Category: Seasonality

Make it an all-local Thanksgiving this year!

Join us on Saturday, November 17 from 8 am-12 pm and Tuesday, November 20 from 3-5 pm to pick up everything you need for Thanksgiving!

Our farmers will have sweet potatoes, salad greens, broccoli, turnips, radishes, winter squashes, beets and much more. Several vendors are taking pre-orders for locally raised turkeys and ducks, and there is also a wide selection of chicken, pork, beef and lamb. Do not forget homemade artisan breads, pies, cakes, goat and cow cheeses and homemade granola, jams, jellies, pickles and hot sauces. Shopping at the Durham Farmers’ Market guarantees that you will have the freshest, locally and sustainably grown foods available in the Triangle area!

Also, the Durham Farmers’ Market is proud to accept SNAP/EBT and offer Double Bucks, which matches SNAP/EBT transactions up to $10 and cash transactions for WIC customers, SNAP customers who are out of benefits for the month, and community members who live in Section 8 housing. The market wants to ensure that fresh, sustainably grown food is available to all community members and that everyone has the opportunity to eat local this holiday season.

We can’t wait to see you at the market with full bags of seasonal food for your Thanksgiving feasts!

Join us for our Silent Auction on Saturday, November 10

We’re excited to host our first Silent Auction and raffle on November 10! We have AMAZING items from the best local businesses that would make perfect holiday gifts (or just something special for you!).

For the raffle portion of our event, we have gift certificates from some of our favorite local restaurants, including Motorco, Pompieri Pizza, Bull City Burger & Brewery, Heirloom Restaurant (Roxboro) and more. The chefs at those restaurants shop at the market and use as many local products on their menus as possible. Our raffle will also include gifts from our very own farmers’ market vendors! There will be beautiful crafts and gift certificates for cheese, chips and salsa, and even a jar of strawberry jam that won first place at the 2018 State Fair! Raffle tickets will be $1 each or 7 tickets for $5.

The Silent Auction portion of our fundraiser will be held on Saturday, November 10 and begins at 8:00 am on the lawn. There are some incredible items to bid on that will make thoughtful holiday gifts for your loved ones! Below is a list of the items available and the closing times for bidding.

Table Closing at 9:00 am

Table Closing at 10:00 am

Table Closing at 11:00 am

You’ll also be able to pickup your favorite DFM merch at the event, in addition to gift certificates to the market. And don’t forget to ask us about our Friend of the Market Program. We’d love to chat with you about it!

Why are we having a silent auction? You may not know that the market operates primarily off of the weekly stall fees from our farmers and artisans. Despite this modest budget, we are constantly working to make fresh and healthy food accessible to our entire Durham community. We want to continue expanding the offerings of our market and need your help to make this happen. All of the money raised from this event will go toward market programs you love, such as the Sprouts Kid’s Club, the Double Bucks Program, cooking demos, and much, much more!

We hope you’ll join us on November 10 and complete your holiday shopping at the market! Until then, check out photos of a few of the auction items below.



Settle into the Fall season at the farmers’ market

It is hard to believe, but the Fall Equinox on September 22 is the official mark of the beginning of Autumn. The nights will start to get longer, leaving daylight shorter as cool weather begins to settle in. Birds and butterflies will begin migrating to warmer areas and we will begin setting sweaters and scarves out.

The Fall Equinox marks the start of a new season and the opportunity to make changes in our lives, to declutter and feel lighter. It is the opportunity to “change with the season,” commit to better eating habits and a more active life. For many, summer is a time of traveling and movement, taking care of kids, and making quick meals with as little heat as possible. Autumn is the time to slow down and root into life.

The change in seasons is starting to show at market, moving from watermelons to pumpkins and peaches to kale. Having a few quick meals for each season can save you from eating a bland and boring dinner. Make sure to plan ahead and make an extra serving to save for lunch the next day!

Twice Baked Honey Nut Squash
Serves 6


  • 3 honey nut squash (or small butternuts) sliced in half lengthwise, seeded, and hollowed out leaving 1/4 inch on the sides
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Drizzle squash with a little olive oil. Place squash on an oiled baking sheet cut side down and roast for about 20 minutes. (If using larger butternut squash this process may take longer).
  3. Place 1 cup uncooked quinoa and two cups veggie stock in a pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 12-15 minutes, or until quinoa is fully cooked.
  4. Saute garlic and onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. After about 7 minutes add kale. Continue to cook until kale is bright green and wilted (about 8 minutes).
  5. Mix your quinoa and kale mixture together (you may have extra quinoa, save it for a later use).
  6. Take squash out of the oven and scoop a healthy portion of quinoa mixture into each half. Top with a handful of gorgonzola cheese and place back in the oven for about 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve warm and enjoy!

