So this past Wednesday my husband and I headed over to Ellwood Thompson's to check out their progress in supplying locally produced goods and to investigate the Wednesday afternoon market that I had been told about.
So we arrived about 3:30 and were disappointed to find no "market." However we headed on inside drawn by the promise of fresh local meats.... what I was after was Polyface ground turkey and locally produced pastured turkey sausage. As far as meat goes, I only eat poultry and fish with one caveat, sausage casings. For me a turkey sausage with my eggs or blueberry pancakes, or a chicken sausage with peppers and onions is a welcome treat. So far however, I have been unable to find anyone who provides these at the farmers markets. Also, ground turkey for meatloaf, turkey burgers, chili and stuffed peppers makes for great common ground (no pun intended) meals for my husband and I. So we stroll into Ellwood's and I was disappointed to find that while they had other local meats they had no local pastured turkey sausage or ground turkey ( we had, I believe, been able to get some this past winter).
However, This past early spring is probably the last time I'd been in Elwoods and I really liked the changes they have made to there produce section since. The produce section was full of apples, tomatoes, mushrooms, swiss chard, kale, radishes, honey, micro greens, basil and more all from local farms and almost all included signage that indicated how many miles the food had traveled from farm to their store. Much of the produce came from Victory Farms and Manakintowne Farm. There were tomatoes from Amy's Organics and Mushrooms from Dave and Dee's. The prices were not much, if anymore than those at the market.
Ellwood's also carries locally made breads, and a nice selection of locally produced raw milk cheeses. The cheese man of the moment was Chris and he was very helpful and engaging. He started right off by offering me a sample of the wheel of cheese he was just cutting into. During our conversation he also happlily pointed out the Beer and Cheese tasting event they are holding October 2nd.
We exited with our bread, cheese, and beer in tow and found Avery Branch Farm setting up their sign board. It is now my understanding that Avery Branch is the only vendor outside of ET on Wednesday afternoons. I was hoping for some whole chickens... as it turns out to get whole chickens (and perhaps any other meat) from them at the ET location you must call or e-mail in advance and place an order.
So this day was a bust in the hunt for local pastured poultry.
Avery Branch also rotates Saturdays between the Goochland Farmers Market and the South of the James Market.