Most of you know that I’m a sucker for old markets. There’s something about fresh vegetables, dead fish, stinky cheese, expensive chocolate, raw meat, and shoulder to shoulder people that I find really intriguing. Maybe it’s the opposite of graveyards in that with a cemetery you can determine the history and soul of a place… but with markets, you can really tell the character and spirit of a community.
Cut to Atlanta and the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, which has been an institution in East Atlanta since the late 1910s. After the Great Atlanta fire of 1917, farmers started selling produce and livestock in tents on the land flattened by the fire… land that was in the exact centre of the city.
In 1924, locals pushed to have the open-air market moved to an enclosed building and built a brick building and called it the Municipal Market of Atlanta. Nobody actually calls it that. Originally, the inner sections of the building were for whites only and the outside “curb” portion of the market was where African Americans could shop; this is where the name “Curb Market” comes from.
People were pretty silly back then…. to segregate in such a way. Now the inside is comprised of a mish-mash of every culture, vendor, artisan, and offering you can imagine. It’s positively a photographic feast!
In 2013, USA Today listed the Auburn Market as the #16th best market in the world because of its cultural diversity and importance to the Atlanta community. It is a foodie paradise! For me, the biggest draw was arepas at Arepa Mia. Arepas are a Venezuelan maize flatbread stuffed with ingredients, which are difficult to find in North America. I opted for the fish and avocado arepas. My mouth waters just thinking about it.