2010 Market Season
Fresh-squeezed orange juice, just-brewed gourmet coffee, yummy pastries and rolls, sweet red cherries and raspberries, fragrant onions, crisp lettuces, earthy potatoes and carrots: Sound good? Want to enjoy a terrific breakfast – and lunch – and dinner? Come to the Sunday Farmers Market in Ben Brenman Park in Alexandria, Virginia. In addition to enjoying a snack at the market – there are picnic benches nearby - you can take home fragrant, flavorful, vegetables, fruits, baked goods, cheese, yogurt, jellies, sauces and pickles grown and jarred on local farms, salad makings, frozen free-range meats, free-range eggs, and pre-made fresh pasta dinners for the rest of the week.
Last year the farmers market vendors came every Sunday and shivered through downpours and unseasonably cold weather. This year they have steadfastly brought their wares to our market despite a record-breaking early heat wave. The farmers pick the produce early the same morning or in the late afternoon and evening on Saturday to bring you the freshest produce and fruits you can buy. These farmers and producers are committed to creating a direct relationship between themselves and their farms and you, the consumer, and your meals.
I am one of the market managers of the West End Farmers Market. I am not a farmer. I don’t get down on my knees to pick bushels of strawberries, carrots, onions, beets, and root vegetables, stand on a ladder to pick cherries or apples, fix the tractor in the heat of the midday sun, gather eggs from recalcitrant chickens, or pick baby lettuces in greenhouse heat. I appreciate that someone does perform these tasks because I love eating these fresh healthy foods. I asked the West End Farmers Market vendors to tell you, the customer, in their own words about their business.
F.J. MEDINA AND SONS FARM
Karla and Frank Bojorquez-Medina
Francisco Javier Medina, Jr also known as Frankie was born February 7th, 1977 in Orlando Florida. His parents were originally from Mexico. His dad was always a farm worker. So the family moved to different states to follow crops as migrant workers. We moved to Virginia in 1985 where we lived in Westmoreland County. Parents worked on different farms. In the early 90’s his father started to farm on his won and sell at local markets. In 2005 his dad was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in 2006. So Frankie stated to farm on his own and started selling at local markets, including the Charlottesville City Market where his father had sold for years. Frankie had helped run his booth for many of those years. At the West End Market, Frankie’s wife Karla and her friend Martha run the booth. Karla and Frankie have two sons, one only a year old.
Fresh Josephs Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice has been operating at local farmers markets since 1984. We sell fresh orange juice by the glass, squeezed on site and in quarts and half gallon containers for take home. You can’t beat the taste of fresh squeezed juice, not to mention all the vitamin benefits. We also sell a variety of fresh baked scones, macaroons, pizzelles and other baked goods. You can also find fresh mozzarella cheese at our stand. Stop by and treat yourself to a freshly squeezed glass of OJ!
AMISH CHEESE STORE AND MORE
2370 Robert Fulton Hwy
Peach Bottom, PA, 17563
Although the title suggests only cheese. I also deal with Yogurt, Baked Goods and Canned Products. Most of my products are of Amish Origin and some are from Mennonite Producers.
The dairy products are the ones we are most proud of. The Seven (7) pre-packaged cheeses are not your run of the mill Amish Cheese. They are produced from Pasture Fed Cows that are free of Antibiotics and Hormones. Also, we don’t spray chemicals in the fields. All eight (8) of our farmers practice “old fashioned farming.” One in particular has been accepted as “Kosher” milk by a group from Baltimore.
The yogurt, as can be attested to by the consumers at my markets, is of the finest quality too. It is made from the milk of Grass Fed Jersey Cows, free of Hormones or Antibiotics. It is equal to the Greek Style yogurt in richness and thickness, although they are made with different processes.
So please come and join us at our markets in Alexandria.
West End Sundays 9 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Upper King Street (by the metro) Wednesday 3 p.m. until 7:00 p.m
Del Ray Saturdays 8 a.m. until 12:00 Noon
11455 Grove Spring Road
Culpepper, VA 22707
We have a small family farm that we operate here in Culpepper, VA. We started farming three years ago. We grow vegetables, a variety of beans, herbs, berries, fruit trees and flowers. My husband is from Wisconsin and I am from Kenya. My farther was a farmer who grew lots of flowers and macadamia nuts for imports. All his vegetables and berries he took to the market and that is where I developed my passion for gardening; because my father taught me so much.
Our greatest farming challenge is that farming in tropical weather is very, very different from farming in Virginia with seasons. We are still learning and look forward to expanding and trying to grow more products.
