A day at the Chatham Mills Farmers’ Market

This was previously published in the Chatham County Line:

The Market Manager gets to the lawn at seven. The air’s always cool then, no matter what time of year. Robert, from Carol’s Good Earth, is often already on site, unpacking his plants and hanging baskets and tent, and the Manager and her 15-year-old son, Jacob, who helps her with the heavy lifting, gets to work. Robert listens to NPR while he sets up: The People’s Pharmacy.

First  the Market Manager tent is set-up, then the tent for Farmer Foodshare, and finally the tents for the Market’s entertainment and non-profit friends. They put out tables and signs and chairs, and by then Farrell from Dutch Buffalo has arrived in his truck full of vegetables.

Next comes Meredith, Laura and Ches with Granite Springs and Iron Fish Farms, and Kim and Steve with Wanderlust, as well as Bobby and Bronwyn with Okfuskee. Folks call out “good morning” and “hello” and chat about the week. Fiddlehead Farm rolls in about a quarter ‘til: Emily always has a car-full. Cure Nursery shows up and unpacks, and the last to arrive are Coastal Shrimp, Fatty Owl, and Lilly Den Farms. Protein vendors take longer in the morning?

By now, the first few customers have arrived. Samantha is first. She brings her dog and seems to visit everyone. Mr. Ralph (I call him that because he teaches pre-school) comes next, sometimes with his dog. He makes the rounds. Michael and his Chihuahua make a beeline to Fiddlehead Farm and Emily’s cinnamon rolls, usually still warm from the oven. The dog seems fierce, but once he knows you he warms to a state of aloof coolness.

Over at Lilly Den,  the family arrives: Dennet, Lilly, and baby Meadow, who may be the happiest, most easygoing baby we know, though we’re not up with her at night. Tucker serves a stream of steady customers. Dutch Buffalo and Granite Springs Farm’s CSA customers come throughout the day. Wanderlust Farms’ rustic bouquets go quickly, as do her duck eggs. At Cure Nursery’s tent customers pick native plants and pick Bill Cure’s brain about gardening in central North Carolina. The non-profit bake sale sees customers looking for goodies and spreads the word about what they do. Our customers take their time. No one is in a  hurry. Shooting the breeze is an essential part of our market’s experience.

Families come: before soccer, after soccer. Helen, another market baby, arrives with her mother, Dutch Buffalo’s better half. Our entertainment arrives. Sometimes it’s storyteller Cynthia Raxter, often musicians, young, like the amazing Bucket Brothers and Fiddlesticks, both talented sibling acts, sometimes adults: Josh Jones plays the blues; Pat Stucke sends us to Vienna with her accordion. Sometimes groups, like the Hopping Johnnies or just a couple of guys sitting and picking – it’s all good! Some put out the hat, some play just to be playing. All get a bag of fresh food at the end of the day.

Then the rest of the customers come, slowly at first, then building to a peak around 11 a.m. We see familiar faces and new. Some go straight to one farmer, some buy something from everyone.  Almost all stop for a chat. Questions are answered, recipes exchanged. Sometimes vendors have samples: Mary at Fatty Owl cooks a mean Rabbit in Mustard Sauce. Laura Stewart, whose Iron Fish Farms shares a tent with Granite Springs, always has creams and salves and soaps to sample and smell.

By 1, most folks have little left. Carol’s Good Earth has sold all their hanging baskets, a few bunches of chard are left at Okfuskee, a little bit of sorrel at Wanderlust, a crab cake or two from Coastal Shrimp. Folks pack up their tents and goods and go – unless they don’t. On a nice day it’s common for folks to hang out, drink a beer and shoot the breeze for hours. Nevertheless, the Chatham Mills Farmers’ Market’s over for the day, but we’ll be back – same time, same place, the rest of the market season.



Customer Appreciation Day!

