Looking for open-air shopping? Durham farmers market Perkins Orchard has you covered

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Perkins Orchard is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The quaint Durham farmers market is quite literally a breath of fresh air.

"What's at our market is in the environment that it grows in. So these things are in the natural setting. The fruits are getting riper by the hour in this wonderful heat."

27-year-old Donovan Watson runs the family business.


What was once an honor-system fruit stand, started by his grandfather, has turned into a multi-million dollar operation connecting 300 farmers across 12 states with local consumers.

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Durham residents Yasmin and Mike Marcantonio are regulars.

"It actually feels safer than the grocery store so yeah, we were excited to come," said Yasmin.

"I think you can tell people were probably getting a little antsy sitting at home. As long as people are doing it in a safe way I think it's okay," said Mike

Watson is so passionate about produce, he recently ran for Commissioner of Agriculture.

"Came up short but we got 170,000 votes statewide so I definitely got my feet wet and I'm still actively engaging myself in the community."

The name Perkins Orchard is derived from a fruit orchard that remains on the west side of the property. But now the market is known for a white bag that can be filled with any produce you want for $20.

The plan is to stay open every day for the rest of the year. Rain or shine, holiday or not. Pandemic or not.

"We only touch the product one time and that's to put it on the shelf," said Watson. "Doesn't have to touch the conveyor belt. Doesn't have to touch the cashiers' hands. You pick your product, you fill your bag and you're on your way."

Back to seclusion, with high-quality fruits and veggies.
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