Our friend Kevin Beekman at the Arlandrian has announced a new and improved Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market (4MRMarket) for 2011.
Opening for the season on Sunday, April 2, the market promises to be “stronger, more attractive to customers and more inclusive for everyone in the community.”
This is what we can look forward to:
- 4MRMarket has been certified to become the first farmers market in Alexandria to accepting SNAP/EBT (food stamps) for qualified purchases. The market has also partnered with INOVA Alexandria Hospital and the Alexandria Health Department for all participants to receive double dollars to spend at the market. This effectively makes the market half as expensive for participants in the program! Produce, seafood, meat, dairy, and breads, and most items for home consumption are the basic eligible items, but you can find a full list by clicking here.
- The 4MR Community Building (aka the old Duron Paint store) will be renovated for community use by early in the season, providing bathrooms, market storage, and a much better aesthetic to the market!
- The entire site, from the community building northward to Four Mile Run, will be completely remade into a hardscaped, landscaped, and colorful park, starting this summer!
For more on what is happening with the Four Mile Run Market, click here.
And if you are interested in property in this fast developing area, give me a call at 703.927.4554.
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Yesterday on our post about the newly opened Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisan’s Market in Alexandria, we promised more information on one of the market’s newest vendors – MT’s Pastries and the best brownies ever.
MT is Melissa Taylor, a self-described Air Force brat who was born in this area and then traipsed up and down the Eastern seaboard as a military dependent. Now living in Maryland with her son, Melissa’s day job is with the DC Government.
The other (unofficial) MT in this story is Mary Tucker, a co-worker of Melissa’s by way of Georgia and Amsterdam and the best friend/cheerleader a girl could hope to have. The story goes something like this -
Melissa Taylor and Mary Tucker
Melissa routinely treats her co-workers to brownies and one day Mary says “You should be selling these.” Melissa smiles, nods politely and goes back to work.
But Mary is serious. Used to the open air markets of Europe, Mary does some research, makes a few phone calls and before she knows it, Melissa is officially signed up as a vendor at the Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisan’s Market.
Now Melissa has to find a commercial kitchen, come up with a logo, packaging, pricing and all those other retail “things” but MT’s Pastries is born and we are the lucky benefactors.
Why was Mary so serious about this quest? Well, let’s start with the brownies, or what Melissa calls, the best brownie ever. One with walnuts, one plain.
Large squares of deep, rich chocolate with a slight crunch on the outside and a molten, almost-but not-quite fudge like interior. Chewing is optional – just let the chocolate slowly disintegrate from the heat of your mouth.
Melissa started baking at about age 12. She liked brownies and it seemed a good place to start. She took a basic recipe, made adjustments, tested each iteration on family and friends and kept adjusting until she found what she calls the “secret recipe.” Twenty some years later the recipe is still delighting family, friends and, now, customers at the Four Mile Run Market.
Melissa likes to keep it simple but two additional brownies will make an appearance in the coming weeks. One is Nick’s Peanutty Brownie Creation, a contribution from her son and Twisted Sistah, a blondie/brownie combination.
Mary, ever the promoter, says there is also a cheesecake to die for and maybe a cookie like the Inside Out Carrot Cake Cookies or even a coffee cake. For now though Melissa is concentrating on those brownies while Mary looks for more farmers markets to conquer.
MT’s Pastries and the best brownies ever makes its next appearance at the Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market, on July 25th. Be there!
And if you want to look at houses, I’ll treat! Give me a call at 703.927.4554.
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The newly organized Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisan’s Market in Alexandria is off and running. We were out of town for the grand opening and home buyers kept us busy last week so today was our first look at this welcome addition to the community.
More precisely located in the Arlandria neighborhood of Alexandria, the Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisan’s Market is a huge step forward for a community that has, at times, struggled with identity and a sense of place.
The Market though is a perfect example of how a community can start to “think big” with active citizen involvement. Combine that with the anticipated development of Potomac Yard and Four Mile Run Park and the possibilities are endless.
But back to the market! Personally we’re thrilled to have a Sunday market, especially since rain kept us away from the Del Ray market on Saturday. The Arlandria Market is also open until 1:00pm, taking advantage of the after church crowd.
Right away we ran into Kevin Beekman and Melissa Garcia, two of the organizers of the market. Melissa and Kevin made a point of welcoming everyone who stepped through the gates – a nice touch for newcomers – especially if you’re not familiar with the area. Need directions? Click here.
