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DC Area Farmer's Markets -- 2007


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A correction: the gilded pork chops are not from Polyface but from Emerald Family Farms, " a consortium of small family and young farmers," who are acolytes Joe Salatin and Polyface and sold through the same distributor, Eco-Friendly, but are not formally intertwined.

Just for the heck of it I wandered into the Safeway on the walk to work and found a family pack of pork chops running $1.99 a pound, about a fifth of the nine-and-change (the label was smudged) EFF gets for its chops.

gallery_7296_4757_281684.jpg

Factor in the the copious fat and bone and the actual pork ends up costing about what you'd pay for a dry-aged strip steak and, for left-thinking skeptics like myself that draws all the questions about whether saving the world and the family farm through "ethical family farming and raising pasture-fed animals" is really just a hobby for the rich and the true believers and an excuse to feel a little smug regarding the unenlightened who -- merely because they are feeding families on limited means -- are eating those inferior and possibly immoral pork chops the Safeway sells.

But jeez, what a pork chop. It could have been the martini or I might have just got lucky and hit the seasoning and cooking just right, but chances are it was the pork itself and that finger of fat that circles the loin like a cholesterol Beltway and it was -- to my mind -- the best piece of pork I ever put in my mouth, bar none, and the best leftovers the next day, as well. The stuff melted, melted away leaving a roast-fat and pure pork taste that I can still summon today and which may well drive me back to fling more money in their direction on Sunday.

For them as cares, the preparation was hardly gourmet: we dusted the chops with salt, pepper, ground coriander, chili powder and garlic powder and then grilled them until they were a pale pink. On the side: fresh corn a la phaelon56 (Toigo corn, can't find p5's technique, maybe my wife will remind me) canned black beans my wife had pimped with fresh garlic and "torpedo" onions (Tree and Leaf) and fresh heirlooms (T&L again) tossed with olive oil and diced avocado (Bestway Mercado Latino :wink: ). The pork was so rich a sauce would have been superfluous, but heaping the beans and the tomatoes onto the meat worked quite well (as everyone who's ever eaten Latin American food can tell you).

I can sense more angst coming on.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Great summation of my feelings too.

"Factor in the the copious fat and bone and the actual pork ends up costing about what you'd pay for a dry-aged strip steak and, for left-thinking skeptics like myself that draws all the questions about whether saving the world and the family farm through "ethical family farming and raising pasture-fed animals" is really just a hobby for the rich and the true believers and an excuse to feel a little smug regarding the unenlightened who -- merely because they are feeding families on limited means -- are eating those inferior and possibly immoral pork chops the Safeway sells."

My freezer contains meats from Costco, Harris Teeter, Safeway and EFF etc.

It is indeed a treat to eat the products we pay a premium for. I feel fortunate that I can access them at will (but not all the time).

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But lately there's been a new trend of chefs strolling through, camera-ready in their whites

Spotted my first this morning just as I was leaving....

And who might that be??? :huh:

No one I recognized--which isn't saying much. There were nonetheless other chefs, regulars, in their civies. Truly a glorious day.

* * *

Cf. the thread on Dorie Greenspan's latest book (Baking...) for a terrific, quick cake requiring Italian prune plums, best the day after it's made. Think the recipe is called Dimpled Plum Cake; there are photos in the thread, including a beautiful one by Chufi.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Tree and Leaf had some high quality haricot verts today at Mt. Pleasant, possibly worth hunting them down tomorrow in Dupont.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I did a rare second farm market visit this week, to Del Ray. Got nectarines and pears from Toigo. No mirai corn :sad: .

From a vendor whose farm is near Culpepper, I got a healthy bunch of kale which went into a caldo verde. Gotta watch how much you eat.....fiber :huh::shock:

Cheddar and horseradish chevre from Apple Tree Goat Dairy (the mediteranean herb chevre is fantastic)

Apple cider from D&S farm, Charlotte Hall, Md.

And, of course.......a chicken saltena.

gallery_24065_1826_375708.jpg

Anyone know for sure which farms sell tomatoes in bulk?? (for sauce).

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Anyone know for sure which farms sell tomatoes in bulk?? (for sauce).

My experience has been that most farmers will sell bushels of seconds or rejects but you have to ask for them -- they aren't generally on display.

