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JFX Farmer's Market 2010

Next Sunday (May 2) is the long awaited (by me anyway) opening of the JFX Farmer's Market. There will be a couple of things new this year,

According to the Sun blog, Many Rocks Farm will be offering goat meat, hormone and largely antibiotic free. In addition to chops and ground goat, she will have several kinds of goat sausage.

There's also going to some guy selling smoothies that are mixed with a bicycle powered apparatus. $5.50 with a 50 cent discount if you do your own pedaling. Sounds gimmicky to me, but who knows.

Next weekend there will probably be local asparagus, but it's still a week or two away for local strawberries.

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  1. We just started going to the market at the end of 2009 and am excited to go through the whole summer this year. We really like the organic produce at the stand near the Hollywood Diner side. Are there any other good organic vendors to look for? Also, who is the one that sells the peas everyone was talking about last year?

    7 Replies
    1. re: loungelizard

      He is closer to the end with Pit Beef, across from the Omelette stand.

      1. re: Tugboat

        Also, the peas don't show up until late May and run through mid to late June.

      2. re: loungelizard

        You may need to look beyond the JFX for organic foods...

        I visited the Baltimore Farmer's Market under the JFX this morning in search of vendors that sell organic produce and organic grass fed beef or organic poultry. I found only one vendor selling organic produce and there were no organic meat vendors.

        Cats Paw Organic Farm offered a selection of tomatoes, beets, flat peas, potatoes and a few other veggies that I can't recall. There was also an organic mushroom stand and an organic acai berry stand.

        While making my way through the market I asked produce vendors if they were organic and the response varied. Lindeman's Apiary, who sells honey and squash, said they were not certified but do not spray pesticides, Chesapeake Greenhouse, who sells pea tendrils and gourmet lettuce, signage states they does not use pesticides, Agriberry.com said they practice sustainable agriculture, and all others confirmed pesticide use.

        As for meat and poultry vendors, I found there were no organic vendors. However, Hens Nest, a vendor that offers free range or caged chicken eggs, and doesn't use hormones or antibiotics. Hickorychance.com offers beef products that were fed home raised feeds, silage, and alfalfa/orchard grass hay. Albright Farms signage claimed their beef is grain finished, and Gunpowder Bison offers bison meats that were grass fed and finished on grain for the last 60 days of life.

        1. re: lauranda

          Well yeah, organic certification is expensive -- well beyond the means of many small producers. Cat's Paw is organic, but you pay for their right to call it that. For many small producers, organic certification just isn't a paying proposition even though their methods don't really differ.

          1. re: JonParker

            I had this exact conversation today with Many Rocks Farms, the people who sell the goat meat. They said that they were organic (and sustainable and treated their animals humanely) but just couldn't afford to pay for organic certification.

            1. re: baltoellen

              Incidentally, while organic is nice, what I really care about is flavor. Hen's Nest has consistently given me great eggs and chickens. I usually buy my beef from Truck Patch Farms, since it has great flavor -- much better than Hickory Chance, IMO.

              I can't see paying more for inferior product, and unfortunately, that's what happens a lot with certified organic vendors.

            2. re: JonParker

              There is a CSA at the market that has certified organic; good product too. On the north side(?). I think they are from Calvert County. At the Waverly Market One Straw Farm consistently has high quality organic. Hickory Chance Farm tried to convince me that I don't want and would not like grass fed and finsihed. Not true. I now buy in bulk from Ruth Anne's Salad Bar beef. Fed only grass and legumes, nothing corn. Dry aged and very high quaility.

        2. Also, you should know that Many Rocks Farm, and other new vendors, will be at the "west" market, that is, across from Hollywood Diner, and a week bit north.

          1. My husband and I were thinking about heading to the Market this Sunday for breakfast before heading out of town - does anyone know if there are any vegan offerings for breakfast - I know there are egg dishes but was hoping for some vegan breakfast suggestions.

            3 Replies
            1. re: amyatkendall

              Plenty of veggie options but my favs are: anything the mushroom lady is making and the ultimate breakfast sammy IMO is the Portobello Mushroom Breakfast Burrito that is made at the stand making the fresh carrot juice. God it is good and is huge! Top it off with the fresh made mini donuts and you will be sleeping in the car afterwards.

