My Saturday morning ritual goes like this: Wake up early, make coffee, walk the dog, then head to the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market.
Established in 1874, the Curb Market is one of the oldest farmers markets in North Carolina, and it is truly my happy place. Boasting more than 120 vendors, you’ll find everything from fresh produce and humanely-raised meat to pottery, soaps, knitwear and all manner of value-added products. About 250,000 customers visit the market each year with peak summer days drawing 4,000 to 7,000 people. One of the most important features of the market is that it’s a producer-only farmers market meaning products must be grown or made within 100 miles of Greensboro.
Recently, the building where the Curb Market has been located continuously since 1963 received a makeover. During this time, vendors set up at Revolution Mills. This Saturday, the market reopens in its permanent home, and customers will finally get to see the improvements.
“Over the six-week refurbishment timeframe, the project scope and process included removing numerous layers of paint to the original lathe ceiling,” said executive director Lee Mortensen. “We really weren’t sure what we would get at the end of the process, but in the end, what you will see in the ceiling reveal is a combination of mottled grey, white stains and the original wood grain. It’s a subtle look that we think appropriately references the patina of a long-standing weathered barn.”
In addition to the ceiling portion of the project, walls were refreshed with fresh paint, and large support beams have been painted black to punctuate the unique barrel shape of the building. Concrete floors received a new polish and seal, and wayfinding aisle markers will help shoppers find their favorite vendors easily.
Over the past few years, the historic market has undergone significant improvements through grants, donations and sponsorships. Most recently, the market established a chef-worthy professional demonstration kitchen and cafe area, which has been rented by local chefs for camps and cooking lessons, and by organizations for local events. The market has also stepped up its food security programming. SNAP recipients can take advantage of the “Double Snap” program, which matches funds up to $15, while Guilford County residents who possess an Orange Card through Guilford Community Care Network receive $10 in free-market tokens every week.
Saturday markets feature live cooking demonstrations with local restaurateurs, music and tables set up outside to linger over coffee or snacks. Monthly pancake and breakfast fundraisers follow a theme: peaches, strawberries, and other fruits during summer, and chili cookoffs, stone soup, and root vegetables in winter. There’s also an information desk that is open for the duration of the market with a staff member there to answer any questions visitors may have.
Updates will be unveiled to the public at the annual Love Your Local French Toast Breakfast Fundraiser this Saturday, Feb. 15. Look for me at one of my favorite vendor booths below.
You can’t miss the display piled high with tartlets, cheesecakes, quiche, truffles, croissants and other beautiful European-style pastries. This is artisan baking at its finest.
Quaker Acre Apiaries
The market’s “King Bee,” Bill Mullins has various products “from the hive,” such as honey, honey vinegar, beeswax candles, beeswax ornaments and plenty of farmer stories, too.
One of North Carolina’s pioneer farmstead cheesemakers, you’ll find classic and herb-flavored goat cheeses and other goat milk products such as fudge, gelato and skyr (a soft, Nordic-style cheese similar to drained yogurt). They have Scotch eggs, too!
Cornerstone Garlic Farm
Don’t let the name fool you; the skilled, sustainable farmers from Cornerstone also sell shallots, mushrooms, eggs, dips, seasonings and more. I love their “rainbow” mix of cherry tomatoes, which has 20 varieties of different sizes and colors.
These sixth-generation farmers harvest 50 acres of apples and peaches between July and February each year. They also have blackberries, apple butter, jams, and apple cider. I especially love trying some of the lesser-known varieties of apples they offer.
Smith Century Farm & N.C. Fresh Seafood
George Smith splits his between his Gibsonville farm and the Carolina coast to bring customers the freshest seafood, produce, potted plants and more. He’s also just an awesome guy!
When Barrack Obama visited the market in 2008, he left with one of Margariette Graves’s pound cakes. Her baked goods are made with love and feature ingredients such as pecans, sweet potatoes and zucchini. Her smiling face might be my favorite thing about the Curb Market.
I wasn’t always a jelly addict, but ever since I discovered Terri Rivers’s booth, I’ve been consuming more than my fair share of toast. Unique flavors such as rose petal, dandelion and peach habañero add something special to my breakfast table, and she has pickled veggies, too.
Sir Charles Gourmet Sauces
Husband-and-wife team Charles and Carmencita make the best barbecue sauces in town. From mild and tangy to hot and spicy, they’ve got it all. Stop by for a free sample!
The best vegan sauerkraut and kimchi in the Triad! Your gut will thank you.
That Peanut Guy
Seriously the best peanuts I have ever tasted. If you are or know a peanut lover, this is your spot.
My two fave soap vendors
Gray Rock Soap uses homegrown herbs, flowers and honey from their own hives in the bars. Meanwhile, Nailah’s Shea uses certified organic ingredients, essential oils, fair trade shea butter and pure cane sugar in her whipped shea butter, soap and exfoliating scrubs.
Davina van Buren is an award-winning journalist who writes about food, travel, design and wellness. Find her on social media @HighPointFoodie.
The Greensboro Farmers Curb Market is open Saturdays from 7 a.m.–noon year-round and Wednesdays from 8 a.m.–noon seasonally from mid-April through October.