Family and Farmers Markets

There’s never a dull moment for Carol Sparrow. For twelve years, she has worked as a medical communicator for Carolina Air Care. During her free time, she makes homemade honey and beeswax candles on her farm in Chatham County. Now you can find her at the Wellness Wednesday Farmers Market.

Family and Farmers Markets click to enlarge Carol Sparrow, medical communicator for Carolina Air Care, spends her free time on her farm, Heaven Hill Farm and Apiary in Pittsboro.

by Hannah Crain - hannah.crain@unchealth.unc.edu

Every day at UNC Hospitals is a new experience for Carol Sparrow. As medical communicator for Carolina Air Care, she’s always alert, sharing vital information with helicopter pilots, ambulance drivers, and the entire emergency medical crew to ensure that patients arrive safely at UNC Hospitals.

“It can be stressful when a lot of requests come in, but it keeps things interesting and makes the job fun,” says Carol, whose first job after college was as a dispatcher for Chatham County 911.

Carol hasn’t always been around fast-paced medical scenarios that require immediate communication. Growing up on her family’s farm in Chatham County, she spent most of her time helping her father pick corn, blackberries, potatoes, and beans and watching him cook in the kitchen of his restaurant.

Beeswax Candles
Carol's handmade beeswax candles.

“We’d sell the vegetables on Saturday mornings in Carrboro,” says Carol, whose father was one of the founding members of the Carrboro Farmers' Market. “It goes back generations. My grandfather used to make his own butter and cream from their dairy cows and my grandmother would harvest chicken eggs to sell at the Carrboro Farmers' Market.”

Years ago, when her father passed away, Carol and her siblings inherited the farm. In the early 2000s, Carol and her partner, Forrest, took a course on beekeeping, and since then they’ve been making delicious honey from their own bees and churning out candles made of beeswax. It wasn’t long before she created her very own family farm, Heaven Hill Farm and Apiary in Pittsboro.

“We harvest honey once or twice a year in limited amounts,” says Carol. “We never use chemicals to treat our bees or hives, and we keep it as natural as nature intended.”

Keeping up with her father’s tradition, Carol and Forrest sell the honey, candles, and eggs at the Fearrington Farmers Market on weekends. The service she’s providing feels familiar to her.

“When I was a child, I grew up in the kitchen of my dad’s restaurant,” she says. “On Sundays, he would make fried chicken and it was a tradition for several local families to eat out for lunch at Henry’s Restaurant. So, I’ve been feeding people all my life. I’m glad to bring some of that tradition back.”

Feedbag - Totes
Carol's handmade tote bags created from recycled feed sacks, which she also sells at farmers markets.

Last year, Carol learned about the Wellness Wednesday Farmers Market at UNC Hospitals and reached out to Liz Churchill, administrative coordinator of outpatient care services and market manager of the farmers market, which reopens for the season on Wednesday, May 6.

“I was beyond thrilled when Carol reached out to me,” Liz says. “I’ve been trying to find a honey vendor for several years. I’m ecstatic that Carol is part of the farmers market.”

Carol is happy she’s been able to maintain a good balance by continuing the traditions of her family.

“I’ve always been around food service and farming and that’s made me the person I am today.”

Wellness Wednesdays Farmers Market

Farmers Market Veggies

The Wellness Wednesday Farmers Market returns to the concourse of the Children’s Hospital on May 6 between 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. through October 28. For more information about the farmers market, visit the Healthy Heels Employee Wellness Program site or contact . For additional background on the Wellness Wednesday Farmers Market, read this feature.