This Week at our Springfield Market
Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
American Legion Post 176
6520 Amherst Ave.
Springfield, VA 22150
New Vendors This Week
Rockahock Farm will be joining us permanently, and together with Soul Cakes by Tanya, they will make you swoon every week and test every ounce of resistance to sweet and delicious baked goods that you have. My advice: Don’t resist, just relent and enjoy their great baked goods in moderation. Rockahock also brings rare delights such as fruit butters and marmalades and great party food such as savory cheesecakes, cheese straws, and sweet potato biscuits.
On the Way In and Out
Berries are here — all kinds, all shapes and sizes. Can peaches be far behind? And look for tomatoes at several stands. Pete Lund is bringing sustainably grown heirlooms, and Alma and Jose will both have early varieties of hybrid tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. And we have sweet corn for the first time — my favorite variety, too. Yellow and white corn on the same cob!
Fabbioli Cellars is back this week with a great wine selection, and Whim Pop, your favorite popsicle purveyor, will set up in the shade of the tree. Don’t miss out on her new flavors this week.
Special Events This Week
It’s always an event when Uncle Fred is on site. He will bring ribs, brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, and great sides, too. Come early for the ribs and brisket — he is bringing more each week, but then so are you. He’ll catch up eventually.
From the Market Master
Just when we need it most — as our local farmers are bringing their bounty to farmers’ markets throughout the Northern Virginia area, we are reminded once again why it is worth that extra dollar per pound to buy local.
Last month Taylor Farms Retail recalled packaged, organic spinach due to concerns about salmonella contamination. This reminded me of the answer I provided to a question just last week about organic produce at our markets. Even before the details of this recall were released, this is what I had to say:
There are very few small certified organic farmers in Virginia or any other state, for that matter, since the federal government took over certification about 15 years ago and made it nearly impossible financially for a small farm to become certified. We do have some organic farmers at our markets, but most are in western Virginia counties and have not started picking much produce yet.
We do have several sustainable farmers who farm organically but are not permitted to use the term “organic.” At Reston, we have Heritage Farm and Kitchen and Fossil Rock Farm. At Lorton we have Blenheim Organic Gardens. At Centreville and Bristow we have Holly Brook Farm. At Oakton we have Heritage Farm and Kitchen and another farm in Prince William County coming soon. Only at Springfield do we not have a sustainable or organic farm.
You rarely see an organic fruit grower in this area, as they need to spray for fungal diseases in this humid climate — but most only spray early in the season and not throughout the season as the big growers do.
Even our farmers from the Northern Neck of Virginia use very little fertilizer, fungicides, or insecticides because they are too expensive.
The great thing about shopping at farmers’ markets is the opportunity to ask each farmer exactly how they grow their crops, and it will vary across crops so ask about specific items if you want to know. Personally I feel much more comfortable buying anything local than buying certified organic from China or Mexico — how can we believe their claims if we are not allowed to inspect the farms? And you also don’t have to worry about E. coli or salmonella in your salad greens, tomatoes, or peppers from a local farm.
Many of you have read this before in this space, but it does bear repeating when we see how little that “organic” label means. Researching the spinach recall, I found a story about another recall of salad mixes containing listeria just a few weeks ago. The good news is that they have recalled the products. With at least a five-day delay, that spinach is not even going to be in your refrigerator mainly because — as I have also mentioned before — store-bought produce won’t last much longer than that.
Here is my point in a pea pod: If you want to know what you are eating, if you want to be able to trust your fresh-food sources, and if you want to be able to learn everything you can about how that food was raised or grown, then your local farmer has the best buys around. This is preventive medicine at the most basic level; not only will local food contribute to your good health, it will not contribute to your ill health.
So pay us a visit this week, meet those farmers, and thank them for working so hard to keep you healthy. You can’t do that in the grocery store.