Durham Roots Farmer’s Market Makes Eating Local Fun!

DUrham Roots FM Banner

(Disclosure: Honored to partner with the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Got To Be NC Poultry Promotion to bring you this blog post and recipes using a NC Turkey from Blue Whistler Farm)

Hi all, I am very excited to bring you this blog post about the Durham Roots Farmers Market and the health benefits of eating locally sourced meats and and produce.

The Durham Roots Farmers’ Market at Northgate opened in April 2016 and is a producers-only market. You won’t find arts and crafts or food trucks but what you will find are local farmers selling some of the best meats, cheeses, produce, plants and flowers around. The market brings farmers from Durham County who are passionate for and enthusiastic about everything they grow. The Durham Roots Market is small, with about 5 – 10 vendors each week, and growing each year. Having visited the market a few times now, I can truly say it is a delightful experience. With a market this small, it is easy to meet and chat with the farmers one on one and really learn about their offerings and how to prep and cook with the meat and produce they sell. Every farmer I spoke with gave me recipe ideas to consider.

Location and Time: Durham Roots Farmer’s Market, Saturdays 8-Noon, Northgate Mall, 1058 W. Club Boulevard, off the Gregson Street exit adjacent to the movie theater. There is ample parking.

Blue Whistler FM Turkeys

The Farms represented at the Durham Roots Farmers Market include: Blue Whistler Farm, Architectural Trees, Bull City Farm, Bumpnose Road Farm, Dandie’s Farm, Sankofa Farm and Textbook Plantery.

For this blog I was tasked to work with farm raised turkey from Blue Whistler Farm. I wanted to create recipes that appealed to both adults and children alike, and were simple and easy to prepare. The recipes below (Turkey Chili, Turkey Burgers, Turkey Meatballs) are all lunch or dinner friendly. All freeze well and can be frozen in individual containers or freezer bags to use as needed.

Farm Fresh Eggs

What I enjoy most about eating local is the ability to eat food that is fresh and support our local farmers and help sustain our local Agriculture. In addition to shopping with your local farmers, the Durham Roots Market also hosts several Cooking Demo’s throughout the year. Come on by TOMORROW, Saturday, Sept 30th at 10:30am and watch as Chef Aldrich from Local 22 Kitchen and Bar cooks up a quick and easy duck meal that will have you eating dinner in no time. Of course samples will be available to try too. Duck is a delicious meat that doesn’t have to take hours to make and Chef will have you wanting to cook it at home in no time.

DUrham Roots Cooking Demo

Local Farmer’s Markets are popping up everywhere, making it easier to find local meats and produce to bring home to make healthy meals for the whole family. Here are just a few reasons to consider a trip to the Durham Roots Farmer’s Market:

Farm fresh: Fruits and vegetables have been hand picked picked by the farmer that morning as opposed to traveling, un-ripe, long distances, to finally sit on a grocery store shelves.

Seasonal: Shopping the Farmer’s Market allows you to eat what is locally available and in season. This gives you an opportunity to try many different fruits and vegetables throughout the year, some of which you would never find at a grocery store.

Tastes better: This is probably why I am adamant about shopping at the Farmer’s Market. Let’s take the tomato for example. Ever enjoyed a farm fresh tomato sandwich on white bread with Duke’s mayo? delicious right! Now can you honestly say you get the same euphoric feeling with a store bought tomato? Not a chance! This is because that tomatoes at the Durham Roots Market are picked at the peak of ripeness and are as fresh as fresh can be when it gets to you. It’s amazing how fresh food can change the way you eat. All of a sudden your dishes come alive when cooking and everything has a more vibrant flavor.

Variety: The farmer’s market offers a vast array of fruits and vegetables while industrial farms tend to grow only a few varieties of popular vegetables. These farmer’s enjoy bringing variety by offering fruits and vegetables you won’t be able to find at your local supermarket.

Supports local economies: Most farmer’s market produce is grown within 50- 100 miles of the market. “This means that the farms are a source of local jobs and likely to spend money they make on their produce in the local economy’, says Huff Post. The Durham Roots Market Farmer’s are all from Durham County. 

