Since about my Junior year in college my mom and I have been regulars at our local farmers market. Every Tuesday evening we’d grab our bags and coolers and head down the street to grab as much local, organic produce as we could possibly eat. It has been my favorite summer tradition with my mom since. Imagine doing your grocery shopping outside, almost festival style, with all of the best selections of produce, meats and cheeses all from local farms in your area. Imagine listening to live musicians while you shop and stopping by the popsicle stand to grab a chocolate sea salt popsicle. Imagine fun kids activities, story times and lots of animals to see and pet. This is what we do every week. Charlie usually walks around eating a carrot or popping sun gold tomatoes in her mouth and we have the best time.
Recently, our market moved. The non-profit organization that was behind it went out of business and the market actually faced possible shut-down. Without a parent organization the farmers and community organizers set out to move and fund the expenses for the market on their own. It may seem like a simple set-up, but a lot actually goes into running a successful farmer’s market. Setting aside all of the man-power it takes to run one they also have expenses such as: rent for the site, permits, insurance, promotion costs, security costs and staff salaries.
I had the pleasure of attending a fundraising benefit for my favorite market a few weeks ago. It was a multi-course dinner prepared by local famers and a local fine dining chef in the Richmond area. Everything in the dinner was made with (you guessed it!) local ingredients from the market, from the vegetables, to the fruit, to the bread, all the way down to the meat and dairy. Each course was paired perfectly with complementary wine, beer or local kombucha. We drank wine, laughed, met lots of amazing people who live in our community and vowed to do whatever it takes to help the market prosper. It was like Thanksgiving in summer but with much better food and strangers (new friends) as company. At the end of the dinner my soul and belly were full of happiness, and also I was pretty drunk. I’m glad Brandon was around to make the drive home.
The Birdhouse Farmers Market is open every Tuesday 3:30pm-6:30pm behind the Randolph Community Center Pool at 1507 Grayland Ave.
Paul Winston of Dutch & Co. was nice enough to share some of the recipes with me! The recipe below was one of our favorites and it’s super easy to make, so head to your local market and grab some cucumbers because this recipe is perfect for the blistering hot weather we’ve been having lately. Support your local market, and if you’re in the Richmond area and looking for a market that is full of businesses with integrity, this is the one. Come down on Tuesday before the cold weather hits and it disappears until next year. This market is a paradise of the most delicious food on the earth.
- 3 medium sized english cucumbers
- 1 1/2 cups pressed yogurt (whether it’s store bought from the market)
- 4 sprigs mint, roughly chopped
- Lemon juice
- Peel about 1/2 the skin off the cucumbers skipping over each pass of the peeler so you end up with a striped cucumber.
- Slice the cucumbers length wise in half and then into 1/4” half moons. Place in a bowl and season with a pinch of salt, toss.
- Add the pressed yogurt and chopped mint to the bowl and mix.
- Add salt and lemon juice to taste
- If you are using a looser yogurt, place it in a strainer over a container to catch the liquid overnight or use Fage Total yogurt to skip this step