New downtown Raleigh farmers market hopes to draw after-work crowd

sbarr@newsobserver.comJune 1, 2014 

Molly Watters, right, of Raleigh, selects a Yugoslavian red butterhead lettuce from Erika Gutierrez's Old Milburnie Farm stand. Raleigh City Farm is hosting a farmers market on Wednesdays at City Market off Moore Square in downtown Raleigh, N.C. With one week under their belts, the grand opening took place on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Catering to the after-work crowd, they are starting the new market with about 15 vendors.


— The organizers of a new downtown farmers market are hoping to give the after-work crowd a spot to pick up their fill of local fruits, vegetables and more.

Raleigh City Farm is hosting the weekly farmers market on Wednesdays at City Market, across the street from Moore Square.

The market under the historic building’s awning featured 15 vendors with a colorful array of goods – produce, flowers, breads, fish and eggs – at its grand opening Wednesday during its second week of operation.

“We’ve got a really great cast of vendors here, and a really great stage for it,” said Christopher Rumbley, the president and CEO of Raleigh City Farm.

Rumbley said the historic City Market, which opened nearly a century ago, is an ideal location. Not only does it have deep roots as a place to buy goods, but the market adds yet another food destination along Blount and Person streets.

Rumbley said Raleigh City Farm is looking for ways to help that corridor thrive. It is anchored at the north end by the farm and at the south end by Interfaith Food Shuttle.

“We’ve been developing a strategy around that geographical reality,” he said.

The market is intended as a complement to the Wednesday afternoon farmers market on Fayetteville Street’s City Plaza. Some vendors may even choose to set up stands in both locations, giving them two opportunities to sell with one trip downtown, Rumbley said.

Mary Humphrey and her husband, Mark Healy, walked from their downtown home with their sons Joe, 8, and Michael, 5, to pick up a delivery from the Community Supported Agriculture group they belong to and to check out the market’s other offerings.

“We’re excited about the potential for growth here,” she said.

The market could expand to include as many as 40 vendors, depending on how much foot traffic it draws, Rumbley said.

The market will include several of the producers from Raleigh City Farm, but the farm itself will take a managerial role at the new market.

Corbett Marshall, a partner in Kailyard Farm with Sean Barker, said the market is a chance to interact with customers, in addition to selling to restaurants or through distributors.

“This is a way for us to talk about what we’re doing,” he said.

The market is open from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays at 214 E. Martin St.

Barr: 919-836-4952; Twitter: @barrmsarah

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