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Monday, June 12, 2017

Bailey's Crossroads gets a farmers market

Seasonal produce at the mobile market at Bailey's.
A new mobile farmers market is providing fresh, affordable produce to Bailey’s Crossroads residents once a week through October.

The Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture is bringing the market to the parking lot at Bailey’s Elementary School, 6111 Knollwood Drive, every Saturday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. The market’s first stop there was on June 6.

The mobile market offers food from farms within 120 miles of Washington, D.C., says Matt Mulder, Arcadia’s director of operations. Food sources include Aradia’s farm on the Woodlawn Estate south of Alexandria, a farm launched this year in Middleburg by the Bainum Family Foundation, and 10 to 12 other farms in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

Erin Close, Arcadia's mobile market program manager. 
Customers can expect to find what’s currently in season. On June 10, there were strawberries, cherries, salad greens, apples, zucchini, carrots, garlic, summer squash, sweet potatoes, and honey. As the season progresses, the mobile market will carry blueberries, raspberries, peaches, plums – “the full bounty of available fruit and vegetables,” Mulder says.

The market will often carry other items, such as eggs, dairy products, granola, bread, other baked goods, Ayrshire Farms chicken, and ground beef.

The food is sustainably grown or raised and some of it is certified organic. The quality is comparable to what is sold at Whole Foods, but the prices are more like what one would find at a regular grocery store like Giant, Mulder says.

The market accepts SNAP, the federal food program formerly known as food stamps, and anyone using a SNAP card will receive a 50 percent discount.

While the market welcomes everybody, one of Arcadia’s goals is to provide access to fresh local food to underserved communities. The area around Bailey’s Elementary School was found to be a high-priority area according to an assessment conducted by the Fairfax Food Council, Mulder says.

The market at Bailey's offers the community a new source of fresh produce.
Arcadia received funds from the Food Council, Inova Health System, and other organizations to launch a food program centered around food access and nutrition education in Bailey’s Crossroads.

As part of that program, Arcadia will help rebuild the food garden at Bailey’s Elementary School, create a community garden space, host nutrition programs for students and the community, and host cooking demonstrations at the mobile market and other locations, such as the library or community center. Arcadia has already started training local residents to conduct nutrition education sessions.

Arcadia’s mobile market program was started in 2012 and now serves 13 locations in Washington, D.C. The Bailey’s location is the first one in Virginia.

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