A first-of-its-kind Rappahannock County Farmers’ Market kicks off this Saturday, May 25 — 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — and will continue deep into autumn, Saturday, Oct. 29. The emphasis: “local ingredients.”
“It’ll be super family friendly,” assures Van Carney, who with his brothers Jennings and Lain are hosting the weekly market on the newly landscaped riverfront grounds adjacent to Pen Druid Brewing, 7 River Lane in Sperryville.
Vendors for this inaugural season include The Farm at Sunnyside (organic vegetables and fruit, eggs) of Washington; Gardens of Khmet (vegetables, fruit, plants, value-added products) and Madison Mushrooms (mushrooms) of Madison; Bean Hollow Grassfed (beef, pork, lamb) and Bear Belly Brats (brats) of Flint Hill; with monthly vendors Flourish Root Florals (floral arrangements), Stacked Stone Farms (rabbit), and Woodstone Baking (bread), all of Sperryville; Georges Mill Cheese (goat cheese) from Lovettsville; and Number 1 Sons (fermented goods) of Washington, D.C.
“What we did get, which is very cool, is a $9,000 grant from the PATH Foundation to supply the county with POP [Power of Produce] Bucks, started by the Farmers Market Coalition in order to engage children in farmers’ market produce,” says Carney. “Since then it has been expanded to all individuals.”
The POP Bucks, which should be printed in time for the subsequent week’s market, are issued in $2 increments and will be distributed both to students through the Rappahannock County Schools and as well as to others in the community.
“The beauty of the program, and the way it works, is educational: it educates people about nutrition,” Carney explains. “It started with kids, branched out to seniors and families, with the POP Bucks distributed through schools, libraries, CCLC, Rapp at Home, and the Food Pantry. That will be the avenue, maybe [distribution at] some community events. It’s been a huge success. They get into people’s hands and people use them.”
“We are very excited to be a part of the Rappahannock Farmer’s Market,” says Christy Connolly, PATH Foundation President and CEO. “Access to healthy food is a critical component of childhood wellness and overall community health, and the new Farmer’s Market will be instrumental in giving residents healthier options.”
According to Amanda Butler, Rappahannock County Public Schools Nutrition Director and Commit to Be Fit Nutritionist, POP Bucks will be accepted this season at both the Rappahannock and Warrenton Farmers’ Market.
In addition, she says, Commit to Be Fit will host kids activities and free family fitness throughout the upcoming market season as part of the POP Club. Stay tuned to their Facebook page and website for more information (www.rappc2bf.com).
All RCPS students received $4 worth of POP Bucks at the end of the last school year to spend in Fauquier. Now, Butler points out, RCPS “are thrilled to be able to distribute POP Bucks to our students that can be spent right here in their own community and bring vitality to the market.
“Through the generosity of a PATH Foundation grant and the collaborative work of community partners, POP Bucks will start to flood into our community to be used at the new Rappahannock County Farmers’ Market.”