Springtime is Farmers Market Time

Daytime temperatures in Virginia are in the 60s and 70s and it sure feels like spring. Weeping and kwanza cherry trees in our tiny yard are in full bloom. Rain has been plentiful and plant life is bursting out all over. On Saturday, April 27th at 0800 hours the bell will ring announcing the opening of the Reston Farmers Market, the best in Northern Virginia, for a 27th year located in the now newly paved parking as guests of the Lake Anne Condo Association.

The Reston Farmers Market (let’s call it RFM for short) is one of ten community farmers markets sponsored by the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA). All are producer-only markets offering the freshest fruits, vegetables and other foods grown or produced within 125 miles of here. You’ll also find plants and flowers as well as seafood originating in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. All fresh, all local every Saturday morning from April 27 to December 7, 2024.

RFM will have 34 farmer/vendors again this season, tying us (with Burke) for the title of largest in Fairfax County. Nearly all your favorites will be back, along with four newcomers. We’ve added an especially fine organic farm, Shenandoah Seasonal, bringing a variety of vegetables to our produce lineup. So, the Market will now have two certified organic farms, the other being Coulter’s, a fully organic dairy farmer. Pasta Ligatto is a new arrival adding a good selection of fresh pastas and sauces to go with them at competitive prices. RFM is also happy to welcome back a product missing for a few years, goat cheese. Happy Creek Cheeses will fill that gap with a delightful selection of its own. Last, but by no means least among the newcomers is Grammy J’s Baking with a favorite dessert of mine, fresh baked cookies!

With the addition of these producers, I doubt that you would be able to find as interesting and diverse selection of fresh goods in any other market in Northern Virginia. And I’m quite sure you won’t find the lively and fun musicians who come and play every Saturday in the RFM!

We’re proud to note that RFM, with the help of CORNERSTONES, offers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to low-income neighbors. Volunteers also collect unsold fresh fruits and veggies for the from cooperating vendors at closing time for the CORNERSTONES’ food pantry.

And, if you need assistance with problems in your own garden, visit the Fairfax Master Gardeners booth for everything from advice to sending samples of diseased plants to a Va. Tech lab for testing and suggested solutions!

The Park Authority is once again planning to provide an in-Market composting service this year. What’s more, if you come early, you just might find a free personal compost bucket, courtesy of FCPA, to use to bring your kitchen leftovers to market every week. Also, RFM and FCPA will be continuing their campaign to reduce single-use, forever-fouling-our-environment plastic bags. We ask that you bring your own cloth bags to carry your purchases. We will have on hand a modest supply to give away at the Market Managers’ stand and FCPA will be supplying vendors with compostable bags for your use for individual fruit and vegetable purchases. Our Market goal this year is to eliminate single-use plastic bags that clog our landfills, and ultimately our animal and seafood supply pretty much forever.

You might notice another change this year at the Reston Farmers Market — a fine team of Market Managers which does not include yours truly. Returning Market Managers whom you know are led by Fran Lovaas, Keith and Anne Strange along with newcomers Ben Miller, Linda Fuller, Maureen Broderick, and Meg Huffaker. Occasionally there will be other volunteers to fill if needed. As year 27 begins, I can assure you that RFM is in the best imaginable hands.

If you need more info about NoVA’s finest farmers market, go to: www.restonfarmersmarket.com, a website created and maintained by another superb community volunteer, Sue Merk, for the last 24 years!