Durham Farmers’ Market is closed on Saturday, September 15

Based on the information regarding Hurricane Florence, the market will be closed on Saturday, September 15.

The Durham Farmers’ Market’s policy is to remain open rain or shine unless we determine that it will be unsafe for vendors and customers. We are committed to our customers and to ensuring that we are open the days and hours that we have published. Our vendors have worked many long hours to provide you with the best products in the Triangle. However, we hope you’ll understand the decision to close the market on Saturday and be there to support our vendors next Wednesday when the market re-opens.

Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Branching out at the farmers’ market: Squash

With so many varieties of produce available at the farmers’ market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or to always go back to what you know. I challenge you to branch out, try something new, and ask questions to the folks who grow your food. They can help you discover your next favorite pepper, tomato, squash, and more.

In my quest to explore the unknown at the market, I was drawn to a large, beautiful squash that I hadn’t seen very often before. I struck up a conversation with a farmer and she introduced me to the Cushaw Squash, an heirloom variety. These impressive green and white streaked squash weigh in at around 10-15 pounds, have a delicious and mild flavor, and last in storage for months after harvest.

They are also one of the heritage foods certified by Slow Food USA as one of their Ark of Taste products. The Ark of Taste works to catalog and bring awareness to traditional foods of distinctive quality that are at risk of extinction. The rare Green-striped Cushaw is believed to have been domesticated in Mesoamerica sometime between 7000 and 3000 B.C., and more recently is a traditional and loved ingredient in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Appalachia.

Long ago they were cut into rings, put on broom handles and then dehydrated over a fire. These dehydrated rings were then preserved and used all through the winter in soups. Hearing about this rich history made me much more excited about the Cushaw Squash and inspired to try something similar in my own cooking.

Another favored method of preparing these beautiful squash that is traditional in Creole cuisine is to quarter it and cook it in the rind, after removing the seeds. Put it in oven and bake until it is soft enough to be pierced with a fork. Serve it in the rind, with butter on top. Another great method is to peel and cut into small pieces and steam until it is very soft. Do not add water as it contains quite enough. Mash and salt and pepper, and flavor with sugar, nutmeg or cinnamon. Stir in a lump of butter, and serve.

What will your new produce discovery be?

Save time packing lunches with these easy tips!

The backpacks are full, the lunchboxes are packed, and your schedule is filled with sports practices and after-school activities. It’s back-to-school time! That also means that it’s back-to-work time for many of us who are wrapping up the last vacations of the summer and are gearing up for the fall. We’re here to help you easily pack lunches and nourish your body this year.

While it’s easy to grab a granola bar, can of soup or 100-calorie bags of snacks, these foods will not provide your body with the vital vitamins and nutrients it needs to perform at its best. In an ideal world, we would have an endless amount of time to prepare our meals using seasonal ingredients from the farmers’ market. However, busy schedules and unanticipated events make this a challenge. That’s where freezing your meals comes in handy!

Some of the tastiest produce arrives at the farmers’ market in the summer so it’s a great time to make your favorite meals and freeze the leftovers for a quick lunch. Check out the suggestions below:

1.) Purchase bread at the farmers’ market or bake it at home to make sandwiches with all types of fillings, such as cheese, jam, nut butter, vegetables and more. It’s easy to slice and keep bread in the freezer so you can quickly make a last-minute meal.
2.) Who doesn’t love pizza for lunch? A kid favorite is to pack a pizza lunchable. Simply make your own pizza crust or cut whole-wheat pitas into triangles and place in the freezer. The night before, place the crust in the fridge. Pack with cheese, vegetables and homemade tomato sauce and your kid can build their pizza at lunch time! You can also make homemade pizza for dinner and freeze leftovers for future meals.
3.) Make soup in bulk, store in the freezer in individual containers and pack it for lunch during a busy day. You can serve with homemade bread or cook noodles the night before to add to the soup.

The trick for freezing lunches is to place everything in mason jars or plastic containers so it is the correct serving size for your meal. The night before school or work, take the meal out of the freezer and let it defrost in its container overnight. If it is soup or something that needs to be eaten warm, heat up the container the next morning and place the meal  in a thermos so it stays warm until lunch time. It’s that simple!

We know that it’s difficult to get back in the swing of things after a fun summer. Make your life easier and keep your body healthy by planning ahead so you always have nutritious meals available for you and your family. Don’t forget to pick up the best-tasting produce for these meals at the farmers’ market and maybe learn a few new recipes from our vendors along the way!

