Food scraps composting (via Philip Cohen/Wikimedia)

Save those rotting veggies and bits of meat left over from last night’s dinner, because Fairfax County is expanding its composting program.

As of yesterday (Wednesday), residents can now bring their food scraps to four county farmers markets for composting. The locations include the Herndon Farmers Market, which operates from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursdays.

Food scrap composting turns waste into a resource. Those wrinkling carrots or uneaten bread crusts can be transformed over time into natural fertilizer, putting nutrients back into the soil.

Proper composting can also prevent food waste from ending up in landfills and streams, taking up space and potentially damaging the ecosystem.

“The county is working to divert as much waste from disposal as possible,” Fairfax County Department of Public Works spokesperson Sharon North said in an email. “In the past few years, we have focused on glass recycling and reducing contamination to improve single stream recycling…Providing food scraps drop off locations will help divert this compostable material from disposal.”

North says food scraps can account for as much as 20% of waste, but nearly all of it can be composted, including meat, bones, dairy, vegetables, fruit and bread.

Some food-related paper products, such as paper plates, paper towels, and napkins, can be composted as well, as long as there’s no cleaning products or bodily fluids on them. Plastic bags, dryer sheets, yard waste, fats, oils, grease, tin foil, and foam containers, however, should never be composted.

Fairfax County first implemented a composting pilot program in November 2020 at two larger locations: the I-95 Landfill Complex in Lorton and I-66 Solid Waste Transfer Station in Fairfax.

North says the initial pilot program was a success, prompting county leaders to discuss options for an expansion.

“One of the main things we learned is that our residents are willing to separate out food scraps and bring them to compost drop off locations,” she writes.

The I-95 landfill and I-66 transfer station will remain permanent composting drop-off sites. The four farmers markets that are now part of the program’s expansion were specifically chosen due to their accessibility and central locations within the county.

Three of the markets, including the Herndon farmers market, are seasonal and managed by the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Mosaic District farmers’ market is a year-round, private market operated by FreshFarm.

“Making locations more accessible throughout the county at Farmers Markets will allow for more opportunities to drop off food scraps for composting rather than having that material in the trash,” North said.

The compost program is expected to cost the county an estimated $50,000 annually.

Photo via Philip Cohen/Wikimedia

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Monday, April 26

  • Life’s Decisions Using Beatle Songs (6:45 p.m.) — Have you ever made a big life decision using a Beatle song as a guide? Economist Brian O’Roark has. Join O’Roark and Smithsonian Associates for this one-of-kind presentation about how the Fab Five can help you plan for retirement.

Tuesday, April 27 

  • Life of Chuck Robb (6 p.m) — While most Virginians know Robb as a former governor and senator, he’s also the son-in-law of former President Lyndon B. Johnson. In this virtual event with the bookstore Politics & Prose, Robb will discuss his career and his new memior.

Wednesday, April 28

  • Lunch Bunch (11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.) — Lunch bunch is back at North Hills Recreation Area. Take your lunch outside, grab a seat at a picnic table, and be prepared to meet new friends (at a socially acceptable distance, of course).

Thursday, April 29

  • The Removed (7-8 p.m.) — Meet author Brandon Hobson as he discusses his book “The Removed.” The book interweaves Cherokee folklore and was a National Book Award finalist in 2018. The event is being put on by Arlington’s One More Page, where you can purchase a signed copy, and Fairfax County Public Library.
  • Herndon Farmers Market (8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) — It’s finally farmers market season again. A slew of local farmers markets are opening up in April and May. Herndon’s opened last week and is located at the 700 block of Lynn Street on Thursdays.

Friday, April 30

  • Emergency Equine Care Seminar (7 p.m.) — Learn how to take care of your horse when emergencies happen. Head to Frying Pan Park and hear from Dr. Laurel Marley of Burdick Equine Veterinary Services about procedures, medicines, and care one can provide their horse when there’s an emergency.

