The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday October 5th

Chapel Hill Farmers' Market looks to find new location

Ben Bergmann, a farmer from Fickle Creek Farm, has been a participant of the Chapel Hill Market for 12 years.   Taking place in the parking lot of University Mall, the market is has moved its location several times.  With the prospect of having a permanent home, Bergman says, "I wish it could be here permanently but it's a little tenuous to be honest.  It would be nice if we had a longer term commitment from the mall."
Buy Photos Ben Bergmann, a farmer from Fickle Creek Farm, has been a participant of the Chapel Hill Market for 12 years. Taking place in the parking lot of University Mall, the market is has moved its location several times. With the prospect of having a permanent home, Bergman says, "I wish it could be here permanently but it's a little tenuous to be honest. It would be nice if we had a longer term commitment from the mall."

The market has a list of basic requirements for its new home, such as permanent signage, parking for customers and access to restrooms and electricity. Finding a new home is a difficult process, but market manager Ali Rudel said the market is open to any options it comes across that can fit its tight budget.

“We really don’t have that much money,” said Rickie White, co-owner of Waterdog Farms in Hurdle Mills and board member of the Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market. “Well, we don’t have any money for a location.”

White said the new home should also be accessible by the public transit system, especially for students.

“I think there’s a little bit of a barrier for students getting on the bus and coming down to shop,” White said. “We would like to try to find a way to bridge that gap somehow.”

Though the market wants to find a new permanent location, some vendors are hesitant about the move.

“I think the reason why a lot of them want to stay is because we know our customers here, the market is doing really well, we enjoy the neighborhood we’re in, we enjoy the people we are with,” White said. “We don’t want to move too far away because we don’t want to make it more inconvenient for those customers that walk or bike here.”

The market asked the Chapel Hill Town Council for help finding a location earlier this year.

“Some of them are regular shoppers here,” he said. “They know us. They appreciate the resource.”

Council member Lee Storrow said there is strong support from the council.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to work with them to identify a location in the future,” Storrow said. “Sometimes we’re really fortunate and find partners and locations for community groups like this very quickly, and sometimes the process can take several months.”

The market features almost 40 vendors selling a variety of goods, such as fruit, vegetables, bread, tea, coffee, beer, seafood and chocolate. It also has artisan and crafts vendors.

Will Cramer, a farmer at Ever Laughter Farm in Hillsborough and president of the market’s board, said working in his hometown of Chapel Hill allows him to better connect with shoppers.

“Knowing that I’m feeding my community has been enjoyable,” Cramer said.

“That’s why the Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market means a lot to me.”

Cramer’s farm specializes in plants, flowers, eggs and vegetables. Ten-year-old Maddie Moore came to Cramer’s stand at the market to find fresh tomatoes.

“They are better for you and fresher, and I like making bruschetta,” Maddie said. “I think they are better than the ones you buy in the store. They taste better.”

While the market looks for a new home, White said it would continue to be a place where the community can gather, eat and have fun.

“You can hang out with other people, you can talk to them and bond over that tomato that you both think is really cool,” he said. “It’s definitely kind of a hidden jewel.”

city@dailytarheel.com



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