Westover Farmers Market Meeting Tonight

by ARLnow.com December 7, 2010 at 7:45 am 3,034 35 Comments

An open community meeting will be held tonight to discuss the possible formation of a farmers market in Westover.

Organizers say the farmers market would be held outside the Westover Library on either Saturday or Sunday mornings. They would like to launch the market in the spring.

Anyone interested in shopping at or helping to operate the market is asked to attend tonight’s meeting, which will be held at 7:00 p.m. at Westover Library (1644 McKinley Road).

  • Burger

    Why is there a need for a Farmer’s Market in Westover? There is a large farmers market in Falls Church on Saturday that is about a mile from Westover. There is also one in Courthouse.

    Makes no sense to me.

    • mehoo

      That’s like asking why there’s a supermarket in Westover. Or anywhere else you want to put one.

      • Burger

        How many people regularly shop at that grocery store given its high prices compared to the HT and Safeway essentially across the street. If it wasn’t for the large beer selections and its quasi-legal cafe, the Westover Market would be closed.

        • mehoo

          So you want to shut it down too?

          There’s also lots of restaurants in Courthouse, so let’s shut down the Lost Dog and all those.

          See the point now?

          • Burger

            Wow…I’m shocked you don’t see my point.

          • mehoo

            I think I see your point quite clearly.

        • Westover

          I hit Westover Market at least once a week. The prices and selection are not conducive to weekly shopping for a family of four, but they are great for those little things you need, but forgot, to finish a recipe. Teeter and Safeway are over a mile away, not right across the street, a bit far to walk to for the full grocery cart. Plus, they have that beer thing going for all of us. I am grateful for the Westover Market, it is one of those little things that make Westover Village special.

          • Lou

            Yep, I don’t expect that anyone who does not live withing a mile or so of the market shops there regularly. But it serves the neighborhood well when you just need to stop for a few items and do not feel like dealing with a big shopping center parking lot or going out of your way.

            Its value stacks with the other businesses in the shopping center too. CVS, bank, dry cleaner, barber shop, carry-out food, hardware, etc. You can get a lot done in one 20 minute stop in Westover.

  • charlie

    1. The court house so-called farmers market stinks with limited selection and very poor management that works hard to keep it from expanding along with our population thus increasing the profit for the chosen ones and diminishing choices for the consumer.
    2. I’d like live music at Westover farmers market — like old town.

  • Lou

    This will be cool. I can’t imagine why anyone would argue against it.

    Love Westover Market to death for the stuff that they are good at providing, but fresh goods are just not one of their strong points.

  • budlight

    Are they going to have a beer garden – i just love fresh hops.

  • Sandra

    They should do it on Sunday mornings. Why compete with Falls Church and Courthouse markets, both held on Saturday morning? Give me something to do on Sundays with my kids!!!!

    • mehoo

      Agree. You should go to the meeting and say so.

    • Westover

      Shouldn’t the farmers get to rest on Sunday?

      • mehoo

        Nobody’s forcing them to sell tomatoes on Sunday.

  • rft

    So long as there aren’t any children dancing, a farmer’s market should be fine. But, you’ve seen how children dancing can get the locals worked up, and the police will have to come and put a stop to it.

  • Westover 2

    A farmer’s market in Westover seems like a bad idea. Westover is 90 percent mom & pops, and a farmer’s market there could kill the existing independently-owned businesses. Why do that to the shop owners that have been there serving the neighborhood for decades, like Westover Market, Lost Dog and Ayers? That wouldn’t benefit anybody. Especially if there are already 2 other great farmer’s markets close by.

    • Westover

      One day a week should have little or no effect on the Westover Market, and will compete with none of the other stores in the village. But, it might bring in more shoppers to Ayers and dinners to Lost Dog, could even bring in shoppers to Finders Keepers, as farmers market patrones are the same type to buy second hand items. It is a win-win!

      • Lou

        The day and hours will be key. Since the site would be next to the school that pretty much rules out weekday afternoon stuff like Ballston does. And the neighbors will be against anything on weekend mornings. Saturday afternoons can already get pretty congested around there. It will take some thought.

    • JennX

      Seriously? Name one thing a farmers market would sell that you can get at Westover Market or any other shop in the neighborhood? Okay, the butcher shop at Westover Market sells sustainable meats… that’s about it. Fresh produce? Nope. Locally produced dairy? Nope. Homemade soaps? You get the drift. I love the beer selection at Westover Market, and the butcher counter is a cool addition (which I hope can last, given how deserted it is every time I go there)– but the one thing Westover seriously lacks is a place to buy fresh fruits and veggies. Take away the beer and the butcher and WM is a glorified convenience store– better than 7-11 for emergency ingredients, but not by much.

      And as for how a farmers market competes with the Lost Dog or Ayers, I cannot fathom.

      Unfortunately, I have a vet appt for my cats tonight right at 7, so I won’t be able to make it to the meeting, but someone please pass along this Westover resident’s enthusiastic support for a farmers market (Sunday preferred so we have options on both weekend days).

    • mehoo

      How does a farmer’s market compete with a pizza joint or a hardware store?

      Overall, it will probably help the businesses in the area. People will discover that neighborhood and shop there too.

      • Burger

        Dollars are not fungible. Money spent at the farmer’s market means it can’t be spent elsewhere.

        • Burger

          I’m not arguing against it, if people want it fine. I just don’t personally see the need given the number of farmer’s markets around for yuppies to say they are cool.

