DURHAM — Opening day of the Farmers Market had blue skies, a light breeze and plenty to eat.
Eight vendors set up on the Town Green on May 17, including Perk on Wheels, Frank’s Wood Fired Pizza and Chet’s Italian Ice.
“It’s a soft start for people, but it will fill up as the year goes on,” said Market Master Kim Terrill, of Kim’s Cottage Confections.
The market can host up to 20 vendors, mostly produce farmers and prepared food vendors with a couple crafters.
“It’s a little bit early for a lot of fruits and vegetables right now,” Terrill said, adding that she anticipates more farmers will participate as the summer progresses.
This year, the market has extended its hours to 7 p.m. Customers can stop after work and leisurely have dinner, shop, listen to music without feeling rushed to finish by 6 p.m., the old ending time, Terrill said.
“We’re trying it to see how it goes,” she said.
The market is a self-sustaining operation, Terrill said, earning enough to cover live bands, advertising and other expenses.
Durham Public Library plans to host a children’s story time each week. Local nonprofits will have tables, and there will be live music.
Checking in with vendors
Frank’s Wood Fired Pizza, of Frank Andrews Mobile Kitchen in Clinton, is scheduled to serve every week throughout the season.
Chef Glen Dona said the mobile restaurant features basic pies and pizza specials, including a fresh asparagus, roasted onion, sun-dried tomato with a mozzarella/goat cheese blend and a poached pear, gorgonzola and bacon drizzled with local honey.
Co-owner Max DeMusis said the restaurant has served at the farmers market for years.
“Ever since we started here, we’ve been really well-received,” DeMusis said. “We see a lot of familiar faces every week and we just like the vibe here.”
The line was longest for Chet’s Italian Ice, a New Britain-based company that makes preservative-free and stabilizer-free Italian ice that blends the flavor with the rest of the ingredients, making it one product like a sorbet, not syrup on top of ice.
Server Brazos Ebner brought classic flavors lemon and strawberry, and featured unique flavors black raspberry and mango.
“Later on in the summer we’ll bring out lemon-basil and watermelon mojito,” Brazos said, “cool flavors like that.”
He said customer loyalty keeps his company coming back every year.
“It’s a lot of the same people that come back,” he said. “We love to serve them and slowly change out the flavors as the summer goes on.”
Al Kostuk’s sweet kettle corn, a longtime customer favorite, also drew a crowd.
“He’s got a good following,” Terrill said.
Kostuk, a volunteer firefighter and EMT, said he’s been coming for as long as the market has been going, about five years.
Durham’s Postmaster Jamie Giovannini said she visits the market every Thursday during the summer to get a $5 bag of kettle corn.
“He actually leaves kettle corn in the mailbox for his letter carrier all the time,” Giovannini said. “It’s so cool, and we fight over it at the post office.”
The market runs 3-7 p.m. Thursdays on the Town Green. Story time is scheduled for 5 p.m., weather permitting. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/durhamfarmersmarket.