By: Sarah McIlvaine
It’s that time of year again! I LOVE Farmers Market season, and thankfully my girls have grown to love it too. It’s always nice to find an outdoor activity that everyone can get something out of. I get to buy e coli free lettuce, the girls get to beg for treats, and often there are playgrounds nearby to extend our trip. One of the great things about living in Northern Virginia is that you are never far from a Farmers Market at some point during the week. The county hosts several at various parks, and there are independent markets at other locations, such as the one at the Mosaic District in Falls Church on Sundays. Last week our youngest daughter and I visited the Wakefield Farmers Market in Annandale for the first time and I would say we both gave it two thumbs up!
The Wakefield market is open on Wednesdays from 2pm-6pm and runs from April 18th through October 31st in 2018. There is a great, shaded playground for younger kids nearby so this is a good kid friendly activity for Wednesday afternoons in the summer! Each market has a unique list of vendors, some overlap at various parks, but most do not. At Wakefield we found some fun, new (to us) vendors, including Nitro’s Creamery, Salsa Las Glorias and Sues Pies and More.
My daughter was eager to try Nitro’s Creamery “because it’s a hot day” (I’m pretty sure she would’ve wanted it on a cold day too). It’s $5 per bowl, which is a little bit of a splurge, but for handmade ice cream using local strawberries, I think it was worth it. We also picked up some medium salsa from Salsa Las Glorias after sampling a few of their choices. I overheard another customer ask about guacamole, which we were told would be available in coming weeks. I love fresh salsa so I’m happy they are there!
It’s early in the season so the main produce available now are a variety of greens, asparagus, herbs, and some tomatoes, apples and potatoes. Given the current state of Romaine lettuce, I was happy to be able to buy locally grown lettuce for $3 for a big bunch. I purchased from Barajas Produce but there are 6 farmers to choose from at the Wakefield Farmers Market. It’s always good to sample what they have to see who has the tastiest produce, as well as the best price.
One thing I did not indulge in this week, because I’m trying to lay off wheat for a while, was Sue’s Pies and More. My daughter really wanted me to buy some banana bread, and judging from the line of people waiting to buy pies, I would say we will make a purchase or two at some point this summer.
Tips for a trip to the farmer’s market – bring your own bags, bring some cash, and sample! Many vendors have plastic bags for you to use, but they may run out, and it’s more environmentally friendly to use reusable bags. I keep a few in my trunk. Also, most vendors have credit card readers, but sometimes they’re on the fritz and since this is an outdoor market, cash is quicker in those situations. Finally, sample sample sample! Some farm vendors have better tasting produce and it’s worth the time to find the best. If all tastes seem equal, check for who has the best price. Enjoy!
For a complete list of Farmer’s Markets at county parks, look here https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/farmersmarkets