By Maggie Funkhouser
The Carrboro Farmers’ Market, home of a stunning variety of local food and artisan products, is hosting special events like Kids Seedling Day, Strawberry Jamboree, and Tomato Day for the first time since 2019.
2019 seems like it was both a breath ago and a decade ago — so it goes when life sometimes feels like a carousel of wake-up, work-from-home, no-outings, and the everyday exhaustion of living during a pandemic.
But there is good news from Carrboro: the Carrboro Farmers’ Market’s beloved special events are back and cause for joy. Whether you need an activity for the family, an excuse to stroll around the market with your coffee or a reason to try more types of tomatoes than you can name, there is always something to look forward to at the Market.
The season kicks off with Kids Seedling Day Saturday, April 30. Kids can plant tomato seedlings donated by Carrboro Farmers’ Market farmers to take home. “The ones that you grow yourself always taste the best, because of the love and effort that the growers put into them,” said farmer Howard McAdams of McAdams Farm. The event is sponsored by Carrboro’s Fifth Season Gardening, who is providing soil and raffling off a composter as part of the event. The event starts at 8:30 a.m. and continues until seedlings run out.
Speaking of kids, the Wednesday afternoon market (which runs from April 6 through Nov. 16 this year) is a great after-school and after-work stop, and the Carrboro Farmers’ Market runs Market Bunch kids’ activities every week. Market Bunch is free to all participants and includes different activities every Wednesday related to gardening, local foods, agriculture, sustainability, healthy eating and Carrboro living.
On Wednesday, May 18 the Market will host its annual celebration of strawberries, Strawberry Jamboree. This family event will give shoppers the opportunity to pick up strawberry recipes, get info about local you-pick strawberry farms and enjoy cake from chef Sera Cuni of the Root Cellar. Families can also enjoy face-painting, live music, and lawn games. May is the perfect time to stock up on local strawberries; two particularly sweet and popular varieties grown by many CFM farmers are Sweet Charlie and Chandler.
July will bring the Carrboro Farmers’ Market’s signature annual event: Tomato Day. For newcomers to this part of North Carolina, yes, tomatoes are that important.
Carrboro Farmers’ Market farmers grow a stunning number of tomato varieties — over 70 — from the classics to the lesser-known varieties like Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, Big Beef, Black Krim, Tomimaru Mucho, Mr. Stripey, Sunpeach, Green Zebra, Mountain Magi and more.
Tomato season this year kicks off with Tomato Day Saturday, July 9. Shoppers will be able to find samples of dozens of different types of tomatoes in the Market gazebo and tomato recipe samples around the Market as well. Tomato Day will also provide shoppers with guest appearances from local chefs, tomato recipes, and a giant raffle with prizes from local businesses. The Carrboro Farmers’ Market will also have its limited-edition Tomato Day swag — including t-shirts with a special Tomato Day design. The event starts at 8:30 a.m. and runs until noon.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to gather again and to celebrate local bounty and all of the varieties of tomatoes that we have access to by way of the farmers market,” said Laura Perez, the Assistant Manager at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market.
After two years of postponing special events due to the pandemic, the Carrboro Farmers’ Market can once again host its celebrated events that feature local produce for the Carrboro community and beyond.
Week by week and year by year, the farms’ abundance in this part of North Carolina offers a reminder that, slowly but surely, things change and grow and ripen and fade; it is up to us to enjoy it all and endure for another season.
The Carrboro Farmers’ Market celebrates all that the seasons have to offer and operates year-round. The Carrboro Farmers’ Market is currently open Saturday mornings from 7 a.m.-noon and Wednesday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. at Carrboro Town Commons (301 W. Main St.).
Maggie Funkhouser is the Market Manager of the Carrboro Farmers’ Market, where she has worked since 2019.