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Farmers Market Vendors

chowser May 17, 2007 07:35 AM

What local farmer market vendors do you recommend keeping an eye out for? Favorite dairy? Meat? Cheese? Produce (which ones)? Home-made products? I've been to a handful of farmers markets in the NoVa area and am always overwhelmed by where to start. Thanks!

  1. Chocolatechipkt May 17, 2007 08:02 AM

    At the Dupont market, Blue Ridge Dairy has amazing feta. Not sure if they're anywhere else, too.
    At Dupont and Takoma Park, Keswick Creamery also has good cheeses.
    Takoma Kitchens has yummy breads (but go early, as they sell out of many kinds early.)
    Also at Dupont, there's a guy who sells crab cakes and other things. I think his name is Chris? He used to be at the Farm Woman's Market in Bethesda. There's always a long line at his stand, and I remember the crab cakes being very good.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Chocolatechipkt
      chowser May 17, 2007 10:52 AM

      I'd love to get crab cake at a farmers market! I haven't seen anything like that at a NoVa farmers market. I'm going to have to travel to different areas--thanks.

      1. re: chowser
        d
        dumpling May 20, 2007 01:11 PM

        The crab cake guy is at the Falls Church Farmer's market on Saturday. He also has fabulous soup. His crab cakes were mentioned in Saveur magazine about a year ago as being outstanding.

        1. re: dumpling
          n
          NoVaDog May 20, 2007 02:14 PM

          There is a "crab cake guy" at the Penn Quarter market this year, same guy maybe?

          1. re: NoVaDog
            Chocolatechipkt May 20, 2007 05:58 PM

            His name is Chris ... something, can't remember.

      2. re: Chocolatechipkt
        b
        bacchante May 17, 2007 02:13 PM

        I personally do not like the stuff from Takoma Kitchens very much. At Arlington/Courthouse, I find the bread from Atwater perfectly acceptable (I am VERY picky about bread). There are some other vendors at the Arlington market who have sweet things, but I have no opinion, as I've never tried any of it.

        1. re: bacchante
          chowser May 17, 2007 04:39 PM

          I make my own bread so while I admire it when I'm out, I'm too cheap to pay for it!

          1. re: chowser
            Chocolatechipkt May 18, 2007 06:57 AM

            LOL, actually I usually do the same thing for breads and most baked goods. I've had TK's bread a couple of times, though, and it was good.

            1. re: chowser
              b
              bacchante May 21, 2007 09:54 AM

              That's exactly the reason I'm picky about the bread. It will stand in when I'm too busy, such as during the spring when I'm working frantically in the garden.

          2. re: Chocolatechipkt
            m
            MakingSense May 18, 2007 10:50 AM

            Blue Ridge and Atwater are also usually at the H Street Farmers' Market on Saturday morning along with Cedarbrook Farm, Endless Summer Harvest, Highfield Dairy, Keswick Creamery, Quaker Valley Orchards, Richfield Farm, and Welsh Gardens. It's run by the same group that operate the Dupont Circle market - smaller, but more parking.

            Then you can swing by the RFK market for a look before hitting Eastern Market where you can get about anything you need. Some of the burned out inside vendors have set up temporary stalls outside joining the weekend farmers. Don't forget Yes! Organic Market in the 600 block of Penn. Bulk spices among other great offerings.

            Eastern Market is in amazingly great shape. The Mayor broke ground at noon today for the temporary structure to house the burned the inside vendors while the South Hall is being rebuilt. Word is that it will be completed in about 3 weeks.

            1. re: MakingSense
              chowser May 18, 2007 11:47 AM

              I'm so embarassed to say I never went to the Eastern Market and when I read about it, after it burned down, I was so disappointed. Getting to the city is hard when you're deep in the suburbs, but the Eastern Market is now on my list of places to go. I'm imagining it to be like Pennsylvania's Reading Terminal. It sounds like I've been missing far too much by avoiding the city. Thanks!

              1. re: chowser
                m
                MakingSense May 18, 2007 12:22 PM

                You have NO idea what you've been missing. Take the Metro! Traffic and parking aren't really that bad on weekends anyway.
                The folks in Philadelphia have even pitched in. The Reading Market has pledged all this month's contributions from the cash box around their Market Mascot Philbert the Pig toward the fund to help the Eastern Market vendors and their employees. City Markets like these are more than just places to buy food. They are social centers as well. Great article from today's Philadelphia paper http://www.philly.com/inquirer/column...

                1. re: MakingSense
                  monavano May 18, 2007 12:27 PM

                  When the new temporary structure is in place and the vendors are up and running you should go. Go just to see Cap. Hill. It's a gorgeous neighborhood and there's coffee shops and restaurants all around the area.
                  Sign up for email updates at www.easternmarket.net

            2. re: Chocolatechipkt
              n
              NoVaDog May 19, 2007 03:41 PM

              Blue Ridge Dairy for their whole milk yogurt. Sunnyside Farms for their eggs, quite special. Both at Penn Quarter, probably other markets, too. BTW the Sunnyside Rest Stop out in Shenandoah is no more.