National Farmers’ Market Week Menu & Shopping List

Happy National Farmers’ Market Week! What better way to show your support for our local farmers and food producers than by cooking your meals with all seasonal ingredients? Below you will find a suggested menu and shopping list for our Saturday and Wednesday markets, along with recipe ideas. Keep track of how many meals you make and turn in your scorecard at the market on August 11 (Note: You can pick up a scorecard at the Info Table during the market). Also, please tag us in your meal photos (#durhamfarmersmarket #lovemymarket #farmersmarketweek). Enjoy!

Shopping List for Saturday, August 4
*Denotes that this ingredient is for later in the week but should be purchased at the Saturday market.

Bread & Grains

  • Chocolate croissant
  • Bread for grilled cheese sandwich
  • Crackers (Elodie Farms)
  • Cornmeal (Brinkley Farms)


  • Kefir (Celebrity Dairy)
  • Eggs
  • Bison
  • Lamb*
  • Shrimp
  • Italian Sausage*
  • Whole Chicken*


  • Chevre for tapas night and lamb sliders
  • Favorite cheese for grilled cheese
  • Pimento cheese (Boxcarr Handmade Cheese)


  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Dill*
  • Eggplant
  • Blueberries
  • Watermelon
  • Peaches
  • Blackberries
  • Corn
  • Potatoes
  • Cilantro*
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Cherry Tomatoes

Odds & Ends

  • Hot pepper flakes (Catbriar Farm)*
  • Tamales (Soul Cocina)
  • Chips, salsa and guacamole (Cilantro Artisan Foods)
  • Coffee Beans (Caballo Rojo)
  • Jam
  • Kimchi (Spicy Hermit)*
  • Favorite Fullsteam Beer
  • Favorite Honeygirl Mead


Breakfast – Frittata * Don’t forget to brew extra coffee to freeze for Monday’s breakfast!*

Lunch – Bulgar Wheat Salad with Tomato and Eggplant

Dinner – Tapas Night! Don’t forget beer from Fullsteam and mead from Honeygirl to share with all your friends!


Breakfast – Breakfast Yogurt Shake: Mix leftover coffee with kefir and place in ice cubes trays. Freeze overnight. In morning, place cubes in blender, adding water or milk as needed. Can add peanut butter, almond butter, banana, etc. Pair with chocolate croissant from Loaf.

Lunch – Grilled cheese and preserve sandwich with peach and tomato salad

Dinner –  Shrimp Boil with Corn and Potatoes


Breakfast – Fruit Smoothie: blueberries, blackberries, peaches, and kefir from Celebrity Dairy

Lunch – Tamales from Soul Cocina with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes

Dinner – Jack’s Grilled Bison London Broil

Shopping List for Wednesday, August 8
*Denotes that this ingredient was purchased at the Saturday market.

Bread & Grains

  • Cornmeal (Brinkley Farms)*
  • Pasta (Melina’s Fresh Pasta)
  • Pizza Dough (Melina’s Fresh Pasta)
  • Polenta Bread (Loaf)


  • Eggs
  • Ground Beef
  • Sausage (Fickle Creek Farm)
  • Whole Chicken*
  • Lamb*


  • Chive Cheese (Boxcarr Handmade Cheese)
  • Your favorite Boxcarr Cheese for pizza


  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Bell Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Dill*
  • Corn
  • Cilantro*

Odds & Ends

  • Kimchi (The Spicy Hermit)*


Breakfast – Eggs with chive cheese from Boxcarr and sliced tomatoes

Lunch – Your favorite Melina’s pasta with meatballs

Dinner – Whole Roasted Chicken with Rainbow Potato Salad


Breakfast – Toasted Polenta Bread with scrambled eggs

Lunch – Chicken Salad made with leftovers from roasted chicken

Dinner – Kimchi and Corn Salsa Tacos


Breakfast – Cornmeal pancakes (Arepas)with over easy egg

Lunch – Toasted bread with cheese, tomato, basil, and cucumber

Dinner – Lamb Sliders

Meal Alternatives

 Breakfast – Breakfast sandwich: toasted bread, eggs, sausage, and tomato slices

Lunch – Egg salad sandwich

Dinner – Grilled pizza with goat cheese, arugula, and grilled peaches

Cool off with homemade ice pops this summer!

Ice pops are the perfect remedy against the blazing summer heat. These cold treats have always been a favorite but it is easy to be disappointed with the added ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup, sugar and artificial coloring. What happened to just a simple fruit pop?

