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Jun 26

To Market, to Market to Buy a.... Little Bit of Everything!

Posted on June 26, 2017 at 3:19 PM by Jessica Wauhop

Market Days Waterfront Banner 
Armed with my i-Phone (to post to our Instagram account) and a personal budget of $50, I headed down to Riverwalk Landing one Saturday in late June. Whether you’re a Market Days novice or a decade-long veteran, here are a few tips to keep in mind so you get the most out of your shopping experience!

Market Days Collage

B.Y.O.B  That’s right. Bring your own bag. While the vendors will have some plastic options to offer, we highly recommend bringing one of those reusable bags (or even a cute little basket) to hold your goods. In fact, if you plan to buy meats and seafood, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pack a cooler in your car.

Carry Cash While most vendors do accept credit and debit cards (they have swipers they attach to their cell phones and some can text you a receipt on the spot)—there are a limited number of stands that only take cash. I learned that the hard way when I was drooling over the crab dip from VA Blue Crab Co (insert sad face here). There are also ATMs conveniently located at Ben & Jerry's and Yorktown Pub if you want to grab some ice cream or a burger and then head to the market!

Wear Sunscreen! You may plan to “pop in and out” but once you are immersed in the open-market experience—surrounded by tables of amazing foods to sample and unique vegetables to mull over—time will fly. Trust me on that one.

Stay Hydrated This tip goes hand-in-hand with our advice to wear sunscreen. You’d be surprised how quickly that Virginia humidity can sneak up on you. And please, don’t forget to bring water for your pups too. You may see a dog bowl filled with water here and there (thank you FiDough Homemade Dog Treats), but you’d be best to pack an extra bottle and bowl for your pooch.

Now, to the fun part. Just what exactly will you find at Yorktown Market Days? Treasures... and a whole lot of 'em! Here’s a look at just some of my amazing finds when I stopped by a couple weeks ago. I wasn't able to include every vendor, but hey, that just gives me an excuse to go back again soon.

CHEDDAR CAULIFLOWER & CANDY CANE BEETS
ProduceCollage

Yes—they’re as delicious as they are beautiful. I picked up three different types of beets from Penn Farm/Nora’s Produce as well as purple and cheddar cauliflower, regular broccoli, and Romanesco Broccoli. You may be saying to yourself—yeah, they’re pretty and all, but what the heck do you do with them once you get them home?
 

Cheddar Cauliflower Skillet

 

I chopped up my cruciferous veggies, and added some sliced squash and zucchini from Allen's Farm. Then, I threw it all into a skillet— mixed in a little coconut oil, grass-fed butter, juice of one-and-a-half lemons, minced garlic, sea salt, ground pepper—and voila!

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This bright dish would make the perfect addition to your cookouts and dinner parties. I'm told the colorful cauliflower should be available at the markets again come fall.

Beet Chips

And my, my—was I ever so excited when I cut into my candy cane beets. I had no idea they would live up to their name, the insides so whimsical and hypnotizing with their red-and-white swirls. Using a mandolin, I sliced them pretty thinly, drizzled them in olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and pepper—and baked them at 400º for about 25 minutes (flipping frequently and making sure they didn't burn). In my opinion, beet chips taste even better than potato chips and make for a great guilt-free snack. I also picked up some golden and red varieties to make later in the week. I'm told to also expect beets again in a couple months. That's the beauty of the market. You start to learn about what's in season and I've discovered there's always something new to bring home.

FRESH HUMMUS AND PITA CHIPS

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My next stop was Gourmet & Easy, Go Lebaneasy! The friendly mother-daughter duo immediately greeted me with huge smiles and a warm welcome as I walked up to their tent. It didn't take long to sell me on their hummus made fresh the night before using chickpeas, lemon, garlic, and tahini

Hummus Ingredients Yorktown Market Days


After tasting one of their samples, I knew it would make the perfect appetizer to serve for our family get-together the following day. I'd much rather spend $5 on locally-made hummus than purchase any brand in the grocery store. I also picked up some of their delicious multi-grain pita chips which made the perfect combo deal.

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Owner Hoda Hamze tells me the idea behind  her company started with a desire to create healthy food that's full of flavor. She realizes most people want to eat better but don't necessarily have the time to cook that way. That's where she comes in. Her goal is to show food can be both delicious and nutritious. The inspiration for the flavors in her cooking comes from her heritage. After moving from Lebanon to Yorktown, she found herself nostalgic for many of the authentic and traditional dishes of her home country. 

Baklava Gourmet & Easy Go Lebaneasy!

