Farmer's Market Week

Author: 
Brandon Goins

Once a week you probably find yourself shuffling a cart down the aisles of a grocery store searching for healthy produce to feed your family to keep them away from the processed junk we love to consume. If you’re like me you likely gravitate towards the same potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, and sprouts you picked up last week. The ritual is getting monotonous and your kids are so over peas.

Farmers Market Week is an opportunity to learn more about the food you're buying, as well as an opportunity for us to take an Instagram-worthy field trip. Quality topical short-form video content aside, farmer’s market shopping becomes a dialogue between the consumer and the grower, one which facilitates discovery of the health benefits of a diet of diverse produce. In season fruits and vegetables are higher in nutritional value and quality. Consuming closer to harvest also means that they haven’t been treated with preservatives. During the summer, you’ll find freshly ripened peaches being sold by the basket. My personal favorites are Peaches N’ Cream from Wadesboro and Johnson’s Peaches from Candor. Stopping to talk with vendors gives you a sense of the passion that each grower has for their goods. This dialogue is an immediately noticeable benefit but supporting smaller in-state farmers also means that you are helping to conserve resources spent on transporting goods from out of state industrial farms. Spending your dollar within your community is better for your body, your environment, and your state’s economy.

Market on Market is the most accessible farmer’s market for people who work in downtown Raleigh during the week. Located in Exchange and Market Plaza on Fayetteville Street, this market is organized by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. Local farmers, bakers, florists, and more vendors gather to sell their goods. For some such vendors, Market on Market is their only opportunity to retail sell their products face to face with consumers. Even if you aren’t interested in shopping, the market is a great place to take a break from the office.

With live music, samples, and a cup of Oak City Coffee Roasters cold brew, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance accomplishes its goal to facilitate a community gathering. The Downtown Raleigh Alliance aims to attract more people to the downtown area, sustain local regional jobs, promote community gathering, and preserve the North Carolina landscape with sustainable agriculture. Market on Market occurs every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through September 26. 

From urban markets to state park locations there are many types of Farmers Market experiences across the state. Reset after your week of nine to five drudgery and go for a hike at Hanging Rock State Park. While you’re there you can check out products grown in the county at the Stokes Future Farmers Market. If you don’t live in the triangle area or you prefer a rural atmosphere, Stokes’ market is a great weekend getaway and boasts its own live music and sense of community. Stokes Future Farmers Market at Hanging Rock State Park is open every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stokes’ Market season ends November 10.

When the days start getting shorter and there’s a chill in the air, many markets pack it up until spring. Fear not, the State Farmers Market in Raleigh is open year around. From local farmers to wholesalers and truckers carrying produce and furniture made around the world, the State Farmers Market is an excellent stop. Take advantage of a beautiful day this summer or stop by when the other markets have closed for the season.  

Now instead of your weekly grocery routine, imagine taking a weekly lunch break to walk downtown to buy your produce from local farmers. Your purchases benefit the local economy and are invested in small businesses and local sustainable farming. Your dollars exchange hands with workers who produce the product. While shopping you can meet growers and learn about how they grow their product and be certain that the food you are feeding your family is organic and non-genetically modified. Local growers can also introduce a new diverse diet of seasonal fruits and vegetables you may have never tried before. Farmers market produce can be an affordable and healthy alternative to grocery store shopping. 

 

To learn more about NC Agriculture visit Got to Be NC and the NC Department of Agriculture.

Check out the NC Culture Instagram account to see the video of our field trip to the State Farmers Market!

To find the closest markets to you, visit the National Market Directory.

For more information on the benefits of Farmer’s Markets and supporting local:

Nutrition.gov

Raleigh Eat Local