When the Reston Farmers Market opened last Saturday, rain was pouring down onto the Lake Anne Center parking lot. Even so, a group of produce fans braved the elements.
"It was cold, raining, and still, at 8 a.m., we had about 10 people out here with umbrellas," said John Lovaas, market coordinator.
Later on, the rain subsided and by 10 a.m. the crowd had grown. Terry Medlar drove down from Gaithersburg, Md. to the Reston market for lettuce, snap peas, and herbs.
"We don’t have anything like this in Gaithersburg," Medlar said. "We have a farmers market, but only about three stands."
There were around 15 stands at the Reston market. The items for sale must be grown or produced within 125 miles of Fairfax County. The farmers, most of whom sell items at several farmers markets throughout the area, offer vegetables, herbs, flowers and baked items.
Nadia Ben-Nasr and Danielle Dinacci manned the stand for Toigo Orchards, of Shippensburg, Penn. The pair woke up at four in the morning to get ready for the market.
"It was pouring this morning," Ben-Nasr said. "The drive was horrible."
But by 8 a.m., their stand was in place, and they were selling asparagus and tomatoes. Great Falls resident Mina Salama, who works at Reston’s St. Basil restaurant, bought a bundle of asparagus from Toigo Orchards. She said the vegetables will be used in a special, 10 course menu at the restaurant.
"Whenever we do special menus, we try to come out and get stuff from local growers," Salama said.
Reston’s Abdul and Fatima Ahad, along with their children Zack and Ariana, picked up some rhubarb at the farmers market. But they didn’t plan on using it in a pie.
"We eat it with salt," Fatima Ahad said. "We used to eat it that way in our home country, Afghanistan. It’s sour if you don’t put any sugar on it."
Mike McCormick, a Langston Hughes Middle School teacher who tends a farm in Rappahannock County, sold the rhubarb, but had never known anyone to eat it with salt.
"It’s amazing to think that people in Afghanistan know rhubarb," McCormick said. "It’s international. That’s the kind of thing that’s really fun about the farmers market."
The Reston Farmers Market will be open every Saturday morning, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., until Nov. 2. To get to Lake Anne Village Center, where the market is located, come down Baron Cameron Avenue, from the direction of Reston Parkway, and take a right onto Village Road.