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Mar 27, 2011 03:16 PM

JFX Farmer's Market 2011!

Starting early this year! Next Sunday, 4/3!

(hope the black bean salsa guy is back)

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      1. re: baltoellen

        I am so stoked!!! I can't wait to get some good eggs and chicken. Hope it's not too mobbed.

        1. re: JamesPapa

          Well we're up to five people just on this thread...

          1. re: JonParker

            I haven't had any decent produce in months. I will start throwing elbows if I have to-- chow solidarity be damned :-P

              1. re: JonParker

                Another reason to get there early is that Holliday Street between the two markets will be closed, so parking will be a bigger hassle than usual....

                1. re: baltoellen

                  Yuck. Thanks for the warning. Does it start at 7 or 8?

                  1. re: jvanderh

                    It theoretically starts at 7, but i try to show up around 6:30 and things are usually hopping by then.

                      1. re: jvanderh

                        I think if you get there prior to about 9 you can move around with general ease....

      2. Sorry, new to the area, where is this?

        3 Replies
        1. re: mdpilam

          It's at Saratoga and Gay streets in the parking lot underneath I-83 (JFX). Look up Sonar nightclub on Google maps and it will give you directions.

          1. Whew. Just got back from the chilly market.

            The bad news: a lot of the produce vendors aren't even setting up shop yet, and the ones that are have strictly winter produce. No asparagus yet, not even lettuce. Onions, potatoes, cold storage apples at Reids.

            The good news: Salsa guy is back in the same location as last year. Also on the west side is a new business selling pizza with a wood oven -- no kidding, it's on a little trailer that they pull around. I didn't try any though. There's also a new poultry vendor -- KCC Farms from Forest Hill, MD. They sell French heritage chickens that are free range and antibiotic free. I picked one up, but it came frozen so it will take a few days to decide how good it is.

            Other than that I got some of my old standards -- goat cheese from Firefly, coffee from Zeke's, some pork chops and bacon from Truck Patch, a box of mixed mushrooms from Mushroom Lady, eggs from Hen's Nest (later I got a free dozen from KCC for buying a chicken, so I have plenty of eggs now), and of course the best black bean salsa in the world. Oh, and I got some andouille from Neopol that I have earmarked for red beans and rice.

            I'm not sure if the word didn't get out about the early opening or the chill kept people in, but it wasn't overly crowded. Still, I always love it when the market opens -- it's a feast for the eyes and the tongue if not the ears -- the guitar guy right where you cross over from the east to west markets played the worst version of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" I ever heard -- worse than Will Shatner's, if you can believe that. There was also a calypso band doing a cover of "Take Me Home, Country Roads." Yeesh.

            41 Replies
            1. re: JonParker

              I saw (and bought) lots of lettuce. Though, somehow I missed the wood fired pizza lady AND KCC Farms! I was hoping for a chicken for dinner, so I guess it is for the best I bought it at Whole Foods instead, along with the asparagus.

              1. re: foster

                Where did you see lettuce? I wasn't actively looking for it but I didn't see any.

                KCC and the wood fired pizza people were over in the west market.

                1. re: JonParker

                  Chesapeake Greenhouse (behind the mushroom lady, next to the seafood people). Also the one across from the pickle people (Gardner's Gourmet?) had their mixes going. Already had my lettuce so I didn't stop and ask if they had greenhouses.

                  1. re: bigterp1

                    Huh. I was looking for the Chesapeake people, so either I had a brain fugue and missed them or they set up later than I was there. Either is possible.

                    1. re: JonParker

                      Same place as last year. They were up and running when I got there about 8:45.

                      1. re: bigterp1

                        The Pizza Place was new eh? I saw they were like $7 for a Personal Size (I inquired). Not sure how big that is though for $7. I presume that is just cheese. Pit Beef on the far end. Meat was Tough and not worth $6 for a sandwich on Wheat Bread (I think White was an option too) wth?? um ok.

                        The Hen's Nest Increased the prices of their eggs??

