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Help Farmer Foodshare alleviate child hunger and provide CSAs to families in need

Farmer Foodshare, the nonprofit that collects donations at Triangle farmers' markets to buy fresh, local food for hunger relief agencies, is gearing up for a food and fundraising week.

From Tuesday to Saturday, Farmer Foodshare volunteers will be out at the markets trying to raise awareness about the problem of child hunger in North Carolina. (Our state is tied for first with Louisianna for children under 5 suffering from hunger.) One hundred percent of all donations will be used to purchase food from local farms for hunger agencies serving families. Or the public can buy food at the market and donate it at the Farmer Foodshare station for the same purpose. 

Many of the participating markets will offer children's activities and live music. 

Farmer Foodshare also is working with Chapel Hill's Community Empowerment Fund and Coon Rock Farm to purchase CSA's for two formerly homeless women. CSAs  or (community-supported-agriculture) cost between $300 and $500 and allow consumers to get a weekly share of produce from a local farm. The public can purchase a CSA from any local farmer and Farmer Foodshare will work with local agencies to connect that gift with a family in need. 

The participating markets and days next week (Sept. 18-22) include:

Tuesday: Fearrington Farmers Market
Wednesday: Carrboro Farmers Market
Thursday: Southern Village Farmers Market
Saturday: Carrboro Farmers Market, Chapel Hill Farmers Market, Chatham Mills Farmers Market, Durham Farmers Market, Eno River Farmers Market, Hillsborough Farmers Market, South Durham Farmers' Market, Western Wake Farmers Market

Durham Central Park, farmer's market officials surprised by food truck proposal

Officials with both the Durham Central Park and the Durham Farmers' Market said Tuesday they were surprised by city officials' proposal to ban food trucks and other vendors from the streets surrounding the park.

Both Matthew Coppedge, president of the park's board, and Charles Samuels, a member of the farmer's market board, said they were unaware a new policy was in the works. "I don't want people to think the Durham Farmers' Market had a hand in writing these regulations," Samuels said late Tuesday.

The public can attend a hearing about the new rules from 5:30-7 p.m. Monday, July 9 at Durham City Hall in the audit services conference room on the first floor.

Samuels said market manager Erin Kauffman met with the park's board, city parks and recreation officials and an assistant city attorney in March 2011 but hadn't heard anything from city officials since. Coppedge said the discussion centered on unlicensed and unauthorized vendors in and near the park when the market meets on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.

"We were looking for guidance from Durham Central Park and the city," Samuels said. (Samuels' partner, Phoebe Lawless, is a vendor at the market and owner of Scratch, a downtown Durham bakery.)

Both men added that their organizations support the park's vibrant scene. In fact, the park board teams up with food trucks to host a regular gathering of 30 or more food trucks that attracts hundreds of people to the park.

On Monday, Durham officials sent out a press release announcing the proposed food truck rules, which not only ban trucks around the park but also ban food trucks within 100 feet of the front entrance of a restaurant unless the truck has the owner's permission.

The rules appear to not only affect food trucks but anyone selling from "a vehicle, cart, stand, table, or other device or thing, whether or not wheeled." There is a similar restriction around the Durham Bulls ballpark.

Durham has long been considered the friendliest town in the Triangle to food truck entreprenuers. Raleigh and Chapel Hill are more restrictive towards food trucks, in part due to protest by restaurant owners. Neither city has as vibrant a food truck scene as Durham.

In Durham, many food trucks have had a long-standing practice of parking on the periphery of the farmer's market. In fact, Brian Bottger, who owns the Only Burger truck and restaurant, had recently obtained a permit to close off part of nearby Hunt Street to create a designated area for food trucks during the market. City officials told Bottger that his permit could be revoked if these new rules are approved.

On a recent Saturday morning, Bottger said there were not only food trucks but folks selling lemonade, t-shirts and frozen food. "I didn't see business licenses anywhere," said Bottger, who also serves on the Durham Central Park board. "It's getting a little chaotic. I can understand people wanting to get it under control."

