The farmer's markets are in full swing for the summer, and Richmond is graced with quite an assortment. The Market Umbrella's regular 8am - noon Saturday South of the James market and the Byrd House market Tuesdays from 3:30 - 7pm are two places to find us. At Tuesday's Byrd market look for the sign at the Faith Farms booth across from the park gate, close to Victory Farms. Frozen food and treats are available, and if you're looking for something special, just email your request before Tuesday. Faith Farms carries a good supply of healthy pork and beef neck bones for your dogs whitest teeth, just ask anyone at the booth.
On Saturday mornings, the bright red DogTown Lounge booth can be found at the South of the James market, with cool water for dogs, a shady place for tired paws to rest off the pavement, and plenty of delicious food and treats. We're working on some new items this year, so please stop by to see what's on the menu. Sometimes the market can be overwhelming for dogs, with crowds of people, dogs, strollers, and confusing sounds and smells, but we aim to provide a safe haven, come on in and take a breather! When the weather's mild, Annie Fannie joins us as our spokes-dog, and she really enjoys meeting new friends.
This spring brought one of our supplier's long-time establishment to a close, leaving me with some difficulty finding anyone to replace him. Charlie Gragnani's Chicken House was quite a fixture in the local restaurant trade, providing fresh chicken custom cut to order for many happy customers for over 30 years, from fine dining to church socials, and his dependable, affable presence is sorely missed. It was astonishing to discover how difficult it was to purchase the wing tips he had provided, from anyone else - they are simply not for sale. This week, I was told by one meat industry stalwart, why that is - the wing tips, as well as many other un-sold parts of the chicken, are shipped to China, where they are mechanically separated to produce a protein paste used for everything from cosmetics to Chicken McNuggets. The meat industry is reluctant to change, so breaking that habit is hard. However, I have found a new supplier in NC, and, as always, will continue to seek out more local sources. The good news is, that although there won't be any Dried Chicken Fingers at the market on Saturday, they should be ready by Tuesday afternoon's Byrd House Market, 3:30 - 5pm
The other good news is that tomorrow morning, we'll also have some freshly dried pork liver jerky from Ault's Family Farm, as well as dried beef liver jerky from Deblyn Farms grass-fed Piedmontese beef in Dinwiddie. Still more good news! A fresh batch of catnip has been through a rigorous round of taste-testing, and met the challenge. Attacked, devoured, viciously savaged, gnawed and used as bedding, this week's crop has been thoroughly approved by Josef, who has stepped up as Mais Ouí's successor this season.
Catnip stems under Josef's intense personal scrutiny.