Posts Tagged ‘farmers markets’

Cinco de Farmers Markets!

Friday, May 4th, 2012

It’s opening weekend at Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland seasonal farmers markets! Head out early to score the best asparagus and strawberries and give a local flair to your Cinco de Mayo fiesta. (It’s the perfect excuse to blend up a batch of our strawberry horchata! Or perhaps a rhubarb margarita.)

virginia strawberries

Some of our favorite family-friendly markets are reopening this weekend, including Alexandria’s West End Market (Sundays, 8:30am to 1pm at Ben Brenman Park) and Reston Farmers Market (Saturday, 8am to noon at Lake Anne Village Center). (All Fairfax County and Loudoun County markets are now open for the season). And a brand new market is opening in Arlington’s Westover neighborhood (Sundays, 8am to noon on N. McKinley Rd.).

Follow Me on Pinterest (Psst…are you on Pinterest? I’ve pinned a few Mexican-inspired recipes for Cinco de Mayo.)

Getting Social at the Farmers Market

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

Summer’s here and farmers markets are open all across the country — even in Minnesota, I hear.* I’ve written before about how fabulous farmers markets are for kids — my son will eat anything a farmer offers him to sample, especially if it comes on a toothpick. Earlier this week we went to the Crystal City FreshFarm Market (Tuesdays, 3-7pm) after school, and after sampling our way from end to end stopped to get frozen yogurt from the Sweetgreen truck. One of the boy’s teachers spotted us in line and called him out for having dessert before dinner, to which he replied, “Actually, I already ate dinner at the market!” (He had quite a balanced meal, really — beef jerky, cheeses (though he declared the ashed-goat log was “weird”), breads, lots of cherries, berries and apple slices, and apple cider.)

frigidaire gowalla badgeThere’s nothing I love more than a good local food-social media collaboration, so I have to share this summer promotion that landed in my inbox: When you check in to a farmers market on Gowalla this summer, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children‘s Kids’ Cooking Academy Summer Session. To trigger another $1 donation and enter for a chance to win a new Frigidaire Gallery® French Door Refrigerator, you can make a commitment to eat fresh at www.maketimeforchange.com. (Enter daily until September 20.)

Do you follow your local farmers market on Facebook or Twitter? It’s a great way to get the scoop on what’s fresh each week. Local peeps, you can follow @FreshFarmMktsDC, @DelRayFarmMkt and the West End Market (@knerq) on Twitter. And of course, find us @foodietots.

in season june in virginia

P.S. Pictured above are the first Virginia peaches of the season! Courtesy of Westmoreland Berry Farms at the McLean Farmers Market (Fridays, 8am-noon). Look for bicolor corn, raspberries, blueberries, peppers, summer squash, tomatoes, okra and much more at the markets this weekend.

* Our dear friends moved to Minnesota several years ago. The boy has it in his head that Minnesota is practically at the North Pole, so he’s always talking about how they have “snow that never melts” there. In fact, just yesterday I heard the following in the car: “When you made me be born, you didn’t just have a normal human baby, you had me with T-Rex vision! I can see all the way to the North Pole! And even Minnesota!”

Disclosure: As part of the Foodbuzz Publisher Program I received a stipend from Frigidaire for writing about this promotion. As always, the opinions expressed in this post are my own.

May Farmers Market Openings in Northern Virginia

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Tomorrow begins the 2010 farmers market season for much of Northern Virginia. And, our Virginia farmers tend to be the first in the area with ripe strawberries, so be on the look-out for them in the next couple weeks!

Alexandria: The West End Market in Ben Brenman Park opens this Sunday, 9am-1pm. Alma from Westmoreland Berry Farms brought fabulous homemade tamales to the market last year, perfect for a post-shopping lunch in the park. And a soup vendor will be joining the market this year, among other new additions. The Upper King Street Market opens Wednesday, in the triangle across from the King Street Metro, and runs weekly from 3pm – 7pm. (Alexandria‘s Del Ray and Old Town markets are year-round.)

Arlington/Falls Church: The Ballston Farmers Market is moving to Thursdays, 3pm-7pm. The Crystal City Farmers Market, now run by FreshFarm Markets, opens Tuesday, May 18, 3pm – 7pm. (The Courthouse, Columbia Pike, and Clarendon markets in Arlington and the Falls Church Farmers Market are year-round.)

Fairfax County: Fairfax County-sponsored markets, in Mount Vernon, Fairfax, Vienna/Oakton, Wakefield, Herndon, Annandale, Kingstowne, Burke, McLean, Reston and Lorton, all open this coming week. The independent SmartMarkets, in Centreville, Fairfax Corner, Herndon, Oakton, Reston and in Maryland at National Harbor, have staggered opening dates over the next couple weeks.

