Keysha Hall avoided beets her entire life until a vendor at the Duke Farmers Market convinced her to sample them two years ago.
She took a bite of a pickled beet sample and fell in love.
“My mom loves them so much,” said Hall, a senior program coordinator for the Duke School of Nursing. “She makes me bring some to her when I visit her in New York.”
Hall will be among the shoppers at the Duke Farmers Market on April 26 when the season opens at the Duke Medicine Pavilion Greenway, outside of the Trent Semans Center for Health Education. The market, part of the Healthy Duke initiative, runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Friday through Sept. 27.
This year, 14 vendors will sell a selection of locally grown produce, pasture-raised meat, eggs, cheeses, homemade spices, freshly-baked bread, olive oil, body care products and microgreens, which are vegetables harvested before fully developed. Makus Empanadas, NOSH, Nazara Indian Bistro and Pomegranate Kitchen are among the vendors selling lunch during the season.
“The farmers market is a great resource because it increases Duke employees’ access to healthy, local foods,” said Harshpreet Walia, staff specialist and market coordinator with LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke’s employee wellness program. “Employees build relationships with the farmers and gain knowledge about what produce is in season.”
On opening day, April 26, employees can get fresh strawberries, broccoli and cucumbers from Lyon Farms, buy goat cheese from Elodie Farms and sample salsas from new vendor Cilantro Artisan Foods. Sustainable Duke will also feature its smoothie bike, where employees can pedal on to make their own smoothie.
Guests can also get a free health screening, learn about Duke’s sustainability efforts and shop for jewelry. Through the season, be on the lookout for special events with other community organizations at the market.
Peter Pavlis, administrative manager for Duke Orthopaedics, enjoys using his lunch break to shop at the market. He picks up multi-colored peppers, squash and heirloom tomatoes at the Lyon Farms stand. He just sautés the vegetables with a little salt and olive oil.
“I feel more in tune with nature and the environment when I shop at the farmers market,” Pavlis said. “Duke makes it easy to buy produce that’s fresh and in season. “
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