Eat Local · Farmers' Market · Uncategorized

The Inevitable Spring at Local Farmers Markets

I hope I’m not jinxing anything, but the week’s weather forecast includes no hint of winter weather, not even a temperature below freezing, and we’ve now sprung forward in time so it feels almost safe to start thinking of Spring produce and activities at our local farmers markets. As we anticipate those first spears of tender asparagus, lush heads of lettuce and the first sweet strawberry, seasonal markets prepare for their return while year-round markets will soon open earlier to greet consumers eager to taste the new season’s bounty. 

Each of the two year-round markets in Durham county will begin Spring hours in April. Durham Farmers Market plans to switch to their 8 am to Noon shift beginning April 4 and the Wednesday afternoon market (3:30 to 6:30 pm) returns April 15. The South Durham Farmers Market also will make the switch to Spring opening time of 8 am in early April. Make certain you’re signed up for each market’s newsletter to learn more about their plans for the new season, including new vendors and events.

Carrboro Farmers Market will begin the earliest of early hours at 7 am starting April 4 and they’ll welcome all the early risers with baked goods. The first mid-week market on Wednesday, April 8 (3 – 6 pm), will be followed by a special food truck rodeo (6 – 8:30 pm) including beer and live music. Chapel Hill Farmers Market begins their Spring hours March 28, opening at 8 am, as they celebrate eight years of serving the Chapel Hill community. In downtown Hillsborough, the Eno River Farmers Market will begin Spring hours (8 am to Noon) on April 4 and they’ll celebrate with a Spring Fest. Until then locals can join the market and others for the River Park Easter Egg Hunt March 28, 10 am to 1 pm. Looks for Hillsborough Farmers Market to start earlier hours soon too and for the season opener of Southern Village Farmers Market on Thursday, May 7.

The small town of Pittsboro boasts three farmers markets, open on differing days, making it rather simple to eat fresh, seasonal produce every day of the week when all markets are open. The first of the seasonal markets to open this season will be Pittsboro Farmers Market located at Main Street Station on Thursday, April 2 (3:30 to 6:30 pm). The following Saturday, April 4, vendors at the Chatham Mills Farmers Market will return to the grounds at Chatham Mills from 8 am to 1 pm. Then Tuesday, April 7 (4 to 6 pm) Fearrington Farmers Market sets up shop for the new season in Fearrington Village. The market has set up a new Facebook page too, so go ahead and give them a “like” here.

Last year Raleigh saw the start of two new farmers markets. The Plantation Point Farmers Market can be found each Saturday (9 am to 2 pm) in the North Raleigh shopping center of the same name. Although the market hours remain constant year round, they are planning a special Spring event for April 4, including food trucks and Easter activities. Raleigh City Farm launched a mid-week, late afternoon market in the City Market area of downtown Raleigh last season, a pleasant surprise for many. No details yet for a return in 2015 but I’ll certainly be keeping watch, as I’m sure many of you will. In any case the seasonal markets, Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market on City Plaza and Midtown Farmers Market in North Hills will open their 2015 seasons on May 6 and April 19 respectively. Meanwhile, The Saturday Market continues year-round with its unique selection of farm goods, artisan foods and rotating food trucks each Saturday. Visit their Facebook page to learn what you can find there each week.

One will find plenty of farmers markets in other parts of Wake County too. Wendell Farmers Market is making plans for a return in May. Wake Forest Farmers Market will start earlier hours beginning in April. Apex Farmers Market has set their opening date for April 18 and will be welcoming new vendors offering certified organic produce, pasture raised meats and a variety of baked goods and prepared foods. Holly Springs Farmers Market will return for its ninth season May 2, as Growers Market of Fuquay-Varina kicks off the 2015 season with a Pig Pickin’ for their May 9 opening day.

Cary Downtown Farmers Market will open Saturday, April 4 officially, but prior to the season start the market is throwing a little kick off party at Fortnight Brewery March 14 interested shoppers may want to attend. The Waverly Farmers Market continues for a fourth season at Waverly Place shopping center on April 25 and can be found near the new Triangle Wine Company location (it’s just so convenient to have a wine shop near a farmers market, isn’t it?). Western Wake Farmers Market plans a big change this season as they open a second market location. The Carpenter Village location they’ve occupied for years will start Spring hours April 4 (8 am to Noon) while the new location at UNC Wellness Center, 350 Stonecroft Lane, will open Saturday, May 2 at a slightly earlier 7:30 am. Also, the market has launched a new website where you can learn more about vendors and events at each market location.

Of course Spring heralds the return of the CFSA Piedmont Farm Tour for a remarkable 20th year. Did you know it’s the oldest and largest farm tour of its kind in the whole US? It’s a fabulous opportunity to see the farms you buy from up close. There are forty farms participating this season during the two-day event (April 25 & 26, 2 to 6 pm each day) and for just $30 a car load, you, your friends and family can explore to your heart’s content. Make certain you got those dates circled on your calendar for this Spring. 

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