From Shirley (Gluten Free Easily), in King George, Virginia:
Our market is now in its third season and last year won America's Favorite Farmers Market in the boutique category (15 vendors or less). This was a voting contest held by the American Farmland Trust. (Incidentally, it's going on right now to "crown" this year's winner at the end of the summer.) We are so proud of winning at the end of last season and holding the title right now!
The unique thing about our market is its very strict rule that the items sold must be produced/created in our small county. That seems simple enough, but most of the area markets end up selling produce shipped in from great distances. I purchased some roasted cinnamon-sugar almonds this morning. The almonds weren't grown here, obviously, but the roasting and preparing was done locally.
While the amazing bouquets of flowers are not food, they dress one's table up very nicely and I love buying a bouquet each time I go.
Our market was just featured in the Food Network magazine in a Local Flavor section as "worth a side trip" in the southeast. That's why my friend, DeLaura, the market manager, is holding up this month's issue.
The young lady pictured above is DeLaura's daughter. She's 11 and is the gluten-free baker at the market. This week she offered blueberry muffins made using the blueberries grown on their farm as well as apple turnovers. This is Maren's second year selling her baked goods at the market. Last year she made $400 for the season, just offering one product each week. The apple turnovers are a new offering that she added after she took a gluten-free baking class. Maren's presence at the market means that I can head out to the market bright and early before I have my breakfast, because I always know she will have something for me to enjoy as I browse. (Don't you love their purple truck?)
I buy produce from one particular vendor, a couple, most often, because their fruits and veggies are always so good and they simply, but lovingly display them.
Last, while winning the favorite farmer's market title garnered us a polished new banner as part of our advertising materials prize package, I'm still partial to the original sandwich board sign (top photo) that DeLaura and her husband, Steve, made per my suggestion.
The farmers market also hosts movies (mostly documentaries) on related subjects each year. Plus there are several community days each season at the market. It's an active group all year long, even though the market itself only runs from late April to late November (Christmas trees come out then!).
On Saturdays, for more than three years, we've peeked into Other People's Pantries. There are only two more pantries to share with you.
*I know that many of you love Other People's Pantries. I do, too. If you'd like this feature to continue, now's the time to send in your pantry photos, and ask your friends to share photos of their pantries. Here's how.
Market to Pantry alternates on Saturdays with Other People's Pantries.
*There is just one more market to share. Show us your favorite supermarket, farmers' market, ethnic market, big box store or roadside stand. We'd love to see where you shop for food. Here's how.
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