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September 12, 2007

A Tale of Two Seasons (at the Farmers Market)

MillieThis week promises to be magical, as the DC metro area straddles two seasons.  Sure, the weather is listing towards autumn (and sweaters, boots and jackets), but I'm talking about the farmers market. 

After reading southern Virginia author Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life earlier this year, my husband and I have been trying hard to buy more local produce.  In the spring, we joined a Olin Fox Farms, a Community Supported Agriculture based in Virginia's Northern Neck, and for the past few weeks, we've also been going to the farmers market in Kingstowne.   

I wish that we could take advantage of the weekly market in Old Town, but the City of Alexandria allows "resale vendors," which means that you might as well go to Safeway or Giant.  Fairfax County, on the other hand, requires products sold at farmers markets to come from within 125 miles of the county.  So my daughter and I leave the comfy confines of Alexandria for Kingstowne most Friday afternoons these days.

Shopping at the farmers market is great because I can get a sense of what's in season.  The past few weeks, there has been plenty of corn, tomatoes and melons.  But last week, there were apples, potatoes and squash alongside the rest of the summer harvest. 

There is a vendor in the corner of the Kingstowne farmers market that sells peaches.  People line up twenty deep to get giant bags of peaches.  Petunia and I stood in line for our peaches last week, to be pleasantly surprised by a large crop of gala, ginger gold and honeycrisp apples alongside the fuzzy fruit.  Nearby, a sign announced, "Next week is the LAST WEEK for peaches!" 

So, get thee to a farmers market this week.  It's an amazing opportunity to grab the last of summer's bounty AND the first taste of fall at the same time.


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