Month: July 2019

Find your favorite summer foods at the market on Saturday, July 20!

We hope you enjoyed celebrating Tomato Day with us last weekend. We want to give a huge THANK YOU to Chef Kyle Wilkerson for hosting this event for our market community for the third year in a row. We couldn’t do it without him! Below are the winners of the event:

  • First Place: Mario’s Famous Sungold Tomato from Meadow Lane Farm
  • Second Place: Brad’s Atomic Grape Tomato from Four Leaf Farm
  • Third Place: Cherokee Purple Tomato from Brinkley Farms

You’ll find tomatoes and all of your other favorite summer produce at the market tomorrow. Swing by early to beat the heat and stock up on everything you need for a cookout with family and friends. Also, the Master Gardeners will be at the market to answer all of your questions so your garden can continue to thrive.

Finally, don’t forget you can re-stock on local groceries at the Wednesday Market every week from 3-6 pm. See you tomorrow!


Upcoming Events

Wednesdays (through August 14)

  • Calling all kiddos! Join us every Wednesday afternoon for the Sprouts Kid’s Club. After you complete a free activity, you’ll earn $3 in Sprouts Club Bucks to spend on fresh fruits and veggies. We can’t wait to see you at the market!

Saturday, August 10


Want to learn more?

Read the rest of the July 19, 2019 newsletter or sign up to receive the next newsletter in your inbox.

Join us every Wednesday from 3-6 pm & Saturday from 8 am-Noon!

Summer means cookouts and beautiful evenings spent outdoors with family and friends. When we think of grilling, meat is often the king and there is no better place to find a variety of meat than at the farmers’ market. Every week you can find beef, chicken, lamb, ribs, bratwursts and more at our Saturday and Wednesday markets.

Realizing how lucky we are to be surrounded by experts at the Durham Farmers’ Market, we checked in with Bryan Horton, field manager at Fickle Creek Farm, for his grilling suggestions. Of course, he started by chatting about beef and how to make the perfect hamburger. Simple is the best, so pick up ground beef at the market and form your own patties to grill. If you plan to add vegetables into the beef patty, such as onions, peppers or garlic, add a little extra water so that the burger stays together on the grill.

If you are looking for another option, pick up sausage or bratwurst and toss it over the warmest part of the grill. Surround it with summer squash, zucchini and onions on the indirect heat. Finally, there are plenty of steak options at the market. Horton recommends adding a strong flavor to steaks, such as green garlic. Make a cold cucumber salad to complement the meal and serve it with a mild cheese from one of the market’s dairy vendors.

Just like we patiently wait for our favorite foods to be in season, you also need to practice patience when grilling. Flipping your meat too often can cause it to dry out, so sit back and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors while you wait for each side to cook.

While meat may be the king of the grill, vegetables make a strong queen. Try grilling seasonal ingredients like cabbage, leeks, radicchio, fennel and eggplant, and be sure to keep experimenting! Working in batches, grill each type of veggie until they are lightly charred and tender. Bell peppers and fennel take 8-10 minutes, while squash, zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms take about 7 minutes. Asparagus and green onions cook quickly at just 4 minutes so be sure to keep an eye on them. Talk to the market’s vendors for ideas for unique veggie combinations. Serve the veggies with mozzarella or a tangy cheese from the market. And don’t forget that you can grill greens and lettuce, such as romaine or radicchio. Cut the heads into wedges and grill for 3-5 minutes per side. Voila! You have a new spin on an old salad favorite!

Finally, what would a meal be without dessert? Right now, peaches make the perfect treat! The experts at Kalawi Farm said to cut your peaches in half, coat them with a neutral tasting oil and place them on the direct heat of the grill, cooking for 3-4 minutes per side.

Don’t be afraid to try something new on the grill! Be sure to share your suggestions with the farmers’ market vendors so you can continue the conversation about creative ways to cook and eat delicious meat and produce this season.

