Since announcing South of the James Farmers Market would be a producer-only market, GrowRVA has committed itself to ensuring its customers get to pick from only the finest Virginia products, from the finest Virginia farms.
Furthering that commitment, representatives of GrowRVA are conducting visits at the many family farms that vend each week at South of the James Farmers Market at Forest Hill Park.
The producer-only standard is a point of assurance for many people who rely on farmers markets for their food. As farmers markets and the local food movements have grown and evolved over the past few years, more and more customers want to know more about the farms they support and the food they eat.
”As our market grows, we found the need to put standards in place that ensure customers receive the quality produce they expect,” says Tim Murphy, GrowRVA’s head of operations, who has been conducting the farm visits over the past few weeks. “Our farmers want to know what their customers expect, and our job is to foster that communication and trust between our farmers and our customers.”
In adopting a producer-only policy, GrowRVA adheres to the basic requirement that all products marketed at South of the James Farmers Market each week are grown or raised by the farms and farmers that bring them to market.
Since beginning the visits in June, GrowRVA has been to more than a half-dozen farms, including Ault’s Family Farm, Frog Bottom Farm, Deer Run Farm of Amelia, Bill’s Produce and Goats R Us.
“We’re there to become acquainted with the farm and the farmer and their businesses,” says Murphy. “In this way we can help our customers better understand the methods and practices of food production. We also are there to verify that items are being produced in ways that are consistent with how our farmers promote them.”
The farm visits will continue throughout the market season, and GrowRVA intends to continue making regular farm visits in future market seasons in order to confirm consistency, quality and sustainability from its vendors.
GrowRVA, based in Richmond, operates the South of the James Farmers Market each week in Forest Hill Park. This European-style market consistently attracts between 3,000 and 5,000 visitors each week.
For more information, please contact Karen Atkinson.