Virginia is home to 41,500 mostly family-run farms on 7.7 million acres of land, according to 2021 agricultural census data. For residents throughout the state, that proximity to farmland means easy access to plenty of fresh, local produce. One of the best ways to take advantage of Virginia’s booming agriculture business, the state’s largest private industry, is to buy directly from the farmers at one of NoVA’s farmers markets.
There are plenty of reasons to do so. According to the Virginia Farmers Market Association, farmers markets can stimulate local economies, support healthy communities, increase access to fresh food, and preserve farmland — but one of the most compelling is simple: Fresh produce just tastes better.
“Eating a peach during peach season at the farmers market is a life-altering experience, and grocery store peaches will forever let you down after that,” says Jennifer Brady, the market manager of the Falls Church Farmers Market.
PRODUCE BY MONTH
May: Asparagus, snap peas, strawberries, ramps (wild leeks), morel mushrooms
June: Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, apricots, plums
July: Corn, peaches, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants
August: Watermelons, cantaloupes, nectarines, peppers
Falls Church Farmers Market
300 Park Ave., Falls Church
Old Town Farmers’ Market
301 King St., Alexandria
Leesburg Saturday Farmers Market
30 Catoctin Cir. SE, Leesburg
Columbia Pike Farmers Market
2820 Columbia Pk., Arlington
FRESH FOOD TO-GO
In addition to the piles of fresh fruits and veggies you can find at farmers markets, there are often opportunities to taste ready-made products. Here are just a few of NoVA’s vendors who sell ready-to-eat treats or pantry staples, made with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Cool down in the summer with flavorful fruit popsicles, made with locally sourced ingredients. Whim Pop offers year-round flavors, plus a menu of seasonal offerings that show off the freshest flavors of the season.
Find it at: EatLoco at One Loudoun, Reston Farmers Market
Ana’s Twist specializes in Ecuadorian empanadas, homemade soups, sorbets, and juices, combining local ingredients with ones that are sourced from Ecuador.
Find it at: Most area farm markets, including Oak Marr Farmers Market, FRESHFARM Reston, Cherrydale Farmers Market
This company uses fresh fruits and vegetables from farms in DC, Maryland, and Virginia to create nutritious blended juices. For every juice sold, the company donates one to a school or senior center in need.
Find it at: FRESHFARM Arlington, Old Town Farmers’ Market
A classic way to enjoy seasonal produce is in a fresh-baked pie. Try the traditional peach and apple pies or the savory quiches made with fresh vegetables.
Find it at: Vienna Farmers Market, FRESHFARM Oakton, Westover Farmers Market, FRESHFARM Mosaic
Feature image by R. Kennedy for Visit Alexandria
This story originally ran in our May issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to Northern Virginia Magazine.