Every now and then I take it upon myself to toot our own horn, mainly because it gives me the opportunity to recognize and thank all the people who work with us, for us, and on our behalf to make things happen. And I mean things beyond just the markets that bring you the best that the Mid-Atlantic farming region and our home-based cooks and commercial bakers have to offer. We do stay busy, and whenever possible we reach out and take our markets both literally and figuratively into the communities we serve and would like to serve.
This fall we are particularly peripatetic, with special events all over Northern Virginia that are open for anyone to attend. This will bring you up to date on our plans for each market and mention some other events you should know about.
The Reston market will move from our great location these past three years at the Hartke/National Realty Building, but only across the street to the Reston Center, which offers us a much larger parking lot for the market and vast amounts of parking for our shoppers. We will also have lighting in that lot so that we can stay open through Christmas with new hours of 3–6 p.m. Hopefully Reston Interfaith, our market gleaners at this market, will follow us across the street while the farmers are still bringing produce, which should be through Thanksgiving.
We are going out with a bang and a trumpet solo and will host a party this week at the Hartke Building site before we relocate next week. We will have some old friends and new friends from the D.C. jazz scene with us for a two-hour gig that would cost you big bucks at Bohemian Caverns, the Hamilton, or Blues Alley, where they have all played over the years. So come join us for the last market with the Hartkes and follow us across the street next week.
The Lorton Workhouse Arts Center market will become year-round due largely to great support we receive from all the staff and artists-in-residence, most of which flows through Julie Booth, our very own caretaker. We are beginning to learn more about the community through our gleaning relationship with the Lorton Community Action Center, and we also participated in a recent community event sponsored by the Park Authority. We often have vendors on site for Workshop activities, and you will find some of our vendors at their Black Friday event November 23. At this market, several of our vendors are working to expand our presence there. We hope to bring more local ingenuity, professionalism, and great products to that area.
Our Friday market at Centreville will also move next year to Manassas Park, just next to the VRE railway station there. All of your favorite vendors will make the move, and we hope to see many of our Centreville shoppers at the new site. It is actually close in distance and time, though not at the height of rush hour. Just come early to avoid that if you can! We are planning to introduce ourselves to Manassas Park Friday, October 26 with a special Halloween market for children of all ages.
At Oakton, we look forward to bringing in new vendors when the other markets in the area close. Everyone is waiting not so patiently for Uncle Fred to return, which he will do every other week starting in two weeks. In the meantime, we have organized a mini-market for the Vale School Fall Festival this Saturday, October 20. So bring the kids after you visit the market. This is a wonderful, low-key but fun event that celebrates the vibrancy of an old community in Fairfax County that has seen many changes but kept its history close at hand.
Our Springfield market will operate through December, and Jacob Horst will accept turkey orders at this market. We have also been invited to relocate next year to what is left of Springfield Mall, where would be in good company with Target, JCPenney, and Macy’s still holding down anchor positions. I am looking into that now, and we will keep you posted. I liked the idea of being on the American Legion grounds, where we are now, not just to be able to avail ourselves of their membership but also to help them raise their profile in the community. For us to move, the new site must offer more opportunities to work with the community as well as better visibility.
Bristow is our market on the grounds of Piney Branch Elementary School in Prince William County. It is one of a very few markets in the state on school property and the only one in Northern Virginia. On November 4, the school, their PTO, and the School Board and staff will be recognized for this accomplishment on the first day of Farm-to-School week. We will also host our nutrition counselor on site that day and will have a number of fun things for the children to do while the grown-ups pat themselves on the back, which they truly deserve to do. We are already working with two PTO committees, the Health and Wellness Committee and the “Green Team,” and the school itself will celebrate Food Day and Food Week.
So now you know what is happening with Smart Markets this month. If I am still standing next month, I will lay out our plans for holiday shopping at the markets. Please come join the fun, support your market vendors and learn a little something along the way.
See you at the market!