Durham City-County Planning Supervisor Grace Smith, noted that the city wants to stay friendly to food trucks in Durham. She pointed out two other proposed changes help the trucks. City officials want to remove a rule that require trucks to move 60 feet every 15 minutes and another rule that required truck owners to obtain a mobile cart permit.

Go HERE to read the proposed rules.

Durham city officials consider revising food truck rules

Durham officials are considering banning food trucks from within 100 feet of the front entrance of a restaurant and from the Durham Central Park area.

Go HERE to see food writer Andrea Weigl's post about the new rules.

Save the date: SEEDS annual pie social on April 22

Who wouldn't want to celebrate Earth Day with slices of pie? The fourth annual SEEDS pie social is 1-5 p.m. April 22.

The event raises money for the Durham Inner-City Gardeners, an urban-farming leadership development program for teens. You may have seen these teenagers selling their produce at the Durham Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings.

The cost is $10 for four slices of pie. Almost 30 restaurants and several home bakers have signed up to donate pie, including Acme Food & Beverage Co., Foster's Market, Guglhupf and Papa Mojo's Roadhouse. The pies will range from classic sweet desserts to pizza. New this  year, a panel of judges will declare one pie as the Best in Town and the public will vote for a People's Choice favorite.

While eating pie, attendees can bid on lessons in the skill share auction where instead of buying stuff, you can learn a skill. Among the lessons up for bid are how to fly a plane, brew beer, bake bread and cook Indian food.

The garden is located at 706 Gilbert Street, Durham. The event will happen rain or shine. For more information, go to

Durham's Wednesday Farmers' Market starts this week

The Durham Farmers' Market opens its Wednesday market from 3:30 -6:30 p.m. this Wednesday. This weekly market runs until September.

Durham's Wednesday market also will feature monthly "quick and easy market dinner" cooking demonstrations. The first will be May 18 with Anne Everitt of Let's Start Cooking! school. The market is located at 501 Foster St., Durham.

For those looking for mid-week markets, the Carrboro Farmers' Market opened last Wednesday with two new vendors. They include Porcino, which sells artisan pasta, pizza dough, sauces, biscotti and focaccia; and The Pig, a Chapel Hill restaurant that will sell charcuterie out of a hot dog push cart.

That market is 3:30-6:30 p.m. at 301 W. Main St., Carrboro. 

Holiday treat advisory

From Bull's Eye correspondent Elizabeth Shestak:

Solstice Farmer's Market: The Durham Farmer's Market will have special hours mid-week since it will be closed Saturday, December 25 for Christmas, as well as New Year's Day. This Wednesday the market will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. - just in time to get ready for a cozy week of holiday cooking, baking and eating.

Guglhupf Stollen: The traditional Dresden-style Christmas Stollen, which has been featured on the Food Network's Food Finds, is back again at our favorite German cafe. The sugary, sweet leavened bread made with citrus peel, raisins, almonds and spices will be available in the store and via mail order every day through Christmas. But if you want to enjoy this for Christmas itself then don't wait too long - fresh stollen should be allowed to age for several days to develop its flavor. Visit www.guglhupf for details.

In face of forecast Farmers' Market carries on but county commissioners cancel

The town is in a tizzy over the predictions for nasty weather. While the Durham Farmers' Market promises to be open for business Saturday no matter what, and Duke Park residents are emailing each other about good spots for sledding, the Durham County commissioners have already called off Monday's work session in anticipation of ice, snow and general misery.

Chef Amy Tornquist at the market Saturday

Watts Grocery owner/chef Amy Tornquist will be at the Durham Farmers' Market from 10 a.m. to  noon Saturday serving up Zuke's country sausage with okra and lady pea salad.

Tornquist will be at the Carrboro Farmers' Market at Sept. 19 so mark your calendars if you are a fan.

Market report

Here's what's fresh at the Durham Farmers' Market tomorrow, as reported by market manager Erin Kauffman. The market is located in the Central Park Pavilion, 501 Foster St. Open 8 a.m. to noon each Saturday, rain or shine.

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