Virginia's farm markets are currently a foodie's paradise. Right now is the prime season to fill your belly and kitchen with local produce. Foodies across the country are becoming more aware of what goes into their grocery basket and want food that is fresh and handled with care. It can be hard to track our food back to its source and find healthy options that are consistent and convenient. our run down of some of the best local farm markets will keep you in "the know".
The most important word among farmers markets is “local.” Whether you live in D.C. or Suffolk, “local” means finding food fresh from the earth or hot from the oven, not food that’s been sitting in a freezer or spent a week on the road. Right now is the peak summer season for local farm produce, when everything is ripe and ready, from green beans, corn and tomatoes to melons and peas.
Local means investing in the community. Not only is local food an investment in local business, but it’s also an investment in your neighborhoods. The Harrisonburg Farmers Market seeks to help SNAP customers with healthy year-round offerings, and it's markets like this that make it impossible to walk away without learning something.
Local is also about learning together. Markets like the Abingdon Farmer's Market plan events to teach kids the importance of agriculture and community (Farm Fresh Kids). The FRESHFARM Markets have 5 educational programs (such as FoodPrints) that partner with schools to share the knowledge and joy of growing fresh food.
Many farmers markets are open on Saturdays, but usually only during peak season, from spring to fall. Be sure to check with your favorite farm spot, because you may have more options! For instance, the Abingdon Farmers Market is open twice a week in season and continues to have events through winter, and the Historic City Market in Roanoke is open seven days a week all year (except New Year’s and Christmas)!
Visiting the farmers market isn’t just a shopping chore. It’s an experience. Many markets like Abingdon and the Old Town Farmers Market (Winchester) host live music. These and other markets share beautiful locations with other event offerings, like workshops and crafts (and even the occasional petting zoo). For lots of entertainment, try the Suffolk Farmer’s Market. Plan to spend some time enjoying the atmosphere, because local food is about more than just the food.
Whether it’s the country’s oldest farmers market in Old Town Alexandria or any of the Fredericksburg Farmers Market’s three locations, Virginia is full of opportunities for you to get your local foodie fix.