White Horse Flea Market

Paul had discovered a new (to us) flea market for exploration. It’s been a long time since a county fair has been held on the old Greenville Fair Grounds on White Horse Road. In lieu of the annual fair, the weekly White Horse Flea Market has taken over the old display sheds and grounds.

On this trip, I ditched my big Nikon D50 for the tiny Nikon S50. Wise choice – I was able to get tons of photos without being too obvious. Some are tilted because I shot from the hip, but I was able to get many more usable photos this time around.

I had always bypassed the WHFM because the much, much larger Anderson Jockey Lot was just down the road a few more miles. In this case, size isn’t everything. The amount of diversity, both culturally and in terms of what one can buy at White Horse far exceeds what one might find at the Jockey Lot. The West Side of Greenville has a very high percentage of Hispanics, and that is reflected in what one can find here. You still get the usual flea market weirdness, but with a multi-cultural flare.

In addition to the interior vendors and those that had pulled trucks up to the available tables, some vendors had constructed elaborate shops using canopies and anything else available. These were more or less permanent "outside" stalls. One of the most impressive areas was the produce area. The amount of peppers, mangoes, and otherwise exotic fruits and vegetables was incredible. We wandered through several of these with plans to return.

While these items looked appealing, that couldn’t be said for everything found there. Some stalls just had items jumbled up on tables. Various medicines, vitamins, and other items that qualify as "salvage groceries" were piled up for people to pick through. Clothes and tools met the same fate at some other tables.

One of the most disturbing finds were items clearly related to cock fighting. One could buy hens and roosters, but it seemed odd that the number of roosters far outnumberd the hens available for purchase. I overheard one woman pointing at a rooster and saying, "That one’s as mean as snot. It’ll beat anything it come up against." I wasn’t about to argue.

Religious iconography has always been a part of flea markets, and WHFM is not exception. In addition to the usual Last Supper variations and crucifixes, the apocolyptic art of William Thomas Thompson adorned some of the walls. There was even a small area for church services set up inside one of the buildings. However, it wasn’t only Christianity that was represented. There was one vendor that specialized in black magic and other dark arts.

Out among the stalls, I came across one vendor I dubbed "The Queen of the Flea Market." Something about her bearing, the casual way she held her cigarette, and the way she reclined on the tailgate of conveyed her dominion over all she surveyed. I couldn’t get the best shot I wanted without getting beaten up, so I had to settle for this one…

Finally, we got around to the real reason Paul had wanted to come here – food. He had been here early last weekend and discovered a place that made real carne asada tacos. It was too early for lunch then, hence our trip this weekend. The place was Dr. Rocco’s, a small trailer on the back side of the market. They had a variety of tacos, but what had caught Paul’s eye was a large vertically aligned cylinder of meat on a skewer that rotated in front of a flame. Pieces were carved off for the tacos, similar to the way lamb is carved for gyros.

We each ordered a couple of tacos. There were various condiments, including lime and a firey onion/hanenera combination. A roasted shallot served as a side dish. We finished these off and ordered a couple more tacos, along with drinks to sooth the burn.

At $2 a pop for each taco, these were good, but pricier than we might have wanted. $1.50 also seemed a bit steep for off-brand Fanta-styled fruit drinks. There were no prices posted, so we had to rely on the vendor to tell us what we owed. It soon became apparent that there were two pricing structures in place – one for Gringos like us, and one for Hispanics. A man, woman, and child sat next to us, each with a plate of five tacos, and each with a drink. We knew that there was no way that they had paid nearly $35 for lunch. There were some other interesting signs of cultural independence, such as a T-shirt that read…

Somos Mexicanos

No somos Latinos,
No somos Hispanics.

On our way out, we stopped back by one of the produce stands (where prices were clearly marked.) I got a big bag of limes, serrano chiles, and jalapenos for $2.

[tags]flea market, tacos[/tags]


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Comments (3)

  1. Ken C

    Check out the Pickens Flea Market on Wednesdays. Bigger than Anderson’s, and, my dad claims, a good deal “better” in terms of having more of the sellers that one goes to a flea market to see.

    There is a road to the left just before you get to the flea market (coming from Pickens) that accesses a grassy parking area for the market. Access across 12 Mile Creek by a footbridge.

    Neat place. I’ve been there a good bit. Usually have some musicians playing in one area under the trees.

  2. trey

    If you are looking for another great flea market comparable to the Pickens Flea market, then try the J & J Flea Market in Athens, GA. It’s about an hour from Anderson, SC and worth the drive. The market is about 200 acres and over 2,000 tables full of little treasures. The best way to get there is I-85 south to the Commerce exit @ 149, go left across the bridge on Hwy 441 towards Athens, about 10 miles from exit on left. http://www.jandjfleamarket.com

    1. Tom (Post author)

      Thanks, Trey. My brother lives down towards Athens. I’ll have to ride down that way and check it out.


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