Friday, June 25, 2010

4MR Market Continues this Sunday

The grand opening of the Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisan’s Market was like every other Farmer’s and Artisans market in that fresh produce ruled the day, and specialty foods created instant fans. But for so many, it was the culmination of months of collaboration and reason for celebration.

“I’m really impressed with the turnout,” said Councilman Rob Krupicka, on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony, and was the driving force behind the recent legislation to make healthy food more accessible in Alexandria. "This is a great example of what happens when the community comes together and works on a joint project. This market is the result of vision and volunteers. Nothing else. Its a sure sign of a strong community when it can pull together to create something like this. The new market will make the community stronger and will give all of us greater access to local food and some great arts and crafts."

Vendors were still signing up as the ribbon was being cut. Eyvy Alvarado, market manager from nearby Marcella’s Bakery, filled out the forms, set up her stand, and within two hours, sold out of her first batch of baked goods. As did her neighbor Elise Scott of Pearl Fine Teas, who had the good fortune of being the only vendor with iced cold tea on a day when temperatures quickly soared above 90 degrees.

Cory Schultz would stop at nothing for fresh radishes. The Army Reserve officer rode her bike from Arlington after reading about the market online. “It’s really easy to get to on the trails,” Schultz said, sampling one of the coveted radishes. “I will definitely incorporate a stop here into my Sunday morning rides.”

Nearby neighbors from Arlandria, Crystal City, Shirlington, Del Ray and Beverley Hills walked, jogged and drove to check out the market, often lingering to enjoy (or, in the case of the area tots, dance to) the music by Curtis Blues.

"Mt. Vernon Avenue’s proximity to everywhere, at the entrance to Four Mile Run Park makes this a perfect location for a farmers market,” said Del Ray Resident and former Councilman Justin Wilson as his son and daughter danced and played backup maracas to Curtis Blues.

Architects Anonymous, the designers of the proposed green rehab and re-purposing of the former paint store at the park expansion, were highlighted at the community table where they displayed their design plans for the site and solicited feedback from passersby for the proposed colors of the future community building.

Across the way, Zelda Wallace of Zelda’s Nova Soul celebrated her own success. Just last year, the former broadcaster with Cox network lost her job of 20 years. With encouragement from her mom, friends and family, she decided to first test out her love of cooking at the Del Ray Market on Saturday, and at the Four Mile Run Market on Sunday. “I always wanted to open a restaurant, but that’s a pretty risky initiative,” Wallace said. “Still, I've always been told people would pay for my salads.” Three hours after the market opened, Zelda’s shrimp salad sold out. Twenty minutes later, so did her cucumber salad. She spent the remaining time taking orders. Many of the vendors did not anticipate such a terrific turnout.

The list of vendors joining up in the next couple of weeks include Vera's Bakery, Krishon Chocolates, St Elmo's Coffee Pub, the Dairy Godmother, and Bread and Chocolate.  The Dairy Godmother will embrace the Latino culture of the neighborhood with plans to sell paletas (Latin American frozen fruit treats) in coming weeks. With the hot weather here to stay, they are sure to be a huge hit.

The Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market is open Sundays from 8am until 1pm and runs from April through October at Four Mile Run Park, 4109 Mt Vernon Avenue.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

See the Unveiling

Four Mile Run Farmers & Artisans Market
Grand Opening
Sunday June 20th
8am - 1pm
4109 Mt Vernon Avenue

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market Comes to Fruition

There’s no need to vegetate any longer this summer.

A floundering economy and budget shortfalls have been no match for the ingenuity of a small group of residents and area business owners. The Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market is celebrating its Grand Opening on Sunday, June 20th. The market is setting up on the site of the stalled Four Mile Run (4MR) park expansion with the surrounding community rallying together to address what was once viewed as the City’s most challenging area.

"This is the first farmers market opening based on the principals of the recently adopted Healthy Food Alexandria Initiative", says Councilman Rob Krupicka. “This is a wonderful initiative by the neighborhoods surrounding Four Mile Run,” added Krupicka, who plans to be on hand to celebrate the opening. “With little more than sweat equity and a common goal, these folks are taking this gateway into Alexandria to a new level. I really hope folks will come down and join us.” Mayor Bill Euille, Vice Mayor Kerry Donley and Councilwoman Del Pepper will also be present for the ribbon cutting.

