Hello all, it's Aimee blogging on behalf of Kline May Realty and our family of agents.
In a letter to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson said, "Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness."
And agriculture is huge part of the Shenandoah Valley's identity, and so are Farmers Markets. Farmers' markets exude happiness, and as I browsed the vendor tables at the North Augusta Farmers' Market in Verona on Wednesday, I felt happy. And from the smiles I saw on everyone's faces, the many others I was with at the market felt happy too.
The market is open from April to October on Wednesdays from noon to 5PM, and it's located in the Government Center Market Dock, not far off of Exit 227 on I-81.
I visited the North Augusta Farmers' Market on a special day, too, the Mind and Body Wellness Day, which netted the market its highest sales day since the season started.
Local Produce at the North Augusta Farmers' Market
The vendors come out to markets to earn a living yes, but a huge part of their job is education, and that's a form of wealth too.
On the North Augusta Farmers' Market Facebook page, Greg Burns, the market manager said, "It was the biggest sales day of the season so far. But maybe just as important was that lots of people got information on various aspects of wellness and how they can access those services."
I met so many wonderful people the day I went to the market, including Greg, the market manager. Greg took over the position about a year ago, and he's a firm believer that markets would only benefit from incorporating wellness aspects--counseling, massage therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc. And from the social media buzz I read today, the Mind and Body Wellness Day was a huge success for all involved!
At the market, I spoke to Julia Harrison, the Executive Director of the Association for Behavioral and Family Health. Her local non-profit provides counseling services, meeting facilitation, individual/family mentoring, supervised visitation, educational services, and much more.
I also spoke to Dr. Nancy Taylor of Bridgewater Family Chiropractic. Dr. Taylor's chiropractic business focuses on chiropractic, yes, but also on therapeutic massage, acupuncture, rejuvenation, and nutrition.
At the market, I spoke with a produce farmer, spice vendor, jam and jelly vendor, and bakers as well.
I met Curtis, who is in the process of buying North Mountain Produce in Timberville, VA. When I asked him what he enjoys about market days, he said, "I love coming to the market. Everyone is friendly, and it's so relaxed." Curtis sells a variety of produce including broccoli, squash, zucchini, cauliflower, spinach, and more. I bought a bag of spinach from him, and it was marvelous in the salad I made: spinach topped with raspberries, avocado, and a sour cream/organic honey dressing.
From Mrs. Elmore, I bought everything-seasoning, which I used as a rub for chicken. Mrs. Elmore uses products from farmers in her spice concoctions, including the everything-seasoning.
I also bought apricot-habanero jam from two young local vendors, and a whole wheat loaf of bread from Kenneth Roller of Roller's Bakery.
When I was at the Shank's Bakery table, a man asked Randy Shank, "Why is honey used in all of these whole wheat breads?"
"It's a natural preservative," Randy replied. "It's how we get around using a bunch of chemicals." I checked the ingredients on the loaf of whole wheat bread I bought and sure enough, honey was on the list. Ya learn something new every day!
And some days when you're lucky, you learn two new things like I did on Wednesday. Two representatives from the Shenandoah Permaculture Wellness Institute were at the market educating market go-ers and providing demonstrations. I didn't know what permaculture was so I asked, and permaculture is "the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient."
In a follow-up post next Thursday or Friday, I will be blogging about the Institute and the work they do with a local non-profit, , so stay tuned for Part 2 of this North Augusta Farmers' Market blog post next week.