Eat Local: When you shop at the farmer’s market, you know where your food has been. You can talk to the farmer and learn about their farms growing techniques and processing practices. Throughout the year, many of these farms host “Farm Days” where you and your friends and family can spend a day on the farm and see first hand their growing practices and often times enjoy playing with the animals. There is nothing like frolicking with baby goats and chickens and your kids will walk away with a better understanding and pride for the food they eat.

Social: Going to the Farmer’s Market is FUN!! It’s a great place to meet other members of your community or bump into your favorite chefs shopping for food they will serve in their restaurant that evening. It’s a gathering place for friends and family and on many occasions the Farmer’s Markets offer live music or cooking demonstrations. It’s a wonderful way to spend a morning or afternoon.




Sat Sept 30 at the market

 There are many benefits to substituting ground turkey for pork or beef. At Livestrong.com they really sum it up well.

“Substituting ground turkey for ground beef in burgers, tacos, spaghetti sauce, meatloaf and other recipes can reduce the saturated fat and cholesterol in your meals. Low in calories and high in protein, ground turkey contributes to your daily requirements for B-complex vitamins and selenium. To reduce the fat content in ground turkey, choose varieties that are fat-free or that contain no more than 10 percent fat.

Nutritional Content

A 4-oz. serving of raw, fat-free ground turkey has 127 calories, 2.21 grams of fat, 62 milligrams of cholesterol and 27 grams of protein. Vitamins and minerals in this serving include 11 milligrams of niacin, 1 milligram of vitamin B-6 and 257 milligrams of phosphorous. According to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, meat sold as “ground turkey” must consist of muscle cuts without any added fat, other than the fat that occurs naturally in the attached skin.

Health Benefits

One 4-ounce grilled, fat-free turkey burger provides roughly 48 percent of the daily value of protein, or the amount you need to consume each day for healthy body function. Protein provides the structural material for your cells, tissues, organs and fluid compounds, such as hormones and enzymes. This turkey burger provides 50 percent of your daily value of niacin, a B-complex vitamin that promotes healthy blood circulation, facilitates glucose metabolism and helps control your cholesterol levels. Vitamin B-6, another nutrient in ground turkey, contributes to healthy nerve function and offers protection against heart disease. Ground turkey is also rich in selenium, a trace mineral that supports immunity, controls thyroid function and protects your body against the cellular damage that can lead to cancer or other chronic diseases.”

Reducing Red Meat

If you’re trying to cut back on red meat to reduce the calories, saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet, replacing ground beef with fat-free ground turkey in your recipes can help you meet your goals. A 4-ounce serving of ground beef consisting of 95 percent lean meat has 155 calories, compared to the 127 calories in the same amount of fat-free ground turkey. This serving of ground beef has more than twice as much fat — 5.65 grams of fat in a serving of ground beef versus 2 grams in ground turkey. Both beef and turkey contain cholesterol, but 4-ounces of lean ground beef has 70 milligrams, as opposed to 62 milligrams in turkey.

Fat and Cholesterol

The American Heart Association advises that you limit the saturated fats in ground turkey and other animal-based foods to 7 percent of your daily calories and have no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day to prevent high blood cholesterol and heart disease. The fat in a 4-ounce turkey burger represents 1 percent of your daily calories if you are following a 1,800-calorie diet. The cholesterol in a ground turkey burger represents 18 percent of your recommended daily cholesterol intake.

Food Safety

To prevent food poisoning from bacteria such as Salmonella, cook burgers or meatloaf made with ground turkey thoroughly to a temperature of 165 degrees F, advises the USDA. Refrigerate uncooked ground turkey at 40 degrees F or colder and store for no more than two days. Keep cooked ground turkey refrigerated and store for no more than four days. After preparing recipes with raw ground turkey, wash your hands, utensils, countertops and cutting boards thoroughly to remove bacteria.”


Architectual Trees




Turkey Chili (yields 4-6 servings)



1.5 pounds ground turkey

1 Serrano Chili, seeded and minced

1/2 Medium Sweet Onion, chopped

2 10oz cans mild Rotel

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

1 15.5 oz can of Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 packages favorite Chili seasoning

2 Tbsp oil (I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

1/4 Cup water or more if needed to thin it out

Salt and Pepper to taste


Heat oil in 3-4 quart saucepan over medium heat

Sweat onion, Serrano pepper, garlic for 4-5 minutes, until onion is translucent.

