Dedicated shoppers trekked into the Carrboro Farmers’ Market two hours early this Saturday, April 6, to celebrate the market’s extended spring hours. It opened at 7:00 a.m. for the first time this season.
Saturday’s Rise and Shine Opening Celebration treated shoppers to complimentary fresh scrambled eggs, biscuits and baked goods.
The extended hours come as a precursor for the Wednesday market that will open this week at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 10 will feature Matt and
Sheila Neal of Neal’s Deli in a food tasting event, and will be followed by a food truck rodeo.
Erin Heiderman, the market manager, said she’s excited about the change to the spring hours.
“We always have a loyal crew who’s there bright and early,” Heiderman said. “I think people get pretty excited about the extended hours. They know the early bird gets the worm— or the produce.”
Heiderman said she relies on a dedicated crew of volunteers to help run both the Saturday and Wednesday markets.
Noah Balamucki, a junior at Carrboro High School, volunteered at Saturday’s market for the first time. Balamucki said it was an early morning for him, but he enjoyed the work.
“There’s so many nice people here,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun so far. And I’ve gotten to eat some of the food already, so it’s been great.”
Jeri Ann Guth and her daughter Zoe were among the many shoppers who braved the early light and capitalized on Saturday’s extended hours.
“We were so excited to get here early today,” Guth said. “It’s a great way to start the week. You get your produce and all of your vitamin D from the sun.”
Guth, a Hillsborough resident said she can’t wait for Wednesday’s market and food truck rodeo.
“I told Zoe she’s going to have to get her homework done early on Wednesday,” Guth said. “We’re both so excited.”
As the featured guests for the Wednesday opening, Matt and Sheila Neal said they have been looking forward to the event. The pair who own and operate Neal’s Deli, of 100 E. Main St., will be sampling food that was cooked and purchased from the market.
“We’re not entirely sure what all we’ll be tasting on Wednesday, but we’re excited,” Matt Neal said.
He said he and his wife, Sheila Neal, are frequent shoppers at the market. Sheila Neal in particular has a connection to the Farmers’ Market, as she was once the manager.
“We love the market,” Matt Neal said. “We buy a lot of stuff for the restaurant there and a lot of our groceries for home, too.”
Sheila Neal said she especially likes the Wednesday market because it’s often a showcase for new vendors.
“A lot of the new vendors come to the Wednesday market,” she said. “It gives us the opportunity to support the new farmers and help get their items out there.”
Heiderman said the Neals were an easy choice as the featured guests.
“We’ve had Matt and Sheila out at the market before, and they’re always great,” she said. “We love their food and they’re pretty well known. They’re a great choice for everybody.”
The food truck rodeo will begin at 6:45 p.m, Wednesday April 10, after the market closes and will feature five vendors from across Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Durham.
Ten percent of the proceeds from the food trucks will benefit Farmer Foodshare, an organization that donates food and resources to food-insecure families.
Chirba Chirba Dumpling is one of the featured trucks on Wednesday. Chela Tu, who works for the truck, said she expects a high turnout at the rodeo.
“I’m always excited to do something in Carrboro,” Tu said. “We’re only in Carrboro once a week, so a big event like this is exciting for us.”
The Chirba Chirba truck is featured at Cliff’s Meat Market on W. Main St. every Sunday afternoon.
Tu, a previous resident of Carrboro, said she’s a big fan of the Carrboro Farmers’ Market.
“I used to go all the time when I lived there,” Tu said. “I loved it. It turns into a social event— you get to know the farmers and shoppers.
“It’s as much a social activity as anything else.”
Heiderman said she thinks the food trucks will be a big draw on Wednesday.
“We had the trucks come last year for the market opening, and it was a huge hit,” she said. “It was a win-win for the trucks and everyone who got to eat their food.”
Heiderman expects 900-2,000 people will attend the opening, but said a lot will depend on the weather.
“We’re hoping for sunshine, but we’ll be out there regardless,” she added.
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