Throughout the spring, summer and early fall, McNamara Headquarters Complex employees don’t need to worry about where their produce is from or stop at a store on the way home to buy it. The HQC Farmers Market opened May 7 for its second season and will offer locally grown fruits and vegetables and locally produced items ranging from bread to gourmet spice blends.
This year’s market will be open Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 pm. and will feature four vendors: C&T Produce, Bigg Riggs Farm, Gypsy Hill Foods and the Great Harvest Bread Company.
“This is the freshest stuff you can get without going out there and picking it yourself,” said Bethany Sweatman, a management analyst for the DLA Installation Support Business Office.
The market is part of the Defense Logistics Agency’s participation in the Defense Department’s Healthy Base Initiative, which is designed to reduce obesity and tobacco use by fostering an environment in which healthy choices are easy.
Gypsy Hill Foods is a new addition to the market and will offer dry rubs for seasoning meat, poultry and fish, as well as dip and salsa mixes, single-serve soups, dry pasta, slushy mixes and more.
C&T Produce returns with items ranging from berries and apples to squash and greens. Owner Tracy DeBernard said she is also adding fresh-cut flowers to the lineup, beginning with tulips and lilies.
“People responded really well to having us here last year, and we hope to continue providing items they enjoy,” she said.
Bigg Riggs Farm will offer mustards, jams, apple butter and produce.
“All of our produce is local. I cut the spinach myself this morning at 4:30 and the rest was cut last night,” said Calvin Riggleman, who came up for the idea for his farm while serving in Iraq with the Marine Corps.
The Great Harvest Bread Company also returns with a variety of bread, granola, sweets and even dog treats.
Opening day drew a steady stream of customers, including Lynn Currie of DLA Installation Support and Arlene Dodson of DLA Energy.
“This really helps promote healthy eating, something we’re working hard to do at our age,” Currie said.
Dodson said she was pleased to see more diversity at this year’s market and walked away with several bags in each hand. She said she also appreciates the opportunity to shop for healthy food at work, especially in light of her two-hour commute.
“It’s a morale boost thinking that your office cares about how you’re doing and your health. Most of us don’t have time to go out and get fresh vegetables like this; we’re all so busy,” she said.
McNamara Headquarters Complex employees flock to the HQC Farmers Market May 7. Photo by Beth Reece
The HQC Farmers Market gives employees a chance to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, bread and gourmet spice mixes every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Photo by Beth Reece