Saturday, May 1

  • 2021 Healthy Strides 5k/10k (8 a.m.) — Pick your route, your race time, and your favorite Fairfax County park for this virtual 5k, 10k, or kids stride. Everyone who signs up will receive a commemorative race t-shirt.
  • Birds of Prey Kayaking (12-2:30 p.m.) — Paddle out at Pohick Bay in Lorton with Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority naturalists to catch birds of prey in action. This is a perfect time of the year to see bald eagles and osprey catching fish, nesting, and flying around local waterways.

Sunday, May 2

  • Joy of Creating (12 p.m.) — Take a gander at work from students and teachers at Reston Community Center at this newly-opened and annual exhibit in the Jo Ann Rose Gallery at the Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Rd.).

Photo via Town of Herndon

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It is farmers market season, and Fairfax County has a plethora of options for anyone looking to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables.

The county operates 10 markets under the Fairfax County Park Authority, but there are also many privately-owned markets, many of which are open year-round.

The county-run markets, however, are strictly seasonal. While they closed for a period of time last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, four of them eventually re-opened.

This weekend, the first of those markets will put out its produce for the 2021 season:

  • Burke: VRE parking lot (5671 Roberts Parkway), Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon, starting April 1
  • McCutcheon/Mount Vernon: Sherwood Regional Library (2501 Sherwood Hall Lane), Wednesdays 8 a.m. to noon, starting April 21
  • Old Town Herndon (700 Lynn St.): Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., starting April 22
  • Reston: Lake Anne Village Center (1609-A Washington Plaza), Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon, starting May 1
  • Oak Marr RECenter (3200 Jermantown Rd.): Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to noon, starting May 5
  • Wakefield Park (8100 Braddock Rd.): Wednesdays from 2-6 p.m., starting May 5
  • Annandale: Mason District Park (6621 Columbia Pike), Thursdays from 8 a.m. to noon, starting May 6
  • McLean: Lewinsville Park (1659 Chain Bridge Road), Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon, starting May 7
  • Kingstowne Towne Center (5870 Kingstowne Towne Center): Fridays from 3-7 p.m., starting May 7

The county-run markets all run through at least late October, with several continuing into December.

What makes these markets unique is that they’re strictly producer-only, meaning vendors can only sell what they’ve raised, grown, or made on their own farms. All farmers and producers also come from within a 125-mile radius of Fairfax County.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, the county has enacted strict safety protocols.

Visitors can browse markets in “pods” of up to four people, but only one customer can approach a stall at a time. Vendor sampling has been prohibited, and people are being asked not to “linger.” Online sales are strongly encouraged.

If 10 markets aren’t enough, there are plenty of privately-run farmers markets around the county.

FRESHFARM runs about 30 markets across D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, including five in Fairfax County:

  • Oakton: Unity of Fairfax Church (2854 Hunter Mill Rd.), year-round on Saturdays from 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
  • Mosaic: The Mosaic District (2910 District Ave.), Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., started April 4
  • Reston: St. John Neumann Catholic Church (11900 Lawyers Rd.), Wednesdays from 3-7 p.m., started April 7
  • Springfield: Springfield Town Center (6699 Spring Mall Dr.), Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting May 1
  • The Boro: 8301 Greensboro Dr., Thursdays from 3-7 p.m., starting May 6

The NOVA Central Farm market in Vienna is also on Sundays and open year-round, though hours shifted slightly on April 1.

The Reston Farm Garden Market is also open year-round and daily on Baron Cameron Avenue. Its two “neighborhood markets” will open this month:

  • Springfield: Cardinal Forest Plaza (8316 Old Keene Mill Rd.), open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., starting April 15
  • Herndon: Fox Mill Center (2551 John Milton Dr.), open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., starting April 20

If you want to cross county lines, there is also a number of farmers markets in Arlington.

Be it sweet strawberries, appetizing apples, lucious lettuce that you may desire, there are plenty of options in Fairfax County for community members to get their fill of fresh food and support local farmers.

Photo via Sven Scheuermeier/Unsplash

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Reston area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Reston, Herndon and Great Falls. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (Oct. 13)

  • Birding on the Boat – 8-10 a.m. at Burke Lake Park (7315 Ox Road) — Enjoy a naturalist-led bird program aboard a tour boat, the event ad said. The cost is $15 per person. Children age 12 and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult

Thursday (Oct. 15)

  • Herndon Farmers Market – 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — The Farmers Market is held on Thursdays from April to November on Lynn Street in historic downtown Herndon, the website said.
  • Herndon Mayor Candidate Q&A (Online) – 8-9 p.m. — Porter4Herndon will host a question and answer town hall for mayoral candidates of Herndon, Sheila Olem and Roland Taylor, the event ad said. Questions can be submitted in advance to [email protected] or during the event. To register, use this link.

Saturday (Oct. 17)

  • Royal Lake Park Cleanup – 7-10 a.m. at Royal Lake Park (5344 Gainsborough Drive) – Participate in park clean-ups and other volunteer-led projects to help keep parks clean, safe and beautiful, the website said. To register to volunteer, use this link.
  • Herndon Women’s March – 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Herndon Town Green – In the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, thousands of Women’s Marchers gathered across the country in their communities to honor the life and legacy of the Notorious RBG, the event ad said. Participants are asked to wear masks and practice social-distancing.

Photo via Fairfax County Park Authority 

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of events coming up over the next week in Reston, Herndon and Great Falls.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Reston and Herndon. Know of any we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!

Wednesday (Oct. 14)

Thursday (Oct. 15)

  • Digital Drinking with Atlas Brew Works (Online) — 6 p.m. — This free event is for ages 21 and older. Those who wish to participate can choose a time to pick up a free six-pack of beer from The Kelvin and register for the Zoom link with Atlas Brew Works. The brewery is asking participants to post their favorite beer on October 15, tagging both @thekelvindc and @atlasbrewworks  on Instagram. Three people will then be chosen to receive a $125 bar tab covered by The Kelvin.

Friday (Oct. 16)

  • NASCOW (Online) — Friends of Frying Pan Park will race 11 of the park’s cows against each other online. Sponsors can use this form to choose their favorite cow. All proceeds will support the park as they make up for the revenue lost during the pandemic.

Saturday (Oct. 17)

  • Reston Community Cleanup – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Reston Community Center (2304 Hunters Woods Plaza) — Volunteers should plan to clean up along the Reston Association Trail behind Hunters Woods Shopping Center, between Glade Drive and Reston Parkway, the website said. Registration is required, and those who register should gloves, sturdy shoes and expect to follow pandemic precautions. The cleanup is for the Hunters Woods Shopping Center.

Photo via Friends of Frying Pan Park/Facebook

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After deliberation from Fairfax County officials, the fate of farmers markets around Reston and Herndon is still undecided.

Many farmers markets were expected to open within the next few weeks but were indefinitely delayed because of safety concerns over COVID-19, according to Fairfax County’s website.

Though this decision will likely negatively affect local vendors who sell goods at these markets, it is unclear what the long-term economic impact might be.

People who still want to support vendors in this time of crisis can check out places like Sterling-based Baguette Republic, which allows customers to order freshly baked goods online. Customers can score six personal size ciabatta rolls for $6, according to the website.

Ashburn-based Roots to Rise is another local food producer that offers pickup at several locations. Customers can order fresh juices, breakfast and lunch, the website said.

Fairfax County Chairman Jeff McKay issued a statement today (April 14) during a Twitter Q&A saying that county staffers are trying to come up with a configuration that allows people to shop while still practicing the six-foot social distancing requirements.

Photo via Anne Preble/Unsplash

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Seeing Santa is a Christmas tradition, and there are lots of places in the Reston area where people can meet him and possibly snap a few photos.

Roe & Co. Portrait Studio is hosting a session with Santa from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 14) at their Reston studio (11985 Market Street). People are invited to come and take photos of their families with Santa. Picture packages start at $25.

For people over the age of 21, there will be a Santa-themed bar crawl on Saturday (Dec. 14) from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. beginning at the Reston Town Center (11900 Market Street). Coordinators ask that people bring gifts for Toys for Tots.

The Winter Wonderland at Worldgate Herndon (13037 Worldgate Drive) features a free meet and greet party with Santa on Saturday (Dec. 14). There will be hot cocoa, snacks, an igloo and games on-site. The event will run from 1 until 4 p.m. but attendees must arrive by 3 p.m. if they would like a photo with Santa.

People in Herndon have the chance to take a wagon ride with Santa at Frying Pan Farm Park (2709 West Ox Road) on Sunday (Dec. 15) from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 and people can help themselves to hot cocoa and roast marshmallows after the half-hour ride.

The following Sunday (Dec. 22), Santa will make an appearance on Sunday at the Reston Farmers Market (10800 Baron Cameron Avenue) from 2-4 p.m. Admission is free and attendees are welcome to take photos.

If anyone doesn’t get the chance to see Santa in person, people are always welcome to track his whereabouts on Christmas Eve thanks to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Photo via Friends of Frying Pan Park/Facebook

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Farmers and Makers Market at Reston Town Center — Every Tuesday until November, a market at Reston Town Center will feature local farmers and artisans selling a variety of items. The market is open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. today. [Reston Town Center]

Sprouts Hiring Fair in Herndon — From 8 a.m.-6 p.m. today and from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday), people interested in working at Sprouts can attend a hiring fair at the Crowne Plaza Dulles Airport Hotel (2200 Centerville Road). Interested applicants should bring copies of their resumes. Positions open include cashiers, clerks, department managers and administrative coordinators. [Facebook]

ARTSFAIRFAX Welcomes New Board Members — “New board members include Cathy “Smitty” Smith, a Realtor with Long & Foster; Scott Cryer of DLR Group; Jennifer Owen with Sandy Spring Bank; and d’Andre Willis of HGA. The 2020-21 board president will be Michele “Shelly” Hazel.” [Inside NoVa]

Herndon Police Department Seeking Detective — The police department is looking to hire an experienced detective to join the Criminal Investigation Section. “We have a great incentive package for those who qualify.” [Twitter]

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Save the Date: Chalkfest is in Mid-September — Professional and amateur artists will bring the sidewalks of Reston Town Center to life through chalk drawings. The event takes place on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. [Reston Community Center]

County School System Wins Grant for Farm-to-School Program — “The Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Office of Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) has been named recipient of a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to create a pilot Farm-to-School strategic plan. The $50,000 grant will support the development of the plan with a goal of expanding it throughout the division to provide more students with fresh and locally-sourced food.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Farmers & Makers Market Returns to Reston Town Center — The market is back from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. Artisans and farmers will sell a mix of items. [Reston Town Center]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Herndon Police Department Investigates Car Crash — Local police are investigating a car crash that left the driver of the vehicle, a juvenile, dead on Sunday (June 9) at 2 a.m. The cause of the crash is unknown. Three passengers were transported to area hospitals where they remain in serious condition. [Herndon Police Department]

Democratic Party Primary Set for Today — Polls opened at 6 a.m. for the primary today. Five candidates are vying for the seat of Hunter Mill District Supervisor after veteran legislator Cathy Hudgins announced her intentions to retire earlier this year. [Fairfax County Government]

Farmers and Makers Market in Reston Town Center Today — The market, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, features farmers and artisans selling a mix of items, including produce and vintage items. [Reston Town Center]

Local Company Works to Reduce Electric Vehicle “Range Anxiety” — Electrify America is expanding its partnership with Walmart to a create a cross-country network of fast-charge station for electric vehicle owners. The partnership aims to tackle “range anxiety” with 120 fast charging stations at Walmart stores in 34 states. [WTOP]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Readers of Virginia Living magazine named the Reston Farmers Market the best farmers market in Northern Virginia.

The selection was made from the magazine’s annual readers’ survey in January and also covered categories like best in arts, culture and entertainment; living and recreation; shopping; services; and food and drink.

The market, which is operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority, is open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays through Dec. 7 at Lake Anne Village Center. It is one of 10 producer-only farmers markets run by FCPA.

The magazine wrote the following about the market:

 “Market managers John and Fran Lovaas and Keith Strange manage the volunteers who keep the Fairfax County farmers’ market going. All products are strictly producer-only; vendors may only sell what they raise or make from scratch. These truly local vendors travel an average of just 50 miles to the market.”

Photo by John Lovaas

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Signs of summer are abound as the farmers markets run by the Fairfax County Park Authority in Reston and Herndon kick off this week.

FCPA’s six other markets will roll in by the first week of May.

The Reston and Herndon Farmers Markets accept SNAP benefits. All  purchases under the The Virginia Fresh Match Program are matched up to $20 for additional fresh produce.

Herndon’s market (777 Lynn Street) kicks off on Thursday (April 18) and runs every Thursday until Nov. 14 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The Reston market (1609-A Washington Plaza N) starts on Saturday (April 20) and runs every Saturday until Dec. 7 from 8 a.m. until noon.

The Reston market welcomes three new vendors this year, said John Lovaas, who runs the Reston market. Shenandoah Seasonal, a “chemical-free produce farms,” adds a new variety of vegetables and fruits, Bee’s Wing Farm will sell flowers and Ozfeka Catering will bring a mix of Turkish savories and desserts to the market, Lovaas told Reston Now.

The county is also working with the market to carry out a pilot program to reduce the use of plastic bags. Clean Fairfax, a nonprofit organization that specializes in recycling and reducing the use of plastic, is partnering with the market for the program.

Information on other local farmers markets is available onlineThe Reston Farm Market (10800 Baron Cameron Avenue), which is not operated by FCPA, is open around the year, with few holiday exceptions, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

File photo

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Antsy about antennas — T-Mobile is trying once again to put cell phone equipment on top of the Waterford Square condominium building. Plans were rejected earlier this year, but a second shot is planned will be proposed to Reston Association’s Design Review Board tonight. [Reston Association]

Meet MeSpoke — This company based in Reston offers a digital community for retail shopping. Users download the app and create a billboard, which curates photos of clothing ensembles from the user’s favorite brands. [WTOP]

Meeting on transit station guidelines tonight — A meeting about draft guidelines for Reston’s Transit Station Areas is set for today at 6 p.m. in Reston Association headquarters. Guidelines are intended to implement Reston’s comprehensive plan, which was amended in 2014. [Reston Association]

Woodfield to replace office building — The company wants to tear down the small office building at 1941 Roland Clarke Place in order to build a larger, 308-unit apartment building. [Washington Business Journal]

Farmers Market returns to Reston Town Center — The market will be on from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the pavilion. [Reston Town Center]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Flavors of Fall set for Oct. 6 — The fall festival at Reston Town Center will take place from noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday. Although the event is free, tickets are available online for samplings from restaurants. [Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce]

New farmers market continues — Enjoy a temporary farmers market in Reston Town Center today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The last farmers market in RTC is set for Oct. 23. [Reston Town Center]

A declining golf course or a new park — In this opinion piece, the writer argues that a new park with new housing is a viable and product use of Hidden Creek Country Club. [Greater Greater Washington]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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A farmers market is coming to Reston Town Center starting tomorrow (September 11) through September October 23. Every week, the market will be located at the pavilion, with the exception of October 9, when it will be located at Town Square Park.

Items available for purchase include produce, kettle corn, pastries, meats, salsa, honey, and smoothies. The hours of the market are between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Other area farmers markets will remain open through early December. The market at Lake Anne is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon through December 1 at Lake Anne Plaza.

The Reston Farm Market (10800 Baron Cameron Avenue) is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. A fall festival, which will include face painting, a petting zoo, a train raid, balloons and a petting zoo, is set for Saturday, September 22 to celebrate the market’s anniversary.

Photo via Reston Town Center

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