I think I'll give Allenberg Orchards a call to see if they'll sell me a bushel on Friday. I made basic tomato sauce (ala Marcella Hazan) that has me thinking I should really stock up and knock out a big batch so I can enjoy them over the winter.

This morning I got a bit sad while enjoying my breakfast. It's a long winter without fresh tomatoes. At least I can get campari tomatoes at Costco. :hmmm:

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Mount Vernon this morning was looking like fall. Lots of apples - the typical varieties along with some Staymans and Empires, greens - mustard, collards, arugula, chard, oak leaf lettuce (be still my heart), sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, winter squashes, okra and on and on. It was the last of the peaches, but here are still some tomatoes and peppers coming in. The pears are beginning to come in as well. I bought red Bartletts and Devoes. I've never heard of Devoe pears, but they looked and smelled fantastic, so I had to buy them.

-L

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At Kingstowne I picked up:

a dozen ears of corn for $3.50

field tomatoes (no bulk or seconds tho)

ice cream from Middleburg

zucchini and squash

apple cider

At a truly bustling Old Town Market today:

Lapsang Souchong tea, because I want to cook with it

Sweets from Maribeth's Bakery (pic)

shitake mushrooms

gallery_24065_1826_606603.jpg

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Highlights of this weekend's 14& U and Bloomingdale Farmers Market October 6 and 7th

Both markets:

VERY tiny Okra at Truck Patch and Kuhn. I sauteed them in onions and tomatoes last week. So tender that they did not need to have their stems trimmed at all.

Breadline ciabatta, focaccia as well as their muffins, scones, cookies, baguettes, ficelles and breads

14& U: Saturday 9-1 at 14th and U Streets

Young Leeks, PUrple top turnips with young greens, Mountain View's peppers (Attila is from a Hungarian family and his peppers are superb. I am very partial to their tomatoes as well.

Bloomingdale Farmers Market Sunday October 7th 10-2 First and R Streets NW

We have a new baker, Nanbon, who specializes in bread pudding and sweet potato pies. The bread pudding is Aisha's GREAT GRand mother's recipe and the Sweet Potato Pie is Aisha's Great Aunt's. The bread pudding is wonderful -- very light and custardy, almost like a souffle. I have not yet tasted the Sweet Potato Pie.

We will also have New Asbury Farm Lamb from Loudon County. Meadow raised and very very tender and flavorful.

Plus Breadline baguettes, ficelle, focaccia, ciabatta, muffins, scones, cookies.

Lots of Reid's antique and modern apples.

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VERY tiny Okra at Truck Patch and Kuhn.  I sauteed them in onions and tomatoes last week.  So tender that they did not need to have their stems trimmed at all. 
Emma picked out a basket of tiny okra yesterday from the Truck Patch stand at the Mt. P market, and insisted on paying for it out of her allowance. :smile: It is heavenly fried in a light as air cornmeal batter (add egg whites beaten to soft peak), and indeed did not require any trimming. Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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VERY tiny Okra at Truck Patch and Kuhn.  I sauteed them in onions and tomatoes last week.  So tender that they did not need to have their stems trimmed at all. 
Emma picked out a basket of tiny okra yesterday from the Truck Patch stand at the Mt. P market, and insisted on paying for it out of her allowance. :smile: It is heavenly fried in a light as air cornmeal batter (add egg whites beaten to soft peak), and indeed did not require any trimming.

Heather, you've got me convinced to make okra at home. I'm going to use your method. I've had some slimy encounters in the past, but I'm going to have at it! The Del Ray market was just a couple vendors outside of the bank across the street due to the Art on the Avenue festival Saturday. It was just amazing. Food highlights included Del Merei's bbq sliders and samosas from Bombay Curry Company. Report here.

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  • 2 weeks later...

At Annandale today - apples, pears, winter squash, greens of the kale/collards type and the lettuce/arugula type. Tomatoes galore. There are still fresh herbs - I saw dill and basil. The best part of the trip was when I was buying my Stayman apples and I complained to the apple vendor that nobody grows Winesaps anymore. He told me they have them, and they should be ripe next week. :wub::wub::wub: I should complain more often. :wink:

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  • 3 weeks later...