                        Bread and Pastries had good muffins. (UptownBakers)

                        Got there around 6:30. Was very cold and not crowded at all.

                        I missed KCC!?? Ughhh... :( ( That is by the new pizza lady eh??)

                        1. re: JamesPapa

                          Yeah, KCC is right next to the new pizza place.

                          1. re: JamesPapa

                            The wood fired pizza was good. It was made in a parking lot in a mobile oven so I am not even going to try to compare it to some of my other favorite pies in the world but it was good. Nice char on the crust and sauce and mozz were nice.

                            Noticed the Curry Shack also raised the prices on their patties. Now $2.50

                            I remember when they were $1.50.

                            Still good as ever but I wonder at what price they become too expensive.

                            1. re: Tugboat

                              Curious, What was the pizza Tug? 12"? Just cheese for $7? Pepperoni? I saw nobody else have one, than again it was like 7AM....

                              1. re: JamesPapa

                                The one I had was just mozzarella and sauce. It was about 7 or 8 inches. They had some other options but I always try the plain first at a new place.

                                1. re: Tugboat

                                  Yup, always try the plain first is the golden rule! We had one today and agree that while not spectacular, it was solid and executed very well. We had one today. I particularly enjoyed the simple crushed tomatoes sauce they make.

                          2. re: bigterp1

                            I was gone by then, so who knows.

                            1. re: bigterp1

                              Chesapeake is usually up and running by 6:30, 9:30 the selection is getting thin, and by 11 most of everything is gone.

                              Gardner's Gourmet does use greenhouses as well. That is why they are able to sell all winter at Waverly.

                          3. re: bigterp1

                            I feel like supporting Chesapeake Greenhouse just encourages them to sell more "fake" lettuce. But as the winter days pile on, I'll eventually give in at Waverly and buy their goods when no one is looking. Still lots better than what I get at the supermarket, of course.

                            1. re: bmorecupcake

                              I think greenhouse lettuce tastes better! I eat it in the summer too.

                              1. re: jvanderh


                                I've been told I'm not allowed to buy real lettuce this summer and then spend hours washing it to get all the dirt off, so maybe I'll join your club.

                                1. re: bmorecupcake

                                  I know, I know. I keep waiting to have the community garden folks pound on my door and strip me of my plot :-P

                      2. re: JonParker

                        I am relieved to hear that I didn't miss out on asparagus. I got there at 7:45 or so and was afraid it had sold out. I'll have to check out the pizza next time-- I always forget about that other little lot.

                        Does anyone know anything about the origins of the beef near South Mountain Creamery?

                        1. re: jvanderh

                          I worry less about the origins than about the flavor, and I was never really impressed with theirs. I didn't really think the Hickory Ridge beef was all that special either.

                          I've gotten good beef from Truck Patch Farms, the pork guys who are over next to Pea Man. My favorite comes from Springfield Farms and Piedmont Ridge, neither of whom sell at the market, unfortunately. Springfield was selling at the tiny Harbor East market on Saturdays, and Bluegrass restaurant does an occasional Saturday market that sells the Piedmont Ridge.

                          Oh, and don't forget about the west market. Salsa Guy is over there along with KCC Farms. There are other food and craft vendors there as well.

                          1. re: JonParker

                            Thanks. I didn't see any beef at the pork guys near Pea Man's usual spot. I remember seeing tons of different cuts of pork listed, but no beef. Were they out, or did I just miss it? Or am I thinking of the wrong spot?

                            1. re: jvanderh

                              That's the right spot, and no, they didn't have beef yesterday. I didn't ask why. They do have it a lot of times though.

                              1. re: JonParker

                                Cool. I will check it out next time.

                            2. re: JonParker

                              The tiny Harbor East market is no longer there, unfortunately.

                              1. re: Hal Laurent

                                Going to check out Salsa Boy & KCC this weekend. How much were the Whole Chickens this year? Breasts?

                                1. re: JamesPapa

                                  The KCC chicken I got was a five lb. for $19. It' $3.90 a lb. Incidentally, they carry pheasant and partridge too.

