Season 3, Episode 02

Gypsy’s Place – The Raleigh Farmers Market

Donna Sanders headshot and byline.
"Opportunity Is Missed" sign.

Nestled in Raleigh, NC is the amazing State Farmers Market and Restaurant. Raleigh is referred to as the “City of Oaks” — it’s quite obvious why when you look at the beautiful scenery around the grounds.

Knowing how much I like fun facts you may be asking yourself (but I highly doubt it) if there are any about North Carolina’s State Farmers Market and Restaurant? You’re in luck. North Carolina’s State Farmers Market is ranked #9 out of the best 151 things to do in Raleigh. Really, a farmer’s market is a tourist attraction!

North Carolina State Farmers Restaurant is ranked #20 out of 865 best places to eat. So impressive! We actually ate there twice during our two-day visit — well actually three times if you also count the morning we left town. If you are in the area it is definitely worth the stop and I promise it will not disappoint.

Where The Food Comes From visited the State Farmers Market and Restaurant April 28. We were greeted by Gypsy Gilliam, owner of the restaurant since 2002. Gypsy is a very personable woman with a great sense of style and grace, I particularly liked her periwinkle sweater set. Chip interviewed her outside the Restaurant. I couldn’t hear the interview at all because of all the cars pulling in and out, a testimony as to how busy the restaurant is. More about that later.

Chip and Gypsy Gilliam chatting outside the restaurant in rocking chairs.

Part of the crew’s responsibility is to make sure no one crosses in front, back or side of the shoot. Sounds easy right? Well it is not. Picture this. Styles Wilson, associate producer, positioned himself on a bench outside the restaurant’s doors. Christmas tree farmer Larry Smith (you may remember him from our Holiday special Larry’s Tree A Journey To The White House and Larry’s Tree Redux S2,E13) was on one side of the shoot. I was on the other side of the shoot across the patio in front of the restaurant with my back to the parking lot.

So what exactly happened?

Scene 1: A women and her husband were leaving the restaurant. Styles jumps up to stop them from crossing the back of the set — he’s a big guy, a bit imposing, and was waving his arms for her to stop… and instead, she screams “Don’t touch me!” Bless her heart she thought Styles was going to attack her. Styles was a little shaken up too, but we all had a bit of a chuckle afterward. Except maybe that lady.

Larry Smith in front of Christmas tree

Now let’s meet Alexander M. “Sandy” Stewart, North Carolina’s assistant commissioner of agriculture. Sandy is one of the nicest people I have met. He took the time to actually have a conversation with me which, in my book, is huge. Except for the people I know this does not happen unless I initiate it. Pretty sad if you think about it.

Alexander M. “Sandy” Stewart, Assistant Commissioner of Agricultural, North Carolina

Alexander M. “Sandy” Stewart, Assistant Commissioner of Agricultural, North Carolina

His interview took place outside the beautiful Farmers Market under the oak trees. Sandy soon will become North Carolina’s next Commissioner of Agriculture. Following his predecessor Steve Troxler will be no easy chore. But I guarantee you Sandy will live up to the challenge. You can meet Commissioner Troxler in WTFCF S2, E2 Farming’s New Research Jewel.

Honestly I did not see Sandy’s interview. I, with permission, left the the set and went herb shopping on the amazing market instead. Growing herbs and vegetables on my lanai (what we in Florida call a back porch) is sort of a hobby of mine, but again I digress. When I did return, which was not an easy thing for me to do, I took up residence on one side to stop people from crossing the shoot site.

Flowers for sale in the market.

Touring the market.

Assorted Herbs in Garden

Assorted Herbs from Donna's Garden

What happened next totally floored me. A woman, while walking her three dogs, was ready to cut across the scene in the background when I stopped her. She looked at me and said, “But my dogs need to poop!” My thought, “You have got to be kidding. Take them the other way.” Ugh – that really would not have been a pretty site! Unfortunately, I got in the way of the cameras instead. Well…what can I say no one is perfect — but some people are more perfect than others.

We’ll have more to come in Season 3 from the NC State Farmers Market — a discussion between what I call Knights of the Round Table on the patio at Gypsy’s place. You will meet the key players in North Carolina’s agricultural community and how they keep their divisions running top notch in WTFCF S3, Episode 4, coming up in a couple of weeks!

Stay tuned!

The farming professionals at the round-table discussion.
State Farmer's Market "Thank You" Billboard sign.