The Charlottesville City Market recently entered its 42nd year of existence, and it features 100 vendors selling everything from fresh, local produce and meats to baked goods, prepared foods and crafts. Taking over a parking lot in the middle of Charlottesville, Va. every Saturday morning its hard not to leave the farmer's market without several loaded bags.
The market operates between April and October, and it's open Saturdays from 7 a.m.-noon (rain or shine), making it a perfect weekend spot to pick up some really great stuff from local farmers and artisans. Roughly half of the vendor slots are allocated to local farmers, and all of the vendors present are residents of Virginia.
"The market is extremely important to Charlottesville," says Stephanie Anderegg-Maloy, City Market master. "It is the place to be on Saturday mornings."
The market has become a staple attraction since it first opened for business in 1973. It has moved from a handful of locations since its inception but will eventually be permanently housed at a site next to its current place at the corner of Water Street and Second Street SE. The Charlottesville City Council approved a plan over the winter that will see a multi-use building constructed next to a new, open-air space that will house the market. The plan calls for 25,000 square feet of outdoor space and an additional 9,000 square feet of covered outdoor space.
Organizers hope the estimated two-year construction project can begin this summer. For the time being, however, the market has a comfortable home in a vast footprint of land that's easily accessible from all parts of the city.
The market regularly updates its Facebookpage with information relevant to each week's market. And there's even a layout posted to the City of Charlottesville's website put together in advance, that makes it easier for everyone to stay organized.
With dozens and dozens of vendors selling all sorts of items, it's quite a feat to set up the market week after week. For customers, the variety of items could potentially lead to several hours of browsing the tables. So get there early and be prepared to bring home some yummy food, interesting crafts, and a host of other items.
Hours: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-noon
Location: 100 Water St.