Health Team

Farmers market springs up at Duke Hospital

Posted September 25, 2009 5:41 p.m. EDT
Updated September 25, 2009 6:34 p.m. EDT

— Local farmers are helping Durham residents load up on homegrown produce and get the recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

For nine summers, a small farmers market has been set up on Duke University Hospital property. It's part of an employee wellness program to encourage a diet that is good for the heart and helps prevent cancer.

"It's really been an opportunity to reduce the barriers for our employees to come and get freshly grown, locally produced fruits and vegetables," said Dr. Carol Epling.

Although grocery stores offer a similar variety of produce, farmers market regulars said they like supporting local growers and getting fresh produce.

"We pick it straight from the field one day and bring it to you the next day," local farmer Mick Brock said. "What we try to market is that it's fresh."

Duke Hospital executive chef J.P Murcia gives shoppers ideas how to combine a variety of fruits and nuts into dishes.

Murcia showed a harvest relish salad, combining edamame soybeans, yellow tomatoes, red peppers, string beans, yellow corn, pickled cucumbers and cubed watermelon. The salad is topped with drizzled olive oil and a vinaigrette of orange juice, mustard and pickle juice.

Shoppers were impressed with the chef's creativity.

"The edamame with the watermelon, who would have thought to put the two of them together?" customer Eric Lipp said.