Arlington Gearing Up for Farmers Market Season

by ARLnow.com April 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm 6,249 27 Comments

As the weather gets warmer, Arlingtonians can expect more options for buying farm-fresh produce and artisan goods.

With the expected launch of the new Westover Farmers Market, this year there will be seven local farmers markets for residents to choose from. We’ve compiled the following guide, for your reference.

  • Courthouse (N. Courthouse Road and 14th Street N.) — Saturdays — Perhaps the largest of Arlington’s farmers markets, the Arlington Farmers Market in Courthouse is open year-round. Its expanded summer hours — from 8:00 a.m. to noon — will begin next weekend, on April 21.
  • Columbia Pike (Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive) — Sundays — The only other year-round farmers market in Arlington, besides Courthouse, the Columbia Pike market is now operating under the “regular” seasonal hours of 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., according to the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization website.
  • Clarendon (Clarendon Blvd and N. Highland Street) — Wednesdays — The Clarendon Farmers Market kicked off its 14th season yesterday afternoon (April 11). The market, which is open from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m., runs through the end of October, with its peak summer “high season” starting in May.
  • Crystal City (Crystal Drive between 18th and 20th Streets) — Tuesdays — The Crystal City farmers market, operated by FRESHFARM Markets, serves a largely workday crowd from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. The market will open for the season on May 1 and will run through November 20.
  • Westover (Washington Blvd and N. McKinley Road) — Sundays — Organizers of Arlington’s newest farmers market are hoping to kick off its inaugural season on May 6. When it does launch, the market will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Check the market’s new website for updates.
  • Rosslyn (Wilson Blvd and N. Oak Street) — Thursdays — The only Arlington farmers market that has its own dedicated concert series, the Rosslyn Farmers Market will be open from May 31 to October 25 this year. The market serves a lunchtime crowd from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Ballston (N. Stuart Street and 9th Street N.) — Thursdays — Located at Welburn Square, the Ballston farmers market has the latest starting date: June 7 June 28. The market will be open from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m., through the end of October. FRESHFARM Markets will be taking over management of the farmers market this year, according to Ballston Business Improvement District Executive Director Tina Leone.

  • Richard Cranium

    Will the Westover market be allowed to have live music?

  • Rebecca

    I love supporting local farmers!

    • PUP

      yeah i’m pumped, too!!!!!

  • me too. I just REALLY wish politics were left out of the markets. I hate having political issues and candidate “stuff” in the markets – even the farmers get into it – endorsing candidates with stickers, flyers, etc., and I don’t appreciate it.

    Buying from local farmers is not reserved to one political party.

    • Car-Free Diet

      You know Arlington is a one party jurisdiction, just like Maryland, don’t you? If you don’t like it, move; or bring your political party’s propaganda to the farmer’s market and test their tolerance for dissenting ideas.

      • sock puppet free diet

        you will see all parties represented at the markets. You may see more democratic types as they rely more on grass roots support as they don’t have the corporate funded suparpacs or murdochs various faux news outlest to bombard the airwaves.

        I agree, however, that we could all do with a rest from politics while we shop…..but it aint going to happen.

        • I’ve only seen one party – the Democratic party – at the Courthouse market. I go just about every Saturday and have not seen any other.

          I also see the same small guy who plays his little Peruvian guitar and gets great tips. He’s been there for years – rain or shine. He must make good money.

          Wonder what he does Monday through Friday . . .

          • Tobe

            He fights the good fight against guinea pigs seven days a week.

          • Concerned Arlington Resident

            It is gracious that the residents/customers give the Peruvian guitar guy a small tip. It is doubtful if these out of town farmers/vendors ever gave a free meal, produce to this poor guy? He probably does it for the love of music and entertain the people coming to the market. The people who are making real money are the out of town farmers/ vendors who are using loopholes to avoid paying taxes and fees to conduct business in Arlington County. The small businesses operating in the county pay a fair share of taxes and give back to the community. The farmers/vendors generate significant income and not pay a fair share to the county. Are the taxing authorities and county officials turning the other side and ignoring that fact that the county has the opportunity to generate taxes and fees. We we should demand laws to protect the local business and let the out of town farmers pay the taxes and business fees to operate in the county. Let’s have a open forum and discussion about the topic.

    • Louise

      Part of being a responsible citizen is participating in your local political scene. It’s the price we pay for our freedoms. Look at it as an opportunity.

      • I am a responsible citizen and I participate in the local and national political scenes. It’s not an opportunity to have these folks talking in a loud voices making fun and insulting anyone who does not share their beliefs. I’ve seen and heard it more than once.

        It’s not a matter of freedom – it’s a matter of obnoxious people shoving their opinions down my throat. I don’t do it to them and I’ve appreciate the same consideration.

  • Carmen

    I have been happy to see more of the farmers at the Courthouse market recently. I can’t wait until it is in full swing.

  • The demise of a small entrepreneur retailer that for decades was a fixture along Lee Highway was a tremodous lost to the community.
    The addition of global mega fast food chain to one of the few decent retail spaces along Lee Highway speaks volumes on the changing retail landscape. Landlords want tenants with deep pockets, recognizable brand names, perfect credit and vast marketing resources. And the neighbors will lament about the lack of choices and variety. But the community will create a line out the door because the want to buy what they know.

