I have a confession: I have been known to spend hours (HOURS) at the farmers market. Why? Because the farmer’s market (at least our Williamsburg Farmers Market) is THE BEST place to spend a Saturday morning ever! Here’s why:
1) The People Watching
Above: Satisfied shoppers buy from KelRae Farms in Toano
This is probably one of my favorite activities. When you go, see how many of these you can spot:
– Older ladies with fancy market baskets filled to the brim with organic produce
– Small dogs being either a) pushed in a stroller or b) carried in a basket
– Families with little kids doing their shopping as a group (cuuuute!)
– Dog fights/ altercations
– Dogs sniffing each others’ butts
– Cute dogs, old dogs, big dogs, little dogs, just DOGS!
– CW employees in costume
– Somebody pulling a wagon full of produce
– Groups of students going from stall to stall looking for free samples
2) The Free Samples
Chefs from the Williamsburg Lodge restaurant, Traditions, steep up some yummy stuff for a soup
You know you’re not above those students. The following stalls usually have samples, but be respectful- the vendors are there for their livelihoods, so don’t ask for samples if you already know you’re not going to buy anything, OK?
– Chef’s Tent- always free! local chefs come in and make something really good using things available at the market. It’s over on the south side of the square between the Cheese Shop and the Wythe Candy shop.
– Goats R Us (flavored goat cheeses- lavender, chocolate, black pepper, all sorts)
– an occasional vineyard, like Hague, or Saude Creek– yes you can SAMPLE WINE IN THE MORNING isn’t Williamsburg great?!?
– Fresh Crunch (pickled stuff)
– Belmont Peanuts
3) The Vendors
They are for real farmers. Or cheesemakers. Or whatever. And they are all super nice people! At the WFM, it’s required that the person selling is the person that produced the product. So go ahead, ask all your questions about recipes, growing seasons, and how those darling chickens are doing. This is their passion, so they will love talking about it with you!
4) The Music
There’s almost always some kind of live music at the market, and since it’s live music, the musicians are probably local, ergo: there are talented local musicians at the market. This week, it’s The Blue Notes, a group of teenagers (!) who play classic blues standards. I’ve heard everything from a cappella groups to smooth guitar tunes to folksy-music. The fact that there are so many talented people in a relatively rural area really impresses me.
5) THE FOOD
Beautiful peppers (in November!) from Amy’s Garden
Of course, there’s oodles of beautiful rainbow chard, weird and ugly winter squashes, and tomatoes of every hue and shape– but there’s also grass-fed meats, honey, eggses, and prepared foods like pastitsio made by real authentic Greek ladies, and pastries made by a French bakery, and pies, and more pies, and even popsicles. SO MUCH GOOD FOOD!
6) The Energy
The market buzzes with activity, and it’s one of my favorite things about it. Let me tell you a little story . . .
When I first moved to Williamsburg, I didn’t have a car. And it was winter. I would get home and it would be dark and I didn’t feel safe going around at night so I’d be stuck in my apartment until the weekend. But you know what was on the weekend? The farmers market! Every market Saturday I would get on my bike and ride down to the square. I was just so excited to be where everybody else was, where the action was- it was honestly the highlight of my week. And it’s one of the main reasons I still love it- I feel like I’m part of a community. I hope you feel that way, too!
I’d love to hear what your favorite parts of the market are- if you’d like, leave a comment!
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