Though the overcast sky threatened to dampen this past Saturday’s Tomato Festival at Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market, the colorful hues of myriad tomatoes created a cheery atmosphere for market shoppers.
The Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market (formerly known as the South Estes Farmers’ Market) has occupied a corner of the parking lot in Chapel Hill’s University Mall since 2008. The Farmers of Orange started the non-profit farmers’ market organization to bring fresh, local produce from farmers and artisans (most located within a 60-mile radius) to Chapel Hill. In our region, setting up a market in a shopping area isn’t that unusual and brings highly desired foot traffic.
Most of the market’s foot traffic last Saturday clustered around the tomato tasting table where a buffet of treats awaited shoppers.
I am partial to baked goods (but you may already know that ) and this market’s vendors include a couple of my local favorites. Big Bundts & More had a special tomato pie, in honor of the day’s festival.
Box Turtle Bakery, based in Carrboro (another favorite baker) utilizes local whole grains in their hearth baked goods, and their selection includes several vegan options (for those so inclined).
Tomatoes weren’t the only produce showing off their brilliant hues however. The peppers at the Brooks’ Farm table looked just as vibrant in shades of yellow, orange, green and red, and as varied in size.
With more than twenty vendors on any given Saturday, shoppers at the Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market can find most any item desired: seasonal produce (both veggies & fruit), baked goods, herbs, cheese, pork, chicken, canned jams & jellies, prepared foods, mushrooms, and eggs… and that’s just the short list.
My vote for “Most Colorful” at this market is this sign found at the Farmer Foodshare donation station. Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market is one of several Triangle area markets with donation collection tables for Farmer Foodshare, allowing shoppers to drop off an extra bit of food purchased to help those at risk for hunger in our community.
Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market is open year round, and during peak season holds a Tuesday afternoon market session. Its location is convenient for many Chapel Hill residents, and the draw of University Mall stores such as A Southern Season, Cameron’s & Kitchenworks makes it appealing to a localista like me. You’ll find more photos from other market vendors here.
Market Hours: Open year round, 8 am to Noon each Saturday, April – November and 9 am to Noon, December – March. Tuesday afternoon market hours are 3 – 6 pm, May – November.
Shoppers will find ample (free) parking in the University Mall parking lot.
This market is convenient to residents of Chapel Hill.
Visit the market website for more information about this market and its vendors.