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Varmint

Raleigh: Moore Square Farmers Market

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The Moore Square Farmers Market in downtown Raleigh operates on Wednesdays from 10:30 until 2. It's a small market, but the produce is great, the prepared foods are top-notch, and the vendors are committed to making it work.

Well, it appears that traffic has been slow, causing some to be concerned about the future of the market. It would be tragic if this venture does not succeed, as the market is truly committed to local farmers and artisans.

So, what do you like about the MSFM? What don't you like? What messages could be sent to its Board that you think would increase the numbers of customers?


Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Would love to go... but I work in RTP and can't make it to Moore Square during the week. So I end up hitting the Raleigh Farmers' Market because it's open on the weekend.


...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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I shop at the MSFM regularly. I like that I can take the kids, they can get ice cream and watch/dance to the music, while I shop. I can pick up my chicken and eggs from Coon Rock, whatever veggies look great at the various vendors, and great cheese from Chapel Hill and Celebrity. I also pick up frozen beef while there. One stop shopping!

I personally like that it is on Wednesdays, since Saturdays are busy days, but, hey, I don't work. I hate shopping at NC Farmer's Market on weekends, due to the crowds, but many of the better, seasonal vendors only are there on weekends. Plus the cheese and meat vendors have left NC Farmer's Mkt. I am glad to see them at Moore Square on Wed!

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I can't imagine a worst time to hold a farmer's market then 10-2 on a weekday. Sure you overlap lunch, but that only covers one hour of the market and what is someone supposed to do with their produce when they go back to work?

There aren't enough food industry people and stay-home parents to make a market thrive at that time of day. Mid week markets work but they need to go 3-7 or something like that so people can hit them on the way home.

Obviously weekends are ideal, but back home in Santa Cruz, the Wednesday afternoon market was by far the bigger deal than the Saturday morning one.

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Move it to a better time, say Saturdays.

Um....I don't know how often you visit the Moore Square/City Market area on Saturdays but I can tell you that very often, especially from spring thru fall, there are other things going on at Moore Square on Saturdays, if not the entire weekend (meaning lots of congestion). Granted, I haven't visited the Wed. market so I have no idea as to how much space is needed for that operation. I wonder if the farmers' market could be moved to another area (Nash Square, near Municipal Bldg.) or a closed=off street (on the weekend, of course). Also....are you aware that 2 vendors/farmers are at City Market Produce on Blake St. on Thurs/Fri/Sat.? These guys mainly have seasonal produce, both local and some non=local, hoop cheese, side meat (nothing fancy) and various preserves. How is the parking situation on Wednesdays around Moore Square? Better at 10 AM than 12:30 PM? TIA for the info.


CBHall

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Difficult question.

I have not been this year and so I am speaking from dated and limited experience from last year but my general impression was that the quality / variety of produce (main reason I go) was not all that great and the prices were pretty high. Although I certainly support the locally and directly grown efforts, my sense is that those efforts really are still catering to a pretty limited audience / niche crowd willing to pay to support those sorts of things.

If volume is desired / required for survival, I think quality has to be top notch and that they may have to move away from some of their local sourcing requirements. For example, I heard folks in my office say they went last week and the stuff didn't look all that good and was really expensive. Some went back the next day and got stuff from the City Market folks all based on price and (perceived) quality. If quality and variety are great, you probably have a chance to lure some folks in that aren't as concerned with the locally grown aspect but quality has to sell the item.

I work downtown and think that a Wednesday lunch period probably makes the most sense if you are going to do a mid-week market. My sense is that more people are likely to make a special point of taking a slight detour at lunch than would plan to trek over and/or hang around late afternoon or after work unless they live immediately downtwon. I personally would go over on a Wednesday lunch as a break in the day but would be very unlikely to take the time to go after work.

We live close to downtown and so would personally support a Saturday morning market if you could pull that off on a full-scale basis. Wonder if that would that create any conflicts with some of the current vendors and other markets?

At any rate, I think there are likely to be many many more people downtown willing to make a short detour mid-day on a Wednesday than would be willing to make a special trip downtown on Saturday.


Edited by Guilty Gourmand (log)

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I agree about variety, at least for vegetables, due to the requirement that the produce be local and that the grower be present at the booth. So, right now, they mostly have greens, asparagus, strawberries, and other "seasonal" items. If people are getting other items at the State market now, it is from a greenhouse, I would think. I was at Moore Square yesterday and admit that what I am mostly going for now, and I don't work downtown, is to pick up goat and cow cheese, beef and lamb. Last week, I picked up eggs and chicken. Then, while there, I pick up whatever seasonal veggies look good. I personally like that this market has that restriction, but could see how some people, who expect to do all their veggie shopping, would not appreciate what it has to offer.

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I haven't been yet this year, but loved going last season. Two gripes. I don't work downtown, so I have to find parking and pay - I realize this isn't an issue for most folks they intend to serve. The other was that if I didn't get there right when the market opened, the farmers ran out of stuff. Maybe that was first-year planning problems. There were tons of people out there every time I went (even on scorching days). I had to wait in a line 5 deep for bread.

Maybe it's "sophomore slump" - the newness, and attendent publicity, is off. I feel guilty now because it's a great thing for local items and it should stay with that restriction - it's hard to find similiar items at the big FM.

Are they promoting the market to residents moving into all the new downtown housing being constructed?

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Add Saturday to the mix, especially if it means losing it.

If you prefer to go on Wed., go then. If they cant do it on both days then perhaps Saturday will save the thing, but I think it needs to whatever is necessary at this point. If that means poor parking then so be it, it would just really be unfortunate to see it fail.


The complexity of flavor is a token of durable appreciation. Each Time you taste it, each time it's a different story, but each time it's not so different." Paul Verlaine

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