This Week’s Market

June 21 at the Chatham Mills Farmers’ Market

CUSTOMER APPRECIATION DAY! Woo hoo! This Saturday we’ll have lots and lots and lots of samples, free iced tea, + giveaways. We love our customers! Free iced milk from Lindley Mills Creamery, free cinnamon rolls from Fiddlehead Farm, free cornbread made from Okfuskee Farm’s fresh ground cornmeal, a wonderful rabbit sample from Fatty Owl Farm, coleslaw from Granite Springs. made from the best, freshest cabbage around, sliders courtesy of Lilly Den Farm, shrimp salad from Coastal Shrimp, lavender lemonade from Wanderlust, Carol’s Good Earth Farm is giving away seed packets, AND MORE. WOW.

We’re also hosting wonderful guest storyteller Cynthia Raxter, and our sponsors Solar Panels Plus will be on hand, as well as tasty baked goods provided by Dynamic Community Charter School.

Hey – do you know about this from one of our sponsors? Fair Game Beverage Company‘s grand opening celebrationFriday June 20th from 6-9:30.  Tours and tastings of Chatham’s first legal distillery, live music, food, cash bar, fire dancers! See you there!

Here’s what delicious, nutritious, local, and fabulous STUFF will be at market this week:

Carol’s Good Earth will be there with succulents and soy candles.

Coastal Shrimp will be there with shrimp and tuna.

Dutch Buffalo is coming with summer squash, slicing cucumbers, lambs quarters, leeks, golden chard, kohlrabi, beets, basil, sweet yellow onions, fingerling potatoes, and fennel.

Fatty Owl will have rabbits, doggie treats, bags, and eggs.  They will also be doing a free drawing for one of their one-of-a-kind upcycled shopping bags! ;)

Fiddlehead Farm will have bread, cinnamon rolls, artisinal small-batch jams, hot pepper shakes, and more. New this week: strawberry rhubarb jam!

Granite Springs and Iron Fish are coming to market with freshly dug Yukon Gold potatoes, pints of Austrian Crescent and Red Thumb fingerling potatoes, yellow summer squash and zucchini, onions, kale, Senposai, lettuce, cucumbers, beets, delicious sweet cabbage (and samples of slaw made from it), eggs from our pastured hens and hand made soaps and lotions – including the all new Lilly Den Lard Soap!

Lilly Den will have  beef, pork, chicken, duck, veal, eggs, cheese, pet milk, and pet yogurt.

Lindley Mills Creamery will be at market with iced milk!

Okfuskee will be at market with potatoes, onions, fennel, and hopefully some green beans and tomatoes.

Wanderlust will be at market with  green tomatoes, squash blossoms, kale, duck eggs, purslane, squash, eggplant, fresh herbs, felted soap and flowers.

Dairy day! Dairy day! Dairy day! June 7 is Dairy day!

Dairy day! Dairy day! Dairy day! June 7 is Dairy day!

lindley farms cow copyDid we mention it’s Dairy day? We’ll have a cow named Gina and her calf, Rosemary, at market this Saturday! Learn to milk, learn about dairy, and try to help our market manager make butter! Lots of give-aways, free samples, dairy information, and other great fun sponsored by the Chatham County Cooperative Extension.


Now to our vendors! We have a really full market this week!

Carol’s Good Earth will be there with succulents and soy candles.

Coastal Shrimp will probably be there.

Dutch Buffalo is coming with fresh local veggies.

Fatty Owl will have rabbit,eggs, and dog treats.

Fiddlehead Farm will have bread, cinnamon rolls, artisinal small-batch jams, hot pepper shakes, and more. They’ll have the first batch of local/organic blueberry jam and local peach jam

Granite Springs and Iron Fish Farms will bring lots of delicious broccoli, Rainbow Swiss chard, curly and Dino kale, salad turnips, lettuce, cabbage, basil, cucumbers, tatsoi, senposai, pasture-based eggs, bags and logs for “grow your own” oyster and shitake mushrooms, and handmade soaps and lotions.

Lilly Den will have  beef, pork, chicken, duck, veal, eggs, cheese, pet milk, and pet yogurt.

Okfuskee will be at market with lots of squash, good deals on hakurei turnips (ask us about easy fermenting recipes!), fennel, and some other veggies.

Wanderlust Farm is coming, we hope.

Spring Arts & Crafts Fair!

Last fall we had our first ever Arts & Crafts Fair and it was so successful that this spring we’re going to do it again! Come on down Saturday, May 31, and check out the amazing artwork, handmade crafts, and other wonderful products (in addition to the usual, high-quality FOOD that we offer at market) – all very local and very made-by-hand.

