New Westover Farmers Market Hopes to Open This Summer

by ARLnow.com January 11, 2012 at 3:55 pm 4,831 31 Comments

The proposed Westover Farmers Market is getting closer to becoming a reality.

A group of local volunteers has incorporated a nonprofit company to run the farmers market, and have applied for recognition as a charitable organization from the IRS. The nonprofit is currently seeking donations and vetting applications from farmers market vendors.

Meanwhile, organizers say they hope to hold the first farmers market in May, on the grounds of the Westover Branch Library and Reed School on N. McKinley Road. The start date could potentially be held up, however, by the arduous process of applying for county permits and permissions.

“The County recently changed the application process for open-air markets to one requiring issuance of a use permit by the County Board,” farmers market organizer Robert Swennes noted in an email. “The details of implementing that change are still being worked out, and that is creating more delay for us than a well-established approval process would.  Also, the site selected for the market is property owned by the Arlington County Public Schools, so permission from ACPS must also be obtained.”

When it finally does clear all regulatory hurdles, the market will operate from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Sundays.

“Many people within County government and generally in Arlington have expressed their support for a farmers market in the Westover area, so we are confident that one will be launched this year,” Swennes noted. “The question is how soon that can be done.”

Photo via Arlington Green Party

  • This will be a great place to sell those chicken eggs.

    • HughJassPhD


  • Sherley

    oh good, at least it’ll be on Sunday mornings and not Saturdays. wouldn’t want the parking curtailed for my Sat morning errands

    • Quoth the Raven

      Sherley you must be joking.

      • someone who was born here

        Sorry Quoth – but I agree with Sherley

  • Quoth the Raven

    I think this is an awesome idea and I can’t wait to go.

  • DarkHeart

    I wonder if the pickle stand at Columbia Pike on Sunday morning will send out a second stand to this market.

  • TGEoA

    I hope it better than that crapfest at Courthouse

    • SteveP

      Can you explain what you don’t like about the Courthouse farmers market? I don’t want to make any assumptions about what you mean by “crapfest”.

      • TGEoA

        Counterfeit merch

        • SteveP

          What products are you referring to?

          Are you suggesting that there are produce, dairy products, or meats that aren’t local?

          Can you provide evidence for your assertion?

          • CourthouseChris

            I suspect TGEoA doesn’t wake up early enough to make it to the actual farmers’ market that ends at noon but is speaking of the other market on 15th street that runs into the afternoon.

  • Andy

    A good example of what’s wrong with our tax code. A nonprofit charitable organization? Give me a break.

    • JimPB

      It’s the sponsoring entity that seeks non-profit status, not the farmers and others who would be selling at the market.

      • Andy

        What part of it is charity?

        • drax

          The part that’s doing a public good without making a profit for shareholders, etc.

          • Andy

            What you describe is a nonprofit organization, but not a charity. As a resident of Arlington, I do not consider the opportunity to purchase expensive produce from a very small-volume farmers market as charity to me or other residents. I don’t think the IRS should consider it charity either, because when it does, the operators avoid paying certain taxes, and you and I have to make up the difference.

          • Craigie

            In the federal tax code, many of the categories of nonprofit organizations are not charities.

          • Andy

            The article states that the famers market is applying to the IRS for recognition as a charitable organization.

  • Catherine Franz

    Who is in charge of this market? Who do I get in touch with to register and ask questions?

  • Barbin

    Will this be a producers only market? Will it be one sanctioned by the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service (that’s associated with the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation)? How will know what kinds of standards there are for producers?

  • Andrew

    Will there be live music?

  • someone who was born here

    As others have stated, I am also glad that this is on Sunday because parking and the traffic coming and going may not be the nice side of this. I do wonder what the residents and business’s close to Westover will think of this farmers market after a while. I guess they won’t know what the real impact will be till it happens.

    • Lou

      Although I support the market, I think 9:00 is a little early on a Sunday. The people who live in the immediate surrounding blocks might notice the noise and extra activity, because it is usually very dead around the neighborhood at that hour. Westover Market does not open until 10:00 and if you go up there to shop “early” when they open, there is still hardly any activity going on around there.

      Luckily, I live close enough to walk, but far enough that slamming car doors at 9:00 will not bother me.

      • someone who was born in Arlington

        People who shop at farmers markets seem to like to go early. But I also wonder what the residents will think of the parking and traffic after a while. You may be able to park behind the library, but you have to drive though a neighborhood to get to the parking lot – not to mention the lot’s location is not well marked -if at all.

        • Lou

          They definitely like to get there early and get better stuff than the next guy. Regarding the parking, I thought that the reason they wanted to start that early was so people could park in the lot behind Westover shopping center, since the majority of the businesses are closed then.

          • Suzanne Smith Sundburg

            Just about everyone likes the idea of the farmer’s market, but most of the businesses in Westover will be open during those hours. And the Kaplans (who run Ayers) are very concerned about whether the parking lot will become jammed, thus discouraging regular customers from visiting their store. Also, part of N. McKinley Road will be blocked off (per the Tara-Leeway Heights Civic Association website). If this causes a significant loss of income for Ayers, then the Kaplans may have no choice but to shut down. I’d hate to see the community lose Ayers; it’s a nice, local small business that has survived only because residents have chosen to shop there rather than at places like Home Depot.

            As I understand it, the original proposed hours were 8 am to noon, which I think were agreeable to the merchants. But then the hours were subsequently changed to 9 am to 1 pm, timing that is more likely to negatively affect the permanent merchants in the shopping center.

            If most of the farmer’s market customers arrive on foot, then there probably won’t be a conflict. However, if the parking and traffic situation gets out of hand, then I’d expect that most of the merchants and nearby residents will be understandably upset.

    • someone who was born in Arlington

      BTW – no smart aleck intended on the name. Meant in Arlington. I think we’re outnumber!

  • Larchmont

    I’ll support it, and walk to it.

  • apples

    Hi. Regarding one of the above comments, we sell at Falls Church and we pay taxes to VA on all of our sales. A farmers market that is run well is a plus for the community hosting it and for farmers also. The more successful we can be at marketing our produce in the local area, the more we (and our children) can resist pressure against developing our farms and stay in business. Farming is expensive and there are a lot of obstacles (not all natural ones). I know that some of the farmers markets have been cheapened by adding non farm products, (some good, some bad), but give the real farmers a break. New markets are a rare opportunity for us.

  • Tara leeway resident

    I live about a block away and can’t wait for the market to arrive! I agree, Sunday will be the better day as it will liven things up around here that day.


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