I recently was able to visit the Raleigh State Farmers market, which is owned by the State of North Carolina and run by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. In the state, there are five state markets and each is located in a place that is meant to be easily accessible for both farmers and buyers.
The Raleigh State market is located near the downtown area of Raleigh. I was really impressed with the setup which is comprised of various buildings, which include a farmers area, market shops, restaurant area, market import area, and also a truckers building and wholesale terminal.
I spent time in the farmers area, which was a large 30,000 square feet building where North Carolina farmers can sell local produce, plants, and other items. At this time of the year there were lots of pecans, apples, and green vegetables for sale. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, arugula, and even strawberries are grown locally and available even in late Fall. Since it rarely freezes at this time of year, there are a lot of cool weather crops that grow well.
As I sampled over 15 kinds of local apples, a seller talked to me about them. I learned that there are over 46 kinds of apples grown in North Carolina, and over 2500 grown in the United States. I tried some new varieties of apples, and ended up buying two pounds to take home.
When I asked if anyone was selling mushrooms, the farmer let me know that only local produce could be sold in the farmersfBuilding, and that no one really grows mushrooms in North Carolina. He pointed at the inside market area up the hill, and let me know that I might be able to get some there, but they would not be local. The inside market area sellers can sell anything including bananas and kiwis from other countries.
Some of the things that are really nice about the market include:
1. The market areas are covered Farmers and shoppers can set up and shop in both rain and shine.
2. Some interesting vendors were there which included Annelore’s German Bakery and Yu’s salsa (The salsa was really good, we tried over 10 kinds and bought a quart of the medium sweet salsa.)
3. Some hardy and interesting plants and herbs were sale. There were some interesting succulent wreathes that were for sale that I had not seen before which really stood out and would look nice on a front door and also live through the cooler monthes.
The Raleigh State Farmers Market is open every day (!) If you are able to visit, make sure you sample some apples and pecans, and get ready for some great tastings as you shop. Next time I am in town, I plan to stop by again and see what is in season.