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DC Area Farmer's Markets -- 2007


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Heinz had the first strawberries of the season this Sunda but the big news is that Tree and Leaf farms is becoming a huge, multinational agribusiness or something :wink: and has swallowed Wheatland Farms whole, under the guise of working Wheatland's fields and holding down Wheatland's coveted space in the Dupont Circle market while the senior Plancks (farmer's market pioneers and parents of Nina Planck, who starts up farmers markets the way most of us buy shoes) build "a hamlet of seven houses to preserve the family farm" and possibly retire to.

This is alarming news in I have been dragging an oft-tired and occasionally hungover body out of bed at ungodly hours summer Saturdays since 1999 to be first in line for Wheatland's astounding tomatoes -- the best in the market by far -- and I am terrified that anything about them might change. Wheatland also employed an endless supply of stunningly cute hippie chicks and dudes, apparently all English Majors at small private colleges, to sell their wares, and they will be missed, as well.

On the other hand, Tree and Leaf seems to carry a very similar karma and are my favorite for everything but tomatoes, so there is a not insignificant chance that it will all work out in the end. My fingers are crossed and congrats are due to Georgia and Zach and majordomo (or fixture, at any rate) Katherine for what I am sure will be a successful expansion.

Anybody know if they've taken over Wheatland's Arlington spot, as well?

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Tiogo's tomatoes were not bad yesterday at Dupont. The flavors were not as developed as they are later in the season, but they did taste of tomatoes. I bought a huge bunch of watercress from Tree and Leaf yesterday and agree about the hippie factor. I was under the impression that they were new to the market.

Question: if they work Wheatland's fields, why would the tomatoes not be as good? Am I confused here? :huh:

eta: I am becomming a big fan of Keswick Creamery cheeses. I love the cheddar and yesterday I bought Calvertly (sp?) and something called Quark. I just had to try it reading that funny name, but apparently it's German cream cheese. Flavor-wise it is a bit more tangy than you're Philadelphia brand. Very good. I think the savory flavor will go very well with a berry jam.

Watercress salad with just picked asparagus and a warm vinagrette for dinner tonight.

Edited by monavano (log)
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Tiogo's tomatoes were not bad yesterday at Dupont. The flavors were not as developed as they are later in the season, but they did taste of tomatoes. I bought a huge bunch of watercress from Tree and Leaf yesterday and agree about the hippie factor. I was under the impression that they were new to the market.

Question: if they work Wheatland's fields, why would the tomatoes not be as good? Am I confused here? :huh:

eta: I am becomming a big fan of Keswick Creamery cheeses. I love the cheddar and yesterday I bought Calvertly (sp?) and something called Quark. I just had to try it reading that funny name, but apparently it's German cream cheese. Flavor-wise it is a bit more tangy than you're Philadelphia brand. Very good. I think the savory flavor will go very well with a berry jam.

Watercress salad with just picked asparagus and a warm vinagrette for dinner tonight.

Logically there should be no difference in the tomatoes. But emotionally, I can't help but worry about my luscious love apples.

Tree and Leaf have been regulars at the Mt. Pleasant market for three years now (as were Wheatland) and a couple of markets in Virginia; I believe yesterday was their first-ever appearance at Dupont.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Tiogo's tomatoes were not bad yesterday at Dupont. The flavors were not as developed as they are later in the season, but they did taste of tomatoes. I bought a huge bunch of watercress from Tree and Leaf yesterday and agree about the hippie factor. I was under the impression that they were new to the market.

Question: if they work Wheatland's fields, why would the tomatoes not be as good? Am I confused here? :huh:

eta: I am becomming a big fan of Keswick Creamery cheeses. I love the cheddar and yesterday I bought Calvertly (sp?) and something called Quark. I just had to try it reading that funny name, but apparently it's German cream cheese. Flavor-wise it is a bit more tangy than you're Philadelphia brand. Very good. I think the savory flavor will go very well with a berry jam.

Watercress salad with just picked asparagus and a warm vinagrette for dinner tonight.

Logically there should be no difference in the tomatoes. But emotionally, I can't help but worry about my luscious love apples.