                                  When Hen's Nest has them they are considerably cheaper -- I think I pay around $13 for a 4 or 5 lb. bird. Truck Patch also has them sometimes, but I don't know how much they are.

                                  1. re: JonParker

                                    When I lived in Madison as a poor grad student I would go to the farmers market to buy veggies and cheese curds for the week because it was the cheapest way to survive (well, that along with plasma donation). I understand how important supporting local farmers is, and humane treatment of animals, and eating locally but...a nineteen dollar chicken? Just saying. I've got a looming government shutdown to worry about :)

                            3. re: jvanderh

                              FYI, I asked the Truck Patch guys this morning, resisting the urge to say "Where's the beef?" and was told that aren't allowed to sell it anymore.

                              I've run into this before -- for some reason they want to limit the vendors selling a certain type of meat, so they restrict them. They did it last year when they asked Hen's Nest to stop selling chickens. No such restrictions apply to produce. I don't get it and it's actually #1 on my list of things I don't like about the market.

                              1. re: JonParker

                                How about all the dogs everywhere when there are signs which clearly prohibit canines?

                                But true, these restrictions are sad. The ginger lady sells all sorts of goodies at Waverly, but at JFX she can only sell ginger-related items. (Gingerbread okay, chocolate chunk cookies not okay.) Produce is also restricted as far as I know. E.g., last year the organic folks next to The Breadery had to stop selling mushroom. Rumor is the mushroom lady complained. However, later in the year the ban on mushrooms was lifted. Not sure exactly what happened there.

                                Although not the market's fault, I also can't stand the health department rules which disallow reusing containers (e.g., at the pickle guy.)

                                1. re: bmorecupcake

                                  Their publicly posted guidelines do not say anything about exclusivity. I don't know where they get that.


                                  1. re: JonParker

                                    Maybe it's an unwritten rule of farmer's markets. I know our local Catonsville market has these sorts of restrictions, too, albeit to a lesser degree.

                                    1. re: bmorecupcake

                                      It's a rule. Truckpatch once told me that they are told to not sell eggs because of the other eg stand (although they sill bring some).

                                      1. re: kukubura

                                        It is not really "rule/law" but it has to do with long standing market vendors who complain to the market manager - they demand they put a stop to it. Apparently instead of dealing with a confrontation they tell other vendors hey please stop they were here first....STUPID what happened to competition? KCC sells eggs.
                                        I think these vendors should be told about the new Fells Point Market and sell their stuff there.

                                        1. re: hammocc

                                          Recently I was arguing this same point with someone, but they brought up an interesting point: If the market manager just allowed pure competition to rule, the market might eventually turn into a "street fair", with no farmers at all. To keep the "spirit" of a farmers market, goes the argument, some balance has to be imposed by authority. Got me thinking...

                                          1. re: bmorecupcake

                                            This may be true but they have a rule about the "Homemade" nature of products and a % which have to be true farmers which I am cool with. We know the farmers do talk and set prices. I don't care about that either - I will pay for great quality local food. However, I think consumers should have the choice to select the vendor they like best for milk, eggs, chickens, beef etc...some will choose based on diet of animals, slaughtering techniques, fresh pack vs. frozen, large vs small packages, price, taste etc.....I think since we see multiple folks selling radish, lettuce, squash, tomatoes etc... that the protein and dairy folks should get equal consideration. Not sure why the market manager has drawn a line about some products and not others. I did also hear that certain vendors are loud and complain when they see someone else selling their products...but I think hey if your stuff is good and priced fairly and you provide a great service you should have nothing to worry about...but honestly I do understand that some of these folks with bricks/mortar stores can get their locals to come and buy at market and some of the dairy farmers can't do that yet it is the brick and mortar types who are mostly complaining. In the end, all we end up doing is spreading the money around - it is probably simple minded of me to think that the more diversity and choices consumers have the more cash it will bring to market. It is pretty crowded and reaching saturation so, we are spreading around the same amt of money to more people vs giving spending more possibly which could be why they complain bc they make less each year maybe? Who knows. Anyone checked out the Sat Fell's Point Market? It is small but I like the variety. Each week gets a little larger.

