We’ve always loved fresh food, fresh vegetables, and fresh fruit. Being from the Pacific Northwest we were fortunate to be nestled into one of America’s best growing regions for everything from tree fruits to veggies. Being the parents of two young kids we’re also very active in trying to feed them as much good stuff as we can – steering clear of processed foods and sugars as much as possible. So imagine, if you will, our excitement at finding out that one of the nation’s best farmers markets is located only a short drive from our home!
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture (and Consumer Services) runs and operates the State Farmers Market located in Raleigh, NC and it does not disappoint with 30,000 sqft of vendors selling everything from produce to trees and canned goods, sauces, meats, seafood, and home goods. It’s the ultimate farmers market.
There are peak days (the weekends) and there are slow days like the Tuesday we went to the market on. Though most of the produce stalls were open and ready for business many of the specialty shops selling hand crafted goods were closed. Only one of the several butchers selling meat was open, and the seafood vendor was closed as well. All the same we found more than we had come looking for – and most of that was in fresh fruit and veggies.
We quickly realized we needed a plan of action – as the amount of options in front of us was only growing. We decided that we would procur the ingredients to make totally farm fresh salads for dinner that night and began looking for the key ingredients. Lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, an onion. For dessert we decided to roll the dice on a variety of watermelon none of us had ever heard of – a Sugar Baby. The stall owner assured us that it would be the sweetest, crunchiest, watermelon any of us had ever eaten – and they weren’t lying!
The crown jewel of the state farmers market right now are the peaches. Every stall, every vendor, has peaches by the basket full. Soft, sweet, flavorful, ready to eat peached that are so aromatic the scent fills the corridors. We WERE
shopping with moderation in mind, however the vendor we bought our peaches from gave our son a slice of a peach right off of the table they were resting on and we all took a bite from the sample as we were walking away – needless to say, it took no amount of convincing after those bites to turn around and go back and purchase a bigger basket of peaches.
We already plan on going back, not just for the produce but for the plants and trees that are on sale there as well. We have plans for our front and back yards at our house (namely putting in some trees to try and block out road noise and create an oasis of our own) and the State Farmers Market has everything we need for that project as well.
There are also two restaurants at the Farmers Market, the Farmers Market Restaurant uses locally sourced (since it’s so easy being based at the Farmers Market) ingredients to make authentically southern comfort foods and breakfasts. Patio seating is great if you’ve got your dog with you and they even have a series of outdoor AC units in place to help keep things nice and cool on hot days. There is a seafood restaurant we haven’t tried yet but I’d wager the next time we go you’ll be able to find us in there trying it out.
The State Farmers Market is located at 1201 Agriculture St., Raleigh, NC 27603 and is open seven days a week.