Since 1988, the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market has been a staple of our community. Growing from the seed of an idea and just a handful of vendors, it’s blossomed into two markets with more than 80 vendors. The City of Manassas Farmer’s Market was voted Northern Virginia’s Best Farmer’s Market in 2020 by Virginia Living Magazine —just one of its many awards.
Though the Farmer’s Markets are open year-round, they’re now in Peak Season Market mode where they become bountiful with the new year’s harvests. New plants, flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruits show up as they come in season.
But farmer’s markets aren’t just places to pick up veggies, flowers, and the occasional giant pretzel. Here are five of the biggest ways the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market benefits all of us at Arcadia Run, as well as our entire Manassas community:
1. Stimulate the local economy
A University of California study found that those selling directly to consumers (you) at farmer’s markets generate twice as much local economic activity per dollar of sales when compared to non-direct sellers. You’re not paying for things that are created states or countries away; you’re buying good directly from local farmers, artists, and artisans. An added benefit of supporting local producers is they actually create more local jobs.
2. Preserve local farmland and rural livelihoods
Farming and prospering in a rural environment have never been easy. As jobs and life moves evermore tech-based, a rural life is an even more difficult proposition. From 1992-2007, for example, 21% of mid-sized farms in the U.S. ceased operations. But farmer’s markets don’t just give established farmers a place to sell their wares, they also provide a space and platform for new farmers to build momentum with their own rural businesses. By shopping at the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market, you directly support all your local rural entrepreneurs.
3. Reduce pollution
When you go to a store, the food you purchase travels from the producer through many delivery points before finally appearing on the shelf. This product journey averages an estimated 1,500 miles. But farmer’s markets deliver straight to you, avoiding the need for all that additional travel. This results in a lot less pollution and waste. Yup, that tomato you get from a farmer’s market doesn’t just taste better, but it’s also healthier for you and the planet!
4.Access fresh all-natural foods easier
The term is food desert: a place where it’s difficult to get fresh foods. They exist in parts of urban and suburban communities, and greatly affect the wellbeing of anyone in the desert. Farmer’s markets are a great solution, as straight-from-the-farm food is plentiful. Plus, the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market participates in the SNAP program, making fresh and healthy food even easier for everyone. You can learn more about the SNAP program by emailing Melissa Williams (who also gave us a little more info for this blog post).
5. Explore your community and expand your palate
Farmer’s markets are places where communities gather. As such, you can meet a huge cross-section of Manassas all in one place. Make friends with people from across the county, chat with farmers and artisans from all around the area, and marvel at the work of artists from right next door. You’ll also get to taste all the flavors and tastes that make Manassas so delicious: Peruvian, West-African, Argentinian, Spanish, and more! By exploring the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market, you grow closer to your entire community.
Okay, so now you know some of the great benefits that farmer’s markets bring, but you’re still a little curious as to what to expect. Here are a few highlights of things you can find at the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market:
- Fresh produce, meats, and eggs from nearby farms
- Locally made honey and other bee products from apiaries in Stafford County
- Wine straight from the vineyards and craft brews from small breweries all over Manassas
- Hand-made gourmet baked goods, vegan chocolates, melt-in-your-mouth fudge, and cinnamon buns bigger than your hand
- Artisanal clothing, art, and jewelry
- Wood crafts and kitchen accessories
- And all sorts of fun things for your home, your kids, and your pets
The City of Manassas Farmer’s Market can be found on Thursdays at the Harris Pavilion in Historic Downtown Manassas, and Saturdays at the Prince William Commuter Car Park. The hours for both markets are 8 am to 1 pm., with Peak Season Markets at both locations running until mid-November.
At Arcadia Run, you’re less than a 15-minute drive from both Farmer’s Market locations. As convenient as a trip to a regular supermarket, the Farmer’s Markets will provide you with the freshest local produce, meats, eggs, spices, and other ingredients. And then you can bring all that deliciousness home to your large Arcadia Run kitchen and create some truly scrumptious (and healthy!) works of culinary perfection. Bon appétit!