As you make the drive down to the Outer Banks, you’ll see an onslaught of signs for farm markets—it’s hard decide if and where you might like to stop. My all-time favorite is Morris Farm Market. It seems like every time I head down to the beach this roadside stop has added something new, making it more of a tourist attraction than a market. When you pull up, the parking lot is always full, but fear not—the location is plenty big and the staff is efficient so you can stop without adding hours to your drive.
The market was opened as an actual farm market in the 1980s with produce grown on the family farm of Walter and Ginger Morris. Over the years, Morris Farm Market continued to expand and as demand continued to grow the family had to start sourcing from other area farms. Produce is definitely still one of the stars of the show when you stop in—the displays of peaches, cantaloupes, berries and grapes change seasonally, but are always enticing and plentiful.
Along with the produce that started the market, the shopping selection now includes salsas, pickles, dressings, snack mixes, candy, ciders, local wines, beer, and a bakery. Almost all of these items are available for tasting while you browse, making this a fun break spot for stopping and sampling. On my buy list every time is the Loco Cheese Dip—a jarred heat-able dip with a rich cheesy flavor and jalapeno bite; the tangy Jalapeno-Cilantro Mustard, which goes quite well with the thick, crunchy pretzels you can also buy there. The various ciders—peach, blueberry, blackberry, etc., make stellar cocktail additions, and if you’re staying nearby the frozen peach cider mixes quite well with prosecco for an upstyled bellini. Also don’t miss the various pickle options, both sweet and spicy.
If you’re looking for a snack right now instead of to take with you, there are also options for that. The most recent addition is a new outside bar with local beers on tap, live music, and barbecue sandwiches. On a recent visit I tried the small sandwich and chips combo for $5.99 and found it quite satisfying. There’s also house-made ice cream that’s churned by a tractor—if you stop by when the machine is turned on it’s pretty fun to watch, especially if you have kids with you.
And, the other important component of a roadside stop, if you need the restroom head straight to the back, out the door, and to the right. A restroom attendant will direct you to one of a row of always clean restrooms—always a bonus on a road trip!
Morris Farm Market is open from late April through early November. Follow the Facebook page for exact opening and closing dates.