One of the most important reasons I shop at our Farmers’ Market is the sense of community I get. I’ve gotten to know the people who shop here–and I’ve gotten to know the Farmers and craftsmen who vend here. When I ask Mildred how she grows her squash, she’ll tell me–and she’ll even offer her favorite way of fixing it.
I’ve also gotten more in touch with the cycles of the season. When I shop at a grocery store, I expect to see broccoli, lettuce and tomatoes year round (even in the winter when the tomatoes taste like sawdust). At a Farmers’ Market you really do become more in tune to Mother Nature–from delectable fresh asparagus early in the season to the first of the season’s rich flavorful tomatoes to tender-crisp sweet corn in mid-summer to local Virginia apples in the fall.
This week at the Market–green beans, beets, blackberries, blueberries, cabbage, cherries, cauliflower, cucumbers, kale, kohlrabi, lettuces, onions, peas, peppers, new potatoes, raspberries, squash (yellow summer, zucchini, golden zucchini, round zucchini), the very first of the season’s tomatoes, and there may be a surprise or two. Local raw honey and free-ranged eggs are available as are fresh-baked goods and hand-crafts from local artisans.
Big Daddy’s Barbecue will be here with Carolina-style barbecue, applewood smoked chicken salad, etc.; Phal’s Café will be here with Asian noodle bowls, spring rolls and more; Unkol Chuck with Brunswick Stew; Real Country Sausage with pork sausages (no sodium nitrites!); Melrose Farms with the largest selection of jams and jellies I’ve ever seen (Peach Jalapeno anyone? It’s amazing!); Pop’s Kettle Corn with their crunchy sweet and salty treat; and Marty with his fresh-fried pork rinds in a variety of flavors.
Snyder Family Farms will be here with pasture-raised poultry and eggs; Ellis Farm will be here with beautiful hand-made jewelry, goat’s milk soap and lotions; Great Harvest Bread Company will be here with fresh-baked breads, etc. (look for the Cinnamon Chip Bread); and Sweet Treats RVA will be here with fabulous pies, tarts, pound cakes and cookies to please any sweet tooth. And be sure to go by Boots & Shoots for beautiful freshly-picked cutflowers.
Don’t forget to get a punch or a mark for every ten dollars you spend on your Farm. Fresh. Pledge cards. If you don’t have yours yet, see me or your favorite vendor for one. When you fill your card and turn it in to me (or to a vendor), you’re automatically entered into a drawing sponsored by the Virginia Department of Agriculture for a Virginia’s Finest Gift Basket worth a hundred dollars or more.
Remember, we’re here every Thursday from 10 until 2 in the parking lot of The Great Big Greenhouse.