After the first cancellation ever of this market for weather-related reasons, we will be back with a great market on a gorgeous day this week. We missed you, but we didn’t miss being out in that weather -- and we hope you were snug in your home watching those ugly skies from inside out.
This week we will welcome Montoya’s Produce all the way from Colonial Beach, Va., and all of your other favorites will be with us. It’s tough for Jacob to miss a week, so he will be happy to see those lines again, and Max Tyson will have sweet cherries and maybe some blueberries and raspberries, too. Stock up now while they are in season and the sweetest you will ever buy. All of the berries freeze well in a single layer on a cookie sheet for future uses in jams and jellies, desserts, and even ice cream or smoothies.
Terri is back with her snack mixes, and Delicias del Sur will bring their signature empanadas and alfajores. Betty will have chips and salsas, black bean dip and guacamole. Ask her about her enchiladas, too.
Mehdi has a fresh supply of pasta -- filled and cut varieties, several frozen pasta dinners, and those amazing sauces. Having a freezer stocked with Cavanna Pasta is like having a smiling Italian chef at your beck and call. Only much cheaper than dining out.
I also want to remind you that you can get your Great Harvest bakery fix at the market -- healthy and hearty breads, dog treats, granola, big cookies, and great scones.
Looking ahead, next week we will introduce our very own wood-fired pizza truck, Pizzeria Moto. Joining us from the rarified vistas of the Loudoun wineries, Jay Clement will come to market, fire up the oven, and bake pizza to order topped with local ingredients. He makes pizza so you don’t have to -- the way you would make it if you could.
For this week, you’re on your own. Cook up something delicious in your own kitchen this week -- or on the grill -- and stop by the Smart Markets tent for the latest seasonal recipes.
See you at the market!
From the Market Master
A couple of years ago a group of senators was fighting to protect major subsidies to commercial farmers by arguing that farmers’ markets did not deserve support from the federal government because they were elitist enterprises. These guys seemed serious in their belief that goods sold at markets are grown by urban elite gardeners and that the shoppers themselves are also urban elite consumers who could just as easily buy fresh food at local grocery stores.
There are more than a few holes in that argument, including the fact that I know nearly 50 farmers well, and not one of them farms on a rooftop garden. I am also acquainted with thousands of market shoppers, very few of whom would consider themselves elite consumers. And then there is the indisputable fact that few if any grocery stores stock food that is as fresh, healthy or carefully grown and harvested as what you buy at a farmers’ market.
In addition, farmers’ market managers do usually attempt to make the shopping experience educational, fun and interesting for all -- especially the children -- and we work particularly hard at that. We do it because we want our shoppers to connect in a real live way with our vendors and with each other at the market. We do it because we want to help them validate the decision to go out of their way to shop at a market and support local farms and businesses. And we do it because we want to see shoppers of all persuasions -- even the common man or woman, because we see lots of them -- learn from us and each other how to cook with what they buy at the market.
The bottom line for us is much more than the livelihoods we nurture and support, though that is the main line. Our true satisfaction comes from seeing the diversity in our markets that represents the diversity in our communities -- everyone coming together to get healthy and buy local.
Our farmers also represent that great diversity. The farms they till range widely in size, but the average comes close to the average-sized farm in Virginia, which is 40 acres. With farms this size, these guys have to sell retail; they can no longer make a living on the wholesale prices offered by the grocery stores. That’s where you come in -- you keep these guys on the farm, doing the incredibly hard work they do because they love it.
Maybe in a way all of us in this marketplace are indeed elites. We are saving the small farm, the family farm, and in the process saving ourselves from the grocery store, where at least half of the aisles are now devoted to food we don’t need to eat. (I know this because I counted them yesterday.) And maybe we are being heard by those who would put us down by putting us on a pedestal we didn’t ask for. I was happy to see that the new Farm Bill may actually recognize that this year and divert some of those big-guy subsidies to other uses. (You can still take action on the Farm Bill here.)
In the meantime, enjoy that newly conferred elite status. I figure if you are helping to save the world one family and one farmer at a time, that’s a significant contribution to your community.