Sponsored Advertising Content: Southern Living has partnered with Virginia.org to form a guest blogger network. Today’s post is provided by guest blogger Brittany Mullins of Eating Bird Food. Check back every Monday and Thursday for new ways to explore the state of Virginia.
As a foodie who loves to travel, I’m always adding food related activities to my travel itinerary and getting a taste of the local cuisine is always high on my list of priorities. Dining at local restaurants is lovely, but I find that visiting the local farmers market is where you’ll find the best of the best when it comes to seasonal, local goods that really showcase the true flavors of the particular area you’re visiting.
Most markets not only have farmers with fresh produce, but there’s usually a host of other vendors as well. You can find everything from full meals (served from food trucks and carts), cooking demos, live music, as well as hand-crafted goods like gourmet sauces and spreads, bread, desserts, art work, beauty products and more.
As with many southern states, Virginia is a hot-spot for local markets and many have become well-known. Be sure to add these must-visit markets to your Virginia travel itinerary this summer. And if you’re up for cooking, be sure to check out these seasonal recipes: Farmers Market Roasted Tomato Salad, Fresh Corn and Avocado Salad, Coconut Oil Roasted Summer Squash and Zucchini.
Here’s a short list of 10 must-visit Virginia Farmers Markets. Please check the market’s website or social media for market hours and special events.
Vienna Saturday Farmers Market -- Located in downtown Vienna, this market features 30 amazing vendors from across the region who provide fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats, baked goods, made to order breakfast items including donuts, crepes, eggs, coffee and so much more.
Falls Church Farmers Market -- Right outside of DC, this market has over 30 different local farmers as well as cooking demonstrations done by chefs from area restaurants. Vendors offer fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables, cheeses, meats, baked goods, plants, and wine. The Fairfax County Master Gardeners are also at the market to answer any gardening questions you might have.
Williamsburg Farmers Market -- This popular market offers 40 vendors focused on produce, prepared food and farm related products grown or made in Virginia. The market’s chef demos, live music and great location at Merchant’s Square in Colonial Williamsburg make it both a local favorite and an attraction for visitors from across the country.
Virginia Beach Farmers Market -- A year-round open air market featuring fresh local and regional produce. This market also offers a butcher shop, a dairy store, organic grocer, wild bird store, seafood, florist, candy and bakery, speciality garden shops, restaurant and more.
Charlottesville City Market -- You will find a little bit of everything at this market -- fresh vegetables, grass fed meats, cheeses, fruits, Jams & jelly, jewelry, pottery, hand-made cards, children clothing, cut flowers, trees and plants, fresh roasted coffee, organic bagels, delicious melt in your mouth donuts, and much more. If you want a true taste of Charlottesville don't miss this market.
South of the James Market -- This market is located in Richmond, Virginia and offers an eclectic mix of local farmers and artisans with fresh produce, flowers, plants, meat, dairy, eggs and honey. You’ll also find wine, fresh baked goods and prepared foods, as well as, art, jewelry, pottery and handmade skincare products. This market is very family-friendly with musical entertainment and plenty of delicious prepared breakfast and lunch options. Don’t miss Mrs. Yoder’s famous Sourdough donuts hot from the fryer.
Old Town Farmers Market in Alexandria -- Old Town Alexandria's Market Square is thought to be one of the nation's oldest continually operating farmers markets (since 1753). George Washington sent his produce from Mount Vernon to be sold at this farmers market. Today, the market offers Alexandrians and visitors a way to reconnect to the past, while participating in an ongoing local and national tradition. During the peak season, there are more than 70 vendors offering fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, cheeses, breads, pastries, fresh pasta, pickled vegetables, cut flowers, potted plants, soaps, jewelry and art.
Nelson Farmers Market -- This market is located in Nelson, County, just outside of Charlottesville. Besides an amazing variety of local produce, flowers and fresh meat, there is also live music, pottery and other craft products.
Staunton Farmers Market -- Located in historic downtown Staunton, this market features hyper-local producers (only within a 75 mile radius). Hosting a vast variety of fresh and local produce, you’ll also find vendors with bread, pies and other desserts, cheese, eggs, honey, meat, flowering plants, landscaping shrubs and hand-crafted wood items.
Historic Roanoke City Market – This is the oldest continuously operating open-air market in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It began in 1882, when licenses were issued to 25 area "Hucksters" (vendors). This market area has since gained popularity for its amazing selection of locally grown plants, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Be sure to stop by and visit the market area’s oldest continuous vendor, Martin’s Plant Farm. The Martin’s have had a presence at the market since 1904!