By Allison Michelli
From selling its produce out of a small tractor shed to opening a new 7,500-square-foot energy-efficient building, Messick’s Farm Market in Bealeton is celebrating this upgrade with a grand opening celebration this Saturday.
Messick’s offers a unique twist on the traditional farmer’s market design. Unlike a traditional pop-up tent farmers market, a farm market, says Market Manager Brian Seiwell, is located on the land where the produce is grown. Visitors to this 300-acre farm have the opportunity to go out into the fields and pick their own produce—Sweet Charlie strawberries are in season now—while also having the option to shop at the indoor market from pre-picked and locally sourced products.
The farm market is arranged like a grocery store, where products are displayed by type and variety—milk with milk, apples with apples and eggs with eggs. If a farm sells milk and cheese, the items are not together on the same vendor table like at a farmers market, but instead with its own kind. Market Manager Brian Seiwell says that, “What we want to do with this market is give local farmers and producers that don’t have their own store fronts a place to sell their products.” Messick’s is “giving back to the community in a different way” and creating, what Seiwell calls, a “tighter fabric” between community members.
The grand opening will feature a ribbon-cutting ceremony, samples of local foods, door prizes (wind chimes, produce) and farm tours; the farm grows 150 varieties of fruits, vegetables. The new building will also allow Messick’s to stay open year-round. Later this season visitors will be able to pick blackberries, raspberries, flowers (zinnias, sunflowers), corn and pumpkins.
Vendors include: Mt. Crawford Creamery (milk and butter), Farmstead Ferments (kimchi and sauerkraut), Ayrshire Farm (beef), Dark Hollow Farm (pork), South Mountain Creamery (ice cream), Stoneleigh Farms (honey), Mountain View Farm Products (cheese), Spring Gap Mountain Creamery (cheese), The Farmer’s Wife (baked goods), Shenandoah Spice Company (spices), Blue-Greens (pork), Croushorn Farms (sausage and eggs), Hobby Hill Farm Fresh (preserves, toffee, pretzels), Ann’s Apple Butter, MeadowCroft Farm (canned goods), Sun Seasoned Raw Foods (kale chips) and Lucas Roasting Company (coffee). / Grand Opening, May 24, 9 a.m.-6p.m; Messick’s Farm Market, 6025 Catlett Road, Bealeton