Search & Social

Let my videos help you become a wildly good cook!

Steamy but not explicit spoof of "Fifty Shades" has romance, laughs, and my favorite recipes.

buy @ Amazon local

100 recipes, 4 seasonal menus, 20-minute starter plan, tips, more!

buyAmazon IndieBound


Visit the Cook for Good blog for wildly good cooking tips, money-saving ideas, book reviews, and more from Linda Watson and guest bloggers.

Entries in state farmers market (5)


Guide to Farmers' Markets in North Carolina's Research Triangle Park Area

All farmers' markets are not like your farmers' market any more than all cooking is like your mom's cooking. But until you've sampled the alternatives, it can be hard to realize just how different the experience can be. Use this guide to find your kind of market in RTP: the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill area of central North Carolina. I hope it inspires you to try other markets wherever you are.

I've added side trips for each market, so this is also a green visitors' guide to the Raleigh area.

farmers market bounty

market vibe
summer hours other hours organic? parking side trip address
Western Wake Farmers' Market Best for locavores who want a friendly, low-key experience. This low-stress market was founded by moms who wanted better food for their kids. You'll find a great mix of selection, price, and convenience. The excellent vendors and the large South Asian populace of Morrisville and Cary make this a more diverse market than it seems at first glance. Take time to enjoy free ...

Click to read more ...


Kids won't eat their greens? Try raw collard stems! Really!

When I first saw Scott Smith, the first organic farmer at North Carolina Farmers' Market in Raleigh, he was telling a French family about Southern greens. Some people find collards bitter, he said. But kids like to eat the stems raw.

Scott broke off a piece of raw collard stem and offered it to Dylan (right) and his mother. "Try it," Scott urged. "It's sweet."

Dylan hesitated, bite, and broke into a big smile. "It's good!"

Click to read more ...


Market Report: plenty of produce despite temps in 100s

The vibe at the State Farmers' Market in Raleigh is different before 8 in the morning. Shoppers stride purposefully, trying to finish before they wilt. More than half the stands were open, with others still setting up and some with tables still draped in sheets. It's been so hot here that I expected to see less produce available, but the tables were heaped with peaches, melons, peppers.

Please shop at your farmers' market this week. It would be a real shame to have the farmers and their crews go through all that hot work and then not be able to sell their harvest.

Click to read more ...


Scored collards and more for local New Year's Day feast

I was SO happy to pull into the State Farmers' Market lot today and see Mrs. Wise in her usual place at the Wise Farm booth. She's there nearly every day except Sunday with great produce and great advice. She's here with her son, Gary, who owns the Mt. Olive farm with his wife Teresa.

My New Year's Day party will now have excellent local collards despite the snow! Mrs. Wise said that they'd run out of collards Wednesday, but they had plenty today at 9:00. They will be at the market on Friday and Saturday, so please drop by to get some yourself. Gary pointed out their excellent bok choy, which they've planted under row covers this year with good results. Those amazing tomatoes come from green houses and they will have hoop-house strawberries soon.

I got five big bunches of collards, red and yellow onions, and sweet potatoes. At other booths, I picked up two gallons of apple cider, and some apples.

I got local corn meal at the grocery store.

What's cooking for New Years' Day? Hoppin' John, Tasty Tahini Collards, and corn bread from Wildly Affordable Organic, and a new chocolate cake I'm developing. Other folks are bringing salads, fruit, and more greens. Should be fun!

What are you cooking for New Year's Eve or New Year's Day? Any special local dishes or ingredients?


NC Christmas Trees at Bargain Prices this Year

I set a speed record for picking our family Yule Tree this year. I started at Cole's Phoenix display at the State Farmers' Market in Raleigh. I'm originally from Lansing, Michigan, which started my attachment to Cole's years ago. Maybe this isn't quite rational, since they are from Lansing North Carolina. But Cole's often has terrific trees, so I always start there.

This year, the first tree I saw was a contender and the second tree was the winner! I had the tree trimmed and in the truck in less than 10 minutes, topped with a fresh wreath. Total cost: only $65. The tree is about 8 feet tall and 7 feet wide towards the bottom. It's very full and fresh, drinking water like an athlete.

I had lived in Raleigh for decades before realizing that the Farmers' Market had such a fantastic selection of trees at such terrific prices. You can find tiny trees, huge trees, very symmetrical trees, and trees with rough spots that you can face towards the wall, all at good prices. I've paid $85 or more for an equivalent tree at single-vendor lots near the State Fairground, back when I had a high-tech job and lots of moola.

This week I checked out the prices and selections at other Raleigh tree lots. Here's what I found:

  • Best price: $30 for 6-7' trees at the Food Lion
  • Next-best price for somewhat taller and fuller trees: $50 at Whole Foods
  • Good selection and good cause: the Optimist Club offers a good mix of trees on Blue Ridge Road between Rex Hospital and the Olde Raleigh Village Shopping Center. I would have paid about $90 there for a similar tree/wreath combo, but would have gotten a $5-off coupon for next year and would have been helping a good cause.
But I still like to go to the State Farmers' Market. Look at this greeting!

All the trees at all the lots I visited were from North Carolina. According to the North Carolina Christmas Tree Association:

North Carolina has 1,600 growers producing an estimated 50 million Fraser fir Christmas trees growing on over 25,000 acres. Fraser Fir trees represent over 90% of all species grown in North Carolina. The North Carolina Christmas Tree Industry is ranked second in the nation in number of trees harvested.
The artificial vs. real tree debate heats up every Christmas. Many artificial tree fans cite being able to use the same tree for decades. But as trees age, they may become dangerous, according to a study by EPA and other researchers:
Artificial Christmas trees made of PVC also degrade under normal conditions. About 50 million U.S. households have artificial Christmas trees, of which about 20 million are at least 9 years old, the point at which dangerous lead exposures can occur.

Happy and safe holidays to you all!