The City Market is the best sign of spring

by Becky Calvert

Market Season has returned – thank goodness – and I am reminded of how lucky we are to live near a hub of locally grown food, arts & community. The City Market is hands down the best sign of spring next to the daffodils.

I am a big proponent of eating locally. There are any number of reasons to eat locally, but for me it’s simply that I want to know exactly where my food comes from. When I purchase my family’s produce, meat & cheese directly from the farmers who raised and produced this food, I can inquire as to their methods. Many farmers are more than happy to share these details. Living here in Charlottesville, we have such a wide variety of locally produced food, it’s fairly easy to eat locally and eat well most of the year.

The City Market is a veritable smorgasbord of delights. It’s hard to walk past the beautifully displayed produce at Whisper Hill Farm and not be drawn in. Double H Farm, Best of What’s Around, Free Union Grass Farm & The Rock Barn are just some of the farms offering sustainably raised local meats. Everona Dairy & Caromount Farms offer samples of their incredible sheep and goat cheeses, respectively. Family Pies and Ties offers freshly baked seasonal pies in sizes for your breakfast or sharing for your cookout that evening. The line for the taco stand may be winding around the block, but the aroma alone tells you why that is so. Chef Mark Gresge from l’etoile hands out samples and recipes of seasonal dishes while a group of local musicians serenade the market. With over 100 vendors offering fresh produce, eggs, plants, ready to eat items, locally made arts & crafts, the City Market is a happening place on Saturday mornings, April through December.

While there are other ways to ensure your family eats locally during the bountiful growing months here in Virginia, none offer the same glimpse of community that the City Market does.