About six months ago, a “blurb” in the Herald-Sun piqued interest among South Durham residents. There were indications that a group of growers and farmers were organizing to form a new farmers’ market in Durham, hoping to open in the Spring of 2012. The specific location had not been determined, but the general vicinity would be in South Durham.
Demographic studies seemed to show support for a new farmers’ market in the area (there are approximately 30,000 households within one mile of the new farmers’ market). Farmers encountered limited capacity to expand or gain entry to existing area markets. Opening a new farmers’ market presented a solution to reconciling supply with demand for local foods.
Initially, the market’s location was planned for Sutton Station, on Fayetteville Road. Just weeks before the anticipated opening date of April 14th, market planners learned of a zoning issue that would prevent a farmers’ market from operating in that location (at least until the zoning restrictions are revised). Determined market board members were not deterred by the set back and quickly found a new location for their inaugural market season in the Greenwood Commons shopping center. If you’ve ever been to Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse, you’ve been to Greenwood Commons.
This Saturday, April 28th, the South Durham Farmers’ Market will open at 8:00 am. The location at Greenwood Commons provides ease of access and plenty of free parking. Though, like many area farmers’ markets, dogs will not be allowed in the market, you might want to schedule an appointment at Ooh La La Pet Spa or Lap it Up so you can enjoy the market while the pooch enjoys some spa time. ;)
The market will host 30 vendors, located within a fifty-mile radius. The vendors listed on the market’s website reflect a nice blend of produce growers, livestock farmers (some Animal Welfare Approved), prepared foods as well as crafts, eggs, honey and cut flowers and plants. Something for everyone. The South Durham Farmers’ Market plans to be a year-round market with hours from 8:00 am to Noon each Saturday (hours may shorten during Winter).
I understand many Woodcroft residents near the originally hoped-for Sutton Station location were disappointed that the market had to find a new “home” (at least for its first year). Who could fault the residents for wanting such convenient access to fresh produce? However, the location in Greenwood Commons allows the market to open within the same month as planned initially, bringing another venue for locally sourced foods to the growing appetites of the Triangle sooner, rather than later.
Personally, I’m delighted that this new market will be less than three and one half miles from my home (and that Ninth Street Bakery breads are that much easier to access). I’m anticipating many Saturday visits to purchase local foods from the market vendors. And I’m thankful for the continuing expansion of access to local foods for all who call the Triangle home.