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May 11, 2008 11:19 AM

Favorite Local Farmer's Market?

Which farmer's market do you frequent? Any cool or unique finds? DC metro please...

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  1. The Saturday farmer's market at Courthouse in Arlington is pretty fantastic. Lots to choose from. From DC take the Orange line out Courthouse Metro stop.

    1. The Farmers Market at RFK Stadium is an often overlooked gem. It's not the place for organic or much in the way of prepared foods. You can even buy bananas there. The reason why it is worth going to is for the wonderful and cheap produce grown by a Mexican couple. This weekend they had spinach, garlic, swiss chard, 3 kinds of lettuce, 2 kinds of radishes, cilantro, turnips chinese cabbage, and a large variety of greens. Later on, they will have many different kinds of eggplant, tomatillos, squash, etc. The quality is high and the prices are low as compared to Dupont Circle.

      7 Replies
      1. re: ChewFun

        We've been going to the RFK market for more than 25 yrs. It's mostly a producers' market and has real quality in locally grown foods - long before local became cool.
        It's a DC project and they've always allowed the farmers to add some things from wholesalers because there are so few supermarkets in some Wards of DC where a lot of those shoppers come from so they're trying to give them a one-stop shopping experience. I've never had a problem with being able to get good prices on citrus or bananas. Saves me another trip too.

        One of best things about RFK is that the farmers will offer flats of berries or bushels of produce at prices that make it worth your while to make jam or to freeze or can for winter. Remarkable price difference.
        You have to clean the fish yourself but there's none fresher in DC. They sometimes have head-on shrimp and live crabs. Also a BBQ pit going that does a good job on ribs.
        Lots of easy parking in the North parking lot of RFK at Benning RD/Langston Golf Course.

          1. re: arose

            It starts at about 8:00. I go there mostly at 9:00. I don't know how late they stay open. My guess is 12:00 or 1:00. Every so often, the market is closed due to a big event at RFK. It may still be too early to see the market in its full glory. It is hardly a chi chi place, but the Mexican vendors are awesome. In the summer, there are a couple of other vendors that are great, especially the guy selling shelled lima beans and crowder peas.

            1. re: arose

              They usually start shutting down 3-ish and a lot of the vendors will mark down what's left.
              Agree completely about the hispanic farmers (but I thought they were Central American, can't remember which country) but there are some terrific black farmers from MD and VA too.

              This is down-home market of serious Upper South local foodstuffs with things you rarely saw fresh in other markets and often still don't.
              Terrific bacon, side meats, hoop cheese, even an old guy who makes fresh pork rinds (hope he's still there!), peanuts, shelley beans, etc.
              Always THE best greens - usually harvested the night before or that morning. I've never bough better collards anywhere.
              One of my favorites is the fresh-dug potatoes, sometimes as tiny as marbles, for as cheap as 50 cents/lb (although I'm sure costs will go up this year.) "New" potatoes are $3 or more even at Safeway. These are so fresh and tender that you want to much on them raw.

          2. re: ChewFun

            I think the Dupont market is very overpriced. Give you give me some examples how much produce is with the Mexican farmers so I know if it's worth the trip.

            1. re: Jacey

              If you do a Saturday tour of markets, you can add the H Street Farmers' Market, small but run by the same people who operate the Dupont Market.
              Then hit RFK.
              Try Litteri's in the Florida Avenue Market for the best prices in town for olive oil, imported pastas, and other Italian specialties. They have great wine prices too, with case price discounts.
              Finish off at Eastern Market for fresh meats from the East Hall vendors. Everything from organic chicken to a selection of bacon, fresh pastas, jamon iberico (still expensive but best price in town), prime meats, chitterlings, and foie gras.
              Hard to find the variety anywhere else in the Metro area using so little gas.

              1. re: MakingSense

                Newbie question, but where exactly is the H Street Market? On H, of course... but which cross street?

