IX Art Park Farmer’s Market Student Guide – The Cavalier Daily
As fall approaches, it’s a great time to explore one of Charlottesville’s most popular attractions, the Farmers Market, to hang out with friends or unwind in seclusion. The Farmers Market at IX Art Park, which is a short walk from the Downtown Mall, is one of the city’s many markets. Other markets include the Charlottesville City Market and Farmers in the Park. As a newbie last Saturday, I was surprised to see the abundance and variety of vendors. The market is not only a great way to eat delicious local food and buy from local businesses, but it’s also a way to give back to the Charlottesville community.
The market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is home to over 60 local vendors selling artisan products, fresh produce, prepared meals and more. The website provides a full list of all vendors and some COVID-19 policies to follow, including keeping a distance of six feet from others and masking yourself.
I showed up at 9 am and was surprised to find the market already crowded with visitors and vendors. It was great to see the Charlottesville community come together – families, pets and students.
During my visit, I was able to visit three food vendors who sold authentic Mexican tacos, sweet and savory Greek dishes, and classic homemade American pies. I highly recommend all three as they were all delicious, fresh, and locally made.
The first vendor I visited was Mexican Tacos, and they sold a variety of Mexican dishes including tacos, burritos, and tamales with various meat and topping options. I had two tacos – one chorizo ââand the other birria – topped with onions, cilantro, pico de gallo and spicy salsa.
Even though it was only 9am there was already a queue for this seller so I knew I had to try it – and it didn’t disappoint. The meat and tortilla were fresh and hot, and the toppings and salsa mixed well with the juicy meat toppings to create a nice crunch and flavor. Unless you are allergic to a certain garnish, I highly recommend that you end your tacos with all of the topping options to fully enjoy the dish. Next time, I’ll try the burrito, a popular choice among the people before me.
Ambrosia, the second vendor I visited, was recommended to me by a friend, and he sells quiches, baklava, and many other authentic Greek dishes. I couldn’t try their baklava and other desserts, but I was lucky enough to try one of their delicious quiches. With a variety of flavors to choose from, it was a tough choice, but I ended up buying the quiche with caramelized onions, Brussels sprouts and bacon. The sweet and savory toppings of the quiche mixed wonderfully with the flavorful custard, and the Brussels sprouts created a lovely texture and chew against the creamy topping. It was a shame that I only tried one option, so I will definitely try other quiche flavors and maybe have one of their desserts on my next visit to the market.
Fourth-year education student Kacie Park, who has visited the market weekly since the summer, got more of Ambrosia’s food. A Park’s favorite is baklava, which is a dessert with thin, crispy flakes of dough intertwined with a sweet, nutty filling.
âMy first time in Ambrosiaâ¦ I saw this lady furiously stuffing pies, quiches and baklava into tiny cardboard boxes, so I just stopped to say hello, and she kind of dragged me and I tried his famous baklava, âPark said. âAfter that, I went every week, every Saturday, to buy a box of baklava for my closest friends and family. “
After Ambrosia, I finished my first farmer’s market experience with a sweet finish at Family Ties and Pies, a vendor who sells homemade American pies. Like Ambrosia, there was a wide variety of sweet and savory options to choose from, making it nearly impossible to choose which to try.
In the end, I decided to try one of their most popular pies – apple breadcrumbs. Along with the basic ingredients for making a pie, apple breadcrumbs are made with local apples, pecans, cinnamon, and brown sugar, making it the perfect fall pie. The custard and sweet apples in the filling pair perfectly with the crumbly filling, both in terms of flavor and texture. Family Ties and Pies sells different sizes of each flavor, including a “cute size,” which is small enough for one person but large enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Overall I have seen and heard lots of friendly conversations between customers and sellers which was a great way to start my early Saturday morning. I was also able to initiate conversations with some of the vendors which lifted my spirits and made me feel closer to the Charlottesville community.
Fourth-year education student Jennifer Cheung, who visits the farmer’s market every week, uses the market as a space to relax and refocus after a hard week of classes.
âThere is just a lot of joy in being in such an engaging and social and delicious and fun environment,â Cheung said. “It’s a place where I feel a lot of anxiety, or even just like when the pressure in the first cycle is so great, it’s a way out of myself – to be active but not tired, to socialize. but not anxious, to be enjoying things without wondering if my time is wasted.
The incredible variety of options and the high quality products deserve my recommendation to anyone who wants to visit the market. Not only will the food satisfy your cravings, but the conversations you have with the vendors will enhance the whole experience and bring joy to your Saturday morning. The Farmers Market at IX Art Park offers a delicious and welcoming outing for you to enjoy Charlottesville’s fall weather while supporting local businesses.