Tree and Leaf have been regulars at the Mt. Pleasant market for three years now (as were Wheatland) and a couple of markets in Virginia; I believe yesterday was their first-ever appearance at Dupont.

Thanks!

I will sure give thier tomaters a try later in the season. Folks were welcoming them to the market yesterday, which was very nice. Hopefully (fingers crossed) I will be able to grow some tomato plants which yield non rot blossomed duds. Last year was a total bust, and I had to rely on the markets.

And, is it just me, or were the hierloom tomatoes (from Tiogo) last year just meh??

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I love Toigo and have been known to hang out with the crew after market hours, but I think their peaches and apples are much better than their tomaters. On the other hand, no less a cred-wielding critic than Carol Greenwood bought a couple of tons of their tomatoes last summer to put up for the pizza sauce in her new restaurant, and posted Mark Toigo's (last seen in South America restoring a vintage plane) photo (with others) in Comet Ping-pong's bar, so what do I know?

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Not exactly DC area, but the Glenwood farmer's market in Howard County started up on May 5th. Robert Audia, the market master, is there from Audia's Farm North and is not selling vegetables yet, but has some nice herbs, tomato and pepper plants, and ornamentals.

South Mountain Creamery is also selling cheeses, milk, and butter out of their truck.

The market runs from 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays until November.

Disclosure: I own a coffee company which is at the market.

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The Anne Arundel county farmer's market in Annapolis (corner of Riva Road and Harry S. Truman blvd) is very nice. A little skimpy this early in the year, but it will pick up fast as the growing season progresses. It's very popular, to the point of creating minor traffic jams in high season. I try to go early. It doesn't beat the crowds, it can be packed at 7:00 AM in summer, but some of the vendors sell out of good stuff.

Directory of MD farmer's markets: http://www.mda.state.md.us/md_products/far..._market_dir.php

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I checked out the Silver Spring FreshFarm market this past weekend and was pretty disappointed. No meat vendors this year, and the number of Fruit & veg vendors has shrunk. Atwater Farms is selling bread there now so that's an improvement, but the market seems to be in this spiral -- not enough good vendors, not enough customers, even fewer vendors -- and I can't see how it will pick up. Anyone in the area that wants a good market knows that the Sunday Takoma Park market will have 2-3 times the number of vendors.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Well we have had some pretty cool weather lately. I was at the AA Co farmers' market in Annapolis two weeks ago (the Opening??) but just needed to talk to someone and made a quick dash in and out..well a few plants later that is.

I have been amazed that no one is/has been selling eggs at this market. I hope to get up to the Baltimore UnderTheJFX one this week or next. Any reports on this one this year???

Maureen

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Well we have had some pretty cool weather lately. I was at the AA Co farmers' market in Annapolis two weeks ago (the Opening??) but just needed to talk to someone and made a quick dash in and out..well a few plants later that is.

I have been amazed that no one is/has been selling eggs at this market. I hope to get up to the Baltimore UnderTheJFX one this week or next. Any reports on this one this year???

Maureen

I was there last Sunday and it was bustling. If you go, make sure and get a mushroom sandwich from the mushroom lady. Grilled, marinated portobellos are placed into a pita on top of mixed greens which she then covers with fresh basil and feta cheese. Words can't describe the yumminess of that sandwich.

I also got a big bunch of cilantro, lettuce, and spinach. The bill was shockingly low at only 4 dollars.

So yeah, the market is worth it.

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Thanks Beto. I'm in the mood for one of those mushroom sammies right now as the rain pours down. I've had them while my other half eats a cholesterol laden omlette across the way. Chacun a son gout or all tastes catered to under the JFX.

Is the Caribbean lady back?

Since I have a grandson soccer game in McLean midday, I may venture into DC or Takoma finally for a change of venue. It's hard with the known good competeing with the unkown good. Such riches! :biggrin: Maureen

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Well we have had some pretty cool weather lately. I was at the AA Co farmers' market in Annapolis two weeks ago (the Opening??) but just needed to talk to someone and made a quick dash in and out..well a few plants later that is.

