The South of the James Farmers Market in Richmond’s Forest Hill Park is an incredible source of fresh, healthy food and quality arts & crafts, so let’s resume our tour of some of the vendors I visited during my trip there on 25 May.
The best soap I’ve ever used can be found at Wild Heaven Farm’s booth. They offer regular and seasonal scents, and I love the goat-themed soap molds they use to make the bars!
The folks at Bombolini Pasta keep their fresh-made varieties in coolers, and sell it by-the-scoop in paper bags that are stamped with an image of the adorable Bombolini dog. (I LOVE him – he has a Fusilli-pasta body!) For people who can’t cook very well (like me), Bombolini pastas and raviolis provide an easy dinner solution.
In addition to the tuna Stephen purchased from Barham’s Seafood, he also found a pair of chicken breasts from Whispering Winds Farm, which he later grilled. The chicken came out of the farmer’s cooler frozen solid, which helped keep the cheeses and seafood we also had in our basket cold. (Vendors are always happy to hold your purchases in their coolers until you’re ready to leave the market – just ask!)
The sights and smells of fresh food at the Farmers Market can definitely make you hungry, especially if you got up early. Fortunately, the South of the James Market has an excellent selection of food trucks and vendors offering various types of walk-around food. (The park’s stone shelterhouse has long picnic tables for those who prefer to enjoy their breakfast sitting down.) My husband’s meal of choice is Cielito Lindo’s breakfast burrito, although on this particular Saturday, we couldn’t help but notice that a lot of people were enjoying wood-fired pizzas from Pizza Tonight.
For me, nothing says Saturday morning at the farmers market like the sugary sourdough goodness that is a freshly made Mrs. Yoder’s doughnut. The Mrs. Yoder’s truck is tucked behind the park pavilion and the line is almost always long, but don’t be discouraged – it moves quickly. As you get closer to the truck, you can see the workers dropping the rings of dough into the oil, then pulling out the doughnuts, dipping them in glaze and hanging them on wooden racks. When your doughnut is handed to you, it comes piping hot and wrapped in a piece of deli paper. A single doughnut ($2) is enough, but you can also purchase doughnuts by the box to freeze and enjoy during the week until your next market visit.
If you prefer something more substantial to eat, you’ll find other options as well, including sandwiches and paninis at the Magna Carta truck and Asian-Mexican-American fusion at the Boka Truck. As the summer heat increases, though, one of the most popular market vendors has to be King of Pops, which sells handmade ice treats made from a variety of natural flavors. Their fruit flavors are refreshing, but the chocoholic in me makes their Sea Salt Chocolate pop a “must.”
While I was buying two bars of Honeysuckle goat milk soap from Wild Heaven, the vendor admired the earrings I was wearing, so I gave her my business card. I really like the idea of joining the market community with my own arts & crafts. I didn’t purchase a tent in time to apply for this year’s market, but hopefully you’ll see Wayward Arts button jewelry for sale at the South of the James Farmers Market in 2014!
(The South of the James Farmers Market is open from 8 a.m. to Noon Saturdays in Forest Hill Park, 42nd Street and New Kent Avenue. The 2013 season runs 4 May through 7 December.)