You’re in luck! Homemade pops are cold, colorful and easy to make at home using seasonal ingredients found at the farmers’ market. Making your own ice pops gives you the freedom to try new flavors while loading up on healthy ingredients, such as whole fruit and plain yogurt.

To start, you will need to gather a few supplies in your kitchen. You will need a blender or food processor to puree the ingredients. For the ice pop mold, you can use items around your house, such as small yogurt containers, ice cube trays or paper cups. You can also spend less than $10 and purchase plastic molds that can be reused.

The most difficult step of making an ice pop is choosing what ingredients to include. We challenge you to stay seasonal and pick up fresh fruit from the Durham Farmers’ Market, such as watermelon, peaches, raspberries and blueberries. Vegetables also make tasty additions to ice pops so do not be afraid to experiment.

Once you picked your ingredients, slice the fruit or vegetable and remove any seeds. Use your blender to achieve the ideal texture for your ice pop. If you prefer smooth textures, blend the ingredients until they are fully pureed. If you like chunks of fruit, blend for just a few seconds. Experiment and find what works best for you.

If you want to add a sweetener to your ice pop, use a liquid sweetener, such as honey, maple syrup or agave. However, be sure to taste test the mixture before adding a sweetener because the fruit is often sweet enough so no added sugar is necessary.

Once you have your desired texture and sweetness, you are ready to fill your ice pop molds. Remember that liquids expand when frozen so fill your mold only three-quarters of the way to avoid a mess. If you are using homemade molds, let the ice pop freeze for at least 45 minutes before inserting a wooden popsicle stick.

There are countless ways to make an ice pop. Use leftover fruit or purchase seasonal fruit at the farmers’ market. You can taste your combination before you place it in the ice pop mold and decide if you need to add any last-minute ingredients. Have fun and be creative!

Below are a few ice pop recipes to help you cool off this summer:

Peach & Ginger Ice Pops
(Makes 6-8 ice pops)

  1. Purchase 4 peaches and a small piece of ginger root (about 2 oz.). Cut the peaches into bite-sized pieces, with or without skin. Peel the ginger and cut into small pieces. Place the peaches and ginger in the blender and mix to desired consistency. If you prefer a more creamy texture, add 1/2 cup of yogurt or milk.
  2. Pour the mixture into the ice pop mold.
  3. Let freeze for 3-4 hours. When ready to serve, run the ice pop mold under warm water for 3-5 seconds to loosen before removing. Enjoy!

Watermelon Ice Pops
(Makes 10 ice pops)

  1. Purchase a small watermelon and cut into small pieces, removing all seeds. Place in the blender and mix until pureed.
  2. Pour the mixture into the ice pop mold.
  3. Let freeze for 3-4 hours. When ready to serve, run the ice pop mold under warm water for 3-5 seconds to loosen before removing. Enjoy!

Missives from a Market Farmer: Legumes—More on Beans

Article Contributed by Judith Lessler, Durham Farmers’ Market Vendor

The botanical family of all beans is the Fabaceae or Leguminosae and includes peas, beans, and lentils. It is a large family with over 700 genera and includes trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. There are Old World and New World beans. The New World is the western hemisphere made up of North and South America. The Old World is in the Eastern Hemisphere (Europe, Africa, and Asia.) Old world beans are in the genus Vigna and new world beans in Phaseolus. Vigna includes favas and lentils. They were eaten by the ancients, found in Egyptian tombs, and dug up from the remnants of ancient fires in Tibet. The world’s most popular bean recipe mentioned in the first missive on legumes is made from fava beans.
The common bean is Phaseolus vulgaris. It is currently the most popular eating bean for both fresh and dried beans. It includes kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, and navy beans, as well as, familiar fresh bean varieties such as great northern, flageolet, haricots vert, cannellini, borlotti, Jacob’s Cattle, Kentucky wonder, Blue Lake and so on. When we eat fresh beans we are eating the hulls and immature seeds; dried beans are the mature seeds. Seed Savers Exchange lists some 4000 cultivars of beans.
Like many people in the news today, Phaseolus came from Mesoamerica—an area which encompasses the current countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Columbus brought new world beans to Europe when he returned from his second voyage. These Mesoamerican migrants were welcomed, and Phaseolus vulgaris quickly spread over the entire world. As noted on the website, Republic of Beans, sixteenth century Europeans were part of the Age of Discovery. They “fanned out over earth spreading exotic foods. Hardy New World legumes soon became a popular crop in Europe because” they were easy to grow and store and had excellent nutritional value. They were a primary food for sailors with one variety ended up being called the Navy bean, which you can buy canned in most grocery stores. 
Beans come in a variety of colors, some of which are almost jewel-like. If you can get a print copy of the April 23 2018, New Yorker, you can see a wonderful illustration of such these diverse colors. (You can also read this at; but the illustration is not as good as in the print version.)
         Because beans, in nature, are spread by the shell popping open and propelling seeds across the soil, it is unusual for there to be so many colors because these colors do not serve to attract mates, birds, or insects to spread the bean’s offspring. Rather, we humans are responsible for this diversity. We gather, carefully clean, dry, preserve, and replant these beans in new places. Left to its own devices Phaseolus would soon become more uniform. This is true of all cultivars; humans are the bean’s agent; we ensure that various types of beans grow, prosper, and maintain their place on the world-stage.
I am not sure how this relates to the current situation with human Mesoamericans. But for the fact that the organic certification inspector is coming to my farm this week, I might come up with a theory. But, for now, you are on your own to figure this out.
In fitting with world-wide trips beans have made, I have included a recipe for Sichuan Green Beans. Sichuan is a providence of China and is known for its cuisine which features garlic and hot spices. Their dishes often have fanciful names such as, Kung Pao chicken and Ants Climbing a Tree. This one does not.