I have been amazed that no one is/has been selling eggs at this market. I hope to get up to the Baltimore UnderTheJFX one this week or next. Any reports on this one this year???

Maureen

I admit some reluctance in telling you this, but you're wrong about the eggs. Arrowhead Farm (guy in a straw hat with a mustache on the side that's away from both Riva Rd. and Harry S. Truman Blvd.) sells eggs for $2.25 a dozen. I'm reluctant to publicize this because sometimes last summer he'd run out before I got to him. Though this spring I haven't had any problem, and he told me he has more birds this year than last. He has no sign up for the eggs, and you won't see them cuz they're in a cooler.

I'm just hoping for strawberries in case I can't get out to pick soon.

ETA:

The herbalist had some really cool sprout mixes a couple of weeks ago and said she should have them until it gets "too hot". One was grains (amaranth, wheat, etc.), another greens (arugula and co.), and a third was legumes (chickpeas and friends). I think she said there was a fourth that she didn't have on hand, but I may be wrong.

Another new item this year is pretty good bread boules, $4-5 each, sold by a vendor positioned between the two shelters.

Edited by bavila (log)

Bridget Avila

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General question on FMs in the DC area - the links I've found on the internet don't appear to have been updated so I'm getting some conflicting information. I live down near Mt. Vernon and I've been to the Alex FM on King Street and the Del Rey FM. What are the other top markets - Mount Pleasant Farmers Market? - Dupont? what about Green Spring? - hours/days? After moving to NoVA from Northern California - I really need to get my feet wet with these things, jonesin' for good home-grown veggies! Any help would be appreciated.

Live and learn. Die and get food. That's the Southern way.

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General question on FMs in the DC area - the links I've found on the internet don't appear to have been updated so I'm getting some conflicting information.  I live down near Mt. Vernon and I've been to the Alex FM on King Street and the Del Rey FM.  What are the other top markets - Mount Pleasant Farmers Market?  - Dupont? what about Green Spring? - hours/days?  After moving to NoVA from Northern California - I really need to get my feet wet with these things, jonesin' for good home-grown veggies!  Any help would be appreciated.

Who knew there were so many farmers markets in the area? Go here and punch in your zip code in the search engine (or 2009, which is Dupont Circle and the center of the universe, I mean roughly the center of the metro area) and it lists dozens around the area.

Markets I hit regularly include Mt. Pleasant, which is pretty small, Saturdays 9-1; Arlington/Courthouse, Saturday 8-1(?); Dupont, Sunday 9-1; Penn Quarter, Thursday 3-7 (?). There is a lot of overlap among producers, but every market seems to have one vendor in particular that draws me there, with Dupont being the largest that I go to. I've only been to Alexandria for the ham, in fall, so I don't know if it's worth the hike into town for the other markets (although combining people watching and a bit of breakfast rose at Bistro du Coin with a Dupont market run is a great way to spend a Sunday).

Since you're from California, you probably won't find the breadth of stuff you're used to (especially with the cool spring we've been having), but there are a lot of committed farmers out here selling excellent produce and meat, and the scene gets better every year.

Write us a report from Alexandria!

PS to All: Do me a fava: report in if anyone is expecting fresh legumes this weekend.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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General question on FMs in the DC area - the links I've found on the internet don't appear to have been updated so I'm getting some conflicting information.  I live down near Mt. Vernon and I've been to the Alex FM on King Street and the Del Rey FM.  What are the other top markets - Mount Pleasant Farmers Market?  - Dupont? what about Green Spring? - hours/days?  After moving to NoVA from Northern California - I really need to get my feet wet with these things, jonesin' for good home-grown veggies!  Any help would be appreciated.

Hi, Tela. Is this what you found lacking while searching: Virginia Association for Biological [!] Farming?

Here's my bookmarked guide from The Washington Post, but it's last year's: Post, 2006.

Busboy's reference to the market at Dupont Circle refers to FRESHFARM Markets whose principal market is on Sunday mornings at that location. It was started just over ten years ago to support small local farms in nearby PA, VA & MD and is what is called "Producer Only"--meaning everything there is from small farms in the area. As Russ Parsons points out in his current book-signing tour, it's not the most efficient use of the farmer's time, but usually one of the farmers will be there.* Here's the Web site with the schedule and locations: FRESHFARM.

