We made a collective decision to run a winter Great Falls Community Farmers Market based on a survey of summer farmers market shoppers. Most wanted an all-year market and agreed to shop year-round in support of the vendors. Everyone enjoyed a wonderful holiday market in which many vendors sold out completely before the end of the market, delighting our community with their unique offerings.
However, the Farmers’ Almanac predictions for a very cold winter have been proving true. The market cancelled on Dec. 14 due to predictions of a head-on snowstorm. The Jan. 4 market faced a parking lot of ice and snow. We tried to arrange a drive-thru, but people preferred to walk. This past Saturday, rains were heavy – the first (unrelenting) downpour our market ever experienced – definitely dampening the market in all respects.
We have good news for our community: Starting this Saturday through the end of February, our community farmers market will be held at the historic Great Falls Grange Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The only exception is Feb. 8, when the Grange has already been rented for the entire weekend – we will return to the parking lot for that pre-Valentine’s market.
The Great Falls Grange will celebrate its 85th Anniversary on May 4, 2014. It opened its doors on May 4, 1929. The first grange hall to be opened in Virginia, a group of local dairy farmers formed the local grange No. 738 in 1920 and then raised the funds to purchase the land and construct the building. The Grange served as the center of community life for 52 years – until it was sold to the Fairfax County Park Authority in 1981. This March 1st, FCPA will begin construction to make the Grange handicap accessible – an initiative that was promised to our community at the time of purchase. These improvements have been a long time in coming – 23 years to be exact – and are very welcomed. Thanks to John Foust for finding the capital in the budget to cover the cost.
The entire Great Falls community and our surrounding neighbors are invited to celebrate the opening of the Grange by a circle of farmers and other micro-producers at our farmers market this Saturday, Jan. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Great Falls Farmers Market provides a platform for very small farmers, healthy chefs, and artisan micro-businesses to unveil their offerings to our community at an extremely low cost of entry. Our farmers market is an incubator of new businesses that grow, cultivate, produce, or make their offerings themselves. Our local farmers market has grown out of the wishes of our community for a vibrant village center, with a place to meet and greet friends and family in the spirit of neighborliness. As we strive to maintain the semi-rural character of our community in the midst of cities sprouting all around us, the farmers market reflects the down-home experience that best characterizes a truly local rural spirit.
Join us in celebrating “local” while keeping “rural” alive in Great Falls.