Friday, September 13, 2013

This Week at the Durham Farmers' Market

Just a few short months ago, this egg basket was packed full of eggs every week in Fickle Creek Farm's booth. Eggs were just about everywhere in the Market and even if you arrived at the Market at 11:58, you could almost certainly find a dozen eggs to bring home. As summer has dragged on, that has started to change bit.
Over the past few weeks, when I've been walking through the Market, several egg producers have stopped me to ask if anyone in the Market still has eggs. They want to know because their egg have sold out and they want to tell their customers where else to look for eggs in the Market. Farmer David Spain, of Spain Farm, told me last week that his hens and ducks egg production has really started to decrease in the past few weeks and he hasn't had as many eggs to bring to the Market. We collectively surmised that it may have something to do with the change of the season, perhaps the shortening days.
I came home and did a little bit of research on the internet about egg production. I came across several websites associated with universities with information about egg production on small farms or backyard flocks. Publications from the University of Oregon, LSU, and the Universities of Minnesota, Maine & Nebraska all concurred that egg production starts to decrease as the day length shortens. I found a very succinct quote from LSU poultry specialist Dr. Theresia Lavergne that sums up the effect that day length has on egg production. "The reproductive state of birds is regulated by the amount of light they receive each day," Lavergne says. "Hens are stimulated to lay eggs when day length increases and reduce egg laying when day length decreases."

Commercial egg producers compensate for the changing day lengths by putting their hens under artificial light to increase their production. But, the farmers that raise eggs and sell them at the Market don't use commercial models. The hens laying the eggs found at the Market have access to the outdoors, space to run around, lots of sunlight, an adequate supply of bugs to eat, and all of the other things that you can think of when imagine an idyllic farm scene. (Speaking of which, you'll be able to see lots of those idyllic scenes on next week's Eastern Triangle Farm Tour!) So, the hens that produce eggs for us here in Durham will follow these natural changes as the seasons change.

Like almost everything at the Market, eggs are a seasonal product. While they will be available every week of the year, the quantities will ebb and flow as the length of days decreases and increases. In February, eggs will once again be abundant and will be able to be found everywhere in the Market. In the meantime, if you are looking for local, farm-fresh, free range eggs at the Market, my advice would be to get to the Market on the early side.
See you at the Market,
Erin Kauffman
Market Manager
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Upcoming Events
Saturday September 14th, 9am-Noon - Story Telling by Cynthia Raxter
Wednesday September 18th, 3:30-5:30 - Quick Dinners from the Market Demo with Matt Lardie (

Saturday September 21st - Homefries Kid's Cooking Class! 9:30am.
Chef Aaron Vandemark from Panciuto will be teaching the kids how to make ICE CREAM! Spaces are still available. If you would like to sign your child up for the class, please email
Saturday & Sunday September 21& 22, 1-5pm both day - Eastern Triangle Farm Tour!
 This year's tour includes the following DFM vendors... Meadow Lane Farm, SEEDS, Wild Scallions Farm, Spain Farm, and Vollmer Farm along with 22 other great farms in Durham, Granville, Wake, Franklin and Chatham Counties! More info & tickets:
Saturday September 28th - Farmer Foodshare Challenge!

Saturday October 5th - 5th Annual CHEF CHALLENGE!!
This years chef contestants are.... Mike Hacker from Pie Pushers, Katie Coleman from Durham Spirits Co, and Justin Rakes from the soon to open restaurant The Salted Pig!!

Fresh this Week....
FRUITS: SCUPPERNONG GRAPES, Apples, Pears, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Raspberries, Peaches
VEGETABLES: SWISS CHARD, MIZUNA, BABY BOK CHOY, Acorn Squash, Amaranth Greens, Arugula, Beets, Bitter Gourd, Butterbeans, Butternut Squash, Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Delicata Squash, Edamame, Fresh & Dried Herbs (Basil, Catnip, Dill, Mint, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Sorrel, Parsley), Eggplant, Frisee, Green Beans, Green Onions, Garlic, Gourds, Kale, Lambs Quarter, Lettuce, Long Beans, Malabar Spinach, Okra, Onions, Peppers, Potatoes, Pea Shoots, Pumpkins, Purple Hull Peas, Radishes, Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms, Sweet Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Sweet Potato Greens, Tomatillos, Tomatoes, Turnips, Zucchini, and more
MEATS AND EGGS:  Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon/Cabrito, Lamb, Pork, Veal, Rabbit
Duck Eggs & Chicken Eggs
CHEESES:Fresh and aged COW and GOAT milk cheeses.
PLANTS: Bedding, House, and Flower Plants.
FLOWERS: Lisianthus, Tuberose, Gomphrena, Gladiolus, Dahlia, Zinnia, Mixed Bouquets
SPECIALTY ITEMS: RAW HONEY, creamed Honey, Flour, Cornmeal, Grits, Baked Goods including Pies, Breads, Cookies & Pastries, Fermented Foods, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Pastas, Perogies, Wool
CRAFTS: Pottery, Jewelry, Handmade Baskets, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Goats Milk Soaps, Body Butters, Lotions, Yarn, Roving, and much more...

Produce availability depends on weather conditions 

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