Tours

Tours will leave the Durham Convention Center at 1 pm and return around 5:00 p.m. so that everyone can attend the Howard Bower’s Fund Welcome Reception at 6 p.m

Please note: Co-op Tours are not included in registration. Tickets can be purchased as an a la carte selection during registration. More information on this change here. Tickets are limited to bus capacity and will likely sell out. We will send out sign ups for those who purchased tickets in mid May.

Tour 1: Experience a Thriving Local Food Chain—from Locally Produced Food to Retail Grocery Cooperative

Hosted by Weaver Street Market

A close-up look at how shared resources, community ownership, and commitment to the local economy create a thriving, sustainable food chain in Orange County, North Carolina. The tour begins with a visit to a 10,000-square foot shared-used food processing center that supports local food and agricultural businesses. Then we’ll visit Weaver Street Market’s 17,000-square foot Food House, where the market produces 32% of the food it sells in its three retail stores. The tour group will then take an optional 1-mile walk on Hillsborough’s scenic River Walk, which connects with the Hillsborough Weaver Street Market, the final stop on the tour.

Stops:

Piedmont Food Processing Center  – ​The Piedmont Food Processing Center is a share-used processing facility with commercial kitchen space and dry, refrigerated, and frozen storage for launching and growing food businesses in the Piedmont.

Learn how PFPC impacts the local food economy from the executive director and manager. Understand the incubation role and the shared facility role.  Hear from local producer(s) who have used the facility and implement a successful food start-up that has moved to a bigger format and an up and coming supplier who is a current client and stocked at Weaver Street Market.

Weaver Street Market Food House  – The Food House gives the co-op the capability to offer products that no other store can provide: freshly made items that use high-quality ingredients and are delivered twice a day to each of our three stores. The Food House houses a bread bakery, a pastry bakery, a commercial kitchen, and a NCDA-inspected meat processing facility. The Food House positions Weaver Street Market to be the leader in locally produced food for our owners and our community for years to come.

Hillsborough River Walk – The River Walk is a paved, accessible, urban greenway that stretches about 1.8 miles along the Eno River between Gold Park in western Hillsborough and trails east of town. It is a free popular trail for walking, jogging, and cycling, and provides pedestrian connections between several neighborhoods. The entrance to the greenway’s downtown portion is located at the parking lot of the Weaver Street Market Hillsborough store.

Weaver Street Market Store  – Our Hillsborough store is located at the south end of a quaint-yet-dynamic downtown. The store, which opened in 2008, is the co-op’s third downtown store. The store has played an important role in the development of Hillsborough as a destination place.


Tour 2: Belly of the Bull

Hosted by Durham Co-op Market

As the state’s 4th most populous city the distance between Durham’s residents and the systems that create their food are growing as well. Fortunately many of the recent growths to Durham have been important additions to our food chain that have established themselves just outside of our downtown area. Travel a short distance from our co-op market grocery store to Durham’s local organic produce food hub, brand new malting facility, and two wonderful breweries.

Stops:

Durham Co-op Market – Durham Co-op Marketbegan through the efforts of folks in several neighborhoods near downtown Durham, NC who saw a need and were excited about the possibility of creating a grocery/market that focused on locally-produced food. Since its opening in 2015, Durham Co-op Market has grown to serve over 4,500 members and employs 50 part-time and full-time staff. In 2018, Durham Co-op Market was awarded the Cooperative Innovation and Achievement award for commitment to re-shaping the traditional image and impact of a cooperative grocery store.

Eastern Carolina Organics (ECO Hub) –  When CEO Sandi Kronic was working with a farmer she recognized the many hat that farmers have to wear to be successful.  In preparation for a market Sandi was visiting a farmer with the simple provision of a receipt book filled out ready to be used made a huge impact in aiding that farmer at market. ECO grew out of the need to provide aid to our farmers, who do, so much already in the cooperate conventional retail world. Eco supports emerging and established organic farmers and improves access to fresh local organic produce. Their location, not 10 minutes, outside the heart of downtown Durham is a crucial link in keeping our food systems close to the people of our city. Learn about the many ways ECO is aiding our local farmers, improving access to local organic produce, and how they are strengthening our local food system.

