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Jun 26, 2008 02:02 PM

South Estes farmer's market, Chapel Hill

Has anybody been to the South Estes farmer's market in University Mall lately? I went once back when they first started and it was pretty small. However, when I've driven past lately it seems to have expanded a significant amount. I know it can't compare with the Carrboro farmer's market yet, but is it worth a trip?

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  1. I haven't been. I really don't get the logic of a second market at the same time. More parking? Are there a substantial number of vendors who want to be at Carrboro but there isn't room? People who won't drive across town?

    I'd love a Sunday market in the area for weekends where I'd rather do other things Saturday morning.

    1. It was a break-off faction from the Hillsborough Farmers' Market...

      Carrboro's market, while in my opinion the best in the area, has little to no parking; the U. Mall parking lot is huge (and free). The "rich folks" at Southern Season will probably be good customers, at least $-wise.

      A Sunday market would be cool, but I guess the farmers gotta take at least one day [partially] off! Most if not all local markets are open Saturdays and Wednesdays, but the new Orange County Farmers Market (at the Public Market House in downtown Hillsborough) is open Tuesdays now.


      3 Replies
      1. re: Rand

        I believe the Saxpahaw market is on Sunday

        1. re: tommio

          Nope, Saturdays 5-8 pm.

          Speaking of Saxapahaw, the gas station in Saxapahaw is under new ownership and is trying to expand and serve foodies.

          They've expanded their wine selection, improved the beer (Oberon in baby kegs!) selection. They also seem to be shifting from standard c-store crap to something different. They're selling Cane Creek pork, Braeburn beef, and Rainbow Meadow chicken from their freezer cases. They also had Rudy's Organic breads (I don't like them but applaud the sentiment) and whole bean Counter Culture coffee for sale.

          Instead of frozen pizzas and microwaved biscuits (the old standard), today's lunch special was homemade chicken salad on a croissant. I'd just eaten lunch so I didn't partake but I likely will this weekend.

        2. re: Rand

          The south estes farmers market website, if you want to see pics, etc is:

        3. When I went (toward the beginning) it was still pretty small, but still a good selection of flowers and plants. The vendors tended more toward bakers, herbs, flowers, cheese, that kind of stuff, rather than bulk produce. However, if it's expanded since then that may no longer be true.

          3 Replies
          1. re: dubedo

            Just back from Estes, and I thought it was fabulous. A great cross-section of vendors, fabulous selection. Among the stuff I got:

            peaches (from a 'guest' vendor, a little farther afield)
            fresh-never-frozen chicken from fickle creek farm, my favorite meat guys
            just-picked carrots
            garlic, sweet onions
            bread from an italian baker; (gorgeous loaf, working hard to keep my hands off 'til dinner)
            an oatmeal sandwich loaf, from a woman who also makes incredibly beautiful quilts
            tomatoes (greenhouse still, but ok; I couldn't wait anymore)
            baby zucchini squash
            perfect cut flowers, zinnias and sunflowers, etc
            fresh farmer's cheese

            So a great selection, great parking, not nearly the carrboro mob scene that turns me off a little.

            I'll still stick w/Hillsborough, but I understand these guys had to go somewhere this Spring to get selling while the County dinked them around, and I'm glad they're doing well.


            1. re: josephin

              Well, the county didn't dink them around, the lady who runs the "Hillsborough Farmers' Market" dinked them (and everybody) around; she refused to resolve the problems between her and the [now-named] "Farmers of Orange" who operate at the Estes Farmers Market; the county paid $ to arbitrate between the two groups, but she wouldn't budge... so they just moved

              So for awhile, Hillsborough pretty much had three farmers' markets!

              I prefer the Orange County Farmers Market, by the way... it's run much better (although with tax payers' $).

            2. re: dubedo

              The South Estes Farmers Market has much more produce now... they seem to be getting better every sat since opening, and have added different items such as peaches and strawberries!. In terms of produce, they have lots, but I suggest getting there before 11:30 am to have a better pick. There are several tents where you can find fresh zucchini, squash, lettuce, carrots, onions, etc, etc...
              There seems to be alot of variety at this new market, and I frequent it every Saturday morning (and never have a problem finding a parking place close).
              The carrboro market is very crowded and it is sometimes hard to get to the front of the line at tables to even buy what you came for, not to mention the horrible parking situation.

            3. I'm glad to hear it's doing well, makes much more sense to hold the market at U-mall than the original thought to have it atop the rosemary parking deck - serves a greater geographic area in combination with Carrboro this way. I will probably give it a shot some time, but for now it's the Carrboro market for me since I'm an early bird and it's walking distance from home (plus my favorite farmers are doing the Chapel Hill Market).

              1. South Estes Farmer's Market is the only way I start my Saturday morning! Fresh veggies, fruits, and for those who aren't vegetarian, meat and seafood abound. There is almost always local music, a variety of fresh breads and desserts, jellies and preserves, fresh herbs, and cheeses, and flowers for your table. The vendors are personable, and endearing - each one unique and knowledgeable about his or her product.

                I rarely buy anything at all from the grocery store anymore, as what these farmers are selling is a far superior product, at a better price, and I know who's growing it, and I know that it was picked and/or baked only hours before I buy it, not days or weeks being shipped from all over the world and hauled in the back of a truck.

                South Estes Farmer's Market gets my vote - on a weekly basis. Oh, and be sure to get there early; otherwise, I'm going to go home with the best looking veggies, instead of you!