Best local products?
I recently read Animal Vegetable Miracle, and it got me thinking about local produce and products, and my lack of knowledge despite living here the better part of 20 years. I'm wondering if there are favorites and recommendations from my fellow foodies!
All thoughts are welcomed - produce, baked goods, jams, local butchers, anything local to the DC/Baltimore area.
Not sure EXACTLY what you are looking for, but the obvious answer is...
The best Farmer's Market in the DC area is at Dupont Circle on Sun. mornings. (8am - 12p?) Cheese, baked goods, jams, flowers, mushrooms, whatever is growing in season. Also some prepared foods, seafood, meat and dairy from organic farms.
This is a producers-only market, so anyone selling has to make/grow what they sell. Which is why you shouldn't count on tropical fruits, etc. or anything imported or out of season. The other producers-only market is in Arlington on Saturday mornings. Smaller than Dupont Circle, but some very nice products.
The Eastern Market has a vendor from WV in late summer they have peaches, that you can smell walking up to the stand, they are great.
At the Penn Quarter Market I love Dolcezza.
At the new cheese shop in Virginia they have a great selection of cheese from MD/VA that are great.
You might also want to check out the organic butcher in McLean.
There is also a good list of CSA's on the Wapo website.
The amish markets in the Baltimore area are good for breads. Lots of great local bakeries in many locals.
The cheese shop is: http://www.lafromagerieonline.com/ La Fromagerie. They had cow, sheep and goat cheese from MD and VA. They put together a platter for a friend of mine having a cocktail party with local wine and beer and local products.
The organic butcher is pricey, but has really nice stuff. I normally get my beef and lamb from home (raised on a beef farm in Western Maryland), but when I need specialty cuts or meats, I really like the organic butcher. http://www.theorganicbutcher.com/mcle... They normally have a listing of what they have but it appears they are getting a new website which isn't complete yet.
If you are in that area both Pastries by Randolph and Heidelberg bakery are good. Randolph has great baguettes and croissants.
What area are you in?
Also it is getting closer to fruit season, I normally find the best jellies and jams are at the places you can pick your own fruit, but I normally make my own freezer jam and etc.
I've always been a fan of the Amish Market (and I know there's a new one in Upper Marlboro too) but I was shocked at how many products there are neither Amish-made nor local. The girls making the pretzels were using liberal amounts of Pam and they carried Dole bananas. In the cheese section, there was a sign proclaiming "Now, Amish Made Cheese" and there was exactly one choice.
Manger's Meat Company in Baltimore makes halfsmokes for Ben's Chili Bowl and Weenie Beenie. They're available at Canales Meats in Eastern Market. Great bunch of people there. They also make great, cheap food around the corner at Tortilla Cafe.
Canales Quality Meats
225 7th St SE, Washington, DC
washington dc, washington, dc
The majority of farmers markets in Virginia open the first week of May. Yay. If you're near Farifax County, just google virginia farmers markets fairfax and you'll get the rundown on what is opening when and where. All feature locally produce, meats dairy and other products. The one in Dupont Circle is excellent. Alexandria has a good one but my favororite is the one in Burke at the VRE parking lot on Saturdays. That is where you can not only get the usual in season produce but also Quail Creek Farms (WV) breads, which are the best I've found in the metro area. The best locally raised grass fed beef, bacon, eggs and cheeses closest to DC can be had from Stony Man Farms at the Bethesda Women's coop. Their beef is superior to anything I've found at the farmers markets and its fresh not frozen. The stand next to theirs is now carrying fresh chicken. My biggest beef (no pun intended) is that all of the meats sold at the local farmers markets is frozen so I really value being able to get it unfrozen and a French guy started selling bread and croissants there last year and he is definitely worth checking out.
If you're in the mood for a road trip, out Rt. 66 right at the Middleburg exit is the Green Barn Farmers market for local meats, produce and locally made foods. I usually get my turkey and milk there along with a variety of prepared foods and baked goods. Take that in with some of the local wineries and lunch or brunch at the Hunters Head Tavern in Upperville and it makes for a great day. There is also a fabulous butcher in downtown Middleburg called the Home Farm Store. Top dollar but top quality local organic grass fed meats.