Black Farmers Market fosters support for a community

by | Aug 4, 2020

National Farmers’ Market Week takes place Aug. 2-8, 2020. Farmers’ markets across North Carolina offer communities access to fresh, nutritious food, while also stimulating local economies. National Farmers’ Market Week is a time to celebrate those who produce fresh foods in our state. Whether you visit a roadside stand or the State Farmers’ Market, take time this week to support local growers while receiving fresh food in return.

If you travel across the state you can find markets of all shapes and types. One market, held bimonthly in Durham and Raleigh, has a mission of bolstering community support for black-owned farms and businesses.
The Black Market started in 2016, and last year the focus shifted to include more farmers. The market features about 50 vendors, made up of 60 percent farmers and 40 percent local vendors selling items such as soap, crafts, jams and jellies, juices and jewelry.

“The market fulfills a niche for representation of black farmers and businesses in the community,” said Crystal Taylor, one of the Black Farmers Market founders. “We do this as our way of helping this community thrive. It is a beautiful feeling to present this space to people.”

“We are really particular and intentional when choosing vendors,” Taylor added. “It is difficult to not accommodate everyone but we don’t want to have too many vendors offering the same products.”

In addition to fresh produce, crafts and flowers and plants, shoppers can find a variety of meat products, including seafood offered by Apex Seafood Market. This Saturday, Aug. 9, fresh seafood offerings will include N.C. mountain trout, N.C. peel-and-eat and peeled and deveined shrimp, crabcakes, crablegs, and N.C. lump crab. “Depending on what the fisherman are catching, we might also have flounder, black drum and grouper,” said Tyrone Hightower, owner of the Apex Seafood Market. “If you are planning to visit the market on Sunday, check out our Facebook page around 6:30 p.m. on Saturday for a complete list of seafood available.”

Hightower has participated in the Black Farmers Market since it started. He also sells his seafood at other markets including the Apex, Holly Springs and Raleigh’s Midtown farmers markets. Hightower likes the sense of community of the Black Farmers Market. “It allows us to showcase black farmers and fisherman, a group that has been traditionally underrepresented.

“However, the best thing about the market is that any and all people are welcome to come,” he added. “It is truly a welcoming mix of people of all races who come up to support us. It is one of my best-selling markets.”

The market is held every second Sunday in Durham and fourth Sunday in Raleigh. The next Farmers Market event is Aug. 9 at 411 West Chapel Hill Street in Durham from 1 to 4 p.m. The next Raleigh market is Aug.23 at the SE Raleigh YMCA, 1436 Rock Quarry Road, from 1 to 4 p.m.

For the most up-to-date market information, check out the Black Farmers Market on Facebook.