              1. re: jck

                What exit off of 83-S is this??? I assume I would see it as soon as I get off of the exit..

                1. re: HungryinBmore

                  If you take the Pleasant Street exit (it is the left exit right before the end of 83 south) you will run into it.

            2. Courtney and I made it early this morning. Agriberry from VA has very nice strawberries. Got coffee from Zeke's, eggs from Hen's Nest, bacon from truck patch. Asparagus seemed expensive and woody, so we passed on that. Lots of herbs for planting.

              The goat vendor is in the west market, across the street from the main area. But when we over there we had a nice surprise -- salsa guy, who started out at the market last year but disappeared about halfway through is back, although he lost his space. According to him they quit coming because they were kicked out of the commercial kitchen space they used to make it, so they had to make other arrangments. He'll have black bean salsa next week.

              Pea Man said last week of May for peas.

              Not a lot of new vendors, but it was great to see all the old ones back.

              6 Replies
              1. re: JonParker

                Salsa guy ran out of the grilled pineapple salsa by the time we got there. If anyone purchased it, would you care to comment?

                1. re: bmorecupcake

                  Well the guy selling it (he's not the one who makes it) wasn't all that fond of it -- he thinks it tastes more like a fruit salad. I like the garden salsa and the black bean salsa, but I'm pretty much with him -- fruit salsa just isn't my thing.

                  1. re: JonParker

                    Odd, I asked them twice today and both times they told me they make the pineapple salsa themselves. The second time I specifically mentioned "I heard someone else makes it" and was told that was not the case.

                    They did have black bean salsa today.

                    1. re: bmorecupcake

                      Sorry, I was unclear. They make all their own salsa, but the guy who sells it is the brother of the guy who actually makes it. Sadly, I didn't make it to the market today -- too much fun last night.

                2. re: JonParker

                  Do you know anything about these Agriberry folks? Their name sounds very ... chemical/fake/something. I figured that they were growing them in greenhouses or something like that. I posted another top-level post about the strawberries. I thought they might be grown a long way away, but maybe they really are local. There were a few selling strawberries though--maybe from all the southern-most counties + VA in the case of Agriberry.

                  1. re: nstoddar

                    Agriberry is a fruit CSA from Richmond, VA that also sells at farmer's markets in the area. They aren't using greenhouses as far as I know. Everything I've gotten from them has been pretty good, although sometimes their prices trend a little high.

                3. I thought the most unique new thing were the hummus guys? Did anyone else sample? Surprise Cake Hummus. Cinnamon Raisin Hummus. Sounds odd, and it is, but the taste sort of grew on us and it seems like Cinnamon Raisin Hummus on a bagel would probably be healthier than cream cheese?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: a70wilson

                    Where were they? Those sound really awful, but I'd be willing to give it a shot.

                    1. re: JonParker

                      On the Zeke's coffee side of the market, right next to the falafel stand, across-ish from Neopol Smokery.

                      1. re: bmorecupcake

                        Ok, maybe we didn't notice them, or maybe they weren't set up by the time we left. We tend to be early birds.

                    2. re: a70wilson

                      We bought the Asian Fire Hummus, it was really fresh tasting, creamy and spicy. I loved it and would assume their other flavors would probably be good, too. They're all a little different, but somehow not as weird once they're in your mouth.

                      1. re: a70wilson

                        The hummus dudes are the same people as The Desert Cafe in Mount Washington. The owner, Blake, is a great guy and a talented chef.

                      2. We enjoyed having Pitango at the West Market. The white grapefruit sorbet was the perfect remedy for the hot and humid weather.

                        We got there at 10:15 and the market was completely packed. Many places (granola lady, both bakeries, agriberry, etc) had already sold out!