Meet the makers! Get fresh with our artists!

Here’s who will be at market on Saturday, May 31:

Crystal Glen Alpacas
Handspun alpaca wool yarn and handmade wool and cedar crafts: felted shoe inserts, hand-knitted treasure pouches, socks and more! Spinning demos.
Bellwether Fiber Farm
Leicester Longwool and Corriedale sheep's-wool, hand-dyed yarns, and vintage baby doll head yarn dispensers.
Kelly Walsh
Handwoven scarves, made from a variety of different fiber materials on a traditional mechanical floor loom.
Linda Person
Handwoven scarves, shawls, and hats. Items are each woven on a triangle loom. Weaving demos.
Twin Birch Products
Birchwood knitting needles, crochet hooks, spindles and other fiber-working tools.


Aquilegia canadensis plants

And yes, we’re shouting!

The Chatham Mills Farmers’ Market is thrilled to be hosting our first-ever spring plant sale, sponsored by Mellow Marsh Farm, Country Farm and Home, and Pittsboro Feed.

The  reason it’s so exciting is that in addition to our regular wonderful plant vendors, Cure Nursery and Carol’s Good Earth, we have invited three wonderful, local, usually WHOLESALE plant vendors to the market this Saturday, April 26. This means that we’re able to offer our customers access to plants they might normally have to travel far and wide to find. In addition, the plantsellers who will be selling plants that day are extremely knowledgeable. Where, when, how, and even IF the particular plant will do well in your yard are all questions these on-the-spot experts can answer. Way better than what you’ll get at a mass-market or big box nursery, in our humble opinions!

Here’s who will be at our special PLANT SALE  Market this week.

Carol’s Good Earth

tomato plants

  • 30 varieties heirloom/ hybrid tomatoes – big plants in 4″ pots – naturally grown
  • Grafted heirloom tomato plants – naturally grown
  • Pepper plants 4″ pots -naturally grown
  • Herbs – naturally grown
  • Hanging baskets for both sun and shade
  • Annual bedding plants
  • Hosta and a few other perennials

Cure NurseryTiarella cordifolia

  • Tiarella
  • Jacob’s Ladder
  • Wood Poppies
  • Wild Columbine
  • Blue Phlox groundcover)
  •  flowering native azaleas
  • Fothergillas
  • Redbuds
  • Beech
  • sedges (the evergreen workhorses of gardens and “alternative”, perennial, lawn-like, no-mow plantings!)

Deep Chatham Gardens:

  • heirloom tomato plants – MANY varietiescapehoneysublePBO-10-30-09-3a
  • lemon grass – 1 gallon pot –
  • white yarrow – 1 gallon pots
  • black elephant ears – 1 gallon pot –
  • indigo blue salvia – 1 gallon pots-
  • morning glory tree – 6ft tall with rich pink trumpet blooms all summer
  • cape honeysuckle – brilliant orange blossoms – can grow 30ft in one season!
  • Mosquito Repelling Plants – Citrus scented geranium – The BEST natural indoor air freshener!  Keep your house mosquito and fly free while smelling BEAUTIFUL  1 gallon pots –

Backyard Edibles, Keith Denny

  •  herbs
  • tomato plants (various sizes, many varieties)
  • peppers (many sizes many varieties)
  • lettuce (different varieties). chard
  • kale,
  • brocolli…and some surprises!

Mellow Marsh specializes in native and wetland plants. The Farmers’ Market’s own Farrell Moose (of Dutch Buffalo) will be manning their booth!



It’s fi’nda be a beautiful opening day! Saturday April 5 – be there!

dutch buff veggiesOpening Day! April 5!

Here’s what’s happening at market this Saturday!


The every-so-popular BUCKET BROTHERS will be entertaining us this beautiful Saturday morning, opening day!

Here’s what delicious, nutritious, local, and fabulous STUFF will be at market this week:

Carol’s Good Earth will have  bedding plants, succulents, lavender and rosemary.

Coastal Shrimp will have shrimp,  crab meat,  flounder, and crab cakes. They will have some artwork as well.