Missives from a Market Farmer: Legumes—Fresh Beans

Article Contributed by Judith Lessler, Durham Farmers’ Market Vendor
Legumes are extremely important to farming and food production because they have a symbiotic relationship with a type of bacteria, Rhizobia. Rhizobia colonize plant roots, pull nitrogen from the air, and convert it into a type of ammonia that plants can use. The plant then makes amino acids which are combined into proteins.
Legumes are used by farmers to enrich the soil. The major plant nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Phosphorus and potassium are part of the mineral content of the soil and are relatively stable in comparison to nitrogen. Newly tilled soils and forest floors (a planting surface created by the ancient slash and burn method of farming) have plenty of nitrogen. After a field has been farmed for a few years, the nitrogen is depleted. Early on, farmers discovered ways to increase the soil’s nitrogen content. These included 1)planting in river valleys subject periodic flooding which deposits rich soil in the flood plain, 2) adding combinations of manure and plant debris (what we now call compost), and 3) planting and tilling in legumes prior to grain and other crops. Use of legumes to enrich soil was known by ancient Greeks and Romans, with surviving Greek texts from 400 BC mentioning such use. However, the actual chemistry of the nitrogen fixing process was not discovered until the 1880s.
Worldwide, legumes provide about 10 percent of the protein consumed by humans; however, unlike protein from animals, legumes do not provide a “complete protein” in that they do not contain ALL the amino acids we need to make our bodily proteins. Again, long before scientists knew about elements, amino acids, and proteins, we had learned to eat legumes with a grain—corn, rice, or wheat—to promoted health and growth.
There is a multitude of healthy legume/grain combinations.  For example, I spent a significant part of my youth eating pinto beans that were simmered for hours on the stove and served with fresh-baked cornbread. This was a particularly prevalent meal on the days immediately prior to my dad getting his Saturday paycheck. According to the Oxford Companion to Food, published by Oxford University Press, Ful Medames or Ful Mudammes is the “single most famous bean dish” in the world. It originated in Egypt as a breakfast dish of long-simmered fava beans served warm pita bread.
Beans. Beans are described as a remainder category in the Oxford Companion on Food, namely, as “Any legume whose seeds and pods are eaten and which is not classified as a pea or lentil.” This seems like an odd definition me. What about peanuts? But maybe those Oxford University Press folks had heard the song Goober Peas, and think of the peanut as a pea.
But back to beans.
The majority of beans are used in their dried form. When a bean dries, its pod or hull becomes thin and papery allowing easy removal of the seeds. They can them be cleaned and stored nearly indefinitely. Harold McGee who authored the famous text, On Food and Cooking, the Science and Lore of the Kitchen, speculates that people initially consumed green or fresh beans. Dried beans are not easy to digest, and he believes consumption of dried beans came after cooking was invented. Supporting his theory is the observation that breeders did not develop new varieties of  fresh beans until recently.
Initially, green beans were climbing varieties and were native to Central America and the Andes. Within the past 200 years, breeders have developed cultivars with tender shells and special colors (yellow and purple), that grow in bushes, and that are string-less—without the fibrous strip that holds the two halves of the shell together. Seed catalogues still sell varieties with strings, and many people still refer to all fresh beans as string beans.
Currently, most of the beans available in the Durham Farmers Market are fresh beans. When I was young, all beans were cooked until limp and with “seasoning,” a fatty, cut of pork called fat-back, or with bacon. Now it is more popular to lightly cook or steam beans and to served them with butter, olive oil, and possibly lemon.