Saturday, July 30, 2011

4MRMarket Report: "Kids" Edition

Summer is the best time to get kids to start
cooking with fresh market ingredients
What better time than now to start teaching kids about eating healthy, shopping for locally sourced produce, and the value and uniqueness of artisan produced products and crafts. Bring your kids out to the 4MRMarket, let them play hopscotch and make a huge chalk drawing in the kids area (designed and painted by the Alexandria Arts Commission).

Then, invite your kids to lend a hand throwing together one of these three easy, summertime, tomato-based recipes! The heirloom tomato season is the perfect time to compliment your meal with a side or starter from everyone's favorite plump, sweet, and juicy fruit-vegetable 'tweener. And what could be easier for kids to start to cooking with than recipes calling for nothing more than a few slices of this and a dash of that. Voila! Delicious, fresh food.

With a little adult supervision, teach your kids to slice tomatoes, sprinkle salt, pepper, oil and/or vinegar, and maybe, when they start getting a little better with the knife, how to chop an onion.

Tomato and Sweet Onion Salad:
Figure 3-4 slices of tomato per person. Make a small dice of sweet onions (or you can use the food processor on the onions to make a coarse chop). Fan the tomatoes on a plate, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, the sweet onion dice, and rice wine vinegar. An amazing dish with good, sweet tomatoes.

Caprese Salad:
Again, figure 3-4 slices of tomato per person and an equal number of slices of fresh mozzarella. Next, make a chiffonade of 5-10 basil leaves (fancy French word for thinly sliced). Arrange the tomato in a fan with a slice of mozzarella between each slice of tomato. Sprinkle a generous amount fresh cracked black pepper, salt, and the basil.  Drizzle extra virgin olive oil together with fresh squeezed lemon juice or (balsamic or wine) vinegar over the whole dish (1/2 to 1 tablespoon of each per tomato). Optionally, top with a few olives. There's no reason a child can't learn this dish with a little supervision!

Tomato-Watermelon Gazpacho:
This easy dish can be made all in a food processor or blender. This recipe will make about 6 servings, but is easily scaled up or down. Use 4-5 cups of diced watermelon, and about 2 cups of diced tomato. Throw that into the food processor or blender, then squeeze in 1/4 cup of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of sherry or white balsamic vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Blend to combine, but you don't have to get everything silky smooth. Adjust salt to taste. You might like it a little more tart, as well, in which case stir in a bit more vinegar or lime juice to taste. Garnish with some chopped tomatoes. Enjoy!

Pick up those tomatoes and watermelon at C&T Produce or Pleitez Produce. The salads go great with some corn on the cob and a tasty locally raised steak on the grill from Stifler Farm!  he gazpacho could be a starter with any meal... or eat it along side a tasty garden salad for a light meal that doesn't require the stove or oven on a hot summer night.

Remember to catch us early to beat the heat!  We're open at 8am, before the summer sun cranks up the heat.

Remember to check out all our great artisans!  And chill out to some great jazz guitar at the 4MRMarket lounge as you enjoy breakfast or a snack from 9:30 to 12:30 tomorrow!

Here is who you'll find at 4MRMarket this week:
  • The Stifler Farm aka "What's For Dinner Now" (Shenandoah) - Natural, locally farm-raised black Angus beef, and now fresh, farm raised Pork, including bacon and andouille, chorizo, and breakfast sausage! (all flash frozen for convenience) 
  • Pleitez Produce (Northern Neck) - A full range of locally grown produce, herbs, and more. 
  • Bread and Chocolate (Arlandria) - A range of baked goods. 
  • Herban Avenues at AHHA Ranch (Lovettsville, VA) - Herbal remedies, amazing soaps, heritage breed chicken eggs, and a variety of herbs.
  • C&T Produce (White Oak, VA) - A huge selection of locally grown produce. 
  • St. Elmo's Coffee Pub (Del Ray) - Brewed coffee, tea, and a few extra goodies. 
  • Tom's Amish Cheese Store (Lancaster, PA) - Artisan Cheese, yogurt and Pennsylvania honey.
  • Chris Waters Furniture - Beautiful, rustic tables, bookshelves, and other furniture items, all handmade.
  • Uncommon Knits (WV) - Handwoven linens made with 100% cotton and hand-stitched hems for your kitchen, dining room and bath. 
  • Ron RLR-Designs (Herndon, VA) - Artistic photo prints to dress up any wall
  • Sweet Hearts Patisserie (Fairfax, VA) - a Northern Virginia based patisserie specializing in gourmet victorian petit fours and other miniature sized pastries. Sweet Hearts petit fours are made in a variety of delectable flavors and designs, and make the perfect gift or tea time treat.
VeloCity bike co-op will be on-site doing teaching bike maintenance and repair.  In our 4MRMarket Tent come meet folks from the Dominion Green Power Program.

If you're a SNAP/EBT participant, remember to come out and take advantage of the Inova-sponsored "Double Dollar" program that doubles the first $10 SNAP participants spend at the market. 4MRMarket is the first farmers’ market in Northern Virginia (and still the only) to accept SNAP.

If you'd like to volunteer with the 4MRMarket, we have set up a new on-line way to sign-up. Go to: to sign up or look for the volunteer tab on our website.  You'll be able to volunteer to help process SNAP/EBT sales, help us keep our books, help set up or tear down for the market, or help us find musicians to play the market. You can also find a Market Manager to ask to help, or email us at for more info.

Do you like to bike to 4MRMarket? If so, please fill out this survey from the League of American Bicyclists to help get 4MRMarket certified as an official Bike Friendly Business.

The Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market (Alexandria, Virginia 22305) brings fresh, nutritious food to people of all income levels, provide an opportunity for local artisans and producers of goods to bring their wares to market, strive to reflect the diversity of the community, and improve the quality of life for Arlandria residents and visitors. It is part of an overall vision to expand and improve Four Mile Run park and the surrounding neighborhood.

4MRMarket is open every Sunday from 8am until 1pm from May through October in Four Mile Run Park at 4109 Mt Vernon Avenue, Alexandria. 

For more info see:
On Facebook:
Contact us at:
Or call the 4MRMarket hotline: (804) 4mi-Run1