Smart Markets Farmers’ Market is proud to host our own Springfield Days celebration with food, fun and fabulous music at out farmers’ market at American Legion Post 175 on Amherst Ave.
Uncle Fred Jackson returns to his old stompin’ grounds with his famous smoked meats — beef brisket, ribs, chicken and pork. Pick up a sandwich for lunch or a dinner with sides and cornbread.
We will also be hosting three of our favorite musicians to play oldtime and bluegrass music for you. David Giusti and his friends will begin playing at 10:30 a.m.
And Leandra, our balloon lady, will be on hand to create all kinds of fun shapes for kids of all ages.
This is in addition of course to the great local food provided by farmers, graziers, and home cooks — some from your very own community.
Alma Diaz Produce and Mexican Specialties
Alma is farming her own land after working for other farmers in Virginia’s Northern Neck for many years. She will bring vegetables, fruits, and Mexican specialities from her farm kitchen.
Comfort Mix Snack Mixes
The perfect combination of salty and sweet, irresistibly delicious snack mix treats. Website
Fabbioli Cellars (alternating with Stag Hill Soaps)
Award-winning wines from a family-owned vineyard in Loudoun County. Website
Great Harvest Bread Co.
Fresh-baked bread made with whole wheat milled daily at the Great Harvest shop in Burke, Va. Website
Jose Montoya’s Produce
Tomatoes galore! Sweet corn, peppers, melons and more from the sweet soil of the Northern Neck.
Pete Lund’s Heirloom Tomatoes
An amazing variety of lovely heirloom tomatoes from a most interesting gentleman farmer who grows them organically on his property in southern Maryland.
Soul Cakes by Tanya
Cakes, cupcakes and pastries made from scratch and with love using high-quality ingredients. Website
Tony Fetters Fruit Farm
Orchard fruits, apple cider, fruit butters, canned peaches and baked goods from Garner, Pa. Facebook
Wicked Oak Farms
Eggs, honey, fresh veggies, pastured poultry, and acorn-raised pork from a small family farm in Star Tannery, Va. Website
Homemade delicacies in a variety of exotic flavors.
Windmill Meadows Farm
Jacob Horst brings Trickling Springs dairy products and country eggs, humanely raised rose veal, and grass-fed, free-range beef, pork and chicken.
See you at the market!
From the Market Master
This past week has provided a number of reminders and opportunities for me to think about how farmers’ markets can serve as more than just a place to shop for local fare; they can serve the community at large as teaching tools, as business incubators, and even as community-building venues through education about and outreach to that wonderfully diverse community we live in here in Northern Virginia.
In my original mission statement I pledged the following:
Smart Markets will provide a model of cultural outreach, offer nutrition and cooking education, and encourage activism on issues of environmental protection and community development within the nurturing spirit of vibrant and bustling markets.
- Educate the public about the short-term joys and long-term benefits of eating healthy from an early age, of the nutritional advantages of buying local and of the importance of sustainable agriculture to our environment;
- Provide a forum for teaching adults and children how to shop at a market and how to use the produce and products in preparing healthy and delicious meals;
- Provide a venue for multiethnic cultural exchange and the promotion of a shared interest in raising healthy children;
- Serve as a lively and interactive catalyst for community-building activities; and
- Encourage and support thriving neighborhoods.
We welcome you to become more than just buyers — we want you to join us in celebration of the good life, good times, good feelings and good food. We invite you to grow and prosper with us — and to have fun doing it!
Obviously, I had to focus on putting together successful markets before I could do much of anything else, but from the beginning Smart Markets has been true to that promise and to those objectives. Moving into our fifth year with six markets this year, I can now devote more of my own time to developing programming and creating partnerships that will not only serve as outreach for our markets but as the foundation for a wide variety of community-building projects in each of the communities we serve.
This year we will renew our partnership with the Fairfax County government’s in-house Live Well program, through which we will expand our education efforts to get more families cooking and eating together at home and increasing the incentives for county employees to do just that. At a Partnership Awards ceremony last Monday, I came away with a great list of other county partners who could help us reach non-county employees with the same programs, and you can bet I will be following up with them soon.
One of those programs is the effort by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve access for clients in the food-stamp program (now called SNAP) to fresh, healthy food. I have been reluctant to jump headlong into this without a support system in place that will offer these families the help they will need to get to markets, navigate the shopping protocols, know how to prepare what they can buy — which in some cases may be unfamiliar — and learn why it is important to eat this way in the first place. Previous experiments in this area have not been very successful, but I am now in touch with the leadership of organizations and communities that can help us do it right. With such a small budget ourselves I cannot afford to do it any other way, but I also hate to take money from any source and not produce results.
Another opportunity presented itself in a Washington Post story this week about Final Salute, an organization that has established a home for female veterans who are dealing with hardships such as medical issues, joblessness and homelessness. Finding no help available when needed, a young woman used what little money she had to start this organization on her own to be there for these women. I saw immediately in this story an opportunity to offer our markets as resources to provide opportunities for the veterans to rebuild their lives. I emailed and called and hope to learn what we can do together soon.
Throughout our communities we work with organizations that glean from our markets, but the cooperation usually doesn’t stop there. If an organization is feeding those in need, the clients also need more than just the food. I have been talking with Reston Interfaith about teaching at the market so that we can bring the women who usually just pick up what is left over to see what they can buy themselves and learn how to use it to raise healthy families.
That is what we are all about — helping to raise healthy families through vibrant and bustling markets. And that’s where everyone can be a part of that community we hope to build by helping us to expand our markets so we can expand our reach. Thanks to all of you who are already doing that by shopping with us.