Farmers markets have some of the best-looking, tastiest, and freshest produce around. It doesn’t matter where you live, you’re going to get the good stuff when you buy direct from the farmer. This morning the Raleigh (North Carolina) farmer’s market got temporarily swamped by 600 garden writers on bus tour. We descended upon the farmers, talked, photographed, and bought produce. The hot peppers above are a variety called Long Horn.
One of the southern vegetables that just won’t grow in our cool Pacific Northwest gardens is okra. Some folks really like these long tender seedpods and others think it’s disgusting. I’m in the group that likes it almost anyway you can prepare it. That includes breaded in cornmeal and fried, stewed with tomatoes, and incorporated into a jambalaya. I’ve also had young and tender okra pods raw. Several market vendors had okra available for sale. I watched one lady pick up a pod and snap the end off, apparently testing its tenderness. She ended up not buying from that farmer.
The market is an open air affair, sheltered from the weather by a substantial roofed structure with a concrete floor. It’s owned and operated by the state of North Carolina, is open daily, and is one of several around the state.
Now that autumn has arrived pumpkins and gourds are ripe. Families are starting to put up fall decorations in anticipation of Halloween. These miniature pumpkins were part of a colorful farm display at the market. Several vendors had pumpkins, both little ones like these and big ones suitable for jack-o-lanterns. In between are the sweet pie pumpkins.
The Garden Writers Association annual syposium includes garden visits as well as this stop at the farmers market. We’ve been to the Doris Duke garden on the Duke University campus in Durham, Juniper Levels Botanic Garden at Plant Delights Nursery south of Raleigh, and the J C Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University. We’ve seen a huge number of interesting plants, way more than I can share here in a single post. Tomorrow our morning bus tour will include a community garden and three other gardens in the Raleigh-Durham area. Will it be plant overload? I don’t think so for our dedicated group of plant nerds. Photographing on a bus tour is challenging, but I continue to work with a tripod and assortment of lenses. I just have to wait a bit longer for the background to clear. At least no vendor issued bright yellow hats this year.