ON THE GOURMET FOOD TRUCK
MAPLE AVENUE MARKET FARM
Chris and Sara Guerre
Loudon County, Va
Tucked inside a one-of-a-kind customized delivery truck with hardwood flooring and a refrigerated showcase, On the Gourmet is the most talked-about, original, and only mobile food market in town! Featuring local cheeses and dairy products, naturally raised meats, organic goods, fine chocolates and sweets, homegrown produce, gift baskets, and much more…you’ve got to get “On the Gourmet”!
The Maple Avenue Market Farm is proud to be the first and only local farm to sell fresh produce directly to Arlington County Public Schools. The farm, located in Northern Fairfax County just 15 miles from Clarendon, also grows produce for its own brick-and-mortar local foods store, the Maple Avenue Market (www.mapleavenuemarket.com) in downtown Vienna, VA; for sales at other area farmers’ markets; and for
the Discovery Woods School in Great Falls, VA. Chris and Sara Guerre are passionate about using organic growing techniques at the MapleAvenue Market Farm... and for encouraging us all to create change from
We specialize in pastas and sauces of Northern Italy where Gianni Cavanna was born and raised. Both his parents being accomplished cooks, Gianni learned at a young age how to combine the delicate herbs of the region with the freshest ingredients for a truly memorable dining experience.
We offer fine, handmade fresh pasta that you just pick up, take home, drop in boiling water for a few minutes and serve with one of our delicious sauces.
Guata Java is the purveyor of premium and super premium organic Guatemalan coffee. This is a minority and women owned business that sources their coffee directly from the coffee farm (finca) in Cobán, Guatemala. Mimi Marquis not only owns the business, but can be seen, with her husband Eric, at the farmers markets around the Northern Virginia area. Guata Java has an online store at www.guata-java.com and they also offer free home or office delivery in the Northern Virginia area with a low minimum order. Guata Java sells packaged coffee (beans and ground) and by the cup (hot and iced) at the Rosslyn Market. All the coffee is harvested in the same year, roasted to order and expressed mailed. From the farm to you.
Colonial Beach, VA
James Smith offers a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. He snagged a mention in Washingtonian magazine as one of the best vendors to purchase tomatoes from in the greater Washington area.
TeaCo’s tea resume includes being the exclusive Virginia distributor of the Tay Tea brand, a New York-based company specializing in exclusive hand-blended artisanal teas. TeaCo also imports teas from around the world and offers 40 different loose leaf teas.
THE WELSH GARDEN
Warrenton, VA 20188
Welcome to The Welsh Garden™. We have been providing organic flowers, herbs and lavender products for four years in the Virginia area.
We have endeavored to provide you with only the highest in quality of lavender products. All products are hand-made, with care, at the farm.
Nestled in the hills and vales of Virginia lies an Arcadian gem replete with lavender fields. Fragrances of wildflowers and lavender float among the considerable acreage of wood and farmland where our flowers and herbs are grown the way nature intended. Welcome to The Welsh Garden. We have been providing organic flowers, herbs and lavender products for four years in the Virginia area. We endeavor to provide you with only the highest in quality of lavender products. All products are hand-made, with care, at the farm.
At The Welsh Garden, we intend to provide stable employment through true sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation in a harmonious atmosphere. The charm and beauty of this land are qualities we wish to capture and share with others.
We look forward to meeting you at the market! See you on Sundays – 9AM to 1PM through November.
May to November
Sun: 9AM - 1PM
Susan Birchler or Julie Bryant
Frying Pan Park Farmers Market
Kingstowne Farmers Market
Alexandria Farmers Market
Annandale Farmers Market
Del Ray Farmers' Market
Columbia Pike Home Grown Market
Clarendon Farmers Market
Annandale (Wakefield) Farmers Market
Falls Church Farmers Market
Search for more markets
One morning last week, I thought I heard mourning doves, one of the first spring migrating birds, coo cooing outside. I raced to my front windows and then my back windows looking for them, but they weren’t there. I suspect they were a figment of my spring-obsessed mind. It is not just warmer weather I am looking forward to, but also the opportunity to buy fresh fruits and veggies at the farmers market. I am longing to pop just-picked ultra-sweet, deliciously juicy, ruby-red strawberries, and raspberries, as well as deep-earthy sweet blackberries in my mouth. I can’t wait to crunch into spring onions, just out of the ground; taste the tanginess of bok choy, the crunchy yumminess of new radishes. I could go on and on, but thinking about all the food-goodies spring and summer provides is just making me crazy-hungry. And I am not the only person. I get asked routinely now – when does the farmers market open? GREAT NEWS!
