After a long week at the office, I couldn’t wait for a beautiful fall Saturday morning outdoors. As much love as I have for my Olde Towne Farmer’s Market and the luxury of being able to walk to it every Saturday morning, I decided to do a little something different this past weekend. So on Saturday morning, Ava and I got in the car and drove out to Farmer’s Fare for our first visit ever.
We entered the affluent East Beach neighborhood and first quietly admired the beautiful homes. After a couple of minutes, Ava said in a sincere voice, “I could die here…” lol! My phone’s navigation only took us so far. It demanded that I turn the wrong way down a one way street. Rather than try to out think the GPS, we got out, asked for directions to the market, politely ignored the well intentioned warning that we might want to drive there, and easily found Farmer’s Fare after a short walk.
The market was outdoors in a planned green space with a small amphitheater-type structure. There was a large crowd, a live acoustic musician playing a chill Jack Johnson tune, a bouncehouse and a small petting zoo provided by Full Quiver Farm.
Perusing the first table, I bought a Piedmont cheese from Everona Dairy in Rapidan, VA. I’d never had a sheep’s cheese, so I was excited to try it.
I heard the musician take a break to announce that a small child had been separated from her mother. I thought, how awful for the child and for the mother…
…but I could imagine a lot worse places to separate from your child in…
Yes, I think it would be much more terrifying to separate from my child in a place like Wal-Mart.
I’d read a great article in the Virginian-Pilot about Shady Goat Farm, the first certified cheesemaker in Hampton Roads. So, I was pretty excited to find that they had a table at Farmer’s Fare. Below is Shannon Rice, the farm proprietor providing samples of her goat cheese.
This was the list of goat cheese flavors offered that day:
- Shady Goat Chevre
- Croatan Cranberry Pecan Chevre
- Great Bridge Garlic and Herb Chevre
- Blackwater Cracked Pepper Chevre
- Ghent Garlic and Chive
- Pungo Pumpkin Chevre
- Sandbridge Sundried Tomato Basil
- Oceanfront Feta (plain)
I took home the Pungo Pumpkin chevre. Mmmm.
While I was listening to Ms. Rice talking to another customer about her goats, dispelling the rumors that goats eat everything (well, at least her goats do not eat things like clothing or aluminum cans), guess whose child had taken off???
Immediately, I thought of the child that separated from her mother earlier…I granted myself about 20 seconds of calm before allowing panic to set in. I quickly scanned the crowd in 360 degrees. I asked a few children at the petting zoo if they had seen Ava. I was just about to start yelling for her like a madwoman when I spotted her. She hadn’t yet seen me and and did not appear to be looking for me. She was in no apparent distress.
Relieved, I retrieved my child and regrouped. I told myself maybe there were too many fun kid things to do and look at, and none of those included standing in line while I talked to vendors about the nuttiness of a particular cheese or the proper French pronunciation of “chevre.” Blah, blah, blah…
It was Ava’s turn to have fun, so we moved on to the bouncehouse…
And from there it was on to the playground.
And after a little bit of that, my adrenaline had settled, but I wanted to take just a couple of more stops and then head home.
I saw that Mannino’s Italian Bistro had a table there. I’d heard rave reviews about their location in Virginia Beach. I was really excited to hear that they are set to open a location in my neighborhood of Olde Towne Portsmouth. I chatted with one of the owners for a few minutes and then purchased some of their homemade vodka sauce (after I got home I realized he had hooked us up some of their fresh mozzarella – nice!).
Next to last stop was Edmonds Farm. Edmonds is family owned bison ranch in the Northern Neck area. They had a lot of offerings, including quail eggs. But you really have to be an early bird to get farm market eggs and so, as usual, I missed out. Instead, I purchased some ground bison.
A cute little piggy held Ava’s interest and helped keep her by my side at this table.
Finally, because Ava was complaining of such agonizing thirst (ha!), I bought her a fresh limeade from Flour Child Bakery.
Next Saturday (10/20) is last the market of the season for Farmer’s Fare until their first holiday market in November. It’s an awesome market and really worth checking out! Find them on Facebook!