As in years past, the first week of May signals the opening of the Fairfax County Farmers Market.
The Lorton Farmers Market, now in its third year, opened Sunday, May 1. The rest of the 11 markets sponsored by the Fairfax County Park Authority are in the process of opening and will be in operation through November 2011.
The Fairfax County Farmers Markets are a â€œproducer-onlyâ€, locally grown, market system. All vendors come from within a 125-mile radius from Fairfax County and must grow or produce all products they sell at the market. No brokers or reselling is allowed.
The farmers markets offer shoppers the opportunity to ask questions and connect with farmers and producers whose food and plants they buy. Supporting local farmers helps preserve farmland while protecting the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Variety of products
In May, the markets are teeming with the early season harvest of strawberries, asparagus, spring onions, salad greens, radishes, Swiss chard and beets. Late season apples carefully kept in cold storage are as crisp as the day they were picked.
If you want to start your own herb garden, potted herbs to include sage, lavender, oregano, thyme, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, chives, dill and basil are available. For the backyard gardeners there are pepper and tomato plants.
Annual flowers and hanging baskets round out the plant offerings. Perennial and annual plants and flowers are available throughout the market season.
Other fare at the farmersâ€™ markets includes artisan breads, cheeses, beef, pork, chicken, sausages, fresh farm eggs, salsas, hummus, jams, jellies, honey, pasta, pesto, goat cheese spreads, ice cream and, back in some markets this year, fresh milk and milk products.
Produce guide available
A Produce Guide of harvest times can be found here. For more information, including locations, directions and a list of vendors at each market go here or contact the Community Horticulture Office at 703-642-0128.