One damn good reason to head down to the Bloomindale market for a what is certainly the finest sweet potato pie I've ever eaten. I am confident in asserting this, because it's the only sweet potato pie I've ever eaten -- I never much liked that type of tuber. But this was excellent stuff, even according to people with a history good southern eating. My wife was even more blown away by the buttermilk tart. I don't don't even know what a buttermilk tart is, because she wouldn't share. All I know is that she moans whenever I bring it up and gives me the old "why did you mention that -- now I'm hungry" line. I can't remember the name of the baker, but she's right there on the end of the line, facing Big Bear (not a bad reason to hit 1st Street, either).

If you're inspired by the idea of sweet potato pie and maybe the new Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings CD to get all soulfull for dinner, another new addition -- with the easy-to-remember name of Blueberry Hill Farms -- sells a thrilling selection of greens, and the gent behind table can speak literately and passionately about kale.

And be sure to drop by my favorite pork producers, Brian and Mrs. Brian (assisted ably by the devoted Tai) of truck patch farms, for something that was recently squealing to go beside the greens.

Over at Dupont, I finally picked up some fruit at another farm whose name I forget but whom I'll call Gnarley Appleton's because they sell the gnarliest-looking heritage organic apples ever. Wonder why your grandpa made such a big deal out of peeling his apples? Because old varieties grown utterly organically do accumulate rust and blisters at a rate far greater even than (world-according-to-Safeway opinion) imperfect specimens stocked by your market-based your neo-traditionalists do. For reasons relating largely to the chaos in my unilluminated refrigerator, I've only been through a couple of the varieties I bought, an intriguing Norther Spy (?) and something that looked like a stunted, gin-blossomed golden delicious, and tasted like tit's been infused with a touch of Sauternes. Even if you don't end up liking these guys, it seems obvious that anyone serious about food should try them out, to get a sense of what was good and bad about fresh fruit back in the day.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Thanks, Charles, for your kind words NanBon is the baker of the Sweet Potato Pie and the Buttermilk tart. Michael and Chrissy are the Blueberry Hill Farmers you spoke with and both producers will be at Bloomingdale on Sunday for the Final and Pre Thanksgiving Market of 2007.

The pies are from OLD family recipes. The buttermilk is real buttermilk not the cultured stuff.

Robin

One damn good reason to head down to the Bloomindale market for a what is certainly the finest sweet potato pie I've ever eaten. I am confident in asserting this, because it's the only sweet potato pie I've ever eaten -- I never much liked that type of tuber. But this was excellent stuff, even according to people with a history good southern eating. My wife was even more blown away by the buttermilk tart. I don't don't even know what a buttermilk tart is, because she wouldn't share. All I know is that she moans whenever I bring it up and gives me the old "why did you mention that -- now I'm hungry" line. I can't remember the name of the baker, but she's right there on the end of the line, facing Big Bear (not a bad reason to hit 1st Street, either).

If you're inspired by the idea of sweet potato pie and maybe the new Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings CD to get all soulfull for dinner, another new addition -- with the easy-to-remember name of Blueberry Hill Farms -- sells a thrilling selection of greens, and the gent behind table can speak literately and passionately about kale.

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  • 2 weeks later...
A correction: the gilded pork chops are not from Polyface but from Emerald Family Farms, " a consortium of small family and young farmers," who are acolytes Joe Salatin and Polyface and sold through the same distributor, Eco-Friendly, but are not formally intertwined. 

Just for the heck of it I wandered into the Safeway on the walk to work and found a family pack of pork chops running $1.99 a pound, about a fifth of the nine-and-change (the label was smudged) EFF gets for its chops.

gallery_7296_4757_281684.jpg

Factor in the the copious fat and bone and the actual pork ends up costing about what you'd pay for a dry-aged strip steak and, for left-thinking skeptics like myself that draws  all the questions about whether saving the world and the family farm through "ethical family farming and raising pasture-fed animals" is really just a hobby for the rich and the true believers and an excuse to feel a little smug regarding the unenlightened who -- merely because they are feeding families on limited means -- are eating those inferior and possibly immoral pork chops the Safeway sells.

