Seasonal Bliss 

Neighborhoods are learning the pleasures of small grocers that focus on local and seasonal ingredients while responding to the market.

click to enlarge Colby Beck, a barista at Jackson Ward’s Saison Market, offers a mug of the explosively named nitro coffee — you can get caffeinated here from morning to midnight along with breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Scott Elmquist

Colby Beck, a barista at Jackson Ward’s Saison Market, offers a mug of the explosively named nitro coffee — you can get caffeinated here from morning to midnight along with breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Little House Green Grocery

In Bellevue, herbs nodding in the breeze make a cheerful greeting in front of Little House Green Grocery, where the signboard reads: "Blueberries that taste like blueberries. We got 'em inside!"

The former violin shop is home to a light-filled market of local and organic products and produce with a well-curated inventory of staples. It's satisfying to see so many Virginia products — Church Hill's Souperb soups, Steadfast Farm dried beans, Joe's Inn marinara, Sub Rosa bread, Peanut Shop of Williamsburg's natural peanut butter and Polyface meats — and know that purchasing them supports local farmers and artisan producers.

For immediate gratification, grab a to-go container of Sticky Rice spring rolls, Bombolini lasagna or Pizza Tonight's orzo salad. Give yourself or someone else gardening and cookbooks or locally made pottery and wooden spoons. Events such as tastings, knife sharpening, potlucks and seasonal dinners ensure that there's always a fresh reason to drop by Little House, even if it's just for some Graves Mountain apple butter, tasting like a fall day, or a jar of Willie Byrd dark chocolate sauce, with a label warning, "Hide unless willing to share." That caveat could apply to many of the taste delights on the shelves.

Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
1227 Bellevue Ave.
262-7474
littlehousegreengrocery.com

Saison Market

Jackson Ward rejoiced when Saison set down roots, offering adventurous food and a spirited late-night bar scene. But it's become a deserved hot spot with crowds. Enter Saison Market, in reality as much a cafe alternative to its big-brother restaurant as a market.

From the large, scholastic map of Virginia hanging on the wall to a board listing "beers and shit," a large TV screen is the only sour note. Less a place for weekly grocery shopping and more of a stop-and-shop before a meal, there's a small inventory of local produce, meat, eggs and bread along with olive oil, crackers and toilet paper, alongside sandwiches such as aji chicken salad and pimento cheese.

Local purveyors of quirk, the Odd Couple, have an array of consignment items in the market, so if you're in search of vintage ashtrays, shot glasses or cocktail shakers, you're in luck. Ditto if your shopping list includes beer or bitters, both of which are handsomely represented with wine occupying less real estate. A corkage fee of $5 for wine and $2 for beer, and no fee during happy hour from 3-6 p.m., feels neighborly, an economical accompaniment to eating while listening to music as varied — thrash, mellow, rock — as the menu.

Morning till midnight, Saison Market has your caffeine needs covered with nitro cold brews and cortados, along with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Start your day with pork belly and egg ($7) over manchego cheese grits, or break from the office with chorizo pâté sandwich ($8) or hanger steak tacos ($8). Dinner stays affordable but goes stylish with pea shoot salad ($9) full of peas, lardons and goat cheese or octopus á la plancha ($9), a gluten-free stunner of crispy octopus draped over refried white beans and fried wheat berries with polka dots of scotch bonnet sauce and cilantro gel on the plate to customize your heat. Whether you need local honey or a happy hour, you'll be covered.

Daily 8 a.m.-midnight
323 N. Adams St.
269-3982
saisonrva.com

Harvest Grocery and Supply

The name is apt, with its aim of being an all-purpose neighborhood market with essentials such as toothpaste and sustainable cleaning products as part of thoughtful shelf stocking featuring local products. Bags of pea shoots, greens and turnips from Manakintowne Growers are the welcoming committee at the front door. In the back stands a colorful door covered in seed packets with a sign announcing a plant this week and a list of suggestions. Revisit a happy childhood with Old Church Creamery's deeply rich chocolate milk or drinkable blackberry yogurt. It takes only one try to make a pickled silly convert of anyone tasting its sassy, tomato-based elixir of pickled okra brine, horseradish and lemon juice. Likewise, there's Caromont's three-onion boursin, a savory cheese from Albemarle County. A coffee bar lures the caffeine-needy with pour-over and drip service. Keep Harvest in mind whether you crave a bath bomb to spice up your bathwater or blueberries for your morning oatmeal.

Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
531 W. Main St.
257-4300
harvestrva.com

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