A Day at the Market
Behind the scenes at the Bethesda Central Farm Market
At 10 p.m. on Saturday night, farmer Arnie Medina of Westmoreland Produce in Warsaw, Virginia, had finally finished harvesting and washing fruits and vegetables, and loading them onto his truck. On Sunday morning, he drove two hours and 15 minutes from his home near the farm, arriving at the market about 6:30 a.m. to unload and set up, a task that takes another two hours. “It’s really hard work,” he says. Medina is the son of Arnulfo and Rosa Medina, who leased farmland in Virginia in 1989 and now own about 110 acres in three locations in the Northern Neck. Arnie Medina and his three sisters grew up farming, and with their parents retiring at the end of this year, the siblings will be in charge. The family sells a large variety of produce at 14 farmers markets in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Josh Anson (right), the owner of the mobile pizza catering company Cipolla Rossa, gets two packs of bacon and two dozen eggs from Springfield Farm’s mother-daughter team of Catherine (center) and Rachel Webb. In exchange, the women order “Brunch” pizzas, made with bacon, egg over easy, roasted sweet potato, fresh mozzarella, basil, extra-virgin olive oil and hot honey. Anson starts his “shopping” around 8:15 a.m., and says he barters or buys about half of the ingredients he uses on his pies from fellow vendors at the market. In return, Anson offers them free pizza. “I can barely remember their names, but I can tell you what they order,” he says. “Rachel usually does a ‘Brunch,’ and her mom likes the same pizza, no egg.”
Josh Anson’s mother, Jaci, delivers pizzas ordered by other vendors in exchange for bartered ingredients. Since she retired from her desk job at the National Geographic Society and started helping out with her son’s business about four years ago, Anson says she’s more active and healthier, and no longer needs her blood pressure medication. She especially enjoys interacting with customers and the other sellers. “I love it,” Anson says of her post-retirement job.