“Follow the sunflowers! That’s where we’ll be. Just look for the howitzer across the street that pointing right at us!,” says Juanita Tool, market manager of the Purcellville Community Market.
This small market started in fall 2008 as a year round market and has quickly drawn visitors from miles away each week. There are between 16-20 vendors in the town hall parking lot on any given week through the winter months…and the fire pit serving as the market center. “Buy fresh, Buy Local “ is the phrase of the day.
Each Saturday rain or shine vendors set up their tents anticipating the familiar patrons that come for the freshest local food around. I crave the taste of Lothar’s BLT hoagie hot off the grill. Lothar Erbe is a German immigrant from Frankfurt who is a master artisan butcher. Donning lederhosen and an unmistakable German dialect, Lothar pleases the market goers with an array of brats, sausages, bacon, and various cuts of pork. He and his wife June and their son sell sausages each week.
1st Avenue Bakery's marketing focuses on their consistent blue ribbon awards for Virginia’s Finest peanut supreme pie, coconut crème, lemon chess and more. Liberty Hill Farm offers pastured chicken and meats as well as organic baked breads. Liz Handcrafted Soaps offer a huge variety of special soaps and seasonal offerings.
I drive at least half an hour to get my weekly bag of Rob’s organic salad greens and add a box of shitakes for a farmer’s market salad you can’t beat. From these to Chef Eloy’s Kicken Salsas, Hondo Coffee Roasters to the Cheese Grits Girls, this market has the people, loyal locals and product appeal that many winter markets do across the country. It is a growing trend that projects to continue.
According to the USDA year round farmers markets have increased by 17% since 2009. New York state is on the top of the list with 153 winter markets. There are nearly 900 winter farmers markets are operating weekly around the country during the winter months.
One of 898 winter markets around the country...
This small Northern Virginia market represents a growing trend around the country to connect with local farmers to buy direct via these informal markets.
Grab a few recycle bags and a bunch of cash and support local this week…there’s nothing like it!