Eating local produce from Virginia farmers markets isn’t just fun and good for the environment — it benefits your health. It means your food is fresher and more seasonal, which helps you add some variety and nutrients to your diet. Local produce is also picked closer to the time you consume it. Thus, it’s not sitting in a warehouse waiting to be put out, and you get to eat it when the flavor is best. And besides, going to the farmers market is an excuse to engage in some fresh air and human interaction, which can brighten your mood, too.
If you’re looking to enhance your diet and engage with your community, find a farmers market near you. Here are some of the best Virginia farmers markets to check out this summer and fall.
Charlottesville City Market
The Charlottesville City Market, in business since 1973 and one the biggest farmers markets in the state, runs every Saturday until noon from April through December. Here you will fill your basket with locally sourced produce. But save room for kombucha, herbs, grass-fed meats, bread and beautiful orchids. Their on-site composting station accepts your produce scraps, which they’ll recycle back into the earth. If you’re in the SNAP program, you can cash in your benefits here for fresh foods.
Old Beach Farmers Market
Whether you live in Virginia Beach or are there on vacation, take a trip to the Old Beach Farmers Market. It’s active each summer weekend, and at least once a month during the colder weather. In addition to stocking up on seasonal produce from farmers like New Earth Farm (which grows 200 vegetable varieties!), you’ll find homemade jams, poultry and eggs pasture-raised without hormones and antibiotics and fresh seafood.
Old Town Farmers Market
The Old Town Farmers Market in Alexandria claims to be the largest continuously running farmers market at the same site — lasting more than 260 years so far! They even say that George Washington’s produce was sold here. This Virginia farmers market runs every Saturday morning all year, with up to 70 vendors. Choose from newly plucked vegetables and fruits, or something with a slightly longer shelf life, like pasta, pickles, and potted plants. In addition to cash, the market accepts food stamps and will match up to $20 on approved items. The Alexandria area is fortunate to have five Virginia farmers markets, so there might be a more convenient one for you or one that runs on a different day.
Southwest Virginia Farmers Market
As an indoor daily farmers market, Hillsville’s Southwest Virginia Farmers Market lets you shop in the same place as the wholesalers to buy local goods. While you can find regional produce from area farmers, the market vendors also offer handmade soaps, nuts, grains, baked goods and flowers. Come late August for the Carroll County Agricultural Fair, which is at the market site. If you grow your own produce or just like to can what you buy, the Carroll County Cannery lets you do your canning on-site.
Vienna Farmers Market
One of the smaller markets in the state, the Vienna Farmers Market sells on Saturdays through October. The 30 vendors must produce the goods themselves within a 150-mile radius. Stop by to enjoy live music while shopping for produce, meats, locally baked foods and associated farm goods, like those made with lanolin or beeswax.
This selection has some of the best farmer’s markets in Virginia, but there are more options throughout the state. To find one of the many Virginia farmers markets near you, check out this online directory.
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