        • mehoo

          Really? Five dollars for some peppers and tomatoes is going to kill business? In Arlington?

          Again, you make a great (read – ridiculous) argument for shutting down half the businesses in town. Oh my God, don’t open that new Starbucks or nobody will have money left over for the hardware store next door!


  • Westover 2

    A farmer’s market in Westover might not compete directly with Lost Dog or Ayers, or even the Westover Market, but everyone knows parking is limited around there. If someone driving to Lost Dog or Ayers can’t find parking, they’ll go elsewhere. Especially the older customers or ones with kids that need to park fairly close because they can’t walk too far. I don’t know if anyone’s noticed how busy it can get around there over the weekend during the summer. I’m sure residents will love dealing with less parking for their own cars, and also the big trucks, noise, and trash that could follow. Something like this, that could impact local businesses and nearby residents, should be looked at very closely and carefully and gather input from ALL sectors and ALL perspectives before starting. Remember, you’re putting in a “shopping” area where there is no infrastructure for one. Ayers, Westover Market, and all the other businesses in that shopping center pay substantial “common area maintenance” fees for trash pick-up, parking, sidewalk, and landscaping maintenance. All of a sudden the parking lot is used by people that are not patronizing their businesses, and now their patrons cannot park. It could be beneficial in the short term, harmful in the long term. To be clear, I also think a Farmer’s Market in Westover could be a great idea. But someone must play devil’s advocate and generate debate on issues that some people might not realize.

  • DennisW

    When they renovated the school and moved the library, the one thing the great thinkers of Arlington neglected (of course) – parking. No doubt their way of thinking that if you don’t provide parking then people won’t drive.

    So, hold the farmers’ market at the library and where are people going to park?

    Why, they’ll park in the parking lots across the street, taking up spaces the Westover merchants pay a lot of money for their customers to use.

    Very bad idea.

    • Lou

      Umm, they added a parking lot by pushing the little league diamond and basketball court back off the street. There used to be just on-street parking before that. It’s got about 20 spots, plus handicapped. They also improved the teacher’s lot behind the school, although I doubt that would be a candidate for holding the farmers market because it’s only accessible from residential streets.

      • Westover

        I have not counted spaces, but the new little lot beside the baseball diamond seems smaller than the lot at the old library that they got rid of. The Parking issue is a legit one. Did anyone get to the meeting? I had to take the kids to swim lessons and missed it.

        • Lou

          I think the new lot off McKinley is essentially the same size as the old library lot, and it is certainly closer to the school and facilities. The library lot never really served the school and fields because it was kind of parceled off in the corner.

          I did not make it to the meeting although my neighbor planned to attend. I’m sure parking is going to be a consideration, but really isn’t it an issue for any of the existing farmers markets? I expect if Westover gets one it will be smallish in size anyway.

          • Westover

            It would have been nice if they had left the old lot, the fields and library could use them on Saturday mornings during kiddie soccer season. Have not been up to the corner in a few weeks, but seems like the way they graded it the old lot/building site won’t really be useable for anything.

        • Suburban Not Urban

          Westover resident. I’ll second the question about what was said at the meeting?

  • lala

    This is a terrible idea. There is no parking to begin with in Westover and traffic will be a disaster.

  • Westover 2

    I went to the meeting. Looks like Sunday morning is the best time for a Westover Farmer’s Market, with the school, library, post office and bank all closed. Parking wouldn’t be as scarce as if those were open. Also, whoever organizes it could force the vendors to park in the back lot of the library, allowing more convenient parking for customers. A Sunday morning market also wouldn’t compete with the Falls Church and Clarendon Farmer’s Markets. In terms of business impact, it appears that at least Ayers and Toby’s supports a Sunday morning market. Toby’s Ice Cream was the only business that attended (I think), and he seemed to be very supportive. Toby said that he talked to some business owners and they were hesitant, and it might take some incentives to get them on board. He did mention that it could negatively impact some businesses, and although a farmer’s market could attract people, we shouldn’t assume that they’ll spend money at the surrounding businesses. Also, how will we address vendors that sell competing products? Other issues were: big trucks driving through residential streets early in the morning, trash, noise, who will run it, the need for insurance, what vendors and how many will be allowed, etc. There is a company that runs farmer’s markets but they might not be willing to run Westover. Overall it was a good turnout and lots of concerns were discussed, but it will take quite a bit of work to start this thing and to address all the issues. It could get pretty sticky, and even if it does get off the ground it might take a couple years to catch on.

  • BarbinArlington

    I hope the powers-that-be in this idea of the farmers market for Westover have checked in with Arlington’s Cooperative Extension Service and sought to align the proposed market with the requirements of becoming a part of the home-grown markets sponsored by co-op extension. With that, at least we’d have produce from (almost) local farms and the farms would have to meet certain standards.

  • sdh

    For starters, why on earth would we want to attract more traffic to Westover? That comment is directed to residential Westover. With respect to the businesses, while some may see the hope of more walk-ins as a plus, the grocery store and Ayers plant business are at risk.
    Why should we care about that risk? We are blessed here with an excellent mix of stores – hardware, drug, grocery, ice cream, second hand, florist, hair styling/cutting, coffee, and a variety of enjoyable restaurants. These owners are not being overly compensated for their efforts. As a community we therefor need to support and patronize this largesse – for their survival and our own good. Adding additional competition for two of the mainstays in this mix does not seem useful, much less necessary.


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