Tip of the Month, March 2012: Visit the State Farmer’s Market Year-Round

One of the things I love about Raleigh is that I have easy access to the State Farmer’s Market. Located off of Lake Wheeler Rd. (1201 Agriculture Street, Raleigh, N.C. 27603), it is open seven days a week, year-round. In addition to offering fresh produce, plants and other specialty items produced on local farms in its Farmer’s Building, the Farmer’s Market is home to the Market Shoppes, where you can find fresh produce as well as meats, cheeses, crafts, bakery items, custom picture framing, a market grill and N.C. wines. There are a wide variety of specialty shops with old-fashioned candies, N.C. gifts, soaps and lotions. And at the Market Imports shop you can buy fountains, pots, furniture, ironwork, stone and pottery, among other things.

And if all of this shopping makes you hungry, don’t worry – there are two great restaurants to choose from: The State Farmer’s Market Restaurant, which features country-style cooking for breakfast and lunch, and The Seafood Restaurant, which has great fresh seafood. Both are open every day of the week.

If you are like most people, you probably don’t even consider shopping here except in the summer, when so many fruits and vegetables are in season (including some of my favorites like tomatoes, corn, cukes, summer squash, etc.)

Big mistake. The Farmer’s Market is great to visit any time of the year. Here’s just some of what you can find in the spring, fall and winter.

Spring

The fresh cut flowers you can buy at the market are beautiful. I especially like getting tulips and daffodils – a sure sign that winter is over and the days are getting longer. Yummy strawberries and blueberries start appearing in the late spring. And now’s the time to buy plants for your garden – I’ve gotten some great deals on azaleas and hostas.

Fall

My favorite things at the Farmer’s Market in the fall are the pumpkins, gourds, apples and mums – all at great prices! And you can still get some good tomatoes through the end of September.

Winter

I love to get my collards here – they are usually much cheaper and fresher than the ones in the grocery stores. Other great buys include sweet potatoes, cabbage, turnips and pansies. I get great deals on poinsettias right before Christmas (you can also buy Christmas trees.)

Market Shoppes

You can get all sorts of cool things at the Market Shoppes. Some of my favorites include fresh lemonade, homemade preserves and items for my yard, such as my NCSU mailbox cover. I’ve scored big on a number of other Wolfpack items at a decent price as well! The kids like coming here for the candy and ice cream (me too!)  

The State Farmer’s Market Restaurant

Come hungry, because you get a lot of food. Also, it’s always packed at lunch, which attests to just how good the food is! Enjoy some great country-style cooking, with many freshly grown and produced North Carolina-based products, including farm raised pork and poultry items delivered fresh for you. The “Daily Lunch Specials” are served from 11am-3pm, with a choice of 1 meat, 2 vegetables and the dessert of the day, plus you get awesome homemade biscuits that are out of this world ($11.72 with a drink, including tax but not tip.) I always leave with enough food for another meal!

Just look at the size of this gigantic piece of delicious fried chicken:

And this yummy country-style steak and gravy!

It’s wonderful to be able to support our local farmers, etc. Everything is always fresh and at a decent price. But don’t just visit in the summer – there’s always something to enjoy any time of the year!

Eat, drink and be merry!

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3 Responses to Tip of the Month, March 2012: Visit the State Farmer’s Market Year-Round

  1. Pingback: Kel's Cafe of All Things Food

  2. Pingback: Tip of the Month, September 2013: What’s Your Healthy? | Kel's Cafe of All Things Food

  3. Pingback: Yes, You Can! Preserve Now and Enjoy Later | Kel's Cafe of All Things Food

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