Virginia is for Local Food Lovers! Despite the overall number of farms in Virginia decreasing, the number of small farms in Virginia has increased by 37% since 2012 according the 2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture. The Virginia Farm Bureau suggests that this increase in small farms has been in response to consumer demand for local food. Between increased shopping at farmers markets, increased use of CSA programs, and action by communities and food access advocates, new farmers markets are popping up to connect people to local farms.
Why have so many Virginians asked for better access to local food? There are tons of benefits:
- Supporting local jobs on the farm, in processing, and at the market
- Providing healthy foods to communities that lack access
- Sustainability: lowering carbon emissions from transportation and cold storage
- Connecting to local farms makes caring for land our own priority
- Supporting diverse cultures by offering culturally appropriate ingredients
- Getting outside, having fun with family, and building community weekly at your market.
Small farms produce most of what you need in a week, from lettuce and tomatoes, to eggs and chicken, to honey and jam. As these businesses are literally starting from the ground up, they need your support! We wanted to make it as easy as possible to connect with local food, so we put together summaries of all the local markets we could find. Check out these markets for information on open hours, directions, ordering ahead, and utilizing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits:
Lakeside Farmers Market
Lakeside Farmers Market is open Saturdays 9 am – Noon, and Wednesdays 9 am – 2 pm, year-round. Vendors from across the Greater Richmond Area produce high quality products for our community. Please call ahead to arrange SNAP purchases at 804-437-2475 or ask the vendor for assistance.
Northside Farmers Market
As a way to increase healthy food access in the Northside of Richmond, Virginia, the Northside Food Access Coalition has launched a farmers’ market / community supported agriculture (CSA) hybrid. The Market partners with local Virginia farmers to purchase freshly harvested and culturally relevant produce and then sells produce to community members without any price markup. They also accept SNAP benefits. The market is open Thursdays at 4:30pm to 7:00pm, from June to November 2022.
St. Stephen’s Farmers Market
St. Stephen’s Farmer’s Market is open Saturdays 9 am – 12 pm. Find local produce, pasta, bread, prepared foods, and even artisanal jewelry. The market is open for on-site sales, and most vendors also accept pre-orders and/or offer CSA shares.
RVA Big Market
The RVA Big Market is Richmond’s biggest year-round outdoor market, offering the largest selection of local vendors in the area. The market is held Saturdays, 8 am – 12 pm in Bryan Park through the summer season (May – October). Through the winter season (November – April), the market runs from 9 am – 12 pm.
South of the James Farmers Market
South of the James Farmer’s Market is open year-round Sundays, 10 am – 1 pm in Forest Hill Park. A list of vendors is shared on the market’s Facebook page every week.
Birdhouse Farmers Market
Birdhouse Farmers Market runs in-person May – November / Tuesdays, 3 pm – 6:30 pm. Pre-order is encouraged and open online from Thursday morning through Sunday night. Shop Online. SNAP customers are welcome, and SNAP discounts (50%) are available for fruits and vegetables.
Huguenot-Robious Farmers Market
Huguenot-Robious Farmers Market is open year-round, every Thursday from 10 am to 2 pm. It is located at The Great Big Greenhouse and Nursery. The market offers Virginia-grown produce, Virginia-made products from local artisans, as well as pasture-raised beef, pork, seafood, and eggs.
Dorey Park Farmers Market
Dorey Park Farmers Market is open Saturdays, 9 am – 12 pm, June – October. DPFM works to make locally grown food easy to access, support local farmers, and has made special effort to welcome conservation and environmental organizations at their market.
West End Farmers Market
West End Farmers Market is open Saturdays 9 am – Noon. According to their website, they are the only farmer-owned market in Virginia. You can find their vendor list in their newsletter, which is posted on their website and Facebook.
Located at The Lawn at Gayton Centre on the corner of Ridgefield & Gayton Roads by Ollie’s Discount Market.
Broad Rock Farmers Market
Broad Rock Farmers Market’s mission is to provide healthy fresh vegetables, fruits, baked goods, herbs, jams and jellies to a multi-cultural, underserved community in Richmond’s Southside. This market supports local growers, farmers, and vendors promoting environmental stewardship, agriculture education, while building a greater sense of community. The 2022 market is open each Saturday 8 am – 12 pm from May 7th to October 29th, 2022. Accepts SNAP/EBT benefits.
Carytown Farmers Market
Make it a day and shop locally grown produce, freshly baked foods, crafts, popsicles, coffee and flowers at the market at City Stadium then stroll on over to Carytown for brunch. Open 9 am to 1 pm on Sundays, May through November.