Over the past 6 years that I have lived in Virginia I have watched the Spotsylvania Farmers Market grow from a just a handful of farmers selling produce to a vibrant market with 35 different vendors selling a variety of plants, produce, meats, cheeses, and baked goods. Located on Route 3 in the Gordon Rd. Commuter Lot, this market is my favorite place to take the kids on a Saturday morning. We have gotten familiar with some of the farmers and learned from them about their produce. Frequently vendors will offer samples of different produce and other foods. Sampling the produce at the market is a neat way for kids to try new foods, too.
A couple of years ago I decided to give myself a goal of spending ten dollars a week at the farmer’s market. It seemed like an arbitrary number, but it was one I could wrap my head around. If I missed the market one week because of an activity or vacation, I could make up for it during other weeks. It turns out 10 dollars is a number that is cited by the Virginia Cooperative Extension in calculating how much revenue could be brought into an area by families buying locally. According to their statistics, if each family in the “George Washington Region” (Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania, Stafford counties and the city of Fredericksburg) spends ten dollars per week on local farm-based products, it would generate over 57 million community food dollars for the region. Extend that across the state of Virginia and over 555 million dollars could be generated!!
My friend Elizabeth Borst is the manager of the Spotsylvania Farmers Market. She is very committed to the message of buying local farm-based products, especially when working with lower income families. She has helped bring a food token program to the market. This program allows anyone to use their debit card to buy tokens which they can use at market instead of needing cash. This is a convenient way for the market to accept credit card transactions without the vendors individually having to take on the burden and cost. Also, families on the SNAP food assistance program can use their benefits and receive matching tokens for up to 10 dollars a week!
I love the sense of community that I get when visiting this market, and I love the lessons that my children learn as well. This market is well worth visiting with kids. Currently there are an estimated 2500 visitors per week, but this will only grow with area families visiting and supporting it. Treat yourself and your family to some treats, and support our local farmers, too! The market is open Saturday mornings from 8am to 1pm. To find out more, visit their website.
For more ideas on recipes using local produce, visit doctoryum.com, where I will be sharing seasonal recipes throughout the summer, like Pasta with Asaparagus, Peas and Spring Onions.