The West End Farmers Market is opening on Sunday May 1st. All your favorite vendors will be there and hopefully a few more to add to the spice and pizzazz of our market. We look forward to welcoming new vendors selling pickles, and more prepared foods. If you are new to the community here is an introduction to some of our vendors.
Alma’s Berries: Berries, Fruit, Garden Vegetables
Billie’s Flowers: Cut Flowers
Cavanna Pasta: Homemade Pasta and Sauces
Dressed Up Nuts: Flavored Nuts
Fresh Joseph: Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, scones,
Great Harvest Bread: Breads, rolls, muffins
Guata Java: Roasted Coffees
J& W Farms: Vegetables
Lucia’s Farm: Vegetables and Fruits
Medina’s Farms: Vegetables
On the GOurment: VA Grown and made Gourmet condiments, foods, ice cream from VA grown
OPK Foods: Homemade organic sausages and meats
Papa’s Orchard: Fruits
Penn Farm: Vegetables
Roberto’s Flowers: Plants, cut flower arrangements
Sharon’s Breads: Breads, muffins, pastries
The Flavor Station: Coffee, tea, water, sodas
Tommy”s Cheese: Artisan Cheeses, yogurts, eggs, jams, jellies, condiments, sweet baked goods
Vero’s Bakery: Sweet rolls, muffins, breads, cookies, pastries
You are not going to believe this but a mourning dove just landed on my windowsill! Spring is officially around the corner. I will see you at the market!
I have been very busy keeping up with organizing the market this year. We expanded the number of vendors, nicely rounding out the kinds of products offered at the market. Welsh Gardens is a lavender farm. They do extraordinary things with the lavender, including making lavender pepper, lavender chocolate, and lavender biscotti. They are delicious and I highly recommend you try them. They also make a foaming hand soap made of all natural oils and of course hand creams, and sachets. We also welcomed Lucia of Lucia’s Farm, She is originally from Kenya and has been farming for five years. Great Harvest Bread has joined us as well as Cavanna Pasta and Brock frozen free-rang meats. The community has responded wholeheartedly and these vendors have had a great start to their season. I am hoping every person who reads this will come and enjoy our Sundays.
On June 27th, Gary LLoyd Storyteller will come at 10AM to tell stories to the kids.
See you at the market!
Even though these next few blogs are dedicated to quick and easy recipes I have inherited from my friends, I am going to sneak a small paragraph for a request. There is a “Best Farmers Market” competition sponsored by Local Harvest and Care2.com. Although the West End Farmers Market may not ever surpass the California markets with 5000 votes, we could get enough votes to be the best market in Virginia. I strongly urge you to vote as soon as possible for our market at http://www.care2.com/farmersmarket/search/?state=VA. The market could win money or cloth shopping bags to give out to customers. Thanks.
Back to my friends quick and easy recipes. This recipe is a favorite of my sister Mary. It is elegant, tasty, you can display it two ways – one for a party platter and one for dinner, and it will take you less than 15 minutes to make. When people taste it, they will oooh and aaahh and tell you what a terrific cook you are!
Ingredients for 4 People
2 – fresh from your local farmers market, juicy, medium sized tomatoes, any kind, heirloom, red, yellow, etc.
2 – balls of Mozzarella cheese equally approximately one pound of cheese. Buy the good cheese, cheap mozzarella lacks the richness necessary to make this recipe work.
Kosher or Sea Salt – granulated. Possibly 2 tablespoons, season to taste. Again, use good salt, table salt lacks the popping melting quality of granular sea or kosher salt.
Ground Pepper – to taste
3 basil leaves – cut up or dried basil - one to two tablespoons
Olive Oil – Extra Virgin is better. It has a slight peppery bite that adds flavor to the mix.
For a Party:
Slice the tomatoes; not to fat, not to thin, about 1/8 of an inch.
Arrange the slices on a large platter or plate
Slice the Mozzarella: This is trickier than it sounds because the cheese is soft. Experiment with how thin you can make the slices. There is a natural limit and the slices should be about the same size as the tomatoes. They will probably be lopsided and some fatter, some thinner, don’t worry.
Place the Mozzarella slices on top of the tomatoes, covering them, but not overlapping the edges of the tomato. Don’t worry if you have to put two slices of cheese on one tomato. It will still look and taste great.