The reference to the market at Capitol Hill is to The Eastern Market where community support is strong these days. Not all the vendors are selling their own local produce on Saturdays & Sundays, but there are many fine ones who are and especially in the height of the growing season, it's pretty clear which of the gazillion strawberries or tomatoes are worth buying.

In addition to the established markets, there are other options. If you get to know and like specific farms, you might wish to join a CSA. For example, Heinz Thomet of Next Step Produce sells to the general public only at Dupont Circle on Sundays--and to his CSA members.

Another one of my favorites, New Morning Farm, sells at different locations throughout the week once there is more produce to be had.

*According to Chris Rock, on the other hand, movie stars get paid to sell the product, not to make it. Market regulars get a little bit of a buzz talking weather, crops, Farm Bill and seasons with the growers and most are savvy enough to humor us.

* * *

As for fresh beans, Busboy, I was surprised to hear a local restaurant is serving them. Usually they're around when the weather's sticky, months from now. Spring Valley was selling shell beans as late as September or October last year. Get your favas at Whole Foods or Balducci's otherwise.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, with the weather warming up it appears that my annual search for English peas has ended (again) in failure. I'm almost afraid to ask about them since even the most mellow organic-types will furrow their brow and sneer at the request. Apparently even this season's unseasonably cool weather did not help. Alas.

Good news on other fronts, though. A new market has opened up at 14th and U where, if you're tired of organic mesclun, you can jump into the Micky D's across the street for a Big Mac. Sales were, I hear brisk. There some old buddies, including Truck Patch -- vendor of excellent strawberries and pork products, and Tree and Leaf reigning champs of cool-tasting green things. And some new folks, as well. (I will try to find my notes, or just go back next week).

Even better, at Dupont Circle, Heinz has favas! Or had them -- I have most of them now. They should be available next week and maybe the week after, but get there early: I do. :wink:

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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A new market has opened up at 14th and U where, if you're tired of organic mesclun, you can jump into the Micky D's across the street for a Big Mac.  Sales were, I hear brisk.  There some old buddies, including Truck Patch -- vendor of excellent strawberries and pork products, and Tree and Leaf reigning champs of cool-tasting green things.  And some new folks, as well.  (I will try to find my notes, or just go back next week).

Details!!!

* * *

I have yet to post anything about the local Slow Food Convivium's panel on the Farm Bill 2007, but I'll add that Jim Crawford of New Morning Farm participated as did your buddy, Mark Toigo, the latter in long white shirt sleeves, the former not.

Meanwhile, everyone reading this, just go to the link in my signature line. It leads to one of many local groups devoted to agricultural policy and it provides info regarding marker bills (i.e. drafts for revisions that will eventually be cut and pasted, integrated and whatnot before a new version is presented for voting in September). The reason I mention this?

One of the most exciting bits of news was from someone in the audience who said that Langley/Takoma Park was one of the areas to be awarded grant money from the Kellogg Foundation so that the immigrant population in the area can become instrumental in designing and contributing to a farmer's market that can fulfill its particular culinary desires as well as the community's needs.

Here's the link to the description of the project as a whole; the verb chosen for the common goal of all awardees is "diversify".

The direct link to the extremely informative Web page of The Takoma Park Market is here.

* * *

Just caught a brief announcement on the news this morning, but there is an Amish farmers market in the area that lost its space and is looking for a new home, too.

* * *

As for the quest for fresh English peas, the memory of good ones worth shelling is a dim as ones involving apricots. Sometimes frozen is better than fresh. Wonder why.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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PEAS--Bus, if you make your way down to Penn Quarter or send a friend, Sand Hill Farm grows them. I can't vouch for their pedigree or dates scheduled for appearance, i.e. not sure if they'd say "shhhedeweled" or not were they to pronounce the third verb in this sentence.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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And if you or a lackey happen to come to Annapolis, there were at least 4 vendors on Saturday with peas.

