The Durham Farmer’s Market held its annual tomato tasting today, with Chef Shane Ingram and the Foursquare crew manning the fort; chopping up and dishing out tomatoes of every available variety from local farms. This is always one of those events that just makes Durham so unique, and the hazy morning fog and clouds burned off for a bright summer day.
Reading off the roster of tomatoes on the table sounds like a cross between a Woodstock festival and open mic night: Cherokee Purple, Sungold, Cherry, Celebrity, Paul Robeson, Tomimaru Muchoo, Valencia, Indigo Rose, and Jaune Flamme… It was interesting to taste similar varieties from different farms also!
One fun variety to read about was “Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter”. Come to think about it, that sounds like a sandwich… or the next hot craft beer. At any rate, there is quite a back story behind that one. Apparently, the gentleman behind the name developed his own hybrid and sold off enough seeds to pay his mortgage, which was a whopping $6,000.00. Ahh, the golden days of farming!
A few of the farms contributing today were Vollmer, Edna Lees, Hurtgen Meadows, Flat River Nursery, Brinkley Farms, Sunny Slope Greenhouses and several others. I’m sure all the farms’ participation was much appreciated!
This is always a fun event, and during the morning Chef Shane was dishing up grilled cheese – meunster on brioche bread. Delicious times were had by all!
Stopping by to visit vendors and farmers on the outskirts of market this time was pleasant as well, and it was nice to visit Castlemaine Farms briefly. They had a vibrant basket of their own tomato varieties, from heirlooms to common hybrids and other veggies. They also had jalapeno peppers, the flavor of which is a must for good salsa making.
On the lawn, children of all ages were waiting patiently for gigantic bubble blowing, and there were musicians of all ages stationed at different points through the market.
It was nice to spend some time working at the Durham Central Market tent! They have a great location in mind at the Self-Help development project in the works at the corners of Kent Street and West Chapel Hill Street. The Self-Help development was approved by the Durham Planning Commission on July 9th. The project will next go before the City Commissioners, likely next month.
At this point, Durham Central Market, the local and sustainably-focused cooperative grocer, is bolstering its campaign for financial investments and selling owner shares to complete the project. The store will be a community-owned and operated endeavor, similar to the Weaver Street Market model of Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Owners will be just that, owning the store with equal say and influence, as well as having the knowledge that profits are reinvested in the community.
It is projects like these and a myriad others that make Durham the cool, funky, jazzy, wholesome, and singular place that it is.
Happy Local Shopping!
Durham Farmers Market
Durham Central Market
Durham Central Market on Facebook