These beautiful tomatoes from Pleitez Produce caught our eye first thing and I am happy to say that they taste as good as they look. The purple heirlooms just pop with flavor.
Jill, a Del Ray resident who stopped in after a visit to the gym, was checking out cranberry beans (also from Pleitez), not something you see a lot of in this area.
In the meantime I was following a lead from Kevin and talking to a vendor who had just joined the market – MT’s Pastries.
Her specialty? BROWNIES. Not just BROWNIES, but the best BROWNIES ever.
You want to know more don’t you?
Well, you’ll have to come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you all about what makes MT’s Pastries a winner at the Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisan’s Market in Alexandria.
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In case you haven’t noticed, it’s Girl Scout cookie time, a honored tradition that, each year, threatens every resolution anyone has ever made about healthy eating. After all, these cookies are for a good cause . . .
Now, there are lots of Girl Scouts in Alexandria but I would like to introduce you to my favorite purveyor of Thin Mints and Samoa’s, Miss Isabel Frye.
Isabel is nine years old and my next door neighbor here in Del Ray. She has been a Brownie in Troop #3999 of the National Capital Region for two years and has accumulated some 43 badges, all proudly displayed on her Brownie vest.
When Isabel and I sat down to talk this afternoon, I asked her about her personal goal for this year’s cookie sale. Without blinking an eye, Isabel said that she wanted to sell 375 boxes of cookies, an increase of 66 percent over her 2009 figure of 250! Isabel went on to assure me that her efforts are not limited to our neighborhood.
In fact, Isabel leaves no stone unturned. She sells her cookies at school, at gymnastics classes, at church and on trips she takes with her parents. The telephone comes in handy for out-of-state grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.
Isabel has even gone international, contacting the many exchange students who have lived with her and her parents over the years.
I know first hand Isabel’s persuasive touch. When visiting the other night to take our order, I indicated that I might want to scale back this year. Isabel didn’t say a word, she didn’t have to. The LOOK was enough.
Although Isabel is less than halfway to her goal, she assured me, as only a nine year old can, that there were five weeks left to buy and I shouldn’t worry. Asked her favorite part of selling Girl Scout cookies, Isabel promptly said “Picking them up and delivering them.”
So what are you waiting for? Get your Girl Scout cookies today! And if you would like to help Isabel reach her goal, she is taking orders at [email protected]
It’s a good cause,
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A few weeks ago we wrote about our neighborhood chili cook off and how a particular group of folks had turned an otherwise dismal, rainy night into an unforgettable occasion. Particular because the group all live at the Bellefonte Group Home. The home is a part of the Alexandria Community Services Board and each of the 16 adults has special needs.
In addition to winning the 8th Annual Del Ray Chili Cook Off, the group, self-named “the MOB” (Members of Bellefonte), have set their sights on entering their basketball team – the Wizards - in the national Special Olympics.
The Wizards won the local Special Olympics basketball tournament in 2008. They knew they could do better though and with the encouragement of their coach they set themselves a rigorous training and practice schedule. They also began raising money for entry fees, uniforms and trophies to give out at the upcoming local venue in December.
So far the Wizards have raised $800 through several bake sales, a yard sale and a raffle. They’ve done this on their own and with some help from their neighbors at Bellefonte Garden Apartments.
But now its time for the entire community to get involved. Last night the Del Ray Citizens Association announced that it would support the Wizards with a community bake sale this Saturday at the Del Ray Farmers Market. There are three ways to help:
- Bake and donate – bring your favorite baked goods to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning to contribute to the sale. Whole pies and cakes, wrapped single serving brownies, a bag of cookies, etc. (please mark ingredients for those with food allergies)
- Buy and donate – stop by the Bellefonte Wizard’s booth at the market and stock up for the week!
- Donate directly – for those without a sweet tooth (or watching their waistlines) we’ll collect donations at the booth or you can mail a donation to Bellefonte Wizards, c/o A Show of Hands, 2301 Mt. Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301.
Several individuals have pledged to match whatever money to bake sale brings in so now is not the time to be shy. This is a great community effort by Alexandrian’s, supporting a group home in their bid for the Special Olympics, and another example of why Del Ray is our favorite place to live.
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