The Greening of Hampton Roads
It’s Farmers Market Season, And Summer’s Bounty Is In Full Swing
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Although the proliferation of farmers markets over the past few years—as America embraces the farm-to-fork concept—seems new, it isn’t.
Open-air markets have long been part of Virginia tradition. When plans were made to move the Virginia colonial capital from Jamestown to Williamsburg in 1699, the design included a market square along Duke of Gloucester Street, midway between the Capitol building and the College of William and Mary.
The market and annual fairs hosted there were authorized by King George I “for the Sale and Vending of all, and all Manner of Cattle, Victuals, Provisions, Goods, Wares and Merchandises, whatsoever.”
Summertime means an abundance of farm fresh produce, and now is the time to hit the neighborhood market.
Here are some guidelines for making the most of your shopping experience:
Dress appropriately. Most farm stands/markets are outdoors. Bring an umbrella in rain or shine. Wear comfortable shoes. Wear light, loose-fitting clothing. Wear a brimmed hat. Bring water to keep hydrated.
Bring a cooler—better yet, a cooler on wheels with a few reusable ice bricks for meats and delicate product. Also, bring lots of large sturdy canvas or nylon shopping bags, and consider collapsible shopping (or laundry) cart to haul around your finds.
Plan your timing. If you get to the market early, you will have the best selection of product. If you get to the market late, you may find some great deals. Regardless, plan for an appropriate amount of time to get in, shop and get out; this isn’t a convenience store.
Think about how you are going to use your purchases. Are you making dinner that night? Do you want some strawberries to freeze or make preserves? Are you going to make a big pot of soup and refrigerate it until later in the week? Have a game plan for your meals, but be flexible—you can’t predict Mother Nature and what she will have for you at the market this week.