                        1. We went too and found the salsa guy and had the first portobello burrito of the year. Where is the pea guy??? We looked across from the omelette guy but that space was empty (next to mushroom lady). Is he further towards the north side of mushroom lady? Speaking of mushroom lady, she was a bit perturbed that we were there so early (7:30). We told her that we read that the market is now opening at 7. She had no clue. Salsa guy said the only reason he knew about the earlier start was reading it in the paper too. I think a few vendors may have not known since they weren't ready at 7.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: loungelizard

                            When I got there after 10, the pea guy was gone. He is northwest of the mushroom lady and on the same side as the mushroom lady (i.e., not on the omelette guy side.) So if you are walking from west to east, you'll pass a meat seller, then there's the pea guy, then there's a gap to cross to the other side of the circle, then there's a small stand with an older gentleman selling some plants, and then there's the mushroom lady. Sorry if I got some stands mixed up.

                            Don't worry about mushroom lady. She's just that way sometimes.

                            1. re: bmorecupcake

                              Pea guy didn't seem to have much, just a few strawberries and some asparagus. I'm guessing he sold out early.

                              1. re: JonParker

                                I must have bought our asparagus from Pea-guy. (Was he the only one selling by the pound -- 2.79/lb I think?) I didn't even realize it was him. We don't usually buy our peas/beans from him, instead opting for whole lima beans on the other side. The asparagus looked great though. It's still in the fridge waiting to be devoured though. I'm not sure if he had strawberries when we rolled through though.

                          2. So exciting! I was thinking they opened a little later in May. My daughter and I normally go early and hit Zeke's coffee and the smoothie stand across from them. We are looking forward to trying the salsa this year. Last year he was already gone by the time we started going. Love getting my weekly produce there. We will have to check out the asparagus and the fresh herbs. Looking to add some new herbs to my container garden. Can't wait until tomorrow morning! (Wishful thinking...JFX Twitter page!)

                            1. We were there by 7:30. Even though today was cold, the market was bustling by 8. Pitango has now moved into the main market, next to mushroom lady.

                              There were excellent asparagus early today. I saw one last bunch of thin purple asparagus at the stand across the "aisle" from Martin's Farms... and as I walked toward it, someone snatched it up. Argh! At the triple-washed salad mix people (the ones across from The Breadery), I was told they had some thin purple asparagus earlier, too. Peas guy had green tomatoes. We sampled the strawberries at Agriberry and even though they were flavorsome, they weren't quite as sweet as I had bought from our local farmers market earlier in the week so we passed. Cat's Paw Farms had yellow/orange cherry tomatoes and new potatoes, both red and white. By the time we left, these were all sold out. The red new potatoes are just amazing. I bit into some raw as I was washing them and they are so beautifully tender. Please don't tell me if that's bad for me, I always taste test everything like that. ;)

                              At the west market, there is a produce stand nestled all the way in the corner. We purchased a bunch of small beets and sunflowers from him. Close to that stand is a vegetarian prepared foods stand. Their cucumber salad was pretty good when we sampled it, but the onions really bother me after eating more. The other items they had were also pretty good and I plan to check it out again.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: bmorecupcake

                                The west market produce guys, a father and son who work on a farm in Virginia, had great greens, onions, plants, and strawberries today. I had their mixed salad greens last week, and was impressed. A good variety, but not the least bit fussy. And, not many people know about them (yet), so great place to shop without having to deal with the crowds.

                                1. re: baltoellen

                                  I'm still trying to figure out my east-west orientation under the JFX - is the west side the side that Zeke's is on, or the other side where Ethel & Ramones is located?

                                  1. re: amyatkendall

                                    It's actually easier than that! The west side, it's more like an annex really, is across the street in a small parking lot from the main market. So, if you know where the Hollywood Diner is, just cross the street and head a little bit north. (Ethel & Ramones is west of Zeke's, if that helps.)

                                    1. re: baltoellen

                                      Thank you so much! I didn't realize there were produce vendors in there - I thought it was all crafty stuff! Thanks as well for the spacial orientation - I'm from Chicago where the lake is always in the east for us directionally-impaired types :)

                              2. Peas are here! He seemed to have a limited amount of them, but that means the next few weeks are definitely pea season.

                                Just about everyone has strawberries, so i got a couple of quarts. Salsa guy had black bean salsa this week, so I got a pint of that. Lots of asparagus.

                                Does anyone know if Meatcrafters is still coming? They tended to set up late last year, so I'm not sure of they dropped out or we're just missing them. They are the sausage vendor that used to set up next to Gunpowder Bison.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: JonParker

                                  I hope Meatcrafters shows up. Bought from them a few times and were never disappointed.

