In late November when thoughts were on the holidays and cold weather, the Farmers Market in Mount Vernon was busy before noon on the Wednesday when that market is scheduled to open. The vendors still had a couple of markets left in the season since the Mount Vernon market is one of three that will remain open into December.
There were about eight tents in the lot off Sherwood Hall Lane and they offered all the normal Farmers Market fare plus fresh holiday wreaths.
Regular shoppers Lisa and Susie Anamony were happy to see it thriving this late in the season. “Even if it’s not produce, they’ve got a ton of other stuff,” Susie said.
Betsy Herbst was behind the table at the Misty Meadow Farm Creamery, with a regular following of people seeking fresh milk, butter and ice cream. They have 120 cows back at the farm that they milk three times a day. “We have so many people that rely on our milk,” she said.
The Mount Vernon Farmers Market just announced staying open into December, along with the Farmer’s Markets in Burke and Reston. The rest of the county markets close in late fall.
Most fruits and vegetables grown around here stop at the first official frost, but there are certain items that are still around late in the season like apples and potatoes. "A few of our farmers have greenhouses, allowing them to grow produce year-round and attend some year-round farmers markets in the area," said Molly Cullen, Farmer’s Market Outreach Coordinator in Fairfax County.
Other vendors fill in the gaps, selling items such as baked goods and pastries, frozen take home meals, or specialty products like hot sauce and kombucha. Since it was just before Thanksgiving, there were quite a few pies at the various stands.
Most of the stands operate from the back of the vans or trucks, and the tents were fastened to a heavy object or four, so when the fall winds kicked up, they stayed in place. According to the county rules, vendors are required to secure at least 25 pounds of weight to each tent leg to make sure the tent stays on the ground. The county Vendor Handbook states that "Farmers Market Staff is likely to cancel markets before market day if severe winds are forecasted during market hours exceeding 30 mph, or a thunderstorm, tornado, severe snowstorm or flood warning has been issued during market hours".
The Mount Vernon market is the latest one open in the season and will have its last market on Dec. 21, right before Christmas.
County Farmers Markets that are open into December:
April 16 – Dec. 17; 8 a.m. – Noon on Saturdays
VRE parking Lot, 5671 Roberts Parkway
April 30 – Dec. 3; 8 a.m. – Noon on Saturdays
Lake Anne Village Center, 1609-A Washington Plaza
* McCutcheon/Mount Vernon
April 20 – Dec. 21; 8 a.m. – Noon Wednesdays
Sherwood Library, 2501 Sherwood Hall Lane