Welcome to TLC’s summer blog series, “Local Food and Farmers’ Markets!” Each week we will take a closer look at local farms, farmers’ markets, and innovative food systems around the Triangle.
This week features the Durham Farmers’ Market. Located at 501 Foster Street, the Durham Farmers’ Market was founded in 1998 and has grown to include over 70 weekly vendors. As a downtown Durham local, I can say I’ve checked out almost every single one.
The Durham Farmers’ Market is a fun mix of interconnected elements. As a hungry morning visitor, I always begin with a swing by the food trucks. Located downed a paved road connected to Foster Street, the food trucks feature breakfast items, local favorites, and even international choices. While the trucks line one side of the street, artists and other vendors, like an old-fashioned ice-cream cart, line the other.
With my food selection in hand, I walk across the wooden bridge to the other artists featured in the farmers’ market. The bridge itself passes through a lovely forested area with a small stream, which is great for kids to play in while their parents shop.
The artisans offer an amazing selection. Soaps and creams are for sale, as well as knitted goods, pottery, furniture, paintings, photographs, clothes, and even terrariums. It’s amazing how much inspirational creativity can be found in our local area, and each artist is friendly and full of information about their crafts. And I mean local – all vendors are within 70 miles of the market. The small grassy lawn near the artists’ tables almost always hosts a great local band or musician, and is a great place to relax on a sunny morning.
Exiting the artists’ area brings me back to Foster Street. The street itself holds more artists, as well as produce and, perhaps most importantly for the patrons, coffee. From Foster I head into the Pavilion at Durham Central Park. The Pavilion, a covered, open space, made its debut in 2007 and has been used for the weekly farmers’ market ever since. It is here that patrons will find most of their produce, as well as natural beauty products, flowers, meats, cheeses, and photo cards and posters. I have to say I am very partial to a flower or two decorating my kitchen table every week, and multiple sellers always have a great selection of beautiful but affordable choices.
The Durham Farmers’ Market has much to offer, and I feel privileged that it is only a few minutes away. Buying local is a critical part of living sustainably and supporting local communities, and with so many delicious food choices and amazing arts and crafts, it is both a fun and rewarding experience!
The Durham Farmers’ Market is open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Wednesdays 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. during summer hours. In the late fall and winter, the market is open Saturdays 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.