Today I had the immense pleasure of attending the farmer’s market, now more commonly referred to as the “city market,” because the offerings they have there extend way beyond the farm now. I’ve grown up in Charlottesville my entire life and I can only remember the farmer’s market being an actual big time event in the past 5-10 years or so. The last time I remember being at the farmer’s market was when I was about 12 and it had maybe only seven or eight vendors in a small parking lot downtown. Today, there are over 40 vendors selling items from fresh produce to handmade bracelets and freshly baked goods. I had the chance to talk with a few of the vendors and found out that a lot of vendors, including one I talked to, own USDA Organic Certified farms and are avid believers in being stewards to the environment and making sure their crops are pesticide and chemical free as well as practicing in crop rotation.
The first farm I talked to is called “Radical Roots” farm and they are USDA Certified Organic as of recently, partly due to the high demands of their customers. The farm is located in Keezletown, Virginia, just south of Harrisonburg. One of the ladies I talked to told me about the process of becoming certified organic, much like we discussed in class. She talked to me about the certifications and how they will go through yearly inspections of at least three crops in order to remain organic. If you want to read more about Radical Roots, you can check out their website, located here.
The next vendors I talked to were from a small farm located in Culpepper, Virginia, which is very close to Fredericksburg! This farm is called Whisper Hill Farm and they talked to me about their farming practices, which includes the exclusion of pesticides and chemicals from their crops as well as practicing in 3 to 5 year crop rotation. They also practice in maintaining soil fertility by adding organic matter as well as cultivating the land with a hoe, which also affectively addresses weeds. If you want to read more about their farm and how and when to buy from them, as well as how they maintain the farm without the use of pesticides, their website can be found here. Whisper Hill farm seemed to be one of the most interactive farms at the market, offering up numerous amounts of knowledge on their farming practices and offering up tours of their farm. I was unable to get close up pictures of the actual produce in the tent due to the high volume of people there to buy from them. This farm seemed to be adapting a lot of the agricultural practices that we talked about in class in order to reduce the effects of the “one size fits all” approach.
Below are a few pictures of other vendors at the market as well as just scenes of the market itself.
Overall, I had a very enjoyable morning at the market and found out a lot of information about farms in the area. The market in Charlottesville is a booming place and it showed me that a lot of people in my hometown are just as concerned as I am about eating fresh, local, and healthy produce. I really enjoyed seeing all the people from the community contributing to the market, either by being vendors or by purchasing the produce and products from them. I highly recommend taking a trip to Charlottesville to see this market. It’s open every Saturday from 7am to noon, April through December. Charlottesville is a great town that has a lot to offer, and this city market is at the top of the list of things to do and see.
*All pictures were taken by me, on my iPhone*