Fatty Owl will be there with fresh and frozen whole rabbit, eggs and
feedbag shopping bags with bells on, as well as rabbit-ear dog treats!

Fiddlehead Farm is bringing  a variety of bread, cinnamon rolls, marmalades, jams, hot sauces, granolas and more.

Granite Springs and Iron Fish Farms are bringing carrots, salad mix, oyster mushrooms, pastured chicken eggs, and soaps and lotions.  Come check out the new “Hand Made in North Carolina” soap packaging!

Happy as a Coneflower Farm willhave  bouquets of Iceland poppies, anemones and ranunculus.

Lilly Den will have  beef, pork, chicken, duck, veal, eggs, pet milk, and pet yogurt.

Lindley Mills Creamery  plans to be at the market with mozzarella cheese balls, cheese spreads and cheesecakes. Maybe ice milk also.

Okfuskee will be bringing  fresh-milled wheat and corn flours, bok choy, and several pork products from Weeping Radish Butchery.

 Wanderlust Farm will have we’ll have eggs (duck, chicken) fiber, soap and a few spring bouquets.

Harvest Abundance Party was a great success!

The Harvest Abundance dinner at Oakleaf restaurant on July 14th benefiting Chatham Mills Farmers’ Market and The Abundance Foundation was an outstanding success for both organizations.

We had a packed house with fantastic music from market favorites the Bucket Brothers and the Ragweed Brothers, incredible local food and desserts from Oakleaf, and a rip-roaring live auction thanks to our own Tucker and MacKenzie Withington from Lilly Den Farm, our outstanding auctioneers!

HUGE THANKS to our raffle and auction donors, to talented Oakleaf restaurant staff and Brendan and Leslie Cox, to the bands, to our volunteers, and ALL OF YOU who came out to celebrate and contribute to our fantastic community of artists, farmers, singers, eaters, and cultivators of all kinds. You are the reason we’re here!

July 20 Chatham Mills Farmers’ Market

July 20 Chatham Mills Farmers’ Market

pigPig Pals of NC will be our special guests this Saturday, and they’re bringing their educational pig, Elliot! 50 lbs of pure love. Come out and see this “miniature” pig.

We’re also welcoming musical guest David Hamilton. Instrumentals will start at about 9:30 and he may bring some of his talented students!

Also, welcome guest potter Trish Welsh, who is bringing  bowls, mugs, berry bowls, planters for us to buy!



Our vendors this week:

Carol’s Good Earth will have cut flower bouquets and soy candles.

Fiddlehead Farm and Bakery is bringing a wide assortment of bread, cinnamon rolls, vegetables, and jams.

Forever Green Gardens will have blueberries, potatoes, Sun Gold tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers and garlic. Also at market – gourd jewelry handmade by Carol Kroll from our home-grown gourds.s.

Granite Springs Farm will have mushrooms, potatoes–Yukon Gold, Carola, Kerr’s Pink, Mountain Rose, cucumbers, yellow Summer Squash, tomatoes of all types–heirlooms, hybrids, paste–including large quantities for freezing and canning, tomatillos, mini tomatoes, onions, red and white, Haricots Verts (french filet beans), eggplant, jalapeno peppers, banana peppers, Jimmy Nardello peppers, serrano peppers, poblano peppers, green bell peppers, homemade salsa-making kits, basil, parsley, and eggs.

Growers of Ayrshire/Iron Fish will have fresh basil, squash, chard, fresh herbs, fingerling potatoes, sweet peppers, and soaps and lotions

Johnson’s Peaches will have peaches (and maybe corn!)

Lilly Den will have pasture raised beef, pork, chicken, eggs, pet milk, pet yogurt, dog bones, goat, and compost. And turkey, too! They’ll bring turkey parts, but if you’d like a whole turkey email them at lillydenfarm@yahoo.com so they’ll know to bring it.

Lindley Farms Creamery will have cheese!

Okfuskee Farm will have greenhouse and heirloom field tomatoes, onions, garlic, summer squash, Asian cucumbers, Sun Jewel melons, basil, and pork products (chorizo, brats, dry-cured salami).

Pura Vida Farm will come with goat and lamb meat for sale, and will be sampling some delicious homemade sausage.