Winter at the Falls Church Farmer’s Market

  • Cold Country Salmon gets a shout out in the Falls Church Times:

    Food: Winter Bounty at the Farmer’s Market

    By Kathleen Nixon for the Falls Church Times
    January 25, 2013

    It is hard to believe but vegetables do grow in the winter around here. Our region is fortunate to have temperate climate and hardy, ingenuous farmers which create a bounty of winter vegetables available at our local farmers markets.  Given the cold snap that we have had the last week, one can appreciate the hard work of our local farmers who get up and out into the single digits to not only tend the farm but also pick, pack and drive to set up at the farmers market by 9am on Saturday morning.

    There has been a growth in the number of winter farmers markets throughout the country due to an increased interest in local seasonal food sourcing and farmers adapting efficient growing techniques to their climates. Winter markets – markets that operate at least once between November and March- now account for 24 percent of the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory. There are 1,864 winter farmers markets in the country, which is up 52 percent from 2011.

    Each winter season brings new vendors to the Falls Church Farmers Market and the return of many of the stalwart vendors who do not want to disappoint their regular customers. This season saw the return of many market favorites such as Atwaters, Blue Ridge Dairy, Cibola Farms, Valentines, Pancha Dulce, Flowers of the Forest, Mother Earth Mushrooms, Toigo Orchards, Stachowski’s, Bonaparte’s, Union Street Soapworks, Smith Meadows, Grace’s Bakery, Wisteria Gardens and Cavanna’s to name just a few. What this means is that you can still shop for your weekly groceries at the farmers market by educating yourself on how to prepare many of these plentiful winter vegetables and produce.

    The winter market is also a time for new vendors to try the market out and for customers to get to know the new vendors. This is a trial period for both; a vendor may not have anticipated correctly the impact of a new market on their product supply; the community may not truly appreciate a vendor’s product or personality.

    New this year is an array of vendors from salmon to vegetables, microgreens to prepared foods. You will notice that the winter market now wraps around the City Hall parking lot similar to the summer market due to the increase of new and returning vendors.

    Nourish Market, the retail operation that took over Kennedy’s and Kasha Kitchen, is offering a variety of soups using Virginia farm raised chicken and organic vegetables along with gluten free and vegan soups using organic veggies.  Other items will include gluten free brownies and organic salad dressings

    Spring Valley Farm and Orchard is from Romney West Virginia and they have been providing winter vegetables to area markets for seven seasons. They are able to do this because of their nine heated greenhouses as well as cold hardy vegetables grown in the field under floating row covers. They will be offering vegetables such as beets, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, salad greens, butternut squash, apples, Swiss chard, and edible pumpkins which were planted earlier in the fall.

    New Day Farms is providing a new product class to the market: micro-greens which provide a higher concentration of nutrients than your regular sized vegetables. I tried this out with the wheatgrass and sunflower seed shoots. The wheatgrass was sweet and was sweeter when I added it to my juicer. The sunflower shoots are nutty and crunchy providing a nice munching snack in the dead of winter to replace the salty nuts that many of us crave but probably shouldn’t have too much. Micro greens are available now and green house heirloom tomatoes later in the season.

    Bees’n Blossoms provides a wide variety of honey, pollen and creamed honey products which should help “most” get through the winter without Howie’s Honey.

    And finally Cold Country Salmon providing King, Chinook, and Sockeye salmon as well as smoked salmon and crab legs. The salmon is awesome and what is better is the descriptions of travel and fishing by Traveler Terpening. Everything and anything you want to know about Alaska, salmon fishing or live in the great outdoors you can find out from Traveler. Grab your coffee and stop by to listen to Traveler spin you a tail. Cold Country Salmon also is offering “shares” of wild salmon similar to a CSA share. You order, Traveler and his family fish for it and deliver it to you by next September.

    As to winter farming, if you would like to see some of this ingenuity such as high tunnels, double tunnels, passive solar or vermicomposting in action there are two remaining lecture-tours in the Winter Farming lecture series programs after this weekend. One will be at Eco City Farms, with the last farm on the tour being Falls Church Farmers Market’s own Tree and Leaf Farms.

    We would also like to welcome the Falls Church Farmers Market to the social media space. You can now follow the Falls Church Farmers Market on Facebook, just like you can follow the Falls Church Farmers Market Chef.

    And if you are looking for some recipes on how to prepare many of the winter vegetables, you can check out the Recipes section of the Falls Church Farmers Market Chef website.

    February 6th, 2013 | Traveler | No Comments | Tags: , , , , ,

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