Sunday, May 4, 2008

Two Local Markets: Opening Day Experience


Yesterday morning was all about the two new Richmond area Farmers Markets. Both South side and Northside were representing and I had to check out the scene both had to offer.

First, my husband and I got up bright and early, had some coffee, and cruised on down to my local South of the James Market at Forest Hill Park. Everything was perfect. Props to Karen and Erin and James and all of the vendors and other people who worked so hard behind the scenes to put this market together.

The site is perfect for a market, with the calm park setting, but tons of parking and wide open space for all of the vendors. There were more vendors than I bothered to count... and at only 8:30 we estimated maybe 250 people were already there shopping, chatting, catching up with neighbors and old friends, munching on fresh baguettes or sweet rolls and sipping fresh brewed coffee. Even with all those people the market was comfortable, and easy to shop. Parking couldn't have been easier, but I really enjoyed seeing people from the surrounding neighborhoods having a nice morning walk to the market, sometimes with a dog in tow.

We saw lots of our favorite vendors from the Byrd House Market and plenty of new ones as well. I headed out with two bags full of organically produced veggie plants for my garden, fresh greens, and tasty steaks and sausages for my husband. And of course a giant sweet roll for us to share.

After all of that I didn't arrive at Lakeside Market until about 10:30. I was greeted by two friendly faces at the entrance and handed a free bright yellow mesh shopping bag displaying the Virgina grown and Lakeside Market logos. Some vendors were already sold out or selling out of produce. Everyone I spoke with was very excited about this great new shopping option and about the future of their new market. Although this market is smaller due to some restrictions, once I got up close I found plenty of wonderful things to choose from. Despite the array of vendors at South of the James my trip to Lakeside Market was well rewarded. Again I ran into some great people, and more to the point I found terrific plants and the fresh asparagus, spinach, and baby beets I had been looking for!

I know that this market has taken a huge amount of persistence and hard work over the last few years to put together... (This is as I understand it the very first Farmers Market in Henrico county! ) So if your on the North side of Town, please make sure to stop by Wednesdays and Saturdays and check it out. I think that you too will feel well rewarded.


  1. Where is the Lakeside farmer's market? Bryan Park?

  2. Hi suzanne, the lakeside farmers market is on Laeside Ave in the back parking area of the Lakeside Towne Center, near the Hillard intersection. If you are headed west on Lakeside it will be on your left about half a block before hillard. It is on the same side of the streat as Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, but across hillard. Hope this helps.