The Friendly Market
205 Friendly Rd, Morehead City
173 Sam Garner Rd., Newport
195 Guthrie Farm Rd., Bogue
8115 Hwy 70, Newport
1725 Hwy 101, Beaufort
Morehead Curb Market
1300 Evans St., Morehead City
Beaufort Farmer’s Market
300 Courthouse Square, Beaufort
759 Hwy 70, Bettie
Willis Vegetable Farm
278 Willis Farm Rd., Newport
Winberry Farm Market
1006 Cedar Point Blvd., Cedar Point
COMMUNITY-BASED FARMER’S markets can introduce shoppers to an array of foods they may otherwise never experience. Farmer’s markets are great places to find fresh, locally grown foods, and many market customers are happy to know they’re benefiting both the environment and local businesses with every dime they spend.
One of the great things about living in Eastern North Carolina is that you don’t necessarily have to wait until Saturday or Sunday to enjoy farm-fresh produce. With a plethora of roadside stands and the popular Friendly Market open daily, fresh fruits and veggies are often much closer than we realize.
Plus, these family-run businesses can offer a variety of other goodies, including homemade treats, gifts and free recipes.
Markets can range from the very large to relatively small, and first-time visitors may not know where to begin. The following are a handful of ways to maximize your visit to farmer’s markets of all sizes.
• Take time to explore. Farmer’s markets tend to have many of the same fruits and vegetables you can find at the local chain grocery store, but farmer’s markets also are known for offering more than what you may find in the produce aisle. Take time to explore the market and you may just find foods you typically only find at your favorite restaurant. Exploring also may introduce you to new foods you may otherwise never have tried.
• Consider the timing of your visit. The popularity of farmer’s markets has increased dramatically as more and more people embrace the concept of buying locally grown foods. While that’s great news for the planet and local farmers, shoppers should keep that in mind when planning their visits. If you love trying new foods, arrive early to the farmer’s market before the more unique offerings have been snapped up. Foods that have small yet devoted followings may not be available in abundance, and you may end up leaving empty-handed if you arrive late. If it’s a bargain you want, then visit later in the day when farmers with substantial remaining inventory may be more inclined to lower their prices.
• Know your seasons. Some fruits and vegetables are better at certain times of the year than others. Freshness draws many people to farmer’s markets, and foods that are in-season are more likely to have that unforgettable freshness than those that are out of season or nearing the end of their season. Knowing the seasons is important for budget-conscious shoppers as well. If you’re shopping on a budget, purchasing foods while they’re in season may save you some money, and you can always stock up on your other favorites later on when it’s their turn to be in-season.
• Speak with the sellers. First-time farmer’s market shoppers may feel like they’re lost in the woods while everyone else seems to know exactly what they want and where to get it. If you find the farmer’s market somewhat intimidating, speak with the sellers. Shopping at the local farmer’s market tends to be more intimate than shopping at the chain grocery store, and many sellers would be happy to offer you some tips and make some suggestions based on the meals you like.
Farmer’s markets are great places to support local businesses and find fresh fruits and vegetables.