By the time we arrived at the market it was probably just after 10:00 and perhaps things were winding down a bit, but the atmosphere was so relaxed, perfect for a Saturday morning. There were shoppers at all the booths, but parking was simple ( we pulled up along the curb and walked about 3 feet to the first vendor.) Held on the front lawn of Grace Episcopal Church at 2955 River Road the market has a nice setting. The day was hot, but the area felt protected by some trees and the soft green grass.
A musician named Broda, played guitar and sang towards the back of the market. She had a great voice and the music added a nice element to the market. This coming Saturday there will be a Blacksmithing demonstration by a professional Blacksmith who among other things,worked for Colonial Williamsburg. He and his wife are also produce vendors at the market! The Goochland Farmers Market is run by The Center For Rural Culture, and so it's site is also the site of some other great events such as the upcoming Seed Swap with wine tasting and dinner on October 2nd.
Unlike the markets in Richmond, this market specifies in Bold Print on their site that there are NO Dogs Allowed, please. I don't mind dogs at the market, but I love dogs.
Immediately we ran into our friends at Evans Family Collective. They have an eye catching booth thanks to the beautiful maple trees and conifers for sale around the entrance, and the Fantastic Homemade quilted Banner made by Evans family member, Summer. So this is the place I've mentioned before to go for all natural locally made lemon grass insect repellent. I've tried it in a wooded area in the evening and I am usually bitten up, but was totally fine. Unfortunately, our friend Bridgette who makes this item as well as homemade lotions and scrubs etc. had chosen today to start her biweekly rotation between the Goochland Market and the South of the James!
So On to the Star of the Show... The FOOD!
We saw some familiar vendors. The Dutch Oven Bakery, at Lakeside Market on Wednesday Afternoons, was there selling baked goods (we tried the pumpkin bread and a tray of chocolate chip cookies.) There was Pleasant Fields Farm , They always have a nice selection of produce and a beautiful stand with all the items tumbling out of large baskets turned onto their side on the table . For the second week in a row I bought a giant mixed bag of green and wax beans and blanched the majority of them to freeze for October and November. We also started stocking up on sweet potatoes here and got some of their delicious butter beans, all cleaned and ready to be tossed in the pot. These cost $4 and we got three servings out of the container.
We saw our old friends 'Manakintowne Specialty Growers'. I thought they had stopped going to markets altogether, but they still go to the Goochland Market most every Saturday. This week they were selling various herbs, a couple varieties of hot peppers, as well as golden beats, microgreens and arugula (both $5 a bag), homemade pesto, and homemade focciacia and pizza crust ($6).
We also met some Vendors that were new to us. Ault's Family Farm run by Steve and Chris Ault has been around for at least 10 years, which is when Steve finally left his job to work on the farm full time. Steve was great to talk with and was more than happy to answer any questions we had about their farm in Pamplin VA and their wide range of meat products. They carry Pasture Raised Poultry, including turkeys you can reserve for Thanksgiving! They also raise Pastured Pork and Grass fed Lamb. In addition to their stand at the market you can find there products at Elwood Thompon's and in delicious meals prepared (not inexpensively) at Edible Garden Restaurant For those who would like information on their farm you can go to http://www.aultsfamilyfarm.com/ or pick up a brochure at their stand. My husband got a package of pork spare ribs here and said they were some of the best he's tried.
Goochland Farmers market vendors could almost fill your full grocery shopping list. They had breads, meats, greens and vegetables, and then they also had Milk (well the possibility of milk) and cheese thanks to Avery's Branch Farm of Amelia VA. In addition to dairy they sell Pastured poultry and eggs.
Look At All the Great
Another other cool thing at this market was a vendor selling nothing but Honey. Honey of all Kinds, in all its forms... boxes of honey in the comb, creamed honey, creamed honey flavored with fruit, honey by the jar in various sizes, and great for kids of all ages (myself included), honey sticks. For these, she tell me, they have to send the honey off to a plant in Georgia where it is mixed with natural flavors and sealed in individual plastic straws to create flavors like ginkgo, lemon, lime, blackberry, and of course, 'clover'.
The Goochland Market Manager, Cricket, was friendly and it was fun to watch him announce the raffle drawing and shout out the winning numbers. He seemed to be having a good time. The prizes were handmade wreaths that were carried by a crafts vendor there. If you want to stop and relax while your out we spied what looks to be a very inviting coffee shop across the street from the Market. We saw some people sitting out on the front porch of the cafe' having coffee and some bagels or pastry.
My trip to this market represents just one Saturday out of many. Next Saturday there should be at least one additional produce vendor since some vendors were unable to attend the market this week due to the Powhatan farm tours. And there were a few other vendors here that I did not get to meet, including an additional baked goods vendor, and the Amelia Soap and Herb Co. which looked to have beautiful and very enticing homemade soaps and lotions. And although I am here to discuss local foods and not soaps.... I feel compelled to give mention of all the vendors I can that catch my eye, since I believe that the life of the market is about more than food.