Just over the James River from downtown Richmond is the South of the James Farmers’ Market, located in lush Forest Hill Park. The open-air market is bordered by Forest Hill, an idyllic, family-friendly neighborhood of cozy bungalows and capes. The farmers’ market is the largest in the Richmond area, with more than 100 vendors running the gamut from popular food trucks to area farmers to talented local craftspeople and nonprofits.
Year-round, the market is open on Saturdays. Since Richmond isn’t too far from the Chesapeake Bay, you’ll find plenty of fresh oysters and crabs. Other finds include locally made sausage, fresh-cut flowers, homemade breads with a variety of flavor profiles, and more produce than you can shake a celery stalk at.
I ventured out to the market the other Saturday in search of fava beans, which—even though they are in season—are a rare find. I left without the favas, but came out with a successful market haul: delicate peonies, a medley of mushrooms, stalks of red kale, spring onions, red radishes and strawberries, and a loaf of bread studded with Kalamata olives.
The Farmer’s Market at St. Stephens on Saturday is a favorite for folks in Richmond’s West End. And, if you can’t quite make it out of bed on Saturday morning, the Byrd House Farmers’ Market on Tuesday evenings and Carytown’s Farmers’ Market on Sunday are great places to pick up fresh produce, too.
Marissa Hermanson is a freelance writer and editor in Richmond, Virginia. Her stories have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Forbes Travel Guide, Ski, and Southern Living. When not writing, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen with glass of wine in hand.
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Beets are all over restaurant menus in Richmond right now, from citrusy salads to borscht.
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Loaves of bread from Norwood Bakery come in a variety of excellent flavors, from savory jalapeño cheddar to sweet sun-dried plum.
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Broccoli: This verdant crop from the mustard family is grown is small batches throughout Virginia, so it's a rare find at the market. When available, it's an exciting find.
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Carrots: In late May, a few bunches of carrots have started to appear in Richmond markets. Come June and July, these root veggies will be seen more and more.
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Donuts: Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen, a food truck that makes sourdough doughnuts, has a cult following in Richmond. The line of customers is long and winding.
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Fennel and herbs: One lone bulb of fennel is found among a bed of herbs.
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Chicken of the woods: Steve Haas Mushrooms grows an array of fungi--shiitake, crimini, portabella, lion's mane, oyster and the rare chicken of the woods.
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Funky fungi: Oyster mushrooms (pictured) and other varieties--along with a mushroom vinaigrette--are available at the tent owned by the local mushroom man.
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Flowers: Delicate, feathery peonies in an array of soft colors are in full bloom.
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Radishes: Roasted with carrots and tossed with a light olive oil, lemon juice and herbs, radishes make the perfect summer side dish.