Under the beautiful sunlight and with some clouds in the sky, a new Saturday morning was about to begin and welcome generations of customers again.
Located in the outdoor parking lot just in front of the Burke Centre Station, Burke Farmers Market is one of the 11 farmers markets in Fairfax County that are home to a variety of fresh, local products.
Around 9 a.m., more cars gradually started coming into the garage. Customers walked toward the center of the market with their own shopping bags, or even a shopping cart, ready to begin their days.
Once entering the market, the colorful, pyramid-shaped tents were neatly set with their fresh products displayed under each of them.
PRODUCTS VARY from vegetables, fruits, flowers and honey to bakery and dairy products as well as seafood. Customers touched and smelled the products to examine what they want.
Rina Rauniyar, an Information Technology professional living in Burke, said she was looking for vegetables she cannot find in a regular supermarket.
“[I like] all the fresh taste of vegetables,” she said. “I just moved here. It’s a nice way to spend the Saturday morning.”
Right by the entrance was Smith Family Farm, the fifth-generation farm in Gainesville, Prince William County. The banner read the County’s “only Century Farm.”
As a year-round producing farm, they produce a variety of meats, including beef, chicken, pork and in addition large brown eggs.
George Childers, the friendly farmer who greets customers with a smile, said they often come looking for ribs, chicken, bacon and eggs. Just within a few minutes, several people stopped by and each purchased one to two dozens of eggs.
“Everything is good on the truck,” he said.
Several tents farther from the entrance was Santa Cruz Produce of Montross, the tent particularly stood out for colorful, vibrant peppers and tomatoes. According to one of the farmers, Jose Medina, they are waiting for more vegetables to come, such as beats, radishes, broccolis, watermelons and sweet potatoes.
Their flowers – mainly zinnias and cockscombs – seemed to be popular too: by the time past 11 a.m. they were all gone.
In just a few steps away was LynnVale Studios, LLC., introducing flower arrangements with sweet floral smell in the air.
Located near the Manassas Battlefield, the farm produces over 100 kinds of specialty cut flowers and herbs that are locally grown.
“We do events too,” the horticulturalists, Susan Kipp and Chauncy Brothers said. “Wedding, party and decorating bridesmaids flowers. A lot of custom-made arrangements.”
FLOWERS OF THE SEASON include, dahlias, hydrangeas, peonies and zinnias. “People come here to look for farm-fresh bouquets,” Brothers added.
While customers come and leave during the hours, it seemed between 10-11 a.m. was the peak where the market place gets most crowded. Among the customers, Susan Gray, a resident of Burke Centre and a museum curator in the City of Fairfax, had a few shopping bags in her both hands, carefully observing the vegetables from the Bending Bridge Farm.
“I grew up in the farm and I just like purchasing fresh and local products,” she said. “I go to this market and also, two markets in the City of Fairfax. I have favorite vendors in each one.”
Tom Boneparte, a consultant residing in Lorton, said he likes the friendliness of the environment and he is back at the market again.
“I’m looking for a good variety of vegetables to check, “he said. “Just to complement my meat diet.”
Burke Farmers Market seems to be the place where customers and vendors interact with each other and share their love and stories of fresh, local products.
“I love the farmers,” said Giovanna Prestigiacomo, the Market manager and resident of Burke. “They are wonderful people, they work hard and they are dedicated. Great market variety that keeps people interested.”
Burke Farmers Market will be back again on Aug. 8 with some fun activities this time, as part of the 16th Annual National Farmers Market Week. The celebration will take place in several different locations from Aug. 5-15.
For more information, visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/wp-farm-mkt.htm.