By Leslie Duvall
As most of Virginia continues in Phase One of a cautious reopening, many local farmers markets and onsite farm markets are beginning to offer their products to customers while following the prescribed COVID-19 guidelines.
All local farmers markets are asking guests to wear masks, and the vendors will be wearing masks and gloves. Most are offering a pre-order option on their websites. They ask that you don’t touch the products on display and think instead of how you might shop at a deli and point to what you want. Vendors will bag your purchases in new plastic bags and ask that you don’t bring reusable bags. Send only one person to the market to help with social distancing guidelines. There will be specific entry and exit points, as well as crowd management. Check the market’s website for current guidelines.
At pick-your-own farms, specific fields will be marked for that purpose, as usual. Unfortunately, it appears that this up-and-down weather has affected the strawberry crops locally, and fields need to recover, so check the farm’s website for availability before you go. For example, a perennial favorite, Westmoreland Berry Farm, closed to the public permanently in March.
In the Market for a Market?
Here is a list of local markets, with their availability and hours of operation as of this writing. Please check the links for more information on hours and regulations.
The Fredericksburg Farmers Market at Hurkamp Park will open on Saturdays from 7:00 to 2:00. City staff will be on hand to facilitate social distancing. You can pre-order from many vendors, and there will be four parking spaces reserved on William Street for people picking up orders. Their other location, in front of Mary Washington Healthcare on Sam Perry Boulevard, is open on the second and fourth Fridays of each month, from 11:30 to 5:00.
The Long Sunday Market (Stafford) is a drive-through market that runs on Sundays from 9:00 to 12:00. Pre-order forms and a list of vendors are available on their website.
The Spotsylvania Farmers Market at the commuter lot on Route 3 and Gordon Road will be open on Saturdays from 8:00 until 1:00. It will also be open on Wednesday afternoons in front of the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, hours to be announced.
The King George Farmers Market at the King George Middle School, 8246 Dahlgren Road, will be open on Saturdays from 8:00 until noon
Local on-site farm markets are also open.
In CRRL’s service area (Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Westmoreland counties):
Braehead Farm, the only farm still operating in the City of Fredericksburg, is open daily from 9:00 to 6:00. The kitchens, however, are closed.
Cardinal Apiaries (Stafford County) does primarily online orders. There is a roadside stand where people can come to purchase honey, eggs, and goat milk soap. See the website for more details before you visit.
Garners Farm and Market, located in Warsaw (Westmoreland County) offers curbside pick-up for customers on Saturdays and Sundays.
Lois’s Produce, in Leedstown (Westmoreland County). Produce available at the farm. Contact them in advance. You’ll be turning right at the antique tractor.
Ashland Berry Farm in Beaverdam (Hanover County) is open daily, from 9:00 to 5:00.
Snead’s Farm in Caroline County is open on Saturdays, from 10:00-3:00.*
Messick’s Farm Market in Bealeton (Fauquier County) is open Monday through Saturday, from 7:00 to 7:00, and Sundays 10:00 to 7:00.
Miller Farms Market in Locust Grove (Orange County) is open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 to 5:00, and on Saturdays from 8:00 to 5:00.*
Mount Olympus Farm in Ruther Glen (Caroline County) is a farm market currently offering curbside pick-up, open daily from 9:00 to 6:00. Check their website for other options.
A Delicious Subscription
Community Supported Agriculture groups, or CSAs, have been gaining in popularity in the past decades. They provide pre-purchased, weekly boxes of farm produce to subscribers within their communities. By now, many CSAs have closed enrollment for the season, although Miller Farms in Locust Grove is still offering shares in its summer and fall CSAs. The Fredericksburg Area CSA Project also has applications for this season on its website. Snead’s Farm, Mount Olympus, and Miller Farms offer local CSA options as well.
These websites may also be helpful in your farm-to-table quest:
“Fredericksburg Farmers Market Is Now Open” (City of Fredericksburg)
Virginia Grown (Virginia Department of Agriculture) – Lists farmers markets and CSAs by region
Below is a gathering of cookbooks that can give you marvelous ideas on what to do with your bounty of fresh farm products:
From kitchen gardens to farmers markets, 'tis the season!
The Fresh 20, the popular budget-friendly meal-planning service founded by working mother Melissa Lanz, is now a cookbook, offering families an all-natural and easy approach to mealtimes.
Mom always said, "Eat your fruits and veggies"...and that's still good advice! FRESH FROM THE FARMSTAND is jam-packed with 240 tasty recipes using the freshest produce from your backyard garden or nearby farmers' market...why not eat local when it's this easy?
Recipes include Lavender Lemonade, Grilled Prawns with Pumpkin Seed Salsa, Garlic Turkey with Green Peppercorn Gravy, Cress and Fennel Soup, Ginger-Berry Shortcake, and many more.
Is organic really worth it? Are eggs okay to eat? If so, which ones are best for you, and for the chicken—cage-free, free-range, or pasture-raised?
Preparing fresh, wholesome, sustainable vegetarian food doesn't need to be so difficult.
Farmers markets, groceries, and natural foods stores today offer a wealth of wholesome ingredients that even a decade ago were considered unfamiliar and exotic.
Myra Goodman knows salad. Founder with her husband Drew,of Earthbound Farm—the largest grower of organic produce in North America—she is also the author of FOOD TO LIVE BY and THE EARTHBOUND COOK, sumptuous cookbooks built on the idea of fresh, seasonal cooking.