“A mixture of seeds works well that way if some don't work, others will, and there is something to put on the table. Some of our seeds are organic; most are conventional and hybrids. We also use open pollinated; that way we can save the seeds for plants such as peppers and tomatoes and have fresh seeds every year. We use heirloom seeds from around the United States for some of our tomatoes and peppers; however, heirloom plants do not grow as well, as the weather does affect them, lowering productions. They split, and with too much rain, the blooms do not set.” — Jose Medina, Santa Cruz Produce, Westmoreland County; offering fruits and vegetables; production practices: integrated pest management and extended growing season.
Photo by Mercia Hobson.
The magic of the ten Fairfax County Farmers Markets and the USDA's encouragement to, "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food," is that the middleman is missing. If market shoppers want to know if the strawberries are pesticide- and chemical-free, grown in the field rather than a hothouse or certified organic, they ask the farmer standing in front of them for a first-hand account.
On Thursday, April 18, the 2019 Herndon Farmers Market operated under Fairfax County Park Authority opened. The Connection reached out to Hala Elbarmil, Program Assistant Fairfax County Farmers Market and John Dudzinsky, Herndon Farmers Market Manager to learn more about the markets and to the market vendors to learn about their farming practices such as pest and disease control, fertility systems, seed sources and environmental and social impacts.
The Herndon Farmers Market is located in the 700 block of Lynn Street. It runs weekly every Thursday now through Nov. 14, 8 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. According to the county, the market aims to improve the health of citizens, support local food producers and protect the environment. Like the nine other county markets, the one in Herndon is strictly producer-only. That means farmers and producers must come from within 125 miles of Fairfax County and may only sell what they raise on their farms or make from scratch. Shoppers using their Virginia EBT card at the Herndon market will receive up to $20 in matching funds through the SNAP Double Dollar Program.