We are lucky to have a lot of farmers' markets and farm stands in our area. This time of year, that's where I buy most of my produce. (And yes, I will take this opportunity to plug our fresh produce database where you can find them. Just click here to find it).
But there aren't many (or perhaps any) around here that were started by a group of moms. Now in its third year, the Western Wake Farmers' Market has grown each year. It's first year, it was open on Saturdays from April to November. Last year, it moved to a year-round schedule. And this year, it added Tuesday evening hours during the warmer months.
The market on Morrisville Carpenter Road in Cary is open from 8 a.m .to noon Saturdays all year and now from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday during the growing season.
I headed over there this past weekend where I met with Jennifer Gibbs, one of the market's founders. Gibbs grew up on a farm in Ohio and, a few years ago, was traveling to the markets in Carrboro and Durham for her fresh, local produce.
She wondered why there wasn't a market closer to her home. Others were wondering the same thing. They met through neighborhood connections or community organizations and started talking. Eventually a core group of 10 or 12 people got together and they put together the market.
That would be the short version of the story.
"People volunteered a lot of hours to get it up and running," she said.
Gibbs said organizers and leaders, which includes a dad too, have aimed to make the market a family-friendly stop. The market features regular programs, music and events on Saturdays. A face painter comes out regularly. And you'll find a good variety of fresh produce, meats, flowers, soaps, baked goods and crafts. There's even coffee to go with that cinnamon roll you bought (I know from experience).
The market also works to give back to the community. There's a donation station where shoppers can donate produce to local groups such as the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. More than 1,000 pounds of produce have been donated so far. The market also accepts EBT (former paper food stamps). (Credit and debit cards are accepted too).
"We want to serve the underserved," Gibbs tells me.
My family had a great time when we were there last weekend. And I definitely recommend it as a family-friendly destination. Watch the video with more from Gibbs and some scenes of the market.