Opinion: Independent Progressive: Reston Farmers Market Opens April 20

Opinion: Independent Progressive: Reston Farmers Market Opens April 20

This Saturday, April 20, the Reston Farmers Market will open its 22nd season in the parking lot at Lake Anne Village Center. In addition to having an unsurpassed selection of the freshest veggies, fruits, meats, seafood, dairy products, baked goods, flowers and plants and more, the 2019 Reston Farmers Market is initiating two special projects: one, to reduce the use of plastic bags in market operations; and, two, to make parking at the Market less challenging.

PLASTIC: Our objective is to reduce single-use plastic bags. Plastic, including little bags commonly used in the Market, literally never biodegrades, is found everywhere (e.g., filling our oceans), and even finds its way into fish we eat. Fairfax County has designated the Reston Farmers Market, partnering with the nonprofit Clean Fairfax, to execute a pilot project to reduce single-use plastic bag use in the Market. Shoppers will be encouraged to BYOB (Bring Your Own Bags) and Market Managers will have a re-useable bag exchange offering re-useable bags (e.g., cloth, paper) to shoppers and accept such bags from shoppers for lending to other shoppers at no cost. Vendors will also be encouraged to offer alternatives to plastic for small purchases, e.g., paper or cloth bags. Shopper ideas and suggestions are welcomed! Together we can make a real difference!

PARKING: As any shopper who drives to the RFM knows, parking beside the market fills up early. Shoppers can waste time driving round and round looking for rare spaces, and then overflowing onto North Shore Drive, sometimes ending up several blocks from the Market. Meanwhile, there is a large, underutilized lot behind the Plaza Baptist Church within a very short walk from the Market. We will encourage shoppers to use this alternative — including offering them handouts with a Google map and simple directions to the site behind the church. Just a few dozen cars using this handy alternative lot should reduce pressure on parking for all Market shoppers.

The 2019 RFM remains the largest in Fairfax County. Once again, there will be 30 vendors, 27 of whom you’ll recognize from last year and three carefully recruited new ones. Newcomer Shenandoah Seasonal, always chemical free, offers an impressive array of the freshest produce and pride themselves on sustainable production methods that “go above and beyond standard organic growing practices.” Another newcomer is Ozfeka, maker of exciting Anatolian salads, savory appetizers and entrees, and yummy specialty desserts for shoppers to take home. And Bee’s Wing Farm brings cut flowers, specializing in wild and lush floral designs combining the best blooms, berries and foliage for your bouquets. Their flowers are gently grown with no synthetic herbicides or pesticides.

And, we are a producer-only market. Everything you’ll see is local, i.e., grown or made within 125 miles of here. The food you buy is the freshest and you are buying it directly from the people who produced it. Thus, you get a taste premium with minimal environmental impact getting it to you. Also returning are the fabulous Fairfax Master Gardeners who will be in their stand offering advice on growing in your own garden. You can bring them your problems, including plant material with pests or diseases which they can get checked out by labs at Virginia Tech if necessary.

Volunteers from CORNERSTONES also return to assist shoppers eligible for SNAP benefits to shop in the Reston Farmers Market. Plus, there will be musicians and our special balloon magicians present during the season for your enjoyment while shopping.

For more info, go to www.restonfarmersmarket.com See you Saturday!