No town is complete without a quality farmer’s market. And Charlottesville, with its proximity to the open pastures of central Virginia, has a fine one every Saturday morning from 7 am to noon. It’s at the right downtown, a few blocks off the mall in the Water Street parking lot. It’s a great way to start your morning, browsing crisp, ripe produce and fresh, healthy meat from around the Greater Charlottesville area. Local favorites include The Rock Barn, a butcherie located in outside Cville in Nelson County. They source their pork from Timbercreek Farm (located five miles from the Barracks Road Shopping Center in Albemarle County) which means it was raised without hormones, synthetic fertilizers, or pesticides… and you can taste it. Get you some bone-in pork belly or Mexican Chorizo fresh off the pig. Ivy Provisions serves up some of the best sandwiches around. Some of the produce offerings are unbeatable, like the wares from Bellair Farm, a sprawling 853-acre farm in Albemarle County. They have a huge collection; anything from basil and cilantro to bell peppers, heirloom tomatoes, fennel, kale, watermelon…really whatever is in season. What’s more, the farm has been around since the 17th century! Many of these vendors are pretty enthusiastic about community-supported agriculture; the Rock Barn has a pork share and Bellair has a great weekly produce pick-up that operates for at least 22 weeks out of the year and keeps locals well-stocked with fruits and veggies for well below market price. There’s a bunch more at the farmers’ market, with over a hundred different vendors. Hungry Hill’s 100% raw honey is delicious when they make the occasional appearance. Artisans bring a variety of handmade crafts; Hawksbill Pottery with their intricately embossed stoneware, is a personal favorite of this author. If you’re doing more than just visiting the area, it’s also a great way to get to know some hardworking local business people. Information from as far back as 2012 indicates that gross sales from all vendors was over 2 million dollars!