Market Fresh

Market Fresh

Farmers Sell Goods

Calvin Riggleman was the only vendor in fatigues at the South Riding farmers market Saturday.

The U.S. Marines corporal has been with the Loudoun Farmers Markets for two years.

In September 2003, while Riggleman was on his first tour in Iraq, he got the idea to bottle products from his grandparent’s West Virginia orchard.

"The idea was born there and when I came home, I started it up," Riggleman said.

Riggleman and three of his high-school friends traveled from Loon, W.Va., to South Riding to set up his business, Bigg Riggs’ stand. Riggleman sells fruits, vegetables, gourmet jellies, jams and a Bloody Mary mix.

On Sunday morning, Riggleman and his friends returned to Loudoun County to set up shop at the Cascades Farmers Market.

"I was picking lettuce at 9:30 last night with a flashlight," Riggleman said. "It takes us about an hour and 45 minutes to get here. Not too bad a commute."

Riggleman will return to Iraq May 12, and his father, Gary Riggelman, will take over the business.

The Loudoun Valley HomeGrown Markets Association sponsors seven farmers markets in Cascades, Leesburg, Lovettsville, Middleburg, Purcellville, Sterling and South Riding.

The markets are homegrown, producer-only markets, meaning the people who sell the food are the people who grow the food, said Loudoun Farmers Markets spokesperson Susana Calley.

"We've had a good turnout for the first weekend," Calley said. "There will be even more vendors next weekend. We're just working out all the bugs this weekend."

STEVEN BAKER’S business card reads "Hog Producer."

Baker started his pork farm fresh out of high school.

"I graduated high school with 15 sow," he said. "Now I have 125 producing females."

Baker, a five-year veteran of Loudoun’s markets, traveled from his small family farm in Mount Jackson, Va., to Cascades to sell his pork products Sunday.

"This is the only way a small farm like mine can survive," he said. "By selling directly to people at the farmers market."

Baker’s stand was a popular one over the weekend.

"He has quite a following. His bacon is to die for," Calley said. "It’s a special treat to have his bacon for breakfast."

In addition to pork, Baker sold his barbecue sauce made from a recipe he created 18 years ago.

"It compliments the poke very well," Baker said. "I decided to bottle it up and make a profit."

STERLING RESIDENT Doug Bowser walked through the Cascades Farmers Market at the Cascades Senior Center with a baguette in hand Sunday.

"It’s a great place to have breakfast," Bowser said. "I just need a cup of coffee."

Bowser and his friend, Charlene Isham, wandered around the senior center’s parking lot, smelling fresh-cut flowers and sampling pastries and jams.

"We came out because we were curious," Isham said. "It’s a great environment to be in on a sunny day. Everything is so fresh."

The farmers markets run through October.