I have to admit I'm really looking forward to sampling the baklava next time! They also make their signature Zayet & Zaatar,  Baba Ghanoush, Chicken Tawouk Marinade, Shawerma spice mix, and various desserts, sauces, and mixes. You can read more of their family story here

ACTIVATED CHARCOAL & CLAY SCRUB

Activated Charcoal Scrub from Bad Dog Soaphouse

Charcoal and its purifying properties have been a popular health and beauty trend recently. You can find it in everything from teeth whitening solutions to beauty products. Imagine my joy when I walked up to
Bad Dog Soaphouse and discovered an activated charcoal mask & scrub for under $10! It left my skin feeling incredibly soft and I loved knowing every last ingredient it included came from nature.

Bad Dog Soaphouse Market Days

That's the benefit of BDB products. Theresa De King tells me all of them are made with 100% natural ingredients. In addition to this scrub, she has several specialty soaps available with names as fun and colorful as the products themselves. Speaking of names, want to know how she came up with hers for the business? The answer may surprise you!

GOURMET DOG TREATS

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While I was quickly loading up on goodies for myself, I passed the FiDough Handmade Dog Treats tent and knew I had to stop. My pups would never forgive me if I came home without something for them. There were so many dog-approved flavors to choose from—cheese, peanut butter, pumpkin, and beef—it was tough to pick just one. So.... I picked up two different kinds.

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I opted for the Sweet Potato Chips (dehydrated sweet potatoes) and Cheezy Apples. All three dogs inhaled them as soon as I divvied them up. Luckily, you can see above that I (barely) got photographic evidence. 

Dog Collage


Teresa Smith is the owner and head baker for the company. You only have to spend five minutes with her to tell she is passionate about animals.
She even makes gluten-free goodies for dogs with dietary restrictions. And I love that she has the option to buy your treats packaged in cute little boxes. They would be perfect, thoughtful gifts for the dog-lovers in your life!

MEAD - ALCOHOL MADE OF HONEY!

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So, it turns out Mead has been around for thousands of years. Looks like someone (ahem... me) is a little late to the party! A quick bit of research turned up an interesting fact. Mead was actually the drink of the Golden Age in ancient Greece, and the word for drunk was apparently “honey-intoxicated.” 

I also read that you shouldn't confuse mead with wine! This drink may be alcoholic, but it’s made from fermented honey, not grapes.
Melo Lion Meadery is located right here in York County (Seaford), the same company that owns Zeb’s Bees.  Zeb Johnston also sells his honey most Saturdays, at the same tent, so you can pick up a little of both.

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I bought a bottle of the Cherry Mead and was surprised it wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet at all. Don't get me wrong, you definitely taste the honey, but I didn't find it overpowering. The flavor is unique and perfect for hot, summer nights. I plan to try their signature Sunshine Daydream version next. It's gluten-free and made from Clover Honey. I'm curious if it’s much different from those infused with the fruits and spices. Other variations include blackberry and strawberry. Coastal Virginia Magazine actually did a recent write-up on Zeb and his sweet success. If for some reason you miss the market, you can also purchase bottles of the mead at Umi Sushi, across the street.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I also bought an espresso brownie from Sweet Temptations by Teresa  to eat with my wine and gobbled it up so quickly, I forgot to take a picture first. That was hands down one of the best brownies I've ever tasted!

Well, that sums up my trip to Yorktown Market Days. I’d call it a definite success and I've been back several times since I first wrote this post. Each visit, I discover a new product, vegetable, or work of art. Last week, I even picked up an arrangement of gorgeous sunflowers!

Market Sunflowers

I love supporting local and regional businesses and artisans. I still haven't been able to catch VA Blue Crab Co. on a day when I have cash, but you'd better believe their lump crab meat is on my wish list. I also have my eye on Dream Ridge Meats of Williamsburg which sells grass and grain-fed beef and pork. I may just have to do a cookout post next! Stay tuned.


Blogger: Jessica A. Wauhop

Jessica Wauhop Blogger


Jessica is the marketing & event specialist for the York County Tourism Development Office. The Emmy-award winning writer has experience in television news producing, photography, and content marketing. She loves to inspire others to #visityorktown through sharing beautiful pictures and telling engaging stories. She's also excited to keep you "In the Loop" about everything happening in our historic waterfront town, not just here on the blog but on our new Visit Yorktown social media accounts.

Jessica is a die-hard Hokie and she and her husband (a York County native), are happy to call Seaford home. When she isn't writing or posting to Instagram, you'll find her out exploring Hampton Roads with their three pups! Have a blog idea you'd like her to consider? Email her!