Fresh, locally grown foods can be found in many venues, but there’s an elusive ingredient that can make shopping local a remarkable experience. That special ingredient is the local farmers themselves. Those who started the season at the Scottsville Farmer’s Market Pavilion on Saturday, April 1, proved that they have a lot to offer indeed, not just in the range and quality of their merchandise, but also in their willingness to field any questions customers might have.
The Scottsville Farmer’s Market will be open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. through Nov. 19, with the grand opening set for May 6. Even before the grand opening, shoppers can get plants for their gardens, fresh pork, chicken and rabbit, free-range eggs, baked goods, herbs and microgreens, jams, jellies, apple butter, and pickles, all produced by farmers who live and work in Albemarle, Fluvanna and surrounding counties.
LaLa and Gary of LaLa’s Garden grow and sell ornamentals such as Carolina phlox, coral bells and rose campion, as well as herbs that many people value for their medicinal quality, including St. John’s wort and yarrow. In addition, LaLa, who is partial to “older varieties” of plants, specializes in heirloom tomatoes. Many of these varieties have colorful names, such as Brandywine, Mortgage Lifter and Black Cherry. LaLa describes the latter as having “a rich tomato flavor with sweetness at the end.” Now in her third year as a vendor at the Scottsville Market, LaLa starts her plants either indoors under a grow light or in her greenhouse on Haden Martin Road.
Heart & Bones Hollow is “a field and forest farm” about seven miles away from the Scottsville Farmer’s Market. Farmer Karen Mann sells a variety of pork cuts, classic and sage pork sausage from Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs as well as meat from heritage-breed rabbits that forage on the farm. She also grows herbs and heirloom vegetables using sustainable methods. She is in her second season at the Scottsville Farmer’s Market, and it is the only market venue she plans to sell at this year.
“I’ve been making jams and jellies my whole life and have always supplied my family,” says vendor Kathy Lovin. After continually hearing “You ought to sell these, sissy, they’re delicious,” Lovin finally decided to heed her mother’s advice about seven years ago. She is proud of her homemade sweet pickles, relish, apple butter, and peach, strawberry, raspberry and blackberry jam. Lovin also grows seasonal vegetables and will sell beets, tomatoes, and zucchini at the market as they become available. Noting that she “will be growing everything outside this year,” Lovin is starting out the season with a selection of homemade breads and other baked goods. This past Saturday, she also had Brunswick stew at the ready. Her selection varies from week to week…