Last Saturday, as I made my rounds at the Reston Farmers Market in the Lake Anne Village parking lot, I suddenly realized that we had only two more market days to go in the 2012 season. That’s right—the last day is Saturday, Nov. 3. Closing day is our traditional “Customer Appreciation Day”, complete with fresh apple cider, hot coffee and market goodies for all.
For five months, Fran and I have gotten up every Saturday at 6 a.m.to get to the market for setup by 7 and ring the opening bell precisely at 8 a.m.
What were my feelings about the impending closing? I have to admit the thought of sleeping in on Saturday mornings for the next few months has real appeal. Fran agrees. BUT, both of us enjoy the market immensely. Serving as RFM co-market masters is a wonderful volunteer gig and saying goodby is tough.
I wondered what others thought about the Market’s imminent closing. So, I went about asking customers and farmer-vendors how they felt about the END.
Customers were pretty consistent. They were unhappy. “Why can’t the market stay open yearround?” several asked. I explained that in addition to the change in the weather, we don’t have a critical mass of farmers and products to make it worthwhile for farmers or customers.
I pointed out that eight or nine of our vendors do plan to stay on (in conjunction with the Crafts Market) for a few weeks after the Reston Farmers Market formally closes. Other customers groused that closing meant they’d have to shop more at the grocery store, clearly a drop in their quality of life! One unhappy lady who shops at RFM every Saturday looked at me and said, “I don’t know what I’ll do with my Saturday mornings!”
Those managing the various stands had a variety of responses. Several men and women who just work Saturdays for the farm owners told me they would just have to get another job to fill the income gap. The nice young lady who
manages the Gunpowder Bison stand reminded me that her baby was due about the time the market closes. Rubbing her tummy, she told me, “I think I’m going to have plenty to do until the Market re-opens [in early May] and beyond!”
Wanda, who with her husband Jose, own the J& W Valley View Farm, told me she and her family were headed for a good vacation with family in Mexico. Others
said there was plenty of other work on the farm to keep them busy. None in this group indicated they would just be sleeping in like some slackers.
For Fran and I, Saturday mornings at the Market from May to November each year is part of who we are. We will enjoy sleeping a little later on Saturday mornings, but truth be known, we will miss this volunteer duty which includes talking with customers who are old friends by now and meeting lots of new people who are just discovering the wonders of Northern Virginia’s No. 1 Farmers Market.
And, most of all, we will miss the 27 farmer-vendors who make up the Farmers Market. They are wonderful, hardworking people whom we admire and whose company we thoroughly enjoy. And, did I mention that they offer the most amazing array of fresh foods and plants imaginable?
We literally live week to week on what they bring to market—we shop at every stand. We no doubt eat a far healthier diet than we would otherwise, thanks to them. We haven’t closed yet, but we are already counting the days to May 4, 2013 when the Reston Farmers Market re-opens!