                                  1. re: exploravore

                                    The list of farmers' markets on the meatcrafters site doesn't list the Baltimore market anymore, so it seems like they're gone.

                                    Call me curmudgeonly, but I don't mind. I think Salt River, Albright and Truck Patch are the only vendors new within the last 5 years that I've really thought were worth patronage (not that I don't have misgivings about an outdoor summertime seafood vendor...). Hard to know what to make of the produce stand next to the smoothies in the west market, but their radishes looked good.

                                    Meatcrafters lost me when their $10 prosciutto was a 3oz pack of La Quercia.

                                    Sorry I missed the peas, though. I stopped by for asparagus around 9 and all that was left was an empty cooler in the truck and a handful of mashed peas on the table by the scale. Maybe next week I'll actually get up when my alarm goes off--I haven't seen the market open since at least 08.

                                2. Overall, I am happy with the bicycle smoothie guy in the west market. At home, we always use frozen fruit for smoothies in place of ice so I was very optimistic when I saw they do the same.

                                  I realized today that even if the flavor combination isn't quite right, I can finish the smoothie just on the quality of his ingredients. Today we got the Bossi Lassi: mangoes, yogurt, honey, and a pinch of cardamom. Unfortunately, there was far more than a pinch of cardamom and it overwhelmed everything else. (And I have a very high tolerance for cardomom.) I would get it again but with 10% of the cardamom.

                                  Much to my surprise, the pedaling gimmick actually attracts quite a crowd. I saw that children were having a bit harder time pedaling, but for adults it's not too difficult. Apparently you have to maintain a proper blending speed. Too slow or too fast and it won't work. Also, they'll have you check and see if the smoothie is smooth enough for you. Don't just say "yes". If it looks chunky, make sure you/they keep pedaling until it's smooth.

                                  Moving on, has anyone purchased the granola from the west market? The samples taste really good. I was wondering if the granola holds up with repeated snacking.

                                  1. Courtney and I got there at our usual time (between 6:30 and 7) this morning. Bought much of the usual -- Zeke's coffee, Hen's Nest eggs, lovely strawberries all over the place. Pea Man had more peas this week, so it looked like there were plenty to go around. Asparagus still plentiful. I saw some purple asparagus.

                                    Got a chicken from Truck Patch along with some ground beef. More black bean salsa from the salsa guys. Be sure to stop by for a sample. They've got some incredible homemade chips, which they said they might be selling soon. Courtney bought squid from Salt River.

                                    A rainy morning, but a very successful trip.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: JonParker

                                      The Pea folks had plenty to go around. Got ours around 9:00. Plus they have some delicious green tomatoes.

                                    2. Anybody got strawberry recommendations? Last year the best I had, hands down, were One Straw's, but they were CSA-only for a single week (and they're not at the JFX market anyway). So this year I've been going farm by farm--McCarthy (best flavor, worst texture) and the farm two tables down from Calvert (beautiful color, flavorless) two weeks ago, Bartenfelder (consistently good but never superlative) last week, and this week, Zarahdka and Woerner, which I haven't tried yet.

                                      Which leaves at least Reid, Lewis and the guy with the huge beard who sells the melons and gourds later in the season. Who's your favorite?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: perlish

                                        Best strawberries yet have been from Agriberry. Their stand is over near Dangerously Delicious. They are based out of Virginia (Richmond area). Amazing size, flavor, texture, and color. We bought a half flat last week and froze some. I saw that they were selling raspberries today - a small selection.

                                      2. Haul for today: two flats of strawberries from Agriberry, Buche Noire chevre from Firefly (so glad to see they're back this year!), some early rhubarb, some pink and red radishes, peas from Pea Lady, box of donuts, and Zeke's Nicaraguan Silva Negra for cold-filtered coffee. Also some black bean salsa! Next week I'm going to try the portabella breakfast sandwich everyone says is so good.

                                        1. Peas were gone by 9:30. Anybody have a sense of whether they're having supply issues or whether it's the new and improved crowds? It still hasn't quite sunk in yet that 9 is basically the new 10:30.

