Perkins Orchard
By Madeline Cook

 

Perkins Orchard

For over 54 years, Perkins Orchard has provided a harvest of beautiful produce to its Durham neighbors and beyond.  The outdoor market that guests enjoy today, with shelves stacked high of vibrant, super-fresh veggies and fruits from over 300 farmers, began as a family-owned road-side stand in 1970.  By 2012, the founder’s grandson, Donovan Watson, relocated the stand to the backyard, expanded the business, and can be found on site welcoming guests and running operations to this day! 

 What makes Perkins Orchard so inviting?  Many things, but for starters, a typical farmer’s market can feel daunting with lots of choices and ambiguous pricing.   Donovan works hard to make sure his visitors enjoy their experience and leave with armfuls of value… literally!  His pricing model is simple: For $25, fill a one-peck paper sack with as many items as will fit.  As Donovan says, If it grows, it goes!  Onions, tomatoes, apples, berries, spinach, mangos… even dried cinnamon are all fair game for the paper sack deal, and every bag comes with a free item rotated weekly.  Eggs and pineapple are among the many treats shoppers have received as a thank you for shopping at Perkins. 

 Perhaps the most striking feature of Perkins Orchard is the sheer range of selection that Donovan offers his customers to choose from.  It’s an apple lover’s paradise, with handfuls of varieties under one roof.  In addition to the healthy assortment of kitchen staples offered (peppers, potatoes, herbs, etc.) you’ll be excited to find some not-so-predictable fruits and snacks, including Kumquats, Dragon Fruit and dried hibiscus leaves.  Other fun finds include over-ripe bananas at their perfect banana bread-baking stage and loose spinach ready to be tossed into a colorful salad.

 

 

 It's not just produce that Donovan features on his property, however.  Look for the cheerful green building located near the parking lot for a tempting array of gourmet pantry items, including homemade cupcakes, apple cider, infused maple syrups, seasonings and sustainably sourced meats and fish.  Pickup a bag of local coffee beans, wildflower honey and pancake mix for a cozy breakfast at home.  When the holidays roll around, the Orchard is also a favorite destination for pumpkins and Christmas trees, each provided with the same commitment to quality that customers quickly learn to expect from Perkins.  And if you’re just out-and-about to enjoy the sunshine, consider a fruit popsicle or sorbet as you explore the property or shop for ingredients for tonight’s dinner. 

 

 

 

 This Winter is extra special at Perkins Orchard.  For the first time since its inception, it will remain open during the Winter season to meet growing customer demand.  Shoppers will appreciate the flexibility to stop by after work or on weekends, as the Orchard is open seven days a week from 9AM – 8PM.  And while you’re there, be sure to ask Donovan to share the story of Perkins Orchard in his words.  His passion for his family, his business, and his crops is inspiring, and will keep you coming back again and again.  Find Perkins Orchard at 5749 Barbee Road in Southeast Durham.



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