              1. re: NoVaDog
                m
                MakingSense May 20, 2007 07:34 PM

                Blue Ridge Dairy does Eastern Market on weekends. Saw their truck on Saturday. The stalls are pretty scrambled since the fire so I didn't see where they were set up. Canale's is back with a limited selection of his Top Hit sausages and deli meats at Tortilla Café. Several others as well.

            3. b
              bacchante May 17, 2007 08:11 AM

              I go to the Courthouse market on Sat. a.m. As I've posted often, I absolutely love the meat at EcoFriendly Farms. The pork and chickens are both worth every penny more that they cost. Good rabbit and lamb, too. I can't comment about the beef, since I rarely eat beef. Eggs are good, and sometimes they have duck eggs.

              Unfortunately, there isn't fresh milk there, as that vendor is no longer there. It was wonderful while it lasted, though.

              At the Columbia Pike market (Sun a.m.) the one time I went, there was somebody selling excellent goat cheese, including aged, but I don't recall the name.

              For fresh mozzarella, good mascarpone, and the best yoghurt, go to Blue Ridge Dairy.

              My favorite fruit vendor for strawberries, peaches, pears, and apples is Toigo. Being from PA, they are later coming in, though. The good side is they have them later. Killer raspberries at Westmoreland. I don't notice much difference in blueberries from stand to stand, so I typically get them anywhere I'm buying other things and they look good.

              I find the best heirloom tomatoes at Wheatland, and I also tend to buy peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers there. They used to have excellent beans, too, but have been having problems with that lately.

              Sweet corn is best from Musachio. They ice it down after picking. Do me a favor, though, and don't strip back the husk to look for insect damage and/or kernel quality. That ruins it for everybody. Just feel the ears and buy those that feel firm, heavy, and full. Cut off any insect damage. It won't hurt you.

              Red Rake Farm has very nice things, too, such as nice cherry-type tomatoes and tiny sweet peppers.

              I buy from a number of others, too. I take a quick buzz and see who has what looks best and then go around again with a plan.

              Now that I've just increased the length of the lines in my favorite places, you'll have to let me cut in front. I'm the one with frizzy hair, shorts, and t-shirt.

              5 Replies
              1. re: bacchante
                m
                MakingSense May 17, 2007 08:43 AM

                Corn husk strippers drive me nuts, too! So easy to tell good corn the way you describe - just by the feel of the ear. And the corn stays fresh if you leave the husk intact.

                You should post that on General Chowhound Topics - should get some interesting opinions. Might be fun. Oh, my God! Food has bugs?

                1. re: MakingSense
                  b
                  bacchante May 17, 2007 02:14 PM

                  interesting idea. I might do that next week.

                2. re: bacchante
                  chowser May 17, 2007 10:54 AM

                  These sound awesome--all of them. Makes me long for summer. Is Courthouse in Arlington? LOL, I'll keep an eye out for you, though I'm never pushy enough for some and always end up waiting and waiting to pay.

                  1. re: chowser
                    b
                    bacchante May 17, 2007 02:09 PM

                    this market is right across from the Arlington Courthouse, on Courthouse Rd. between Arlington Blvd/rte 50 and Wilson Blvd.

                    1. re: bacchante
                      chowser May 17, 2007 04:40 PM

                      Thanks--not too far so definitely do-able.

                3. ChocoHound May 17, 2007 09:19 AM

                  I like Susie's Cookies at the Clarendon. Everything is good, but tell her what type of things you like and she'll help you pick. Also, at both Clarendon and Courthouse markets Christopher Bakery. Check out the blueberry scones. The French bakery from baltimore at the Colubmia Pike farmer's market --their apple tarts and croissants.

                  I think for produce the Columbia Pike farmer's market is the best for a few reasons: compact so you are not too overwhelmed by choice, a few different farms so you can have your pick of what taste best from that week of competing in-season produce.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ChocoHound
                    chowser May 17, 2007 10:55 AM

                    Sounds like a great morning--get a cup of coffee, some fresh pastries and good food.

                    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I'll try it out and maybe I'll stop whining that the farmers markets here don't compare to the ones in California. It's more a matter of knowing which to go to and what to get.

                    1. re: ChocoHound
                      c
                      CerealKiller May 19, 2007 03:46 PM

                      Thanks for sharing about the Courthouse market - I've been meaning to go forever and now I know what to keep an eye out for. I've been to the flea market there a couple times and have like it, but I think I tend to sleep in on Saturdays too often...

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