Shop, Eat, Live, … Local.  

Today was a Sunday well spent. My daughters and I got up early and ventured out to Carytown. Carytown is an urban retail district lining Cary Street at the southern end of the Museum District here in Richmond, Virginia. The area that surrounds Carytown is called The Fan District, the district is very popular and is known to have an “eclectic flavor,” my type of area. 

Carytown is a cute, little shopping neighborhood. It is a strip of locally owned small businesses, boutiques, specialty stores, and restaurants. From time to time festivals are held along the strip. Last weekend, August 14, 2016 was the 33rd Annual Watermelon Festival. We were out of town and missed it, but we will be sure to catch it next year. Richmond encompasses many small business. Given that we are in the capital of Virginia, we take it seriously to try and support the local shops that help build this city into a tourist attraction, but also a community of people striving to produce and provide for the community at large. I prefer to go to our small boutiques and restaurants rather than the big chain stores.

The title of this post, Shop, Eat, Live…Local, is the motto for The Carytown Farmers Market and probably all of the other local farmers markets. This is where we spent most of our time today. This is one of the few local farmers markets that is open for business on Sundays. Most of our local farmers market in the Greater Richmond area are only open on Saturdays. The good news is that our local farmers markets are open for business until either October, November, and even early December for some. Check out this List of Local Farmers Markets. 

Delli Carpini Farm Tomatoes

I like The Carytown Farmers Market because it is a small scale producer only market. The location is perfect because you can walk around and enjoy the Carytown shoppes while your at it too.

Farmers markets give local farmers, produces of goods, and consumers the opportunity to deal directly with each other rather than through third parties. Third parties would be your Kroger, Whole Foods, Martins, etc.

Delli Carpini Farm Peaches and Cherry Tomatoes

Have you noticed that the prices of healthy fruits and vegetables in your chain groceries stores, the aforementioned third parties, are very expensive. We prefer to purchase organic foods because these are foods produced by methods that comply with the standards of organic farming, but these chain stores jack up the prices to the point that you can’t. 

I am going on strike.

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Reyes Farm Squash and Cucumbers

Today I realized that I would be better off putting my money directly into the farmers’ pockets. The prices at the local farmers markets are much more affordable and I feel better being able to set eyes on the farmer and have a full blown discussion about how they grow the vegetables I intend to cook into my meals.

Too bad my strike will only go until December and have to pick back up once Spring season comes back around.

It was a great experience for my daughters to set their eyes on a wide variety of in-season fruits and vegetables that they could taste and learn about the ways in which they grow. We were able to taste the juiciest tomatoes, lick spoonfuls of the sweetest honey, and smell the aroma of the freshest basil.

Reyes Farm

The Carytown Farmers Market vendors are very personable and friendly. Everyone took the time to talk and explain their goods or products. Nearly every vendor had samples for us to try. Alfredo’s Honey comes from a farm in Manakin-Sabot. My daughter got to see a real honey comb. We learned that the bees feed on plants that are naturally fertilized and free from pesticides and insecticides. Do the Jerky  had several differnt types of jerky my oldest daughter and I tried. We tried beef jerky from a cow and a deer. It was quite interesting to say the least. Check the complete listing of The Carytown Farmers Market Vendors. 

While sorting through the selections of fresh vegetables and choosing carefully, I began to think about what would tonight’s dinner be. I decided on making grilled eggplant with fresh basil and tomatoes. We purchased our goodies and headed home.

Again, today was a Sunday well spent. We always enjoy the fruits and in this case vegetables of our labor. Stay tuned for the post that will follow, Grilled Eggplant with Tomatoes, Basil, and Feta.

Do you shop at your local farmers markets? What do you purchase regularly?

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