Loudoun County: The Loudoun Valley Homegrown Markets Association opens their markets in Ashburn, Brambleton, Cascades, Leesburg and Purcellville this weekend.

Grab your kids, cameras and reusable bags and get out there and enjoy the markets this weekend!

A Market by the White House (and a wish for more to come)

Friday, September 11th, 2009

penn quarter farmers market dcAll politics is local, they say, and nothing is more political these days than local food. FreshFarm Markets announced last night that they are, in fact, opening their ninth market on Vermont Ave. in DC, just steps away from the White House. The vendors, as identified by Capital Spice, are familiar to anyone who shops DC’s existing markets, ranging from organic and quasi-organic produce to bakeries, dairy and meat producers. The White House involvement was downplayed in the news release, and reportedly seems to be limited to a “hope” that assistant chef and food initiative coordinator Sam Kass will appear for cooking demonstrations. The press release, did, however, invoke the symbolism of the new market’s location saying, “This is the culmination of a long journey for FRESHFARM Markets, which has brought farmers into the center of Washington, DC, where policy is made.” Intrigued by the suggestion that perhaps FreshFarm was opening this market as a volley into political advocacy in support of increasing access to fresh foods*, I obtained this follow-up explanation from founder and co-director Ann Yonkers:

“We think the farmers presence in the center of Washington, DC, is the best answer to many policy questions about how we should eat.  There’s no need to talk, one bite of the delicious local food and the argument for fresh and local is made.”

No need to talk? Maybe members of Congress won’t shuttle across town, bite into an apple from Spring Valley Farm & Orchard, and suddenly be inspired to rush back to the drawing board to come with an extra billion dollars to double the funding for school lunches. But perhaps tourists who drop by the new market will be inspired to go home and write their legislators to urge their support for farm-to-school and healthy lunch programs. If so, then the market will achieve more than just symbolic change. We do need to talk, and loudly, to change our food policy for the better.

I love farmers markets, and I agree they are powerful for creating sustainable local communities. I commend FreshFarm Markets for the work they’ve done to grow the local foods movement in DC. I just continue to hope that the White House will work to extend their reach into the communities in Washington who still don’t have access to fresh produce. Let’s make the White House farmers market more than just a symbol.

*Note: As with several of their existing markets, FreshFarm Markets will double the value of Food Stamps, WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Coupons at the new market and offer a gleaning program to benefit Miriam’s Kitchen.

P.S. Don’t forget it’s Fight Back Friday over at the Food Renegade – go check it out!

An Open Letter to Michelle Obama

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Dear First Lady Obama:

michelle obama white house gardenI have been truly, deeply inspired by your commitment to bringing fresh, healthy foods to the nation’s children and your clear understanding that true health care reform begins with access to healthy foods. I cheered when you broke ground on the White House kitchen garden, applauded your decision to follow organic methods, and saluted your reaching out to the District’s school children to use the garden as a powerful hands-on teaching tool.

I too am a staunch advocate for farmers markets and local family farms, and a supporter of local child-hunger organizations and the new grassroots effort to bring the Farm-to-School movement to DC. I was intrigued when I heard the President suggest that the White House was interested in hosting a farmers market, but now that the plans are beginning to take shape I am sorry to say I am disappointed.

I’m sure you’ve been fully briefed on the important role FreshFarm Markets have played in bringing locally-grown produce to the Washington community. I am pleased that your office is reportedly working with this experienced organization. But I am disheartened to hear that the prospective new market will be held downtown, in a predominantly office building setting where the majority of customers will be suburban-dwelling commuters, and mere blocks from two existing weekday markets at Foggy Bottom and Penn Quarter. I realize that many support the idea of a White House Farmers Market as sending a powerful symbol about your and the President’s commitment to healthy, local foods. But I fear the wrong message will be sent by supporting yet another market that primarily serves affluent people in one of the city’s most affluent wards. Symbolism is not going to solve our nation’s food crisis. It is time for leadership.

And so I am writing today to urge you to reconsider the location and purpose of a potential White House farmers market. I would be elated to see the White House supporting a market in one of the Districts many under-served neighborhoods, such as Ward 8 which currently has just one fledgling market and few other sources of fresh fruits and vegetables.  By working with an existing market, less effort will be required to start up the project thus speeding up the delivery of farm-fresh produce to the hands of those who most need it. I am sure many of us in the District’s robust local foods movement would be willing to volunteer to help out such a worthwhile endeavor. I’ll be the first to sign up.

Sincerely,

C. Levine & the FoodieTots family

Photo (c) Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton