On the first day of fall, Nalls Produce gave to me: a brook filled with koi, several roaming chickens, one plus turtle, and a tea cup pig in a barn yard. Mix in some roosters, geese, food, and lots of flora and you have a country farm smack dab in the middle of the bustling northern Virginia suburbs.
Nalls is special to me because as a native Alexandrian, I remember going to Nalls as a little girl. In the spring, I accompanied my mother to gather plants to fill her garden. In the fall, we stuffed bags with crunchy apples, Indian corn, straw bales, and pumpkins to decorate the outside of the house. All this when the area was underdeveloped, houses were few, and strip malls didn’t exist. While the area and population have surged, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed; Nalls roadside market is here to stay.
The family owned and operated business now in its fifth generation, was founded by the Nalls family in 1961. What started as a tiny garden, moved to a small wagon, grew to a tent, and expanded to a brick and mortar building known as Nalls Produce.
Today, I bring my daughter with me to rekindle the memories I made with my mother. We live down the street so it’s a regular jaunt filled with skipping and laughing as we play hide and seek with the chickens.
Step inside the friendly shop where produce includes Romanesco, Pattypan squash, Concord grapes, Meyer Lemons, Runnymeade iced tea, Trickling Springs organic dairy products. Nalls offers items as local such as eggs and raw honey from Clifton. They are bursting with everything apple so stock up on Mutsu, Ruby Mac and Honeycrisp apples, cold cider, apple chips, McCutcheon’s apple butter, chocolate apple turtles and caramel apples. It’s hard to resist seeing the sign for fresh, hot roasted peanuts.
Nalls continues to be a wonderful member of the community. Throughout the year they offer workshops to customers, school groups, and more. My daughter’s Daisy troop got an introduction on the term “green thumb” and learned where their food comes at Nalls.
August is a special time to visit when Penny, the resident teacup pig, has a pink birthday celebration in her honor. Children make pig hats, enjoy adorable, complimentary pig cupcakes, and have photos taken with the birthday girl. It reminds me of the book, If You Give A Pig A Party, but as you can see, Penny is no ordinary pig. She oinks and approaches visitors when she hears her name called, roams freely in her own back yard, and is a beloved member of the Nalls family.
For the past five years, Nalls has organized the Nice Neighbor Block Party with the focus on bringing together members of the community in camaraderie. Each year, this popular event grows. You will always see a moon bounce and kid station with coloring pages and games. Businesses include a llama giving away samples of fruit juice, balloons from a local bank, and fishing with a yoga instructor. This year, there was a baked goods stand, funnel cake truck, and a vendor selling pottery.
October brings fall to fruition with the return of the pumpkin tunnels. The pumpkin tunnels, non-spooky objects, and a “stage’ to run around make this a win-win for families with children of all ages. I love seeing the varieties of pumpkins from tiny orange pumpkins to white, blue, green, and multi colored ones with names like Jack-Be-Little, Mexican Hat, Peanut, Snowball, and Cinderella. As always, the pumpkin tunnels are free…yippie!
- Want to take home a box of fresh fruits and veggies on a frequent or semi-regular basis? The Crop Share programs runs for 5-8 week stints all year giving you an abundance of nature’s bounty.
- Military receive 10% Tuesdays with proper id.
- Like them on Facebook. They are great at regularly adding items of interest.
- Pre-cut Christmas trees and wreaths will be available in December.
Nalls Produce is open Monday to Saturday 9 am to 7 pm and Sundays 9 am to 6pm. The best thing about visiting Nalls is the calm, country-like setting that doesn’t cost a dime. We never leave without a bag of kettle corn and some potted blooms. When you visit Nalls, just be sure to brush your teeth if you pucker up to Penny!Photos by Kathleen Molloy.