I had been alerted that the Annandale farmer's market is a less hectic, more affordable and slightly smaller weekday alternative to the Falls Church farmer's market. Always up for checking out a new place to get produce (and a place easier to bring a baby), I woke up this morning and decided to check this market out.
This isn't a year-round market and it's only open from 8am-noon on Thursdays. Located off Columbia Pike in Annandale, this market also was a small trek for me. A bonus of the Annandale market is that all farmer's markets in Fairfax County require vendors to be the producers of their product and to be within 125 miles of Fairfax County. To my knowledge, the Falls Church market does not make this guarantee, but most of the vendors I frequent there are within that range as well.
It was indeed less of an elbow-to-elbow crowd making it easier for me to bring a baby in a stroller. There was also a good variety of sellers: multiple fruit & veggie purveyors, 2 meat sellers, a spice blend seller, honey seller, and one baker.
Prices, to me, seemed to be a bit on par with Falls Church, at least for what I buy: 3 ears of corn for $2, baskets of cherry tomatoes for $3, heirloom tomatoes for $3.50/lb, etc. There was one seller at Annandale that is also at Falls Church selling their tomatoes for $0.50/lb cheaper, though. Here is what I bought with $15 (plus a pumpkin whoopie pie I ate immediately for breakfast):
Since I kind of went on a whim, I didn't really go with a plan thus making it difficult for me to figure out what to buy. Hence, not spending the $30 I usually allot to farmer's markets. But, the corn and half the onion, along with some Sungolds from our garden, become a side for a roasted chicken tomorrow night. Half the green beans, all the potatoes, half the onion and half of the purple cherry tomatoes (along with some olives) will become a potato salad, Niciose-style. And, finally, the other half of the green beans and purple cherry tomatoes will be added to quinoa and feta to become another side dish for this week.
I did miss the cheese vendors, Potomac Vegetable Farms and some of the bakers at Falls Church.
Verdict: Annandale market is great if it's within an easy distance for you and/or you're wanting a less busy market so that you can really talk to the growers (or not bump into people as you try to get your goods!).
I think I still prefer Falls Church because it's closer to me and I've got my favorite vendors. However, if I'm not able to make the Saturday Falls Church market because of class, I'll definitely be heading to Annandale!