If you’re committed to doing a lifestyle overhaul for your health and well being, it’s a good idea to make some dietary changes that will help you lose weight and prevent chronic health conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Fresh, healthy food is the key, and there are plenty of awesome farmers markets, farm stands, and CSAs (shorthand for community-supported agriculture) where you can get delicious, nutritious grub that’ll fit right into your healthy eating plan.
One of the advantages of shopping at farmers’ markets is that you can get fresh seasonal produce that’s locally grown. As a bonus, you’ll also be supporting farmers who are an important part of North Carolina’s agricultural heritage and economy.
To celebrate the coming summer and harvest season, we thought it’d be a good idea to give you a fresh food roadmap so you know where to shop if you’re in the market for healthy local ingredients for your pantry. Here are some places where you can pick up fresh produce in and around Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and other communities in the NC Research Triangle.
The State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27603
Market Hours: Monday-Saturday, 5:00 AM-6:00 PM, Sunday, 8:00 AM-6:00 PM
The State Farmers Market in Raleigh is the queen-mother of North Carolina farmers’ markets, and it keeps farmer hours, opening its doors well before sunrise. You can browse and buy fresh, locally grown fruits, veggies, plants, and more at the 30,000-square-foot Farmers Building. While you’re at it, make sure to stop into the Market Shoppes, a climate-controlled building where vendors sell fresh produce, cheeses, NC wine, and much more throughout the year.
Durham Farmers Market
501 Foster St., Durham, North Carolina 27701
Market Hours: Saturday: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Wednesday: 3:30 PM-6:30 PM
The Durham Farmers Market is open year-round and has a wide variety of healthy food options. With 77 North Carolina vendors, this producer-only (each farmer only sells what he or she produces) market is a good place to connect with the people who tend farms in and around Durham while picking up good-for-you food that is grown and harvested not more than 70 miles from the market, itself. Also, if you’re looking for a fun and healthy event in these next few weeks, head down to the Durham Farmers Market’s community-wide Solstice dinner and celebration on June 18th!
Chapel Hill Farmers Market
201 S. Estes Dr., Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Market Hours: Saturday, 8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Tuesday, 3:00 PM-6:00 PM
The Chapel Hill Farmers Market is open twice a week all year long, and it’s a terrific place to find healthy produce, meats, cheeses, and value-added farm products like pickles, jam, and fresh-baked bread. Everything sold at the Chapel Hill Farmers Market is produced within 60 miles of Chapel Hill, and every dollar you spend goes directly to the growers and vendors who sell their wares at the market. If you want to prepare healthy meals for your family, buy the freshest foods you can for the best results.
Carrboro Farmers Market
301 W. Main St., Carrboro, NC 27510
Market Hours: Saturday, 7:00AM-12:00PM, Wednesday, 3:00PM-6:00PM
The Carrboro Farmers Market is yet another year-round market that offers a rich selection of local produce and other healthy foods. From October-March, the market is open from 9:00AM-12:00PM on Saturdays, and throughout the spring, summer, and fall, the Carrboro Farmers Market is abuzz with activity twice a week.
Also, on June 10 and July 8, there’s a post-market food truck roundup from 6:30PM-8:00PM, so if you want to sample some of the tastiness of Triangle-area food truck vendors, consider stopping by on one of these evenings. The Carrboro Farmers Market has special market days right before Thanksgiving and Christmas as well, so that visitors can stock up on delicious local produce for holiday feasts.
Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market
City Plaza on Fayetteville St., Raleigh, NC 27601
Market Hours: Wednesday, 10:00AM-2:00PM, May 6 through September 30.
If you live or work near downtown Raleigh, you can purchase high quality fruits, veggies, fish, meat, and more at Downtown Farmers’ Market. This market runs from May through September and is a great way to meet your neighbors and local farmers right in the heart of downtown Raleigh.
Farmer on the Mall
Bicentennial Mall (by the Liberty Bell and NC History Museum) Tuesdays
Halifax Mall (by the Department of Revenue Building) Thursdays
Farm Stand Hours: 10:00AM-2:00PM, April-November
Farmer Roger Ball is a local produce grower who sells all sorts of goodies from April through November at his farm stand, which operates in two convenient downtown Raleigh locations. The Farmer on the Mall is part of a wellness initiative for state employees, but all are welcome at this friendly farm stand. The Farmer on the Mall sells a wide array of fruits, vegetables, and berries throughout the growing season, and Farmer Ball accepts credit and debit cards as well as cash.
Community Supported Agriculture – Fresh Produce Delivered Weekly
If you’re too busy to make it to the farmers market or farm stand, you can still get excellent healthy local produce by signing up for a CSA. Here’s how it works: when you join a CSA, you pay a subscription fee, and in return the CSA will stock your kitchen with fresh and seasonal produce. Some CSAs do home delivery, and others set up local pickup locations so you can swing by and get your box of farm-raised goodness at a convenient location in your community.
One of the advantages of a CSA membership is that you get variety and tip-top freshness, because all of the food is in season and recently harvested. It’s also a great way to learn how to cook with different healthy ingredients, because you’ll receive varied sorts of produce each week. The Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill areas have a good number of CSAs to choose from, but here are a few that Triangle-area residents rely on for healthy and local food deliveries.
The Produce Box CSA
The Produce Box offers weekly home delivery of nutritious fruits, veggies, and berries sourced from local NC farmers. Also, you can add local meats and cheeses to your weekly box. The Produce Box offers subscriptions for different sized households, as well as organic, fruit-only, and more “exotic” boxes that include unusual ingredients like daikon radishes or uncommon varieties of squash.
Brinkley Farms CSA
Brinkley Farms is a family-operated farm and CSA that offers two yearly “sessions” for produce delivery: spring and summer, and fall and winter. Brinkley Farm delivers fruits, vegetables, cornmeal, eggs, and more to home addresses in Raleigh, Creedmoor, and Butner and has convenient weekly pickup locations for members who live in Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro.
Durham Collaborative CSA
The Durham Collaborative CSA is an alliance of 5 local farms that work together to offer a full-spectrum organic produce box to customers each week. This CSA is a good choice for Durham and Chapel Hill residents, and subscribers can opt in to receive organic farm-fresh eggs, dairy, and pasture-raised meat. The CSA sends out healthy menu plans and recipe ideas along with their produce, and members can sign up to receive blogs and newsletters that keep customers in the loop about upcoming harvests, tips on healthy cooking, and farm news.