The market will feature the usual - vegetables, fruits, meats and cheeses - , but also hopes to have an international flair, with tamales and Salvadorian saltenas from local vendors and handmade crafts from local artisans. Curtis Blues, solo blues artist of the year and frequent busker at the Torpedo Factory Arts Center in Old Town, will also be performing on opening day.

The market will be located at the entrance to Four Mile Run Park, part of a long overlooked and underutilized gateway from Arlington, where, every day, walkers stroll up the park and bikers whiz down the Four Mile Run Trail that connects to Crystal City, DC, Shirlington and the Mount Vernon Trail.

“It’s muy bien,” said Alexandria resident Katherine Perez. “It’s a great way to bring the community together in a healthy way. We usually bike to Shirlington - now maybe folks there will head in our direction.”

If the volunteer group’s current progress is any indication, they will succeed in their mission and vision of bringing fresh, nutritious food to people of all income levels, provide an opportunity for local artisans and producers of goods to bring their wares to market, strive to reflect the diversity of the community, and improve the quality of life for Arlandria residents and visitors. It is part of an overall vision to expand and improve Four Mile Run Park and the surrounding neighborhood.

“With the Market mission statement settled upon, we hope the market will be a solidifying element within the community,” said Arlandria resident and one of the Market Managers, Nick Partee. “We really hope our neighbors will come out to support the local vendors and the community.” Other Market Managers are Travis Hester of Del Ray, whose back-yard farming and community garden advocacy have already made a difference in Alexandria; Kevin Beekman of Arlandria, a long-time proponent of bringing improved quality of life to Arlandrians; and Warwick Village resident Glenn Christianson, who brings years of experience helping manage the Del Ray Farmers Market into the fold.

Beginning June 20th, the Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market will be open from 8am - 1pm on Sundays at 4109 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305.



First year Market goals include getting the market running by end of June with at least 5 vendors, improving and maintaining the expanded 4MR park site, and supporting EBT payment by end of the first market year. This could be a very exciting year for building community within Arlandria.

If you know a local artisan or a farmer in the region, are a farmers or artisan looking for a place to sell your wares, or are an area resident that wants to get involved with the 4MR Farmers and Artisans Market, please contact Travis Hester ( or Nick Partee (

One last push to clean-up 4MR Park where the market will be located will take place Saturday, June 19th from 9-11am. Just show up with gloves and a water bottle Saturday at 9am at 4109 Mt Vernon Ave!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Volunteer With Us: Prepping for the 4 Mile Run Farmers Market

Last night, Management from the new 4 Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market met with a group of potential vendors at the site (adjacent to 4109 Mt Vernon Avenue). Thanks to the first clean up (see action shot on the right) on May 29, things were looking pretty good... and some of them even signed up on the spot!

Market Status
The Market has received several applications to date with more coming in. The Market will be open starting Sunday, June 20th from 8am to 1pm. It will be open every Sunday through October, rain or shine. Right now it looks like there will be between 6-8 vendors on day 1, but that number could quickly grow. We'll have a full write-up on Market opening in the next few days.

Help Tidy Up a Bit More on Saturday
This Saturday, June 12, from 9-11, we will continue to weed and generally improve the site.  Meet at 4109 Mt Vernon Ave (map).  Please come out and bring gloves and any weeding tools you might have. This will be our last big chance to get the Market site looking great for its first day! Please come out and show your support. Our team of Market managers have been working non-stop to make this Market a reality and help realize the vision of the 4MR Park expansion. Getting a bunch of volunteers out on Saturday will make the site look great and will help get it done quickly!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Arlandrian News Round-up "On the Homefront" Edition

Arlandria Forum at the Birchmere
Watch the video, take the survey
The Arlandria Action Plan Advisory Group heard from a panel of development experts at an event at the Birchmere. Watch the video of the event and take survey to tell the City about your thoughts on Arlandria, before passing it on to your friends and neighbors.

The 4MR Center
Repurposed with a purpose
The Special Use Permit to allow the former Duron building to be used as a community use (as outlined here) passed Planning Commission unanimously last week.  The only concern expressed about the plan was that the City wasn't spending enough to get the much needed community amenity up to par. Next up, the proposal is before City Council this Saturday, June 12th (docket report).  Meanwhile, a team of community heroes has been busy cleaning up the site.

Still cooking
The environmental designed chicken rotisserie restaurant approved for 3401 Mount Vernon Avenue is still progressing.  Word is that everything is still on schedule with construction set to commence in the Fall.  Meanwhile, chicken fans, Popeyes is back in business across the street at 3402.