                                          Calvert's strawberries have arrived, and they're the smallest and prettiest I've seen so far. Lewis's also looked wonderful, and the local/retail options (especially Baugher's at Mill Valley and Burton's at Eddies in Mt. Vernon) are in full swing. So many choices, all good; I just hope the hot weather this week doesn't spoil anything so I can still have time to buy a flat or two for saving.

                                          The one veg farm over by the smoothies is from southern VA, and it shows--their onions are nearly mature, and they've got 3 or 4 kinds of squash already. Summer can't get here soon enough.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: perlish

                                            I got to the pea lady at 7:15 and there was already a line. By the time we were headed out around 9am, the line was HUGE.

                                            Also, where is Agriberry? I don't remember seeing them (and I forgot to look).

                                            1. re: Christina D

                                              Agriberry is at the end of the line directly behind the mushroom lady.

                                          2. Hadn't updated in a few weeks. It's prime time for heirloom tomatoes, peaches, blackberries and blueberries.

                                            Beans not in yet, but pea man is selling okra, canteloupes (yuck) and tomatoes.

                                            10 Replies
                                            1. re: JonParker

                                              Any freestone peaches yet, or is it still too early?

                                              1. re: Hal Laurent

                                                I got freestones this morning. They need a couple days of ripening, but they're definitely freestones

                                                1. re: JonParker

                                                  What do they look like? Are they better?

                                                  1. re: jvanderh

                                                    I'm not sure what you're asking. They look like peaches, but freestones have a stone that separates from the peach easily, while clingstones, which are the first to come into season, the peach sticks to the stone. They both taste about the same, but I like having the stone come out easily.

                                                    1. re: JonParker

                                                      I was asking what they looked like and whether they tasted better. Thanks!

                                                2. re: Hal Laurent

                                                  I picked up some lovely freestone peaches from Reid's Orchard yesterday. As I was leaving the market, I stopped at a guy who was passing out samples of "West Virginia Peaches" in the little triangle median between the main market and the annex. I don't remember the name of the farm, but it is their first year at this market and they have been relegated to the annex (which is mostly crafts). They had peaches (freestone yellow and white flesh), nectarines (yellow and white flesh), italian prunes, apples (honey crisp and ginger gold), and tomatoes (which looked okay but I did not buy). Everything else was excellent quality, and the stone fruit was the best I've had this season. Wish I had known they were there sooner.

                                                  1. re: Non Cognomina

                                                    Are the Lima bean and black eyed pea folks still selling?

                                                    1. re: Non Cognomina

                                                      I agree with you about the quality of the fruit from that west side annex orchard. Their white peaches are pretty amazing, and black plums are great, too. In addition, there are other food vendors in that area that are worth checking out including the salsa guy-- who has a product is so good I just pretend it's gazpacho; why dilute it with tortilla chips?!--the granola people, Banksy's--which has actual gazpacho, and a fantastic beet borscht with Greek yogurt, the organic goat meat vendor, and the bicycle smoothie folks. It's much less crowded than the main market, and definitely worth exploring.

                                                      1. re: Non Cognomina

                                                        That's great to know! I've gotten some blah peaches lately. I bought from three different vendors last week at the Saturday market, to try and be assured of getting some decent ones, and drilled holes in some plastic shoe boxes so that I didn't have peaches piled on top of each other and they could ripen in an ideal environment. I'm going to try to get to the Sunday market this week.

                                                      2. re: Hal Laurent

                                                        It seems to be a spectacular year for peaches. We canned and froze about 25 lbs of Red Havens early in the season (from Larriland Farms, not the JFX). They are freestone, but a little 'clingy' and have relatively thick skin and juicy soft flesh. Now, ask for the Crest Haven freestone variety at the market - it has very very thin skin and wonderfully firm flesh. Flavor of both varieties is great, but I wish I'd waited for these firmer ones for putting up.

                                                    2. New vendor alert: Just outside of the west-side annex, there's a waffle-on-a-stick guy who has these amazing, guilt-inducing chocolate covered waffles (on-a-stick). They're $3.50 with unlimited toppings, like whipped cream &, as we say in Baltimore, jimmies.

                                                      1. Does anyone know the bakery name and location next to the pasta guy at the JFX farmer's market?

                                                        1 Reply