Celebrate the summer season with Tomato Day on Saturday, July 13!

It’s time for one of our favorite events of the year: Tomato Day! Oh yeah! Join your favorite vendors and sample dozens of varieties of heirloom tomatoes on the market lawn starting at 9:00 am. We want to give a huge THANK YOU to Chef Kyle Wilkerson for hosting this event for our market community for the third year in a row!

Need a little cooking inspiration? Check out these recipes and chat with folks tomorrow about ways to prepare tomato dishes:

Finally, don’t forget you can re-stock on local groceries at the Wednesday Market every week from 3-6 pm. See you tomorrow!


In honor of Tomato Day, check out this story from Ken Dawson, a founding market member and owner of Maple Spring Gardens:

How I Came to Love Peanut Butter & Tomato Sandwiches
By Ken Dawson

My Granny always peeled her tomatoes. She would have no more considered putting a plate of sliced but unpeeled tomatoes on the table than she would have taken her wringer washer cleaned sheets off the clothesline and put them away without ironing them. There was a special cut glass dish for sliced tomatoes and a summertime lunch or supper without them was unimaginable. They were a natural fit with string beans and new potatoes, sweet corn (referred to a roastin’ ears) and butterbeans, crowder peas and hot biscuits. July thru September, there were always sliced tomatoes on the table.

The summer I was eight years old, my sister Karen, who was a year younger, and I started going to spend a week at the farm with my grandparents. The summer I was 12, my grandfather asked me to come for a month and work for wages, helping with the tobacco harvest. That was the summer I learned to drive the tractor. The year was 1963 and $5 a week was big money to me then. The next summer Granddaddy did not have a crop, as he was recovering from a mild heart attack. The tenant farmers left and I did not work at the farm. The following Christmas, Granddaddy asked me if I would like to come for the summer and work a small (2 acre) tobacco crop with him. I did not think twice; my parents immediately agreed and the plan was made. That arrangement lasted for 2 summers, the summers I was 14 and 15, during which time I grew up a lot, took over a lot of responsibility for the work of the farm when Granddaddy was sick or “down in his back.” I earned and saved all my spending money for the year and ate a whole lot of sliced tomatoes and corn and butterbeans.

Granny was famous for her biscuits. They were big and soft and white, made with Red Band flour and lard and I believe she could have made them in her sleep. A meal was not complete without them. I asked her once how many was the most she had ever made for one meal, back when my Dad was growing up and she was feeding a larger family of hard working folks. She reckoned it was about 75 biscuits. My Dad claimed to have eaten as many as 15 at a meal. Granny’s main job was keeping us fed. She harvested produce from the garden, shelled a lot of peas, fixed all the meals and filled the freezer for the winter. Some days, though, she helped around the barn during “tobacco saving” time. Then the meals were a little smaller and less elaborate. Then we sometimes made eating a tomato and peanut butter sandwich a part of filling up. This was something my Granddaddy liked, and invented, as far as I know. His version of it was made from a cold biscuit broken in half. Jif Peanut Butter was spread on one half, and “Sandwich Spread,” a mixture of mayonnaise and sweet pickle relish, was spread on the other half of the biscuit. A big slice of peeled tomato went in between. They were mighty good. I learned to love peanut butter and tomato sandwiches at my Granny’s dinner table in the late 50’s and early ’60s and have been eating them ever since. The basic formula is sill pretty much the same, but nowadays I prefer a good whole wheat bread, Duke’s Mayonnaise, and a good, all natural peanut butter. And I don’t peel my tomatoes.

I still eat tomato and peanut butter sandwiches. I still love ’em and they always remind me of an awfully good part of my growing up – summers working on my grandparents’ farm and great homegrown meals at my Granny’s dinner table. I have never known anyone else who ate tomato and peanut butter sandwiches, except one summer, we had a young woman, Jo, working here with us. Turns out she had grown up eating tomato and peanut butter sandwiches with her family. We never did figure out if we were related.


