The calendar does not say it but the weather sure does. Summer is in full swing in Virginia. Which means farmers markets are in full swing. These markets are a wealth of good food goodness.
Where else can you buy fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables, and homemade breads and dessert, and natural bath products and hand carved bowls and shirts hand made by South American Indians, oh, and pick up a bouquet of fresh cut flowers?
RichmondGoodLife.com has a tremendous amount of information on where to locate markets not only in Richmond but around the Commonwealth. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is another great resource.
Now you know where the markets are located and when they operate. Gather your friends together and decide how you want to have your farmers market party. Do you want to create a scavenger hunt list of items from preselected recipes? You can make them as easy or as difficult as you feel your group’s skill level can handle. Seafood Paella in Richmond or the Mountains might be pretty darn difficult, but in Tidewater it could be considered too easy.
Or you could split up and check out what is fresh in the market and create “recipes” from your bounty. Be creative, stretch your palate, many vendors offer sample recipes for the more unique products. Make sure to check out the craft vendors for possible service items. If you are located in the Richmond Metro area make sure to look for Maria with Hispania Bakery and get her Mexican Chocolate Cookies for dessert. They are bittersweet chocolate cookies infused with cinnamon and chile! All I can say is yum!
Now that you have your ingredients and plan, choose you prep location. Prepare your dishes and enjoy the company of friends. Want to add a twist? Have the group split up and return to their own homes and have a progressive meal. Remember to have fun and enjoy the “fruits” of your labor, because that's what's really important.