If you’re tired of the same old stuff you can find in the grocery stores, check out the unusual items you can find at the local farmers’ markets.
On a recent visit to the market at Wakefield park in Annandale, F.J. Medina & Sons Farm (right) had spherical zucchinis; long, skinny, purple eggplants; and “candy onions”; along with potatoes, shallots, basil, zinnias, and many different kinds of tomatoes and peppers.
The 22-acre Medina farm, in Westmoreland County, Va., will soon be expanded to 52 acres, says Martha Ramirez, who works in the farm’s greenhouse and makes the rounds of the farmers markets.
At the J&W Valley View Farm’s booth, Wanda Catell and her daughter, Jessica, were selling white eggplants, along with peppers, zucchinis, cucumbers, and other items. Jessica, age 22, says she loves living and working on the farm, also in Westmoreland County, and hopes to have her own farm one day.
All items sold in Fairfax County farmers’ markets must be produced within 125 miles of the county. The markets offer much more than produce; you can also find baked goods, meats, cheese, ice cream, herbs, jams, and honey.
At the Borekg booth (left), Hasan Kaygusuz, a student at McLean High School, and his grandmother, Seeahat Demir, were selling homemade Turkish dishes prepared in their home by Hasan’s mother, Dilek, who moved to the United State from Turkey in 2001.
Their specialty is borekg, a thin pastry rolled up with different kinds of fillings, such as ground beef, spinach, potatoes, and feta cheese. Their booth also had couscous salad, baked eggplant, hummus, avocado salad, red lentil salad, a yogurt dip called cacik, and baklava.
Sue Olinger of Sue’s Pies said she made the transition to the bakers’ life after working in human relations for the Virginia Department of Transportation for 17 years. Her booth offered triple berry crumble, key lime, banana black bottom, and old fashioned cherry pie, but says, “it was the recipe for apple caramel pie that started the whole thing.”
During her busiest weeks, Sue makes 150 pies a week in her Warrenton kitchen. She also sells cookies, dinner rolls, pumpkin bread, and banana bread.
The Wakefield Farmers’ Market is open every Wednesday, 2-6 p.m., through Oct. 26. The Annandale Farmers’ Market, at Mason District Park, is open Thursdays, 8 .m.-noon, through Nov. 3. Both J&W Valley View and F.J. Medina & Sons are also at the Annandale market.