Upcoming Events

Wednesdays (through August 14)

  • Calling all kiddos! Join us every Wednesday afternoon for the Sprouts Kid’s Club. After you complete a free activity, you’ll earn $3 in Sprouts Club Bucks to spend on fresh fruits and veggies. We can’t wait to see you at the market!

Saturday, July 20

  • Chat with the Master Gardeners from 8 am-12 pm.

Saturday, August 10


Want to learn more?

Read the rest of the July 12, 2019 newsletter or sign up to receive the next newsletter in your inbox.

Celebrate Tomato Day on July 10 & 13!

If you have been to the farmers’ market in the past few weeks, you have likely been drawn to the colorful displays of heirloom tomatoes. Red, purple, yellow, green, orange, pink – it’s a rainbow! Why are there so many colors and what exactly is an heirloom tomato?

Heirloom is a term used to describe any tomato plant that is openly pollinated by wind or bees and that has been growing for more than 50 years. The seeds have been passed down for generations due to their rich flavors and unique colors, shapes and sizes. Heirlooms have tender skin and an almost-perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. They are also full of vitamins A and C, fiber and minerals that support bone and cardiovascular health.

To understand why heirlooms have a different flavor than hybrids, you have to look at the plant. The more foliage a plant has in relation to its fruit, the better the flavor. Sugar and acid are made in the leaves so a large number of leaves means an abundance of both acid and sugar. Heirlooms yield fewer tomatoes per plant than hybrids, meaning that there is a better ratio of leaves per fruit on each plant. This is one of the reasons you may notice a taste difference between heirloom and hybrid tomatoes.

Each heirloom tomato tells a story. From its bumpy exterior full of deep cracks to it’s luscious, marbled interior, these tomatoes are works of art. In general, the darker the color, the more tart, and the lighter the color, the more sweet. Not sure what tomato to pick? Ask your farmer! Explain what you plan to cook and they can provide you with a recommendation.

Heirloom tomatoes are regional so you may see different varieties depending where your summer travels take you around the state, country or globe. Varieties you will see at the Durham Farmers’ Market include Cherokee Purple, Indigo Apple, Beefsteak, Carneros Pink, Red Zebra, Striped Cavern, Sweet Solano, Pineapple and Green Zebra.

Join us to celebrate the bounty of the summer season and to sample dozens of varieties of heirlooms at our Tomato Day celebration on Wednesday, July 10 from 3-5 pm and Saturday, July 13 from 9-11 am. We hope to see you there and that you continue to experiment with different heirloom varieties with your cooking this summer.

Celebrate our 20th anniversary season with a birthday party on Saturday, July 13!

It’s our 20th anniversary and it’s time to party. We cannot wait to celebrate with you tomorrow! Join your favorite vendors and share your market memories with us. We’ll kick-off the festivities with a small ceremony honoring our vendors at 7:30 am and cake will be served at 8:00 am. Our vendors and customers make our market community so special and we couldn’t do it without you. We hope you’ll make plans to celebrate this milestone with us!

Also, save the date for Tomato Day, which will be celebrated next Wednesday, July 10 and Saturday, July 13. We’re grateful to have Chef Kyle Wilkerson back at the market hosting this event with us. You don’t want to miss one of the favorite events of the year!

Finally, don’t forget you can re-stock on local groceries at the Wednesday Market every week from 3-6 pm. See you tomorrow!


Upcoming Events

Wednesdays (through August 14)

  • Calling all kiddos! Join us every Wednesday afternoon for the Sprouts Kid’s Club. After you complete a free activity, you’ll earn $3 in Sprouts Club Bucks to spend on fresh fruits and veggies. We can’t wait to see you at the market!

Saturday, July 13

  • Mark your calendars for Tomato Day – it’s always one of the highlights of our year!

Want to learn more?

Read the rest of the July 5, 2019 newsletter or sign up to receive the next newsletter in your inbox.