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Reap the Bounty of Cape Fear's Farmers' Markets

Tuesday, July 23, 2019   /   by Anne Rose

Reap the Bounty of Cape Fear's Farmers' Markets

One of the most anticipated arrivals of summer are the Cape Fear area's bountiful farmers' markets. With a richly varied offering of locally grown vegetables and fruits - not to mention unique farm-fresh food products like preserves, hot sauces, sausages, and pickles - farmers converge on markets every day of the week in different locations throughout growing season. Some markets wrap up in mid- to late August, and the larger markets run through late November, so be sure to double check dates.

Local shoppers look for North Carolina-grown produce like cantaloupe, peaches, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, squash, and cabbage. Of course, there is a wide selection of other fruit and vegetables depending upon the time of the growing season. Watch for fresh berries during the short window of late May to mid-June, and a wide variety of pie and decorative pumpkins in early Fall. Farmers' market followers know where to find everything from microgreens to kombucha and North Carolina wines, as some vendors do only one or two markets, and other fill their week with market appearances.

Video: Debbie Alford and Becky Brown visit the Farmers' Market at Poplar Grove

Looking for a farmers' market close to you?

Here's our roundup of markets, with days and times. Check with the market website, or Facebook page, to see how long the market runs into the fall. Most markets usually end at the finish of growing season, mid- to late- September. Some, like Port City Farmers' Market holds indoor markets at random days and places throughout the year.

1.  Town Creek Farmer's Market, Town Creek Trading Post, 6361 Ocean Highway E, Winnabow: every Thursday until August 15, fresh and locally grown vegetables, honey, baked goods as well as local artists and craftspeople.

2.  River Lights Farmer's Market, River Lights, Wilmington: browse local goods and support small businesses at River Lights Farmer’s Market on Friday afternoons. Linger long enough to watch the sunset over the River in this beautiful venue. In addition to produce, you will find handmade crafts, local food, and flowers.

3.  Farmers Market at Poplar Grove, 10200 US Highway 17, Wilmington: every Wednesday from 8 until 1, the 13 acres of the beautiful plantation are free to explore during the hours of the farmers' market. Check out entertainment schedule at their FB page.

4.  Riverfront Farmers' Market, 116 Dock Street, Historic Downtown Wilmington: on Saturdays the Riverfront Farmers’ Market provides a place for local growers, producers, artisans and crafters to sell their goods directly to shoppers. With an emphasis on educating consumers about local farming and seasonal eating, this market has a definite "foodie" vibe.

5.  Leland Farmers Market, Bluebird parking lot in downtown Leland at 102 River Street: do your fruit and veggie shopping every Thursday from 9-1, and enjoy the various other vendors as well.

6.  Wilmington Farmer's Market at Tidal Creek, 5329 Oleander Drive: offering super prices, and a great selection of seafood, produce, and gifts, this market is open Saturdays from 8-1, right next to Tidal Creek Co-op so you can get your regular groceries on the same trip. Often offering family entertainment.

7.  Carolina Beach Farmers Market, Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach: find this market on Saturdays from 8-1, around the lake, with a great selection of fruits, vegetables, arts & crafts. (Note: if you are looking for farm fresh produce on Carolina Beach other days of the week, check out the daily farmstand offerings at The Veggie Wagon.)

8.  Wrightsville Beach Farmer's Market, 57 Seawater Lane, Wrightsville Beach: Every Monday from 8-1, WVB residents and visitors will find a nice variety of vendors with super fresh produce at this medium size market.

9.  Oak Island Farmers Market, 4602 East Dolphin Drive: a great seasonal market open Mondays from 8-1 promises shoppers that at least half of the vendors are selling fresh produce, so the selection of fruits and vegetables is always top quality.

10.  Southport Waterfront Market, 203 E Bay Street, Southport: on the grounds of Fort Johnston Garrison lawn overlooking the Cape Fear River, the Southport market is on Wednesdays from 8 to 1, and offers live music, homemade food items, crafts, and lots of farm fresh produce.

11.  Onslow County Farmers' Market, 4024 Richland Highway 258 in Jacksonville (Tuesdays and Saturdays), Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville (Thursdays): Jacksonville's 22-year tradition offers locally grown produce, cheese, baked goods, and more, and runs through mid- late- August, and through November 17th on the Saturday dates.

Up for a day trip? 

NC_State_Farmers_Market_KW-678x381.jpgThe NC Farmers Market, in Raleigh at 1201 Agriculture St., is worth the drive, especially if you want to stock up on premium North Carolina produce for canning, jam-making, or cooking for a special event. 

The State Farmers Market is open Monday through Saturday, 5am - 6pm, and Sundays, 8am - 6pm. You will find farm-fresh specialty products and the largest selection of fruits and vegetables in the state.

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