Karen Atkinson of GrowRVA holds Marsh, one of two young goats she is raising, at the site of the new Virginia Street Market. Photo by Brittany Claud
When the outdoor farmers market season cranks up in May, a new Shockoe Slip venue will be part of the mix.
The Virginia Street Market, which opens May 10, is the brainchild of Karen Atkinson, president of GrowRVA, formerly called The Market Umbrella. Atkinson also opened the Virginia Street Gallery (114-R Virginia St.) last fall, so she says having an adjacent market near the Canal Walk and Turning Basin seemed like a natural fit.
"What we're really trying to do is get people back downtown, and especially to this area of Shockoe Slip," she says. The market will be open from 3 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays through late October.
This year also marks the return of the Goochland Community Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, after a one-year hiatus. Located at Grace Episcopal Church (2955 River Road) , the market will partner with the Powhatan Farmers Market (3835 Old Buckingham Road) , giving vendors the opportunity to pay one application fee for both venues, says Laura Henderson of Powhatan County's economic development office.
Meanwhile, Lisa Dearden, who oversaw the Goochland market in her former role as executive director of the Center for Rural Culture, is operating My Manakin Market (68 Broad Street Road in Manakin-Sabot) for the second year. After running an indoor winter market in the heated patio at Enzo's Italian Chophouse, she'll open the outdoor market for the season on May 5. "We anticipate a lot of growth this year due to expanded awareness of the market, strategic alliances, more targeted marketing and signage and an overall swell in the local foods movement in general," Dearden says.
New vendors are expected in many of the region's markets. Among them is Salt Pork, an offshoot of Sausage Craft, a wholesale operation that supplies products such as chorizo and Della Nonna to restaurants and gourmet shops around the region. Owners Chris Mattera and Brad Hemp are teaming up with chef Bill Foster to bring their specialty meats to customers at the Byrd House Market (224 S. Cherry St.) on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 7 p.m. and South of the James Market (Forest Hill Park) on Saturday mornings. In addition to sausages, Salt Pork will sell freshly made pâtés, terrines, confits, rillettes and more. Hemp says that the partners wanted to have direct contact with the people who buy their products. "We also really like the idea of selling these types of items in a market rather than in a shop tucked away in a strip mall."