A few things: 1. We’ve actually been to the farmers market several times now 2. I only remembered my camera the first time 3. I took terrible pictures that day. Apologies in advance. For instance, the sign above was hung over an awesome food stand (Super Fresh Carts – s’mores and grilled cheeses) and at one point a gentleman was wandering around the market dressed in a head-to-toe suit of armor made completely of these recycled bottle tops. And I didn’t take a picture. Ugh.
Which brings me to the point of this post: Farmers Markets and why everyone should patronize them (and I mean patronize as in the “Frequent as a customer” definition, not the “Treat with an apparent kindness that betrays a feeling of superiority” definition). Richmond has no shortage of great markets, but most people tend to choose the ones closest to home and we are no exception, so we head over to the South of the James Market. They hold a smaller winter market and next week switch over to the larger summer market, held in Forest Hill Park. Here’s a link for Richmonders who want to check it out.
Here’s the general gist of the winter market. It’s a smaller affair with just this main stretch of vendors and a little cul dec sac at the end. We decided to just stop in each tent to have a look, then come back and buy our favorites. If you are a Farmers Market rookie like we were, learn from our mistake. We passed the Bonnyclabber Cheese Company from Sullivan’s Pond Farm and tried a variety of delicious artisan goat cheeses. One was coated in charcoal that was handmade on site. It tasted like a million creamy campfires dancing in your mouth (or something), but when we came back just thirty short minutes later, they were completely sold out. Not just of the charcoal goodness, but nearly their entire stock. Every trip since, we bee-line right to Goat-Cheese-Man (as I call him) and then to Forest-Pig-Man (also my naming. It doesn’t sound offensive until I write it down, I swear), as they seem to be the ones who sell out fastest. While we’re on the subject of Forest-Pig-Man, here is why I call him that:I mean, he literally sells pigs from the forest, so I think it’s an aptly given nickname. Especially because there are other meat vendors as well and I prefer to think my dinner had a happy existence before ending up on my plate, so I always differentiate which Pig-Man I want to shop with. As if you needed more convincing, they even have a poster showing one of the pigs enjoying his forest life: Well, now I feel a little guilty admitting that might have eaten that happy piggy, but in all seriousness, the treatment and respect of animals (food sources or not) is important to me, so I feel good about buying our meats here.
Also on our dinner plates? Fresh produce:
Local Honey and local pollen (a few grains a day will combat spring allergies):All natural steaks and ground beef: Virginia Wine (but of course!):And something really special. Yarn (I secretly love to knit), wait for it…….:Made from THIS sheep!:It was the first time in my life I got to meet the sheep who created my yarn. So now when I’m feeling all cozy in my knit cowl, I can think of this guy and smile. I really should have gotten a picture of him the week after this, because he had been shaved down quite a bit and his owners gave him a Mohawk. Coolest sheep in the Richmond city limits.
And at the end of the day Ryan bought me a necklace I was drooling over: Market Days are the best. The only thing better is coming back home with our haul and hanging out in the kitchen while Ryan cooks dinner:
..after opening a bottle of Virginia Wine, natch!