By Stefanie Gans
“I’ve failed at retirement,” says Mitch Berliner, the owner of Central Farm Markets. Berliner, who after selling his interest in a food distribution business, delayed retirement by starting farmers markets in Maryland, is now bringing vendors to a new market in Mosaic District.
Mosaic Central Farm Market in Merrifield, starting May 4 and continuing every Sunday through November, will stretch down District Avenue with 30 farm stands and craft food suppliers. Number 1 Sons will be there with fermented goods and pickles, Liberty Delight Farms will provide Kosher beef and Springfield Farm with kosher poultry (“I think it’s a first for natural, local and kosher at a farmers market,” says Berliner) and Mediterrafish, which has a storefront in Mosaic, will set up a stand at the market selling both fish for at-home cooking and prepared grilled fish.
“We’ve sort of become the village square,” says Berliner of his Bethesda market, and he plans to build the same feel at Mosaic. Setting up tents, tables and chairs, he sees the market not only as a place to shop, but as a place to be a part of the community. To keep people at the market, there will be ready-made eats, such as Rita’s Crepes and Haute Saison, a waffle stand from a former Belgian embassy chef. And like any good party, there will be wine. Berliner wants to showcase a different Virginia winery every week with free tastings and bottles for sale. (But no drinking at the market.)
“I told my friends to shoot me if I opened another market,” jokes Berliner, who started farmers markets (now closed) in the early 1970s. But after being wooed by developer Edens, he brought his wife to check out Mosaic. “It’s too wonderful a spot,” he says.