                                  2. re: bmorecupcake

                                    Does it bother anyone else that there are no hand-washing stations at the market? I mean, you have farm produce and raw foods, selling next to prepared foods which are eaten on site. Most vendors that sell the prepared foods also collect the cash from the customers, which frequently falls on the ground because people are holding so many different bags. Not to mention, the entire market is held in a city parking lot under an expressway. Who knows what happens in that lot during the week or at night (I wouldn't want to know).

                                    I'm not really a germ-a-phobe, but it really bothered me this past Sunday.

                                    1. re: bmorecupcake

                                      My first visit to JFX was pleasant except my most expensive buy - a few Morels at 15 bucks had maggots in EVERY mushroom as I tried very hard to find a single bug-free Morel with no success. Interesting question, do presence of maggots make a mushroom non-vegetarian, or worms don't count? The Maitake there was also not fresh and had poor taste. I think this monopoly rule about people not being able to compete will not only drive up the prices for this already yuppy market, it will be unhealthy over the long run for the market. I've had a lot better mushrooms in the midwest farmers markets and even the Dupont Circle ones. Otherwise, the Asparagus was excellent at the Pea guy, gotta get more mini-donuts, so were the no-spray strawberries.

                                      Intersting question, all the strength from the coffee could not cover the stenchy taste from South Mountain Creamery. It reminded me of the awefully smelly creamery when I mistakenly took my family there. Do people actually like or prize that taste or you just drink your coffee black at the market?

                                      1. re: cfoodie

                                        So, you put South Mountain Creamery milk in your coffee and thought it smelled bad? I've never had that happen.

                                        1. re: cfoodie

                                          Your post will probably get deleted because of the maggot discussion. I will just say I no longer support that mushroom stand for a variety of reasons, but I know others here swear by it.

                                          The no spray strawberries were excellent. I hope I can get more today.

                                          As for the milk/cream you used in the coffee, was that at the Zeke's stand? Maybe they hadn't stored it correctly and it went bad. I graduated to black coffee a while ago, but I'm interested to try some milk today and see what's going on.

                                          1. re: bmorecupcake

                                            Unfortunately I love to put cream in my cofee and probably put too much in there and the cow taste showed through. It is not rancid, just a cow taste. Today I put less in the iced coffee and it was fine. As for the mushroom, I think the Maitake today was fresh(er). They had lots of morels and even some truffles. If I had good morels last visit, I would double up on the morels and get some truffles, but I got the basics today and left at that. As for washing the morels, it tastes totally different after touching water. It's harder to achieve a mild caramelize state once it's wet. But maybe that intense flavor is due to the live critters inside. I did get a bunch of morels on Ebay last year that turned out to be non-vegetarian and the seller promptly refunded everything including shipping. Don't think they would come close to doing that at the market. Well, it's a monopoly and you just got to put up with it.

                                            The peas are excellent, and I will be frying up some pork chops tonight.

                                          2. re: cfoodie

                                            It's important to cut morels at least in half, then rinse well under running water. They are a foraged mushroom, and more often than not contain critters of some sort. It comes with the territory. I think they're worth it (and none of those I bought had maggots).

                                  3. The Cherry Chocolate granola from Michele's is amazing. Such a treat. Over in the smaller market along with the pizza. I wonder how they decide who goes where? Is a spot cheaper over in the adjunct market? The smoothie people now seem to be in the median between the two...

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: a70wilson

                                      Last week at the Waverly Market, Michele's had Matcha Green Tea granola! Sadly all sold out by the time I got there. :(

                                      1. re: bmorecupcake

                                        This past Sunday at the JFX Market, we bought a pound of the green tea granola. I can't get enough! If you're into green tea ice cream and green tea cakes, this is just up your alley. It's made with brewed green tea, matcha green tea powder, sliced almonds, and goji berries.