    • The Market Will Bare All

      How dare a landlord with vast amounts of money invested in real estate and humongous interest and principle payments demand a secure tenant.

      Oh hell, I just want an upscale Chipotle and I will pay homeless people to stand in line for me.

    • cranky crankypants

      Whoa now. Do you remember the “SuperFresh” that was at Lee Harrison way back in the Dark Ages? The place was a hellhole that dragged down all retail in that area. And there are still plenty of local businesses all along Lee Highway that are thriving because they offer good products and services. So cry me a river about the good old days, missy. I’m pretty happy with the now.

    • drax

      “tremondous lost to the community.”

      “But the community will create a line out the door because the want to buy what they know.”

      You contradict yourself, Pamela.

  • Westover2

    The Westover Farmer’s Market will be IN THE STREET, closing off McKinley in front of the Westover Library. This will seriously disrupt traffic flow and parking for the businesses in Westover, especially Ayers Hardware. The group organizing the Westover Farmer’s Market is pushing through without neighborhood residents or local business owner’s input or concerns, and could seriously harm the surrounding neighborhood and it’s businesses. As it is, those local businesses are having a difficult time with the slow economy. Between the lack of parking, the disruption of traffic, and the local businesses concerns, the Westover Farmer’s Market should be put on hold and thoroughly investigated before they begin.

    • Ballstonian

      I don’t think that the closing of McKinley for a few hours on a saturday is going to have the negative impact you think it will. Plus, if the market gets people in the area, they may actually go to the very business you’re worried about.

    • Harry

      A lot of people have misguided concerns about events like farmers markets and other events taking business away from local vendors when really the effect is quite the opposite. Clarendon is a great example of this, go around to the different restaurants and shops during events like the bike race or Clarendon day, and you’ll see that they’re all packed to the brim! Events like these attract more people into commercial areas during times that are typically slow for them, like a Saturday morning.

  • Westover2

    Harry and Ballstonian: Would you like to bet your job, house, and savings that traffic flow won’t be affected? In essence, that’s what the Westover Farmer’s Market organizers are doing; they’re messing with local business owner’s livelihoods for fun. These Westover business owners have donated to local schools, pay Arlington taxes, give discounts to seniors, school teachers, and students, and some have been doing this for DECADES. They give back to the community in ways we can’t imagine. How do we repay them? Closing off a main street and entrance to their private parking lot, that they pay maintenance and upkeep for. It’s not like there aren’t any farmer’s markets in a 10 mile radius; there are lots of opportunities to purchase organic, farmed goods from Clarendon, Columbia Pike, and Falls Church. Yes, it MIGHT bring more customers to Westover, but at what cost? The loyal regulars that frequent those businesses might now see them as inconvenient for the lack of parking and egress. All it takes is a couple times for those customers to go elsewhere, and businesses will start to feel the effect. You lose those customers, but gain some new ones, hopefully you break even or it could be a net loss. Unless you currently run a storefront in one of the areas that have Farmer’s Markets, you really don’t know how it will affect the surrounding business. Of course, all of this is speculation, but are we (as a community) willing to bet our local, family owned businesses just so we can walk five minutes to buy organic lettuce instead of drive five minutes? Seems a bit backwards to me.

    • Sue

      I thought the Westover Farmers’ Market was going to be on the grounds of the Reed School. What happened to that plan? It seems like blocking off the street could have a big impact on some of the businesses and on the neighbors on McKinley which should first be explored.

      • Tobe

        This is the first I have heard about it blocking the road and parking lot entrances. I have to say I am suspicious about that claim. The market’s use permit would have to include that as a stipulation, and that means the county has reviewed and accepted that. Again, I’m suspicious.

        The market will operate at the temporary location until the school board stops dragging its feet and approves them to use school property.

      • Lee-n-Glebe

        Having it on the grounds of the Reed School would certainly make my son’s baseball game there on Saturday morning a bit more complicated.

    • Ballstonian

      Its for 4 hours, from 9-1, on a sunday, for, what 5 months a year? And this is going to potentially destroy the Westover community?

      • Lee-n-Glebe

        Oh – Sunday? Nevermind, then.

    • Ballstonian

      If people would seriously move out of the neighborhood because 20 times a year, on a sunday morning, a single road is closed, then they are insane. While McKinley is a fine street, people can drive (and we seem to beconsidered about drivers since the farmers market wont keep people from walking through) an additional block in either direction and work around. You’re willing to drive 5 minutes to a farmers market, but not 45 seconds around a minor detour?

  • Concerned Arlington Resident

    It seems that all the Farmers/Vendors are given an unfair advantage to conduct business in the high income Arlington County. The question is whether these farmers pay taxes (sales, excise, county, business etc) that is required by other vendors who conduct business in Arlington County? The county is loosing a significant amount of revenue streams because of the loopholes in the law. It is unfair competition that these farmers coming from various cities/towns are taking advantage of the benefits without having to pay a fair share of required taxes and fees to conduct business in the county. The benefits those foreign/out of county farmers entertain are not given to other small business owners and street vendors who reside in Arlington County. The taxing authorities and county officials should give serious consideration to impose taxes on all vendors who conduct business in an equitable manner.


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