Sprinkle the tomato/cheese stack with the sea or kosher salt. Make sure each piece has a nice amount. When you put this stack in your mouth, the salt should provide an elegant counterpoint to the sweetness of the tomato and the fresh creaminess of the cheese.
Sparingly grind pepper over the stacks – just a little, just enough to give it a tiny bite.
Drizzle Olive Oil over the tomato/cheese stack. Do not drown them; just make sure each one has some olive oil on it.
Chop up the basil leaves and scatter over the platter or shake dried basil over the platter. Not to much, a little bit of seasoning goes a long way with this dish.
You are done! Take it to the party, put it out for appetizers – people will devour them, I promise
Just chop the tomatoes into bite-sized chunks and the same with the mozzarella. Place both in a bowl together. Sprinkle with sea or kosher salt, and a little pepper and toss so each piece has a little seasoning. Pour olive oil into the bowl with the basil and toss again to mix. Serve as a salad with dinner. In a bowl in can be harder to make sure each piece is coated with olive oil, salt and basil, so do a few tastings before setting it on the table.
As Julia Child used to say Bon Appetit!
I am the associate market manager for the West End Farmers Market in Alexandria, Virginia. When the market opened near my house three summers ago, I found myself there pretty much every week, so the next summer I volunteered and this year I help Julie run the market.
I help run this market because I really love it. I love the way it looks on bright Sunday mornings, the shadows and light of the vendor’s tents nestled up against the green manicured perfection of Ben Brenman Park. I thoroughly enjoy the chance to meet my friends, my neighbors, and acquaintances and chat for a bit – it is like the world’s best brunch party. I adore the smells that assault my senses as I walk through the market, fresh orange juice at Fresh Joseph’s, hot coffee brewing at Williams stand, the yeasty aroma of fresh-baked breads, the heady smell of onions, tomatoes, garlic, peaches, and other fresh fruits and vegetables when I step under a vendor’s tent. For me the West End Farmers Market is an experience that never fails to deliver.
I also love the promise of those colorful, fresh veggies and fruits, tantalizingly laid out, just waiting for some clever cook to create a scrumptious dish. This is an ironic statement because - that cook, the one dedicated to daily preparation of gourmet dishes – that’s not me. I do enjoy a good meal, love cooking for parties, having dinner guests and even occasionally creating those multi-course gourmet meals. I like being creative and will scour the internet and my cookbooks for the perfect recipe: but I always choose one that does not include seven hours of prep time, overnight anything, deglazing, deep-frying or seventeen exotic ingredients. I am dedicated to dishes that are exquisitely tasty, and quick and easy. That is my motto; quick, easy and tasty.
Over the years, I have acquired a goodly number of quick and easy recipes, covering every contingency, including spontaneous entertaining. I try new recipes all the time, but if I want to pull off a real coup, I haul out the tried and true dishes. Most of these have been given to me by my friends.
This particular blog and several following are dedicated to other people who, like me, enjoy their food, quick, easy and tasty. The recipes I am going to share with you are ones that my friends and acquaintances have, in turn, generously passed on to me.
Some of the recipes I am going to share with you have become signature dishes – the ones I consistently create for parties, potlucks and shared meals, including this one for grilled vegetables.
My friend Jane Miller taught me this recipe. Jane lives in Berkeley California, and we have known each other for twenty years. From Jane I learned the graciousness of welcoming spontaneous visitors with a pot of tea or a glass of wine and comfortable munchies. Her house was always a haven of warmth and generosity. She made this recipe two years ago for an outdoor birthday party and I promptly brought it home to Virginia and made it my own. Everyone thinks I am a culinary genius when they taste this, but really, it is Jane’s genius.
This recipe takes about twenty minutes to grill in my oven, but my oven is crazy weird. It only took Jane a little over 10 minutes in her oven. I usually start and finish this in about fortyfive minutes.
Ingredients for 1 bowl of Grilled Vegetables that will feed 4 to 6 people:
Seasonal vegetables including:
1 onion – red or white
2-3 squash medium
1 -2 Peppers – red, green, or yellow
Sea Salt or rock salt to taste
Old Bay Crab Seasoning to taste
Ground pepper to taste
2 - 3 tbs Olive Oil
Choose no more than four different vegetables for this dish and three will do just fine. Potatoes and onions provide a nice solid base to build the rest of the recipe around.
Preheat the oven to high broil
Cut the vegetables into approximately one inch chunks and place in large bowl. Pour the olive oil into the bowl and mix the vegetables in the oil until well coated.
