businesses. Since the market’s launch, the interest and vendor count have grown.

“The Ballantyne Farmers Market has been a wonderful addition to our calendar,” says Kramer. “Local farmers from all over the Carolinas come together to share their produce, meats, flowers, honey and more with our customers and the community … Our customers have enjoyed the opportunity to shop during work hours in the middle of the week. Our vendors make the magic happen.”

Robert “Ernie” Adler (left) is the founder of Ballantyne Farmers Market and the owner of Ernie’s Smokehouse BBQ and a longtime participant in competitive grilling. Photo by Gianna Pendergrass.

Lots of Love for Local

A significant focus of the Ballantyne Famers Market is to keep offerings close to home.

“Buying local has several key benefits: it keeps dollars spent [here] moving through our local economy,” says Adler. “Local businesses are able to use those dollars to buy their supplies, make their products, pay their employees and reinvest in their businesses benefitting the many towns they’re located in.”

Adler has enlisted some market participants who travel over an hour every other Wednesday to support the buying and selling of local goods. He’s also politely declined interest from larger, non-local businesses to stay true to his purpose.

“Major national farm production companies put pressure on local farmers by importing produce, which keep prices lower than sometimes required to stay profitable,” says Adler.

“Supporting local farmers through markets helps them to meet their business goals and keep their farms profitable [while satisfying] the demand for locally raised organic and non-organic products.”

Happy Buyers in South Charlotte

The South Charlotte community has been incredibly receptive to this new market.

“Our market helps the residents by giving them a great weekday option to shop,” says Adler. “[It also gives] the many employees who work in Ballantyne an opportunity to grab lunch and buy items to bring home after work instead of having to stop off to grab something on the way home.”

Shoppers can expect an organized “U-shaped” layout with matching white tents and signage and rotating food trucks onsite. Plenty of parking is available. The Ballantyne Farmers Market will continue to operate on the second Wednesday of every month through October 8. In addition, Adler already has his mind set on special Thanksgiving and Christmas markets to assist with holiday-hosting needs.

Keep an eye on the Ballantyne Farmers Market website and social media accounts for future updates: and @ballantynefarmersmarket.

Shoppers can expect a “U-shaped” layout with matching white tents. Photo by Gianna Pendergrass.