Durham's food scene is nationally lauded, and much of that praise centers on the local-driven farm-to-table movements. In other words, if you want to get to the root of Durham's food, you need to go to the farms.
What's more; there are an incredible amount of natural spaces that are just ready to be explored and that offer a lens into Durham's delightful delicacies, straight from the root or vine. You're invited to foray, explore, and expand your palate this season.
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Durham fresh. Durham local.
This is what agritourism is: a way to let visitors tour and engage with agriculturally focused sites and activities.
Tour farms to see how local crops are grown, see how those fresh ingredients are brewed into one-of-a-kind beers, and enjoy a meal made from local ingredients. The following places all offer something special for budding or seasoned agritourists.
Durham’s commitment to local businesses is evident at breweries and restaurants like Fullsteam Brewery, Piedmont, Local 22, Bull City Burger and Brewery, Foster’s Market, and Watts Grocery, all of which are intentional about sourcing ingredients intentionally in brews and plates. There are many, many more, offering seasonal delights whenever possible, and composting leftovers to fuel the next round of delicious eats.
Blue Whistler Farm hosts summer camps for children, and Waller Family Farm is perfect for picking berries as they blossom. Lyon's Farms sells produce at a number of partners in Durham. Produce is readily available closer to home, too; the Durham Central Park Farmers’ Market is open year-round each Saturday with the Seeds Community Garden close by. The new Brightleaf Square Durham Roots Farmer’s Market is perfect for sourcing locally-grown eats, as is the South Durham Farmers’ Market at the Greenwood Commons Shopping Center.
You needn’t eat your way through all of your adventures — The Sarah P. Duke Gardens is a sight to soothe the visionary palate. Peruse the 55-acre garden with 200+ diverse plant varieties on over five miles of walkways and paths. Take in seasonal plantings, fruits, and vegetables in the Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden white exploring. Visit one of the finest garden centers in the area, Witherspoon Rose Culture, which has more than 2,000 varieties of roses. For Garden’s Sake is also a place to enjoy lake views (and mimosas!) while gathering agricultural resources of your own.
Bee Downtown raises bees in rooftop hives in the heart of downtown Durham. The company doesn’t just harvest honey — Bee Durham educates the public about the importance of bees and builds healthy honey bee communities that are integral to the environment.
Register for a two-hour tour on Bee Downtown’s website. You’ll get to visit the apiaries at the American Tobacco Campus, the Burt’s Bees observatory, and participate in a hands-on class. The $40 cost of attendance includes a jar of Bee Downtown honey.
Breathe in the sweet Durham natural landscape
Learn more about Durham’s neighborhoods, parks, and waterways by attending tree camp or “wafting” down the Eno River. Naturalist and Durham-native Riverdave Owen can take your group on an outdoor adventure while teaching you about Durham’s natural features. sessions cover the urban forests of Durham’s historic neighborhoods as well as courses on engaging the energies of trees in Durham parks. Most tree camp sessions cost $20.
Investigate groups trip as well — up to five people can go on a two-hour river trip in inflatable tandem kayaks to discover wildlife and examine river flora.
Learn more about green transportation alternatives
Did you know that Durham is home to Organic Transit? This Bull City company makes the Elf, a solar and pedal-powered vehicle, right here in Downtown Durham. With zero emissions, top speeds of 30 MPH, and a 750 watt electric motor, the Elf can be an eco-friendly vehicle alternative for many people. Stop by the Organic Transit showroom to learn more, and even take the Elf for a test drive!
What's more, Pedego is an electric bike service that offers zippy rentals (they'll even give you hour credits in travel time if you grab brunch or a meal downtown at select partners). Make your way to south Durham and cruise for up to a 60 mile electric radius.
See you out there!Check out more Durham agritourism opportunities>>