Sara Guerre runs into the kitchen to stir chili. Her 2-year-old son, George, quickly follows. It’s just the two of them on a weekday morning at Maple Avenue Market, the farm store owned by Guerre and her husband, Chris.
Though Maple Avenue Market, opened in 2009, sits on the main drag in downtown Vienna, calling it a farm store is no exaggeration. The Guerres are farmers. This winter they moved from their 2 acres in Great Falls out to Shenandoah Valley, where they settled onto 10 acres. From their land, they’ll raise egg-laying hens and sell tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, popcorn, greens and black beans , but that’s just what Guerre could quickly think of while simultaneously chatting with customers, working the register and nursing George.
If you didn’t think mom and pop shops existed anymore, this is where to find not only produce grown by the family running the store, but locally made spice blends (Herndon’s Aromatic Spice Blends), jams (Skipwith’s Rocky Branch Farm), applesauce (Mt. Jackson’s Old Virginia), coconut brittle (Herndon’s Bakefully Yours) and tonic sodas (Richmond’s Navy Hill).
There’s also local meat (beef, lamb, chicken, pork, water buffalo and bison), dairy (cheese, butter, milk, yogurt and ice cream) and drinks (beer, wine, cider and kombucha on tap, no less). Eggs are available too, and included in the market’s CSA: pay $550 upfront for $650 worth of fruits, vegetables and eggs at the store from June through November.
The chili is part of the housemade prepared food options, and convenience products, along with gluten-free and paleo, are still trending, Guerre says. A few times a week, food entrepreneurs pitch her new products to carry in the market. Part of Guerre’s mission is to ensure they use local products and not just buy from Costco and make it within a certain mile radius: “I want to keep it local.” // 128 Maple Ave. E, Vienna;