{Eat Local} Ready. Set. Market.

This is it farmers’ market fans! Spring has sprung and many of our area markets start the 2013 season with earlier hours this week. Are you ready!? Are your reusable totes clean and yearning to be filled with fresh, locally grown produce? And don’t forget the cash – smaller bills are especially helpful when making purchases.

With the new season I’ll be returning to a weekly blog update each Friday, highlighting special events at many of the area farmers’ markets. But you can always find hours of operation and market info on the Triangle Localista Farmers’ Market Map and Calendar whenever you like.

So, in addition to all the great food you’ll find, here’s more about what’s happening at a few of the markets this week:

  • Apex Farmers’ Market returns to downtown Apex (220 N Salem St.) on Saturday, April 6th (9 am to 2 pm) and celebrates opening day with a cooking demo and a band performance from Apex High School (Go Cougars!).
  • Carrboro Farmers’ Market starts earlier Saturday hours at 7 am and for those that “Rise and Shine” farm fresh scrambled egg samples and baked goods await in the Market gazebo beginning at 7:30. Wednesday afternoon market returns on April 10th (3:30 to 6:30 pm), featuring Matt and Sheila Neal of Neal’s Deli. Stick around for a special post-market food truck rodeo fundraiser for Farmer Foodshare, beginning at 6:45 pm.
  • Clayton Farm & Community Market will reopen April 6th, 9 am to 1 pm, in a new location, at Horne Square near the corner of East Main and Lombard Streets. Fun events are planned, like a bounce house for the kids. On the same date in another part of Clayton, Deep River Brewing celebrates their grand opening (though the event is sold out, you now have a perfect reason to plan a return trip to Clayton one day soon).
  • Cary Downtown Farmers’ Market  kicks off their 22nd (Wowsa!) season at 8 am this Saturday. Make sure you bring the kids and stop by the market’s info booth to pick up a fresh food scavenger hunt map. Kids and adults will enjoy the planned entertainment from a jolly band of singing pirates known as the Motley Tones. Also, look for a cooking demonstration by Alyssa Campo, utilizing fresh, local vegetables from market vendors. 
  • Durham Farmers’ Market returns to early Saturday morning hours (8 am to noon) this weekend when Chef Amy Tornquist and Kyle Wilkerson from Watts Grocery continue the annual season opening appearance at the market (just wouldn’t be the same without ‘em!). While at Durham Farmers’ Market, make sure you seek out the Durham Central Market booth to learn the latest about the new coops location plans & for details about the 4th Annual Family Farm Day on Sunday April 7th at Elodie Farms in nearby Rougemont.
  • Eno River Farmers’ Market in downtown Hillsborough begins its Spring season (hours of 8 am to noon) this Saturday too, welcoming a slew of new vendors, including Cup a Joe, Local Cookie, Pine Laurel and Waterdog Farms. The first hour of market is designated as a social hour, a time to meet, greet and converse with market vendors and fellow shoppers. Then music performances and kid-friendly activities are planned at 9 am. Be sure to check the market’s website for weekly updates on performers and events.
  • Fearrington Farmers’ Market in Pittsboro’s Fearrington Village will begin Tuesday afternoon market hours on April 9th (4 – 6 pm). A mid week market can be a real life saver, especially when weekends are already packed with events and you just can’t make a Saturday morning market trip. Plus, the kids might enjoy checking out the latest baby Beltie calf born over Easter weekend.
  • South Durham Farmers’ Market returns for its second Spring season, transitioning to an 8 am opening this Saturday. Bountiful Backyards will be at the market this week, offering helpful information about fruit trees for our region. If you’re up for a magnificent meal, check out the menu for the Spring Harvest Dinner, a collaboration with Pop’s Back Door, and purchase your tickets for the April 14th dinner.
  • Western Wake Farmers’ Market resumes earlier hours (8 am to noon) this weekend and welcomes many new (and extraordinary) vendors to market. You may recognize a few of these locals: Angelina’s Kitchen (a farm to fork restaurant in Pittsboro), Fullsteam Brewery (of Durham – represent!), Goat Lady Dairy (out of Randolph County) and Chapel Hill’s Vintage Bee (I adore their creamed honey flavors spread on my morning toast – perfect way to start the day).

Want more local food and farm fun?  Then you simply must partake in the Piedmont Farm Tour, April 27th & 28th!  Tickets are $25 in advance, available online now or pick up your button & brochure at your nearest Weaver Street Market location.  Tour all the farms you care to over the weekend, with a car load of your family and friends.

For a more urban farm experience, mark your calendars for the Tour D’Coop 2013 on May 18th (rain or shine). This annual event allows the chicken-curious among us to tour backyard chicken coops in the Raleigh area, with donations benefiting Urban Ministries of Wake County.

That’s the farmers’ market news for this week folks. Be sure to check back next week, as more markets open for the season. As always, thank you for keeping it local!

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