          3. All of the Fresh Farm Markets are wonderful. Generally, the markets in DC are pricier,but they attract top notch artisans and growers.
            VA is chock-full of farmers markets. I enjoy Del Ray, Alexandria and Kingstowne in season.
            You can check out my website for At The Market updates. It keeps readers in the loop with regards to what's in season.
            Here's an update from this weekend at the Del Ray and Dupont Markets.

            1. I've been going to the Dupont Circle farmers market and love it. Blue Ridge Dairy (which is also at other locations) is fabulous -- and while they are at Whole Foods now, I'd rather give my $$ directly to them. There are so many good finds there. I have yet to try the artisanal gelato, but the variety of flavors sounds really good.

              I also like the Takoma Park farmers market, and not just because it's close. There's a great community feeling about the TP market.

              10 Replies
              1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                How much does Whole Foods upmark the stuff from Blue Ridge Dairy?

                1. re: Jacey

                  My absolute favorite dairy is Trickling Springs Creamery. Right at the PA/DC line with a full line of dairy products including raw milk cheeses. Grass-fed, organic, even glass bottles at some outlets.
                  I get their products at an Amish farmers' market in Easton but WF carries at least their buttermilk which I use for biscuits.
                  The best thing is their competitive prices. Blue Ridge Dairy's butter is $10/lb. Yikes! Amish butter and the block butter from Lewes Dairy are as good, if not better, and much less expensive.

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    That would be Chambersburg, PA, just over the PA/MD line.

                  1. re: Smiles2008

                    No, but there's another vendor at Dupont who sells milk. Can't think of the name at the moment.

                  2. re: Chocolatechipkt

                    The yogurt that Blue Ridge Dairy sells is so delicious it should not even be called yogurt--it is on an entirely different playing field. MMMM!

                    1. re: julialimei

                      It is undoubtedly the best yogurt I have ever tasted in this country. Have you tried their Greek-style yogurt? Your spoon could stand straight up in it, it's so thick.

                      1. re: bacchante

                        The Greek-style is next on our list--thanks for the recommendation! We've been buying the plain and honey flavor (we've tried the original and lower fat...the original is better of course, but the low fat is excellent too). Now I can't wait to go back to the farmers' market to pick up his version of Greek yogurt. Thanks again.

                        1. re: julialimei

                          It sells out, so go earlier rather than later. :)

                          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                            I saw Blue Ridge at the Kingstowne market yesterday

                  3. Courthouse is the market I visit most regularly. The strawberries have been spectacular this year. This morning I am finishing off the quart I bought l last Saturday and they're still delicious. Asparagus has been very good, though it seems to be dwindling in supply.

                    I work in Bethesda and usually stop by the market there on Tuesdays. It's quite small and the produce has been pretty limited the last two weeks, but Praline, a Bethesda bakery has a stand, and everything I've tried is quite good.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: cookiegirl

                      I went to Penn Quarter Fresh Farm Market this afternoon and it was a nice supply, if a bit limited. There were excellent greens like spring mix, butter lettuce, head lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, bok choy, mesculun, and some spinach. I was rather impressed with the selection. I got some Dino Kale (Black or Tuscan Kale, Black cabbage) and it was only $3 a bunch which I KNOW is a great deal! I also picked up some asparagus which was in abundance there. There were some nice tomatoes and cucumbers from Toigo Orchards but there were no strawberries left when I got there less than an hour into the market. Also, there were no onions (no ramps, wild onions, leeks...) It is still early for most onions probably. The Quail Creek Breads were really numerous today and I can personally vouch for the Bacon Cheddar and the Honey Whole Wheat. Quail Creek doesn't get much chatter but they are a great addition to the market. overall, it was good but the abundance is still several weeks away (although i am so excited about my asparagus in risotto and then plate the risotto on the kale!!)

                      1. re: daves_32

                        Ramps are just about done (but should be at Dupont on Sunday) and spring onions have been at the markets for weeks. I have been grilling and roasting the spring onions like crazy!
                        Quail Creek is wonderful-I wish they came to a market close to me.

                        1. re: monavano

                          I saw ramps today at the Old Town, Alexandria market.