According to a 2010 statistic, 68% of flowers sold within the U.S. are imported, primarily from Colombia. Of those flowers grown in the country, 76% are grown in California. So, whenever you dash into your local grocery to get a bouquet on one of the many occasions the floral industry assures you need flowers for, they most likely traveled over 2000 miles in their short lives. And, if you've seen Maria Full of Grace
, you know it's likely they weren't grown or processed in the happiest conditions befitting your flower necessitating event.The ecological trend which has emerged makes these facts well known
and a group which has made this a big point in their lives are those in the midst of wedding planning. From growing their own to crafting them out of old maps
, more and more creative couples are seeking earth-friendly alternatives for their wedding decor. As beautiful as they are, some of us aren't as skilled as others in paper folding technique or posess the requisite combination of discipline and determination to even try. Coming from someone who has never successfully folded a napkin let alone a crane, it's unrealistic to think that a couple just weeks away from the Big Day would see this as a viable option.So. What then? Hothouse flowers are by no means on the same level of "corporate evil" as blood diamonds but more environmentally sensitive folks might unwilling to be indifferent to the situation, especially when it's for something as significant as a wedding.Apart from traveling directly to the source
, eager planners can come down to the market. Talk to our friendly flower people, Magali (whose tent resembles a florist's shop complete with hanging baskets and orchids) and Billie (who brings two truckloads of fresh, local wildflowers every weekend without fail). Their arrangements are stunning representations of our region's flora; beautiful both as a dining room centerpiece or sailing through the air towards the single ladies at your wedding. Take a bunch home this Sunday- we're sure you'll come back later when birthdays, Valentine's Days and other special days roll around.
The school year comes to an end and the summer gets into full swing! It's great to see everyone coming down to the market every Sunday morning!
If you were not previously aware, there is often someone from WEFM at the white tent at the west end (the most fitting place of course) of the parking lot ready to answer your questions or just chat, in Spanish and Japanese too! Every weekend there is a cooler of water for sale and a bottle of sunscreen for your use at our table so come on by!
We have recieved some questions lately and thought to answer them here so they are more easily viewable by all.
Too often, skin care is placed under the umbrella of "Beauty" rather than "General Health". Skin, however, is the body's largest organ and the first line of defense for the rest of them. It is able to convey the goings-on of your insides by becoming warm if you are fighting and infection, developing a rash to alert of an allergy, etc... Yes, even the unsightly zits that "totally ruined high school" were little notices from your epidermis that the potato chip diet wasn't the most nutritious and to maybe grab an orange instead. Despite the aesthetic issues which take precedence a lot of the time, do remember all those times your skin has let you know what was up and devote some of the same attention given to your heart, liver or lungs. Especially now as the sunny weather becomes a bigger part of our leisure time, take a moment to reflect on how well you treat your skin considering how hard it works for you.
So, after you find a gift for your dad or grad, pick up a little something for that special layer of cells which will take the heat for you while you're at the beach.
June is National Dairy Month! Started in 1937 to counterbalance a surplus of milk, the holiday came to be observed by visiting local dairy farms, sharing favorite recipes and, of course, consuming lots of dairy products! Whether you prefer it as yogurt, ice cream or a classic cheese you're guaranteed to be doing wonders for your own health. And if you're trying to get ready for bikini season, milk contains nine essential nutrients which may help to better manage your weight and is also an excellent source of protein to follow a good workout.
If now you're picturing a delicious grilled cheese or a tart berry parfait, keep reading.
In its basest description, the West End Farmer's Market is just that- a market, a commercial center. However, we know that produce and money are not the only things exchanged here. Our vendors are worlds in themselves; travelers, backyard farmers, musicians, artists, parents, all of whom have more to offer than baked goods and handmade jewelry.
So, it’s time we were all properly introduced.
How can a wild, baby African elephant and a semi-urban, American housecat become friends? Find out in Ruby and Baby... an unlikely friendship
Author Mary Jane O’Loughlin is a native Washingtonian who currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia. Mary Jane volunteers at a local animal shelter; she found and adopted Baby in 2005.
Mary Jane traveled to Kenya for 2 weeks with Micato Safaris. While initially her interest was in meeting a very special rhinoceros named Morani, she was unaware that she would fall in love with elephants. She had never seen them interact with each other in their world, where they belong.
When she came home, she told her little cat, Baby, all about her trip and showed her all the pictures she took of the animals. (If you are an animal lover, you are smiling and nodding your head right now.)
The gorgeous pictures in the book were drawn and hand-painted from ideas and sketches by Lizzy Lahive, based on Mary Jane's photographs of Baby and a 3 month old baby elephant named Bidi.
Mary Jane will be selling her signed and inscribed copies of her book at the West End Farmers Market on Sunday, November 6.
Thank you to New Family Naturals
for putting this together!
Enes Yigit is the soft-spoken and kind individual cutting lemons and squeezing them fresh onsite at the West End Farmers Market. Based in Alexandria, their fresh juices have been sold at Eastern Market and the Turkish Festival in D.C. Made from whole fruit and sometimes served with fresh mint (no color or syrups), their product is all natural.
Ted has been involved with woodworking most of his life, but really got into it about eight years ago after he retired - making things for his grandchildren in his garage.
He sold some items at the Eldercrafter shop in Old Town Alexandria for a time. That evolved into an expanded product line and selling at farmer’s markets.
Ted take pride in producing high quality hand crafted items (still working in his garage) and enjoy selling what he can at local farmer’s markets in Maryland and Northern Virginia.
The practice of modern, organic, sustainable farming began in the 1950s in response to large agribusinesses' use of petroleum based or synthetic pesticides and fertilizers which were found to be harmful to humans. The number of farmers practicing organic farming at that time was very, very small until the late 1980s, when customer demand created a growth spurt in organic farms. In 1990, the Federal Government legislated strict standards for achieving an organic certification. Unfortunately, meeting the standards and being certified is quite expensive and time consuming. Many small farmers cannot afford it and in some places, organic has been usurped by large agribusiness.
The advantage of eating local fruits and vegetables over licensed, organic long-distance farmers' produce is that unripe produce is typically gassed, irradiated, or frozen to keep them in stasis until they reach their destination, four to seven days later, and then gassed, irradiated, unfrozen and chemically induced to become or look ripe. Local foods are almost always picked the day before you purchase them when they are at the peak of the ripeness and thus are full of flavor.
At the West End Farmers Market the farmers who are closest to organic farming, but who do not have a certificate would be Papa’s Orchard, Maple Avenue Farm (sold at the On the GOurmet Truck) and Shamba Farm (pictured above). All the other produce and fruit vendors attempt sustainable farming techniques by using minimal amounts of fertilizer and pesticide.
Please talk to our farmers. They can tell you way more about their farms and love to talk about their business.