This time of year is always a mixed blessing for the farmers markets that are open all year long.
On the downside, we are losing product and can only hope to have some winter vegetables each week — and we usually do. And we find ourselves competing each week of December with the hundreds of craft shows that dot the landscape like inflatables vying for attention throughout our communities. The upside is that we have a group of vendors that is working very hard to meet your needs and cater to your desires with specials, sales and new items designed to serve our regular customers and hopefully attract new customers too.
Our home bakers have developed party and gift items that combine great cooking skills with home-based creativity. They are adapting their art to the demands of the season — everything from offering mini-Celtic Pasties to filling gift boxes of cookies from around the world. They are bringing meat cuts for those celebratory meals and marking down those comfort-food cuts. And they are bringing items that look more like the season too — even the applesauce has a pretty bow on the jar!
These guys will be standing out in the cold every week this winter for you, and they will have these same items all winter for you. They will continue to farm and cook through snow and sleet and freezing temperatures for you. So I am hoping that in this season where we express our gratitude to our own friends and neighbors who work for us and with us, you will not forget the little house with the welcoming wreath on the door all year long. These guys are working hard for your attention, and your holiday dollar of course. And whatever you spend at a market will stay right here in the U.S.A., mostly in this state, and in some cases in your own neighborhood.
I have been fascinated by the ABC News “Made in America” series, which is focusing now on what we can buy that is made in this country for the holidays. The challenge to viewers is to spend a certain amount of money this Christmas on something made in this country, and through an economic formula called the “multiplication factor,” those purchases will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
I found myself actually paying attention to where things are made and trying to do my part. And then I remembered that I buy Made in the USA items every week at the farmers’ market. And so do many of you. I’d love to know how many jobs we have created this year already.
So keep up the good work or begin a new tradition this year — your locally grown vendors are always happy to be here for you.
See you at the market!
Note: Smartmarkets Fairfax (Tuesdays) and Oakton (Saturdays) locations are open year round. For more info, click here.