I wasn’t sure what to expect when I pulled into the Hillsborough Farmers’ Market. Located at Hampton Point Boulevard in the outer parking lot of a Home Depot, I spotted the signature white tent stalls as I pulled into a space. While the market may be on pavement, I quickly forgot the box shop as I entered into a line of great sellers and producers.
I was hungry – always a good thing when entering a farmers’ market – and I found myself immediately drawn to Cane Creek Farms and their display of strawberries, broccoli, asparagus, and more. I’ve always found that a full selection of fruits and vegetables has an artistic beauty, and so it’s no surprise that I walked away with a few broccoli heads for my dinner.
Continuing to peruse the stalls, I said hello and listened to the music of a three person band playing in the center of the crowd. The market had more than just produce; Tobi’s Bakery featured an array of baked goods made both from scratch and also using products from other local farms in the area; wooden bird houses of all shapes and sizes were on display and for sale, as were soaps, beautiful clothing, furniture, bowls, and other crafts. The Hillsborough Farmers’ Market really does have a little of everything.
As I turned to head back to my car, a voice called out to me: “Do you want to try a free sample?”
The answer to that question is always, unconditionally, “Yes!”
Following the voice, I strode up to Villano’s Unfamous Marinade stall. A small piece of marinated chicken was sizzling on a grill on the corner of the table, and as I chatted with Peter Villano he cut me a slice and handed it over on a toothpick. I closed my eyes and took a bite. It was sweet, it was savory, it was made right here in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and most importantly, it was yum. At $6 a bottle, I was sold.
Though the Hillsborough Farmers’ Market may be small from the outside looking in, the vendors are friendly, the food is delicious, and the crafts are varied and whimsical. It’s no surprise that the market was voted Best Farmers’ Market in the “News of Orange County” 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards!