It looks as if we will be dealing with high winds and very high gusts tomorrow, so we are making adjustments to be able to operate as close to a normal market as possible. The predicted conditions are usually enough to cause us to cancel a winter market, but we do not want to let you down on the last market before Christmas -- we all look forward to this market and are determined to make it work.
We will need your help, though, as we will be hidden from the road. We will be in the back of the parking lot where we can set up under the protection of the tall trees, many of them evergreens, in that corner. We will also not be able to set up our tents, as no amount of weight will hold a tent in place in the face of a 50 mph wind gust, so we will not look nearly so festive as we feel or as we hope you are feeling.
As far as I know, every vendor will be on hand to provide everything you need for a wonderful Christmas dinner, a weekend of brunches for your house guests, or a holiday open house. Check our website for recipes -- I doubt I will be able to set up the recipe holders tomorrow.
Come early -- we will try our best to stay open until 2 p.m., but with the wind predicted to gust at up to 60 mph in the afternoon, we may be run out earlier than that. I promise we will stay until 1 p.m.
Thank you and happy holidays, whatever you are celebrating. See you at the market!
From the Market Master
Earlier this month I received an email from the Farmers Market Coalition that highlighted the value of local food for our urban and suburban communities, especially during the aftermath of a natural disaster. Check it out and think about what that meant to those folks who had no other way to get food.
We had our own similar experience this past summer. One Saturday morning in June I was on my way to our Springfield market and Oakton Market Manager Diane Blust was opening the Oakton market. After a early-morning phone conversation about what was going on, we lost contact and each of us went to market where in both cases we opened as normal. We were not even aware at that time of the extent of the power outage caused by the derecho that had passed through the previous evening.
Several days later we discussed that we were the only enterprises open anywhere around us. We had milk for the babies, meats for the grill, wine for the weary, and freshly picked fruits and vegetables for all those families who could not open their refrigerators.
Those of you who are planning for a future where we may depend even more on locally produced food and energy could have used that day after the derecho as a prime example for your arguments. But in the real world right then, we demonstrated that you can count on your local farmers to show up and the markets to operate when all around us the retail businesses were at the mercy of an ever-unreliable electrical grid. Farmers don’t need electricity to farm, though obviously it helps with plowing the field and planting seeds. We don’t need electricity to sell at a market, and you don’t need it to buy at a market, either.
Please think about that in the new year as you plan your grocery shopping each week. Our local farmers from Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland need your support all year long. Here in Northern Virginia, we have the population to support hundreds of local farmers with our buying power. Shopping regularly at your nearest year-round market will encourage them to do what it takes on the farm to extend the growing season for the benefit of all, which will lead to even more variety in your winter markets in the future.
Keep those farmers in mind over the winter and continue to show your support for farmers’ markets, even when there is not so much to purchase over the next few months. We can use that show of support to save the farms and farmers we have and maybe even inspire new ones to plow a field or build a hoop house. And then when you need them, no matter the time of year, they will be there for you.