Great Parks, Great Food

Locally produced food and farmers markets are like peanut butter and jelly. A perfect pairing.

Farm-fresh produce.

Fill your reusable shopping bag this summer with local goods from any of 11 Fairfax County Park Authority farmers markets throughout the county. You’ll find local fruits, vegetables, flowers, baked goods, eggs, honey, cider and cheeses, and all products come from vendors located within 125 miles of Fairfax County.

When you buy local produce, you support sustainable agriculture in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and you bring home the freshest foods you can get outside of your own backyard.

Local parks, local food

Colvin Run Mill is part of the local food chain. The historic mill grinds white and yellow corn meal and whole wheat flour that is available in the historic site’s general store, at Frying Pan Farm Park and at the Maple Avenue Market in Vienna.

Get a taste of what professionals can do with local grain. Three area restaurants use Colvin Run’s grain – the Maple Avenue Restaurant in Vienna, the Cock and Bowl in Occoquan, and elements at the Hyatt Dulles Hotel near Dulles Airport.

Executive Chef Matthew Warschaw of elements says using local food is “part of the restaurant philosophy.” His menu also includes cured salami, ham, turkey, ice cream and peanuts from local sources.

“We have such great products here in Virginia,” Warschaw said, adding that the benefit of using local produce in his restaurant is “exposure for the guests.” He was introduced to Colvin Run Mill’s product last year while attending the 4-H Fair at Frying Pan Farm Park, and since then he’s used the mill’s grain regularly on his menu, in his buffet and for special occasions. He recently hosted a themed buffet that featured tastings of Colvin Run Mill foods that included the showcasing of paraphernalia from the mill. And he’s had guests ask about the mill’s products.

Fresh eggs are available at Frying Pan Farm Park.

When you visit the markets, you’ll find that Colvin Run Mill isn’t the only Park Authority site that produces local food. Eggs from Frying Pan Farm Park are available and, of course, the animals on the farm take part in their own local food program by eating the farm’s corn and hay.

So follow the professional’s advice, and eat local this summer. You’ll find some unexpected treats at the many enticing, local markets across the county in Annandale, Burke, Herndon, Kingstowne, Lorton, McLean, Reston, Mount Vernon, at Oak Marr and Wakefield Parks, and at Frying Pan Farm Park. Addresses and schedules for each site are on the Park Authority website. In addition to the local produce, Fairfax County Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners offer plant clinics at some markets to help you with lawn and gardening issues.

Great food, support for local producers, sustainable agriculture, and a healthy Chesapeake Bay watershed. They’re all good reasons to visit a local farmers market this summer.

Written by Dave Ochs, stewardship communications manager and ResOURces editor


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About Fairfax County Park Authority

About Fairfax County Park Authority HISTORY: On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, 13 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2016. Today, the Park Authority has 427 parks on more than 23,000 acres of land. We offer 325 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park system is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: • Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist • Eight golf courses from par-3 to championship level, four driving ranges including the new state-of-the-art heated, covered range at Burke Lake Golf Center • Five nature and visitor centers. Also nine Off-Leash Dog Activity areas • Three lakefront parks including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter • Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel, as well as Chessie’s Big Backyard and a carousel at the Family Recreation Area at Lee District Park • An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter • Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s-era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel • Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent • A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly • A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale • Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community • Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center • Provides 263 athletic fields, including 39 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 417 school athletic fields. PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

5 thoughts on “Great Parks, Great Food

  1. wvfarm2u

    As more people understand that local food eaten while it is fresh is optimal for great flavor and high nutrition, the demand will increase and the local farmers will start improving their economic situation as well. Buying local is win-win-win!!

    1. Mae Carroll

      Hi Pat! The farmers market held in Fairfax Corner last year was managed by Smart Markets ( not the Park Authority. I encourage you to contact them directly if you have any questions about their 2012 schedule or locations– I don’t believe that market will be open this season. If I can help you find another market close to you, feel free to send me an email at

      Mae Carroll
      Farmers Market Coordinator
      Fairfax County Park Authority


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