Epiphany Craft Malt – Created, as the name would suggest, after an epiphany struck founder and director Sebastian Wolfrum, Epiphany Craft Malt became the solution to a need for a facility to process local grain for malt for the many local breweries in NC. North Carolinas’ growing food culture is exemplified by the many new breweries starting, and some returning, and Durham’s downtown is no different. Enjoy the smells of the specially designed malting machines and hear about the epiphany that inspired the name and man behind an establishment that is filling in the gaps in our local food system chain.

Honeygirl Meadery – Honeygirl Meadery celebrates nature and the work of honeybees by making meads (honey wines) with seasonal fruits, flowers, herbs and honey. Made in Durham NC, Honeygirl Meadery are hand-crafted libations made in small batches with all natural ingredients. Learn how a local creative began a business that was inspired by the many moments she shared with her human and natural community. Learn about the Meadery’s unique flavor blends as well as their commitment to reestablishing our connections with the ultimate pollinators and the culture of caring and working with bees.

Ponysaurus Brewing – Ponysaurus Brewing Co. is a forward-thinking, backward-tasting brewery, creating beers that are meant to be savored, appreciated, contemplated, philosophized, studied, nuzzled, and mindfully guzzled. Our brewery, taproom and beer garden is located in the Downtown East neighborhood of Durham and our beers are distributed throughout the state of North Carolina. Purchase a beer from a community business utilizing the services of Epiphany Malt and served at the Co-op.

Due to space limitations the group will split up between Honeygirl Meadery and Ponysaurus Brewing.


Tour 3: Seed to Market in North Carolina

Hosted by Carolina Common Enterprise

On this tour, we will explore the local food system in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Nestled in rolling hills, the Breeze Farm Incubator provides resources that most aspiring farmers would not have access to or be able to afford with the goal of attracting young people to a career in farming. Next, we will visit Eastern Carolina Organics, a farmer-owned food hub that markets and distributes wholesale Carolina organic farm produce to retailers, restaurants, and buy clubs. Finally, we arrive at the market and one of our host co-op’s,  Durham Co-op Market!

Breeze Farm Incubator – The Breeze Farm Incubator program addresses the issue of an aging farmer population in North Carolina, by giving aspiring farmers a chance to start their own farms.  Since 2008, Breeze Farm has helped over 40 farmers get started either by providing land and tools or annual workshops. It isn’t certified organic, but it doesn’t allow pesticides or herbicides and requires fertilizers to meet Organic Materials Review Institute standards. Most farms incubate for three to four years before moving on. Breeze Farm is part of a growing national trend that recognizes the role small farmers play in rural economic development and stronger regional food networks.

Eastern Carolina Organics (ECO Hub) – When CEO Sandi Kronic was working with a farmer she recognized the many hat that farmers have to wear to be successful.  In preparation for a market Sandi was visiting a farmer with the simple provision of a receipt book filled out ready to be used made a huge impact in aiding that farmer at market. ECO grew out of the need to provide aid to our farmers, who do, so much already in the cooperate conventional retail world. Eco supports emerging and established organic farmers and improves access to fresh local organic produce. Their location, not 10min outside the heart of downtown Durham, is a crucial link in keeping our food systems close to the people of our city. Learn about the many ways ECO is aiding our local farmers, improving access to local organic produce, and how they are strengthening our local food system.

Durham Co-op Market – Durham Co-op Market began through the efforts of folks in several neighborhoods near downtown Durham, NC who saw a need and were excited about the possibility of creating a grocery/market that focused on locally-produced food. Since its opening in 2015, Durham Co-op Market has grown to serve over 4,500 members and employs 50 part-time and full-time staff. In 2018, Durham Co-op Market was awarded the Cooperative Innovation and Achievement award for commitment to re-shaping the traditional image and impact of a cooperative grocery store.