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May 1, 2009 02:37 PM

Rockville Farmers Market?

With the opening of farmers market season upon us, I'm looking for some advice. We moved to Rockville from Frederick about 18 months ago and last summer I drove many Saturday mornings up to the West Frederick market on Baughmans Lane that I've been patronizing for many years because I love it and I know the vendors very well. I can't keep doing that. I need to find a market closer to home. So, I'm curious, do any of you patronize the Rockville market on Saturdays or Wednesday afternoons? Do you have any advice for me? Vendors you especially like? Thanks so much!

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  1. It's an OK farmer's market, Lauman. Really, it depends who shows up. There's an even smattering of local farmers with produce, with a mixture of florists, bakers, cheesemakers, etc. There is also another Saturday farmer's market close-by in Kensington, at the old railroad station by Antiques Row. (It's about the same as Rockville's).

    I've never been to Frederick's farmers market, so I don't know what you're used to. The local farmers markets are relatively small, in my opinion. Still, depending on what you're looking for they can have some neat things.

    1. There twice as many vendors on Saturday than on Wednesday, but it's still not a huge market - less than 20 vendors on Saturdays.

      As Sean said, it's ok, certainly not one of the premier markets in the DC area, but I've been happy with what I've bought there, the prices are generally reasonable, and many of the vendors have been coming for years.

      One nice thing - it's a "grower's only" market. Many markets in the area have a lot of middlemen, wholesalers, and resellers. Not allowed here.

      A few times a year, I drive to one of the more popular markets in the area, but since the Rockville market is 5 minutes from the house, it's a reasonable compromise.

      2 Replies
      1. re: DanielK

        For some reason, the MD DC-area farmers markets just are not as good as those in DC or VA. But any such is worth-while. Anybody have favorites?

        1. re: eatsie

          Right now, I like Riverdale Park on Thursdays. Right now, they have the bread, pickle guy, milk, meat, eggs, flowers, plants and greens. Sadly, it doesn't appear that the oyster vendor is coming back this year. I guess they couldn't make a profit at the market.

          The Greenbelt market will open for it's 2nd year on the 17th, and I'm curious to see how it grows this year.

      2. The Wednesday market in Rockville is underwhelming. A few flower growers, a bakery, a pickle merchant (looks promising), and some vegetable growers. The prices are not particularly cheap. When we want a mega market, we go to the Sunday market under I-83 in Baltimore. Now that's what I consider a market. Well worth the hour's drive.

        5 Replies
        1. re: kolomya

          >> The Wednesday market in Rockville is underwhelming

          As I said above, the Saturday market has twice as many vendors as Wednesday.

          >> The prices are not particularly cheap.

          Farmers markets are not normally known for being cheap. They are a vehicle for farmers to sell directly to consumers, eliminating the middlemen, both making relationships with consumers and taking the profits that would normally go to other markups. Consumers benefit from relationships directly with growers, and short field-to-table times, and not necessarily lower prices.

          >> Well worth the hour's drive.

          Doesn't this completely defeat the purpose of a farmer's market? Spending 2 hours driving, plus $50 in gas? After a summer doing this, you could buy your own farm...

          1. re: DanielK

            >>Doesn't this completely defeat the purpose of a farmer's market? Spending 2 hours driving, plus $50 in gas? <<

            Exactly! This is why I was asking about the Rockville market, because it's about 7 minutes from my house. If I wanted to spend half the day driving and looking for parking, I'd just go to the Dupont Market every week.

            1. re: Lauman

              I'm with you, Lauman. I think your answer is that a couple of times over the summer, you will feel the urge to drive down to Dupont, but most weeks you'll be fine, if not quite in love, with Rockville.

              1. re: Lauman

                I go to both Rockville and Dupont very frequently. In Rockville you'll find all the basics that you likely want (in season)- melons, peaches, cherries corn etc. You won't find the variety of other additional things you'll find at Dupont from the more specialty vendors. I can only speak for saturday but I have gotten fabulous produce in Rockville, for a little less than the cost at Dupont.

          2. I understand that there will not be food merchants (i.e. the crepe and pickle man) this year due to the economy. Those who run the markets do not want them competing with the food in the towne center.

            3 Replies
            1. re: cocoagirl

              Well, the 2009 website lists the crepe and pickle man, so I'm not sure that's good intel.

              1. re: DanielK

                well my "intel" was from the pickle man himself- so take that for what it is worth.

                1. re: cocoagirl

                  The website, updated in the last few weeks, still shows him, so that's too bad if he's not coming. Three bakeries are also still listed.