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May 17, 2007 02:13 PM

Best DC-Area Farmers' Markets

I am a junkie for the Arlington Farmer's Market, but wonder what other markets are good in the DC area.

In addition to weekend markets, are there markets that run on weekday evenings?

I live in Del Ray (Alexandria) -- though I'm happy to travel a bit if the gettin's are good.

Thanks for sharing thoughts.

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    I live in Alexandria and go to Del Ray, Courthouse, and Dupont. Of those, my favorite is Dupont for the variety. I am curious to try Kingstowne on Fridays. It's from 4-7. Anyone been?

    3 Replies
    1. re: monavano

      I go to the Fresh Farm market in Penn Quarter just about weekly (Thursdays, 3-7 or 8 pm). The breads are amazing, as are the frozen meats (bison, veal) and fresh cheeses. Lots of veggies and apples (haven't ever seen berries, and am always looking for them!).
      The saddest time of year for me comes in the fall when the market closes for the last time until the spring...

      1. re: monavano

        Kingstowne's is small. It had the basics but didn't make me want to go back when Burke is closer to me and has more variety. But, reading about other ones, I'm thinking it doesn't compare to some of the bigger ones.

      2. For the first time this morning, I went to the Annandale market (in a park right off Columbia Pike to the east of the Annandale commercial area). Smaller than the Courthouse market, it still had some pretty interesting vendors. There is someone selling kettle popcorn that is slightly sweet and salty too--my favorite combination of flavors. Half the bag was gone by the time I got home, and the rest is almost gone. I CAN NOT GO THERE EVER AGAIN.

        Since it starts later and is in an attractive urban location, The Dupont Circle market (to me) appears to be more of a social event. They do have some excellent vendors. However, I find it too crowded with people strolling with their lattes and chatting, dogs, kids, etc. for serious food shopping.

        3 Replies
        1. re: bacchante

          Don't let that keep anyone from this wonderful market. I am among the coffee and breakfast set, often stopping at Starbucks across the St. and grabbing something delightful from Bonaparte Bakery.I see the crowds as a sign that Dupont has excellent vendors, and for those not in the know; dogs are not allowed in the market since last year. The farmers and artisans are amazing, so no one should be hesitant to go there. Great relationships can be made with them, whether your from the neighborhood, or VA, like me.
          Make no doubt, it is very crowded during the high season, but it's for a good reason. And the sociability: even better.

          1. re: monavano

            Where in DuPont? You mentioned Starbucks? The one at Conn & R?
            Thanks -- I'm definately going to check it out.

            1. re: bigskymind

              here's the link. there's also one by Pizza Paradiso 2 blocks away. Depending where we park, we hit one of them.
              me+coffe+market goodies= very good

        2. Unless you are Birkenstock intolerant, the Takoma Park farmer's market is really good. (Sunday only.) Great produce in season . . . exceptional peaches, apples, tomatoes. They even let a meat guy set up a booth. (How's that for tolerance?) Also good herbs, honey, breads. Fun place for kids too. A banjo player plucks in the background. Sure, some animal rights guy walks around with a stuffed ``impaled'' fox, but such is life in a nuclear-free zone.

          3 Replies
          1. re: dan f.

            Where is this one? Is it cheaper than the dupont one? I find the Dupont one to have some good stuff but so $$$

            1. re: Jacey

              TP Farmer's Market is on Carroll Ave. in the heart of Takoma Park. It's up the hill from the Metro Red Line Takoma stop, a short walk. I see they have a web site, Haven't been to Dupont market but my guess is it's more of a bargain. They're likely to give you a discount on larger purchases, too. For instance, I get tomato ``seconds'' in late summer for making spaghetti sauce. Forgot what I paid but it isn't much.

              1. re: dan f.

                Living here, I second the TP farmer's market. I do wish Blue Ridge was here too, but it's very hard getting a spot in the market.

          2. And to add: "chef at the market" at Dupont is very fun. They have area top chefs and lots of fun. Book signings, food making, and let's not forget the 6 or so foot paella pan fun from Jaleo a month or so back. They usually get going around 11, which at that time the market is crowded and you may be missing the "best of the best" offerings. but all the same, it's a great time to catch the demonstration.

            1. I highly recommend the market at RFK stadium. It surely isn't the fanciest market. Not all of the food is grown by the vendors and there isn't much in the way of prepared food save for some church ladies selling cake slices. What it does have is one of the best farmers in the region. Check out the Mexican family that farms in Virginia. I'm terrible at names, but he's a very nice guy and very adventurous. What he does well is grow great vegetables. He grows awesome tomatoes, tomatillos, poke salad, a variety of eggplants, purslane, potatoes, garlic, onions, squash, chilis, basil, some odd Mexican green that I had never seen before and didn't get the name of but is used like Cilantro - but in smaller doses. There are other vendors there that appear from time to time. You can get fresh, shelled lima beans and other types of beans in season. Oh, and the prices are very cheap. There is even a fish vendor, though I have never bought from them. There used to be a truck that roasted peanuts, but they have long since stopped going there. In the height of the summer, you can get barbecue. I'm usually there at 8:00 and they are just setting up.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ChewFun

                RFK farmers' market is terrific. Almost all is grown by the local farmers but they can add things like lemons, oranges, etc. to make it one-stop shopping. The fish vendors sell live crabs during the summer and sometimes have head-on shrimp from the Carolinas. You have to gut and clean the fish yourself but it's as fresh as any you'll find in town. Some filets.
                Great place to buy bushel quantities of produce for canning at great prices. Flats of strawberries for jam. End of day bargains.
                This is a real down-home market but sometimes there are some chi-chi things. Tiny new potatoes the size of marbles. Unusual greens picked the night before. Fresh beans of unusual sorts. Different varieties of eggplants. Fabulous slab bacon. The Hispanic farmer has a fabulous selection of chilis in late summer.
                As ChewFun says, the prices here are cheap! Better than any in town. They take food stamps and WIC and draw an increasingly ethnic crowd which their products have started to reflect. Lots of reasons to explore this market. Easy parking. Usually set up in the parking lots north of RFK stadium toward Benning Road Thursdays and Saturdays.