In my quest to visit a bunch of our local farmer’s markets, I took a trip to the BIG Raleigh Farmer’s Market (AKA the State Farmer’s Market).
Talk about huge, this is THE market to go to if you need ANYTHING. They have it all! In addition to the typical fruits and veggies, they have dedicated buildings for dry goods, refrigerated items, crafts, pottery and garden/home furnishings, a coffee shop and even a restaurant!
My good friend Melody (also the design genius who helped create the logo and color scheme for this website) and I took a trip to this market with the kids back in July. Here are a few pictures from our outing to give you an idea of what the market has to offer!
General thoughts and impressions of this market:
HUGE selection. You can truly replace you weekly grocery shopping with going to this market. They’ve got it all – meats, dairy, dry goods, produce, soaps, etc.
I noticed this market seems to have less of a focus on organic products. I didn’t see any signage advertising organic.
BUSY. Take my advice and go on a weekday during peak season (summer). Saturdays are extremely busy. I assume it’s a little better on weekends in the fall/winter.
Since it’s open every day, it’s convenient to drop by and get what I need anytime I need it. It’s true more vendors come to the market on Saturdays, there’s still a great selection any day of the week you go!
Can be overwhelming, since there’s a huge selection. Come with a list of what you need (but be prepared for a few impulse purchases, too!)
I love this market! While it’s a bit of a drive from my house, it’s definitely worth it to get specialty items, like handmade soaps and dry goods!
This year, since I’m not growing as much food as I normally would in our garden, I’ve been trying out different farmer’s markets in the area. Can I just say, I love farmer’s markets?! Let me count the ways!
Supporting local growers and producers keeps resources here and promotes the local economy.
By supporting local, I can also avoid shipping costs and reduce my carbon footprint.
Avoiding excess packaging is better for the earth. I can bring my own bag to the market and buy loose veggies and fruits instead of items wrapped in plastic wrap. Less trash is a win in my book!
I can choose to support organic and sustainable farmers who are committed to preserving the land and local ecosystems. Plus I don’t have to worry about anything sprayed on my food.
I can meet the people who grow my food and hear their stories, get great ideas for recipes, get gardening tips, and learn about other community resources (places that do U-pick, local artisans, etc).
I get to try varieties I can’t find in the grocery store.
This week, I checked out a small farmer’s market that was new to me – the South Durham (or SoDu) Farmer’s Market. I must be living under a rock, because I just found out about this market and it’s just up the road from us!
This market is a hidden gem! I love that it’s a small market, parking is easy peasey, and it still has everything I could possible need – baked goods, seafood, handmade soaps, ciders, cheeses, meats, and produce. They even have a homemade pasta vendor! It’s held in a parking lot that also contains a DMV license plate office, which I ironically had to visit just a few weeks ago. Let’s just say, I’d much rather be shopping than waiting in line at the DMV.
Is it just me or do you ever feel intimidated by farmer’s markets? I frequently get flustered and overwhelmed by all the variety and abundance around me and often just end up purchasing whatever catches my eye. Usually, that means I come home with whatever vegetables or fruits are front and center in the displays.
What I really enjoyed about this farmer’s market was that many of the vendors had chalkboards out front with a list of their offerings. That gave me a better idea of what was for sale and lessened the pressure/feeling guilted into buying something just because I approached a booth. This week, I challenged myself to get something other than fruits and vegetables, so here’s what I got. I was super pleased!
Lions Mane Mushroom (picture from https://ramblecreekfarm.com/store/product/lions-mane-mushroom-fresh)
I know what you’re thinking… that mushroom looks alien. That’s what I thought, too! At the suggestion of their super friendly employee, Fran, I tried these because she said they taste like crab meat. Jonah is a huge crab cake fan but hates mushrooms, so I did the ol’ switcheroo to see if he could tell the difference. Guess what? He couldn’t! I used this recipe from Aubrey’s Kitchen and they turned out great! Also, I had a lovely conversation with Fran about her time living in Washington state and found out that we have a mutual love of Mt. Ranier National Park.
I love the mission of this local goat dairy. They really treat their animals well. They have a punchcard program for $10 of free cheese once you get 10 punches (one punch for every $10 spent). For this dairy lover, that’s a pretty great deal. Plus, I give them extra points for creativity in naming their cheeses!
Ummm, I didn’t get pictures of these because Jonah, the kids, and I demolished them! We really enjoy this great, local bakery. This time, we got two cinnamon rolls, a morning bun, and a bear claw. YUM! Here’s a drool-worthy picture of them from their website.
Cinnamon Rolls from Ninth Street Bakery
I really enjoyed my visit to the SoDu Farmer’s Market and plan to go back soon to get some seafood, eggs, and meat! Do you have a recommendation of other farmer’s markets I should try? Drop it below in the comments so I can visit and report back.
SoDu Farmer’s Market is located at Greenwood Commons Shopping Center: 5410 NC-55, Durham, NC 27713. Open 8am-12pm every Saturday, year round.