Sadly, I have no lackeys at my disposal, although I've always wanted one.

Actually, the highlight of the many markets I traversed this weejend was discovering that Red Rake farms at the Arlington/Court House market had peas and will have them again this weekend.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Peas, glorious peas. Now I am happy. At Arlington (Gourmet Gardens?), Mt. P (Reid) and Dupont.

But, big news of the week is surely the opening of a new market on one of those corners where the only marketing going on a few years ago was 40s and illicit substances. The Bloomingdale Market, at 1st and Q Street NW is fairly small -- 6 or 8 stands, but seem to have most of the basics covered, with Reid Orchards, Truck Patch (absent yesterday for Father's Day) Sunnyside and a couple of other familiar faces. It is, however, as far I know, the local site to get lamb fro the New Asbury Farm. I picked up a couple shanks and hope to test them out with white beans or maybe cous-cous in the near future. I think later this summer I'm going to get my Greek on, though, and try to do a whole lamb on a rotisserie.

Cherries galore, although sour cherries were in short supply, and we turned out the first clafouti of the year which, along with some homemade cinnamon ice cream was the hit of the barbecue we attended.

It's finally starting to be worth getting up in the morning to hit the markets again.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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But, big news of the week is surely the opening of a new market on one of those corners where the only marketing going on a few years ago was 40s and illicit substances.  The Bloomingdale Market, at 1st and Q Street NW  is fairly small -- 6 or 8 stands, but seem to have most of the basics covered, with Reid Orchards, Truck Patch (absent yesterday for Father's Day) Sunnyside and a couple of other familiar faces. 

Edited to remove question and post, instead, a link to a recent announcement in The Washington Post that I missed: "Another New Market" (W June 13, 2007).

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Tree and Leaf farms is becoming a huge, multinational agribusiness or something  :wink: and has swallowed Wheatland Farms whole, under the guise of working Wheatland's fields and holding down Wheatland's coveted space in the Dupont Circle market while the senior Plancks (farmer's market pioneers and parents of Nina Planck, who starts up farmers markets the way most of us buy shoes) build "a hamlet of seven houses to preserve the family farm" and possibly retire to.

This is alarming news in I have been dragging an oft-tired and occasionally hungover body out of bed at ungodly hours summer Saturdays since 1999 to be first in line for Wheatland's astounding tomatoes -- the best in the market by far -- and I am terrified that anything about them might change.  Wheatland also employed an endless supply of stunningly cute hippie chicks and dudes, apparently all English Majors at small private colleges, to sell their wares, and they will be missed, as well.

On the other hand, Tree and Leaf seems to carry a very similar karma and are my favorite for everything but tomatoes, so there is a not insignificant chance that it will all work out in the end.  My fingers are crossed and congrats are due to Georgia and Zach and majordomo (or fixture, at any rate) Katherine for what I am sure will be a successful expansion. 

Anybody know if they've taken over Wheatland's Arlington spot, as well?

You basically have the story right. Chip and Susan are on sabbatical this year to build the hamlet of 7 houses on 2 acres of their 100 acre farm. This will allow them to put the rest of the farm into agricultural conservation and stay a family farm(s) forever.

As part of this, they have been searching for interesting ways to allow more young farmers to be involved at Wheatland. Tree and Leaf have expanded their ops so that they now have fields at Wheatland and at their Waterford site. They are now called Tree and Leaf at Wheatland.

Susan Planck (and sometimes ChiP) runs Arlington so you will still be able to get Planck tomatoes there! That is the only market that the Plancks themselves are doing this year. We hope that they will do a few more next year, but no one knows yet.

Ali runs Takoma Park, FAlls Church and Penn Quarter.

Georgia and Zach of Tree and Leaf are now Tree and Leaf at Wheatland. They are at Mount Pleasant, 14 & U and Dupont.

And just for fun, let me mention a new farm at 14 & U: Mountain View. Shawna and Attila are excellent young farmers who have just moved back from the San Juan Islands off of Seattle. Biodynamic planting principles, no pesticides, excellent varieties. I hope you will all check them out.

Robin

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