The Harrisonburg Farmers Market is an amazing place. We were just able to start going back about 2 weeks ago after a few months away, and I am so glad we did! We had avoided it because of the cost, but we decided that we are going to eat better, healthier food and not buy the crappy stuff we used to eat instead of good food. We have a certain amount we will spend depending on the week and what we need vs. what we want. In all truthfulness, I was so excited to go back that I did buy things I didn’t need. But it was a one (hopefully!) time thing.
So, in the picture above we have homemade granola (which goes in my Stonyfield Organic Yogurt) from Singers Glen, homemade apple butter (didn’t catch the farm’s name), local honey from New Market, freshly pressed, unrefined canola oil from Port Republic, fresh pork and free-range chicken eggs from Edinburg, and a wonderful loaf of oatmeal bread from Clover Blossom Farm. This is a sample of what we brought home from the Market the past two weeks. You can see, much of it is already gone!
We’ve also bought sweet potatoes, green beans, corn, jelly, cheeses, and even jewelry and other gifts from the Market. It has grown so much! I remember in college I was in Harrisonburg in the morning fairly early for some crazy reason. It was rainy and there were a few farmers set up in the Water Street Parking Deck and I was so confused. I had never seen a farmers market like that before and I wasn’t impressed to be honest. There weren’t very many vendors and it seemed weird to go up to an actual person and buy their stuff. And, in all fairness, you have to get used to that. It’s not the most comfortable thing to walk around and judge people’s offerings. I mean, this is their life for some of them. How do you choose one over another? I can’t answer that for you. I can tell you that talking makes it easier. Samples make it even easier!
I don’t remember when we first made an effort to go to the Farmers Market. It was sometime Summer/Fall in 2009. The first person we became a regular of was a woman who made jelly. Her name is Ruth Ann and she was from Nu Beginning Farm. I fell in love with her strawberry jelly. So much so, that we asked if she could do wedding favors for us. She was just as excited as we were. So everyone at the wedding had a 4 oz jar of locally grown strawberries made into jelly! She even did labels for us! Super cute!
Now we are hooked. Sean’s obsession is Staff of Life Bread. He loves to sample and loves to buy…2 loafs at a time. Now that we have a breadmaker, it’s easier for him to pass up some days. But he still loves to see what they have that day. I should also mention that these people recognize us. The Staff of Life lady, she saw Sean coming from a mile away! We used to go to the market right as Sean got off work (7am) on Saturday. During the Winter Market, they open at 9am so we go then. But some vendors know us now because Sean looked beat (and usually still had his key card attached to himself) and we go to the same people to see what’s new.
Currently, we are excited to buy local free range chicken eggs. It took us a while to get to that point, but we are there and I don’t think there’s any turning back! There’s a few vendors that sell eggs and we’ll probably try a couple when everyone comes back. (It’s cold and for some it’s not worth coming to the Market to sell, so in spring it’ll kick back up!) For now we get J&L Green Farm eggs and pork. We like this guy. Sean LOVES the sausage!
The last person I want to highlight in this post is Designs by Melanie. She makes beautiful jewelry and Sean bought me a lovely necklace for Christmas and I fell in love with it. She uses all sterling silver, so obviously the prices reflect that, and only all natural stones. Her wire-work is amazing. She does her own connections because she said they were stronger. Currently, she has a few Tree of Life designs which are stunning. I love artists and I love learning about how they do their work. This necklace had me hooked…get it? hooked 🙂
There are SO MANY amazing vendors! Please check them all out here. Better yet, come down to Turner Pavilion (across from the DNR, behind City Hall) this Saturday from 9a-12p. See for yourself the variety that’s available locally-even in the winter! Then see what’s there in the spring and summer. They have already outgrown the pavilion! It’s really amazing, and the people are awesome. There’s usually samples of homemade goods. But I will warn you…the samples work. You will buy 🙂
Buy Fresh, Buy Local
Support the local farms since the money stays here. Most of the food is organic, though you are always welcome to ask. Much of the meat and eggs I have seen are from animals that don’t have hormones injected in them, they can roam free, and they live an ethical life. Isn’t that what you want to support? Remember, no farms=no food.
Many of the vendors have Facebook pages as well.