FOOD: It’s Spring! Where are the tomatoes?
BY Kathleen Nixon
April 6, 2012
Falls Church Times Staff
The warm weather start to the spring has brought out many folks to the Falls Church Farmers Market and no one can be happier than the vendors. At the same time the questions start as to when will we see some of the summer time fruits and vegetables? This happens every year as the warmer weather starts and we are accustomed to seeing all kinds of out of season fruits in the supermarkets like strawberries in January. You will find some tomatoes in the Farmers Market as many vendors start tomatoes in their greenhouses. For now you will have to wait a bit for your vine ripened tomatoes, strawberries and stone fruit. Since the weather has been so warm the Falls Church Farmers Market will be opening earlier this year on April 14th, but even before then some of the summer vendors are already part of the Farmers Market including are Clear Spring Creamery, and Sinplicity Catering.
There are some winter Farmers Market vendors who will not be returning for the summer season and you will want to catch them in the next two weeks, such as Cold Country Salmon which offers vacuum packed salmon that is caught fresh by a father and son duo. You can purchase salmon now and shares of salmon for later similar to a CSA and they will be delivered at the end of the summer.
Some winter vendors have put on a serious marketing push to be able to come back in the summer and the competition has been fierce. Interesting tactics such as marketing flyers at stands to tell Farmers Market Director Howard Herman to let them stay or just telling customers to campaign the Director in person. The Farmers Market will be expanding some of its space to the sidewalk area along Park Avenue to accommodate the expansion of the market for a few, new vendors. The final list of new vendors is still being reviewed and there is an extensive waiting list. The biggest challenge is making sure that there is enough variety in the market to ensure good crowds for all the vendors to be successful. Which of the winter vendors would you like to see come back for the summer session?
The Farmer’s Market Chef program now in its fourth year will be returning on April 28th with Farmer’s Market Chef favorite Tracy O’Grady from Willow. There will be monthly Farmers Market Chef demonstrations from April to November with some special programs including two educational programs. The first will be the Culinary Program from Falls Church High School in neighboring Fairfax County and the Culinary Program of DC Central Kitchen with the Kitchen Director Chef Rock of Hell’s Kitchen fame.
As gas prices continue to go up, so will the cost to the farmers to produce their goods and bring them to market. The same pain you are feeling at the gas pump they are feeling triple fold to produce the fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and baked goods that you have been waiting for all winter.
By Kathleen Nixon
April 6, 2012