Fresh Produce – and Fish – On the Go

Sign ups underway for Duke Mobile Farmers Market, which begins in April

Community members attend a recent market event held at Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Photos by Jared Lazarus, Duke Photography.
Community members attend a recent market event held at Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Photos by Jared Lazarus, Duke Photography.

Spring is just around the corner and with it comes the healthy and local offerings through Duke’s Mobile Farmers Market.

The mobile market, organized by LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke’s employee wellness program, allows Duke community members to sign up for a “CSA” or Community Supported Agriculture box with North Carolina produce. Employees who subscribe to a farm in advance pick up a box on Tuesdays at Sarah P. Duke Gardens or make arrangements with LIVE FOR LIFE to pick-up at a custom location.

This season, staff and faculty across Duke can select to receive fruits, vegetables and meat from six local vendors, including Walking Fish CO-OP, which offers fresh seafood from the North Carolina Coast. Costs for a weekly CSA box are as low as $15; the season runs from April through September.

“It’s a really convenient way to get fresh produce direct to you without having to go to a store,” said Cassandra Callas, health education specialist for LIVE FOR LIFE. “When you sign up for a CSA, you get to know one farmer very well over the season. You can learn a bit more about how the food was produced, maybe a bit of history about the farm, even cooking tips.”

Tim Searles, director of multimedia at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, has received a box of fish and shellfish bi-weekly from Walking Fish for several years. Walking Fish is a unique offering since most CSA’s offer fruit and vegetables, whereas Walking Fish supplies fresh fish and shellfish caught off the Carolina coast. Searles’ favorite seafood from Walking Fish is the occasional shellfish, including oysters, blue crab, clams and shrimp. He enjoys the challenge of figuring out what to make with the seafood. “You have to figure it out,” he says of finding recipes. “It sort of expands your horizons.”

Another mobile market participant, Lauren Crowell, who works as a senior library assistant at the Lilly Library, has bought a farm share for the past seven years. She has a subscription with Coon Rock Farms because she enjoys the variety. It’s the element of discovery that drew Crowell to participate in the market. The offerings change with the seasons, but the mixture of greens, lettuce, root vegetables and scallions during the winter months has inspired a few recipes, including an orzo pasta with arugula, feta and basil.

“It’s a lot of fun to see what you’re going to get,” she said. “It definitely challenged us to try new things.”

Learn more about the participating farms here and sign up for a CSA online or by contacting Cassandra Callas with LIVE FOR LIFE.