Lay the Vegetables out on a cookie tray, lined with foil, one layer deep only and not too close together.
Sprinkle the rock or sea salt over the vegetables. Don’t be stingy, it is the salt that makes the vegetables hum with goodness.
Shake pepper over the vegetables sparingly
Shake Old Bay Crab Seasoning liberally over the vegetables.
Place on the top shelf of the oven, so they can get brown on top. Check after about seven to ten minutes and turn vegetables over. Don’t worry about getting all the vegetables, it will all taste really good anyway you do it.
Take out when you can stick a fork in the potatoes or the vegetables are nice and hot with some browning taking place. The vegetables can still be crispy – it is not important to thoroughly cook anything but the potatoes.
Place in a bowl and serve hot, warm or cold. They always taste good. The salt and seasonings, combined with the vegetables, should make your tastebuds hum with pleasure. If you have under-salted or seasoned, just add some, if you have over-seasoned, eat it anyway and make the dish better the next time.
Do you have a recipe that you got from a friend? Share it here on my blog! Send me your best quick, easy and tasty recipes that have been handed on to you by your friends.
At dawn on Sunday May 3, the West End Farmers Market vendors will set up their tents and tables in the south parking lot of Ben Brenman Park for the first day of the 2009 summer season. Two divisions of the Alexandria Library System ‘The Ready, Set, Grow’ program and the ‘All Alexandria Reads’ program will be participating in celebrating the opening. The library will bring a storyteller to entertain the children, while the grown-ups indulge in the pleasures of the palate. An acoustic musician will be playing at the other end of the market. In between will be a scrumptious array of local food.
All winter my friends and I have been waiting for spring, when the market would re-open and our favorite farmers would set out fresh-picked local vegetables and fruits. We have been longing to select from colorful mounds of deep red radishes, beets and rhubarb, crisp-green Bok Choy, Shallots, pearlescent Chinese Cabbages, early lettuces, and dark-green collard greens and spinach. This year we will be able to buy micro-greens from a new vendor, Heather Caudle of Wisteria Gardens. Alma Diaz of Westmoreland Berry Farms and Barry Argento of Papa’s Orchard to thrill us with eye-popping rows of delicious and colorful strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and winter apples and pears. Julie, the other market manager and I will be handing out recipes so you can try new ways to prepare spring vegetables and fruits.
At Tommy Tompkins tent, we will be able to purchase a variety of hand-made cheeses, including an exquisite cave cheese, sinfully good goat’s cheese, and an excellent sharp cheddar. He also offers yogurt, and delicious handmade jams and jellies, pickles and relishes. Next to Tommy is another new vendor, Vicki Fedor, owner of North Gate Vineyard, who will be offering the perfect complement to Tommy’s cheese - Virginia-made wine.
West End residents will be able to round out their Sunday picnic lunch of cheese, fruit, veggies and wine with freshly-baked breads. Choose from multiple vendors offering a variety of crunchy baguettes, soft rolls, sweet pastries, muffins and buttery scones. Customers who cannot resist the tempting smell of fresh scones and muffins, can enjoy their treat on the surrounding picnic benches and linger over gourmet coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice from the market.
Free-range, grass fed beef and chickens, as well as free-range eggs are also offered by market vendors. One of our new vendors will be offering freshly roasted fair-trade coffee and another local honey from their own hives. Don’t just buy yourself a good meal; make sure your dog has a treat as well. Last year Lisa’s handmade dog treats were a market bestseller. If you need a little gourmet mustard, vinaigrettes or sauces to complete your meal, make sure you stop by Gourmet on the Go. To complete a perfect spring day, you can take home large bouquets of cut flowers from Billie the Flower Guy.
Julie Bryant the other market manager and I, as well as the city of Alexandria would like to invite each of you to come celebrate good food, community and fine Sunday mornings. By purchasing locally grown produce and food, you can eat well, buy green, have a great time while supporting small farmers and our regional economy. What better way to spend a Sunday morning!
The West End Farmers Market, located in the south parking lot of Ben Brenman Park, next to the Cameron Station community, is open every Sunday from 9AM to 1PM. If you are riding by on the bike path, park your bike with the market manager and take your time shopping. If you are driving, there is plenty of parking in the adjacent parking lots and on the street.
See you soon!
Flatbreads from around the continent
Eight Indian flatbreads to bake or fry at home.
The Food Corps co-founder
Flatbreads from around the continent
Beyond a supporting role