Alexandria Crossing
Now receiving
Alexandria Crossing, formerly know as Glebe Park, has opened another phase of newly constructed affordable units on Old Dominion Boulevard, while the adjacent -- and sold-out -- market rate homes receive their final touches.  The yet-to-be-completed workforce condos at the site still have a few units on the market, but have otherwise pre-sold well. The affordable apartments on West Glebe Road are due to be completed in July.

Run Restoring
Next Wednesday, June 16th, the next meeting of Four Mile Run Restoration Joint Task Force will offer an early opportunity to review and comment on the engineering designs of the in-stream restoration of the tidal portion of the stream between Route 1 and Mount Vernon Avenue. The in-stream design is on schedule to be completed by the end of the year. The design is at a point where it is ripe for citizen input.

The Task Force will also be reviewing the three stimulating presentations by the finalists in the bridge design competition. The presentations came from three highly qualified design teams. But with money to design the bridge and no money to build the bridge, the Joint Task Force is looking for  ideas about ways to pay for the bridge construction. Getting the bridge built is a key component in the Master Plan. It will set a design standard and serve as a catalyst for future amenities in the corridor. Wednesday's 4MR meeting will be held at the Fairlington Community Center.

The news from Lynhaven
The Lynhaven Courier, the newsletter of Lynhaven Civic Association just out this week, has updates on the Arlandria-Chirilagua Festival coming to Four Mile Run Park (at Commonwealth Avenue) this Sunday June 13th and the recent Ruby Tucker day, honoring the memory of the late local civic activist and dear friend to us all.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Arlandrian News Round-up "Checking in with the neighbors" Edition

Now arrived: Del Ray Central
The site formerly known at the "Triangle" and "Mount Vernon Commons" is now opened for occupation as Del Ray Central.  The apartment building is currently renting and it is going strong.  There have been several "Grand Opening" events and we hear that in the first month 30 apartments were already rented.

Loves labor found
Gaver Nichols' The Lofts at Del Ray Village - a three-story, fourteen thousand square foot development that will resuscitate a vacant lot at 2707-2711 Mount Vernon Avenue (at Commonwealth ) is reported back on track according to this story in DCMud.

Green but not growing
Del Ray Greens the project at 2903 Mount Vernon Avenue, nearby to the Lofts, is apparently not blooming as quickly as its neighbors, according to this other story in DCMud.

The Avenue at the new Calvert
Back on track
The renovations for the Calvert, first outlined in the Arlandrian a year ago, are apparently on track for a September hearing.  There was a protest taken to the Board of Zoning Appeals, where a commercial tenant argued that the City wrongly failed to include him as having an "ownership interest" in the property.  It was rejected, since a property owner's planning approvals are generally not beholden to a leaseholder.

Rolling along
Now Arriving: Potomac Yard
In February, the Arlandrian reported "we can see the finish line" on the Potomac Yard Metro and later that the Washington Post's Dr. Gridlock listed adding a Potomac Yard Metro station as one of the most important things that WMATA should do to fix the system. Well, the view is clearer now that the Planning Commission has approved the plan for redevelopment of the Potomac Yard Retail Center. On Saturday, City Council will also review it and will likely be giving it the go ahead.  Last week, the Arlandrian asked Brookings scholar and Potomac Yard expert, Christopher Leinberger, about his views on the plan:
I have been working on Potomac Yards for 20 years...working with the RR which used to own it. I was VERY disappointed with the power center (Target anchored) at first. But then I found out that that is basically an interim land use and those same stores may be the anchors for a huge mixed use walkable urban TOD. I was wrong.
The developer gets it and is willing to work on paying for the station (a form of value capture) since he sees the power of TOD...he is the same developer who did the retail in Clarendon. The city is quite behind it...the mayor lives within walking distance and is probably looking forward to walking there for lunch some day.
Indeed, the finance folks have corroborated Mr. Leinberger's views: as reported at the Planning Commission hearing, the credit rating agencies have given the City a thumbs up, saying that, unlike stadiums or convention centers, Transit-Oriented Development is the wisest investment a municipality can make. The City's additional debt load would be inconsequential.

Sketch of Renovations
And don't call me Shirley
Another facelift is planned for the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center on South Glebe Road, formerly known as Shirley Plaza. Recent buyers Eden & Avant plan to upgrade the landscaping, alter the facade and activate some of the green space as small park space. According to the Washington Business Journal, the work follows the recent renovation of the center's Giant supermarket.