Add Rotel, Diced Tomatoes, Beans and Chili seasoning, stir together well

Add water as needed to thin out chili to desired liking.

Let simmer on low for 30 minutes or until beans are tender to the bite.


Greek Style Turkey Burgers with Tzaxziki Sauce (yields 16 burgers)



2 lbs Ground Turkey

1/2 Sweet Onion, diced small

4 Cloves Garlic, minced

I bunch cilantro, finely minced

I minced Serrano pepper, seeded, minced

2 Tbsp Fresh Mint, finely minced

1/2 Cup Crumbled Feta

Cooking Oil Spray


Mix all ingredients together

Form into 2 inch balls, then flatten with hand to 1/2 an inch

Spray frying pan or electric flattop with cooking oil

When oil is glistening, add burgers to fill pan, but not overcrowded

Cook for 5 minutes, flip and cook for 3-4 minutes more until golden brown and cook through.

Repeat until all burgers have been cooked.

Tzaiki Sauce

1 English Cucumber, peeled and grated

2 Cups Greek Yogurt\

1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper

3-4 Medium Cloves Garlic, minced

3 Tbsp Mint

2 Tbsp Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Pepper


Place grated cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with salt, stir to mix

Let cucumber sit for 15-20 minutes to drain. The salt will help to draw out the liquid in the cucumber.

In the meantime place all other ingredients in a bowl.

Squeeze all excess liquid from cucumber and add to the bowl with other ingredients.

Mix well and refrigerate for 2-4 hours to let flavors develop.

To Serve


Arugula, Bibb Lettuce, or any desired leafy green

Sliced Cucumber

Julienned Carrots


Cut off 1 inch of one end of pita

Spread Tzatziki on both side of inside

Place a layer of Arugula in the pita and top with 1-2 turkey burgers (I cut mine in half so I had two burgers out of one)

Layer in the cucumber and carrot.

Serve with mixed veggies on the side and some extra tzatziki for dipping


Turkey Meatballs (yields 30 meatballs)

(Picture to Come)

1 1/2 Pounds Ground Turkey

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1/2 Sweet Onion, diced

2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced

2 Tbsp Mixed Fresh Herbs such as basil, oregano and parsley, or any desired combination

2 Tbsp Sundried Tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed of excess water

1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper

1 Egg

1/2 Cup Plain Breadcrumbs (more if needed. you do not want the mixture to wet)

Salt and Pepper to taste


Heat oven to 350 degree

Heat Olive Oil in pan, when the oil is glistening, add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until onion is translucent (4-5 minutes). Drain oil and set onion and garlic aside to cool to room temperature.

To make meatballs add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix by hand until all ingredients are fully incorporated.

place a small amount of turkey mixture in the palms of your hand and roll mixture around to form a 2 inch ball.

Place on a non-stick baking sheet

Cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, turning them halfway through, until golden brown.

To Serve

Place 3-4 meatballs in a toasted roll, top with your favorite marinara sauce.

Sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top and broil until melted.

Serve with additional marinara sauce for dipping.

*This is a very versatile recipe and can be used multiple ways.

Meatballs and Spaghetti: Heat meatballs in your favorite marinara or pasta sauce and serve with spaghetti.

Serve meatballs (topped with marinara if desired) on a plate with a side of rice and choice vegetable.

Using your crockpot, heat meatballs with marinara and serve with toothpicks for a party pleaser.


Here are some additional recipes  from the #GotToBeNCChicken  #GotToBeNC blogger group! 

North Carolina Seared Duck Breast with Whiskey Glaze – Blue Whistler Farm – Hadassah Patterson – The World on a Table http://bit.ly/2fGWqwy

Sheet Pan Chicken from Chrissie Nelson Rotko at Off the Eaten Pathhttp://www.offtheeatenpathblog.com/2017/09/19/sheet-pan-chicken/

NC Farmers Market Feast from Nancie McDermott

Farmer’s Market Chicken Salad from Melissa at Adventures of a Frugal Mom

Crispy Roasted Chicken with Blueberry Gastrique from Nikki Miller-Ka at NikSnacks http://niksnacksonline.com/2017/09/crispy-roasted-chicken-with-blueberry-gastrique.html

Enjoy NC Chicken (and Duck!) From Your Farmer’s Market https://pastrychefonline.com/2017/09/19/north-carolina-chicken-duck/











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