A Saturday at the farmer’s market is a Saturday well spent – especially when you can grab all your goods and still have Sunday to meal prep for the entire week ahead. But aside from the fresh-picked assortments of locally grown fruits and veggies, there’s plenty of specialty items to discover, taste, and return for week after week. We hit up the Pike Central Farm Market at Pike & Rose, which takes over the REI parking lot each Saturday from 9AM-1:30PM, to scope out some of best offerings, from flavored vinegars to fermented veggies.
NUMBER 1 SONS FOR KIMCHI AND PICKLES
This home-grown business specializes in barrel-fermented foods (aka no vinegar!) to create super flavorful kimchi, pickles, krauts and other crunchy veggies. Pick up the Giardiniera – a kitchen sink assortment of fermented cabbage, peppers, carrots, onions, cauliflower, green beans, olives, and Italian seasoning – to toss a funky bite into any summer salad.
STONYMAN GOURMET FARMER FOR CHEESES
These guys know cheese down to a science. The small-batch, handmade cheese rounds, considered “farmstead” are made on the very Virginia farm that the cows, goats and sheep producing the milk graze. Indulge in their premium cheese samplings, from strong, aged blue cheese to mild and creamy fromage blanc. Then pick up your favorites to create the perfect seasonal cheese board.
SUNDAY MORNING BAKEHOUSE FOR DOUGHNUTS AND CROISSANTS
It’s no doubt this Pike Central tent always has a long line. Caroline Yi whips up the best baked bites from doughnuts and croissants to fruit-accented toasts almost too beautiful to eat. Get in line early so you won’t miss her Strawberry Shortcake doughnut (a cream-filled donut with homemade strawberry jam), Pain au Chocolat, and savory Shroom croissant. Post farm market season, her first brick-and-mortar bakery location makes a permanent presence at Pike & Rose this fall.
LINDERA FARMS FOR VINEGARS
Lindera Farms takes locally sourced berries, herbs, flowers and roots to create, well, not your average vinegar. The robust and unusual flavors of their fermented and aged vinegars compliment anything from home cooking to craft cocktails – think of the possibilities infusions like Cherry Blossom, Hickory or Ramp vinegars can create! Try a drizzle of Black Raspberry vinegar over your next scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, or shake up a cocktail with Strawberry Magnolia shrub, gin, soda and a mint garnish.
LIBERTY DELIGHT FARMS FOR NATURAL DOG TREATS
We take care in choosing what we eat and where it comes from, so why not think the same way when it comes to feeding your pet. Liberty Delight Farms – which also has humans covered for sustainably-sourced beef, chicken, lamb, pork and beyond – makes its own all-natural dog food, treats and chews in an assortment of unusual yet pet-friendly picks – dried chicken feet, beef hearts or bully sticks, anyone? While we can’t personally speak to how good these are, the constant Saturday scene of dogs dragging their owners over to buckets filled with pig ears, beef femurs and knuckle bones tipped us off that these are pet-approved.