But jeez, what a pork chop.  It could have been the martini or I might have just got lucky and hit the seasoning and cooking just right, but chances are it was the pork itself and that finger of fat that circles the loin like a cholesterol Beltway and it was -- to my mind -- the best piece of pork I ever put in my mouth, bar none, and the best leftovers the next day, as well. The stuff melted, melted away leaving a roast-fat and pure pork taste that I can still summon today and which may well drive me back to fling more money in their direction on Sunday.

For them as cares, the preparation was hardly gourmet: we dusted the chops with salt, pepper, ground coriander, chili powder and garlic powder and then grilled them until they were a pale pink.  On the side: fresh corn a la phaelon56 (Toigo corn, can't find p5's technique, maybe my wife will remind me) canned black beans my wife had pimped with fresh garlic and "torpedo" onions (Tree and Leaf) and fresh heirlooms (T&L again) tossed with olive oil and diced avocado (Bestway Mercado Latino :wink: ). The pork was so rich a sauce would have been superfluous, but heaping the beans and the tomatoes onto the meat worked quite well (as everyone who's ever eaten Latin American food can tell you).

I can sense more angst coming on.

Hey: these pork chops are famous!

It sounds like a fairy tale: Some Spanish hogs, brought over by Spanish colonists in the sixteenth century, take over an island off the coast of Georgia and run wild there for hundreds of years. Feral and boarlike, they are also about the best tasting pork imaginable, and cousins to the world’s most celebrated ham. Is it a fable, conjured by the heated imagination of foodies? Or an eye-opening truth, as irrefutable as a piece of gamey and rich roast pork? We’re happy to say that it’s the latter. Bev Eggleston, of Eco-Friendly Foods in Virginia, has started selling his amazing pork to a handful of New York restaurants, and soon he may be giving the Spanish a run for their money in the ham business.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Rude "question of the day" at Toigo: "How did the band 10CC ("I'm Not in Love") get its name?"

I knew the answer, but was too embarrassed to claim my bag of apples.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Oh good lord. How frat boy.

Anyway...lots of greens and greenery in Annapolis this weekend. Crispins still had a full spread of roots and greens and apples. I was pretty surprised they still had so much. Mostly there are non-produce vendors now, though.

Find of the day is a tie between some outrageously yummy caramels (I had to let my sample warm up in my pocket for a while before it was soft enough to eat -- they were rock solid from the cold by 10) and the greenery sold by Bay Weekly's Bay Gardener columnist Frank Gouin (former horticulture prof at College Park). I went to his farm in Deale today to pick out a lovely tree. He's got some nice looking peach trees whose fruit he sells at the Deale market on Thursdays. Will have to check that out next year...

Bridget Avila

My Blog

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  • 1 month later...

Last week I actually chatted up Bev about his miracle pork chops. Turns out, on reading the fine print, I may not have been getting the (half) Iberico chops until now -- it might have been their first week at the market. At any rate, it was the first week in a while. Nonetheless, we got a couple the Ibericos and a couple of the field mix or whatever they call the other pork and did a taste test. I thought the famous pork chops tasted moderately better than the prole chops, my wife had the reverse opinion. Suffice it to say, they're good eating either way. And, in case you want something to put on top, my wife mashed together anchovies, capers and roasted garlic with a little chopped grape tomato, oil and vinager -- salty, tart and austere, setting off the rich rich pork oh so well. We made some polenta, too, and it all came together well enough that we're considering giving up the rat race to become Italian peasants.

We also got a loin a couple of weeks ago that sliced like velvet and tasted like love, served it the first time with a homemade mole a la Abra and then made the leftovers into Cubanos with my own special mayo and proper deli swiss. Pretty cool.

Question for this week is: where does the rest of the pig go, since I never see bellies or trotters at the market?

To eat these chops you've kinda gotta be one of those folks who orders lardo at Italian restaurants. If you don't like fat, keep walking down the road 'til you get to Cibola (this is not a compromise, they chop a fine pork themselves).

After a few go-rounds, trying to hit that magic moment where the broad band of fat is meltingly warm all the way through but the pork still has pink to it, we've decided that you have to let the chops come to room temperature, brown them in an iron skillet set high enough that the smoke alarm goes off just from the ambient heat even before the smoke starts (brown the ring around the outside, too) and then finish them in a relatively low oven for maybe 5 minutes, maybe 7. Eat right away. Remember, the side on the bottom browns/cooks faster even after you take it off the flame and time accordingly.

Oink.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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