How short is your walk from farm to table? With the abundance of farmers markets in and around Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, there's no reason it can't be just a few steps. And with many locations featuring live music, tasting contests and cooking demonstrations, it's more than healthy and green, it's fun too.
Need more incentives? How about the opportunity to teach your children about sustainable agriculture or rub shoulders with a local chef? Check out the list below for the market closest to you. Note:Hours listed are for May-September.
Carrboro Town Commons
Wednesdays 3:30-6:30 p.m. and Saturdays 7 a.m.-noon
Market Square in Southern Village
Thursdays 3:30-6:30 p.m.
The Carrboro Farmers' Market has community roots that are strong and long. The vendors produce everything that is sold at market and it all comes from within a 50-mile radius of Carrboro. Here, the sellers must represent their own products, so if you ask a question your answer will come directly from the grower. Opened in 1979, it is one of the region's largest and best.
The Pavilion at Durham Central Park
Wednesdays 3:30-6:30 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon
All the vendors at the Durham Market drive less than two hours to bring their bounty to you. This growers-only group features more than 50 vendors and celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2009.
Growers-only means that the person who is selling the lettuce is the person who planted the seed. The person selling the chevre is the person who owns the goats. Go early and you just might run into a chef from your favorite restaurant. The kitchens at Four Square, Lantern, Pops, Rue Cler and Watts Grocery are big supporters.
Wednesdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Located on Fayetteville Street, the sellers include NC farmers, ranchers, fishermen, nurserymen, bakers, cheese makers and specialty foods producers. This market is basically the Moore Square Farmers Market renamed and reinvented. Hang with the Capitol crowd and young professionals as they grab their midweek produce fix.
Farmers Market Drive
Monday-Saturday 5 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sundays 8 .a.m.-6 p.m.
This market is one of five owned by the State of North Carolina, and is located near the NC State campus. Vendors from farms large and small are housed in 30,000 sq.ft. of dedicated space. Plants are available starting in March and local fruits and vegetables are sold seasonally. The location also contains specialty shops for local meat, cheeses, bakery items and North Carolina wines as well as three on-site restaurants. If you've never been, this experience is worth trying even if you don't live nearby.
More Raleigh and Wake County Markets
Cary Downtown Farmers' Market. Chatham Square. Tuesdays 3-6 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon.
Raleigh Midtown Farmers Market. The Commons at North Hills. Tuesdays 3-7 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon.
North Raleigh Farmers' Market. Falls River Town Center. Wednesdays 4-7 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon.
Apex Farmers' Market. The Depot in downtown Apex. Saturdays 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
More Chapel Hill and Orange County Farmers Markets
Eno River Farmers' Market. Public Market House in downtown Hillsborough. Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon.
Hillsborough Farmers' Market. Home Depot parking lot at the intersection of NC Hwy 86 and I-40. Wednesdays 4-7 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon.
South Estes Farmers' Market. In front of A Southern Season at University Mall in Chapel Hill. Tuesdays 3-6 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon.
More Pittsboro and Chatham County Farmers Markets
Carolina Brewery Farmers' Market. Near the Lowes Home Improvement Store in Pittsboro on 15-501 as you head south from Chapel Hill. Hours: Saturday 8 a.m.-noon.
Fearrington Farmers' Market. In Fearrington Village off of 15-501 as you head south from Chapel Hill. 4-6 p.m.