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Market returns with chocolate, new cheeses & breakfast

The 2012 Farmer's Market season begins Sat

The 2012 Davidson Farmer's Market season begins Saturday, with six new vendors joining returning favorites. (Davidson Farmers Market and file photos)


DAVIDSON – Davidson Farmer’s Market will come out of winter mode and return for its fifth year of full weekly markets this Saturday, April 7, in downtown Davidson. As the new spring/summer season begins, the market will feature favorite veteran vendors and welcome new ones selling everything from gourmet chocolate to cheese to breakfast sandwiches.

The market is open every Saturday 8 a.m. to noon through October on the market ground, off South Main Street next to Davidson Town Hall. This Saturday’s events include chef Vera Samuels, who will be demonstrating how to cook Easter Brunch French Toast and Moroccan Kale Salad.

Courtney Spear

Courtney Spear

It has taken a winter’s worth of work to get to opening day, said Davidson Farmer’s Market Director Courtney Spear. “The planning part is almost harder than being there during the busy season,” Ms. Spear said.

The off-season activity has included recruiting six new vendors: Twenty Degrees Chocolate, C&O farms (fresh berries), Cheval Farmstead Dairy (cheese), Empanadas 2go, From Scratch (gluten-free baked-goods and pasta) and Flatiron Kitchen + Taphouse, which will be making breakfast sandwiches with market ingredients weekly. (See details about the new vendors below.)

The Davidson Farmer’s Market will get even more kid-friendly in 2012 with the launch of Growing Kids Club. Summit Coffee has agreed to hand over its back patio for this activity aimed at young farmers ages three to 13. The group will meet on the first and third Saturdays of the month from April to October to weed, water, plant, and compost a small plot of land. Growing Kids Club is free; children only need to visit the market with their families to participate in activities and receive a “Kids Club” card. Just like the coffee cards at Summit, participating kids can punch their card with each market visit and earn $5 of “Market Money” when they reach 10 trips.

Chef Vera Samuels will be back with cooking demonstrations like this one from 2011. (Courtney Spear/Davidson Farmer's Market)

Chef Vera Samuels will be back with cooking demonstrations like this one from 2011. (Courtney Spear/Davidson Farmer's Market)

Other 2012 Davidson Farmer’s Market events include Strawberry Shortcake Day in May, the annual Salsa Showdown in July, a Community Picnic in October and the 2nd annual Chef Challenge to kick off the winter tailgate market in November.

Find out more about the market at


This year’s vendors will include old favorites including Barbee Farms, Big Oak Farm, Betty’s Blooms, Chef Charles Catering, Elliot Apiary (honey), Herr’s Fresh Flowers, Cottonmill Mushroom Farms (formerly Landis Gourmet Mushrooms) and Wild Turkey Farms. A few won’t be returning, including Grateful Growers and barbecue vendor Dan Huntley – “Dan the pig man.” See a list of vendors

Here are details on this year’s new vendors.

Twenty Degrees Chocolates from Charlotte, is introducing gourmet, handcrafted chocolates made from the finest French and Swiss chocolates and the freshest natural ingredients. Offerings will include chocolate ganaches, caramels, handmade marshmallows, crispy rice treats, fruit gelees, chocolate lollipops, and caramelized chocolate almonds. Owner and chocolatier Casey Hickey’s personal favorite is the “Out of Africa,” a pure 75 percent Tanzanian dark chocolate ganache enrobed in yet more dark chocolate. Hickey discovered her passion for chocolate while at pastry school in France. “My original focus for pastry school was cakes,” she says,” but I discovered chocolates and confections as an art form and fell in love with the process and the outcome!” She and her husband own and operate Petit Philippe in Charlotte, where they combine their love for wine and chocolate in a unique tasting room environment. They describe the store as, “a great date place and also a perfect place to indulge yourself or get a nice gift.” Ms. Hickey is eager to share her love for chocolate with the Davidson Farmer’s Market: “I love the town of Davidson, the feel of the downtown and also the extremely local focus of the market,” she said. “We have made good inroads in Charlotte, and I wanted to introduce our products to folks in and around Davidson to encourage them not only to buy from us at the DFM, but to pop over to Charlotte and experience our retail store and tasting room.”

C&O Farms,in Hickory, known as the “Mix and Match Berry Patch,” will bring delicious raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, and blueberry varieties to their booth.

Tomatoes and Okra

Tomatoes and Okra (Davidson Farmer's Market photo)

Cheval Farmstead Dairy in Vale, produces a variety of cheeses made with milk from their own dairy goats to ensure the highest quality. The owners feed their goats with specially cut hay, incorporate local herbs and fruits into their soft cheeses, and age their specialty French style bloomy rind cheeses for two to eight weeks. Owner Suzanne Levesque says, “We truly love what we do and try out best to provide our customers with our knowledge and a very high end product. We look forward to joining the DFM family this season.”

Empanadas 2go in Cornelius, will be offering freshly made empanadas with fillings ranging from ground beef and cheeses to veggies and fruit. Empanadas, a popular snack in Latin America, are stuffed bread or pastry filled with sweet or savory ingredients and then baked or fried.

From Scratch in Cornelius, will feature gluten-free items including breads, cupcakes, cakes, and a seasonal artichoke and aged-parmesan ravioli. Inspired by her own diagnosis with celiac disease, owner Amanda DeVivo started the business just over a year ago. Her Italian heritage and innate love for bread and pasta, combined with 15 years’ experience in the medical world, has brought great purpose to her business. “I just wanted to provide, that was my whole vision,” Ms. DeVivo says. “I really have a passion for my work because I still am connected to the medical community and I really love the helping people part of it. It gives me goose bumps every time I help someone with celiac disease enjoy the foods they love again.” From Scratch expanded to Rhode Island’s Camp Celiac last summer when Ms. DeVivo provided a week’s worth of gluten free food to 150 hungry campers. “I made 400 ravioli in one day!” she exclaimed. Now she’ll be at Davidson Farmer’s Market: “I’m excited about the market because it’s such a wonderful community event. It touches so many people and I’m just super excited to expand my customer base to that side of town and really get to know some of the families.” Ms. DeVivo combats the short shelf life of gluten-free breads by selling frozen dough, ready for baking. “I’ve designed it for the customer,” Ms. DeVivo says, “so they have more control over their product. This way they won’t have to throw out half a loaf of bread.” Visit her booth on Saturday to purchase gluten free bread dough (focaccia, asiago, sandwich rolls, etc.) and delicious cupcakes, or to specially order a gluten-free cake.

Flat Iron Kitchen + Taphouse in downtown Davidson is bringing breakfast to the farmer’s market. The chefs will use the market vendors’ goods to create delicious, to go breakfast sandwiches for market shoppers to enjoy as they browse.


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- who has written 203 posts on Food and Dining.

David Boraks is the founder and editor of Davidson News LLC, which started in 2006 as a neighborhood blog and evolved into a regional community news network. He is a print, magazine, web and radio journalist, with experience in every nook and cranny of the news world, covering everything from local news to Fortune 100 companies to technology to Asia. He lives on South Street in Davidson, in a house that was at the center of a 1914 murder case. Ask him and he'll tell you that story.

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