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JFX Farmer's Market 2011!

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

(hope the black bean salsa guy is back)

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  1. hallelujah!!!

    1. Woot!

      9 Replies
      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: jvanderh

              Just get there early.

              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: JonParker

                      Holy cow. That is really early.

                      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. re: JonParker

            It's In Baltimore, mdpilam!

          2. re: mdpilam

            Welcome!

          3. 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

                                *gasp*

                                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.

                                  http://www.promotionandarts.com/bop/u...

                                  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: toro head

                                      No, you really are a germ-a-phobe.

                                    2. 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.

                                    2. I arrived around 8:15. Milk, skirt steak, shitake mushrooms and lettuce. Plus, I spoke to the Mayor who was looking terrific but didn't seem to be purchasing much.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: fedhillhound

                                        Did anyone to happen to pick up a jug of the Reids Cider last weekend? I know, I know, it's not really Apple Cider season per se, but I was curious if they did, what was your opinion of it tastewise? Applely? Sweet? Bitter? Other? ??

                                        Worth $4/$6?

                                        1. re: JamesPapa

                                          Haven't had it this season, but generally it's good stuff.

                                          1. re: JamesPapa

                                            Reid's cider is excellent. Very applely and not bitter. But I would say not quite as good these days as when apples are in season. For some reason, their cider seems sweeter the longer their apples sit in cold storage. Could be psychological. They say they press the cider every week, although some weeks I don't feel like my batch was fresh, but it's always still delicious.

                                            During the season, you can purchase cider from many vendors. Some other vendors have different apple blends in their cider and it's fun to taste the different flavor profiles. Reid's is the only vendor with non-pasteurized (although still UV-treated) cider. The UV-treated cider is only offered in season, though.

                                        2. Most of the produce vendors are still missing, so this morning's haul was again mostly meat. I did get more black bean salsa (I can't recommend that stuff highly enough), a brace of partridge from KCC, and a pork loin from Truck Patch. I also got a nice grouper fillet from Salt River.

                                          While I'm still disappointed at the lack of produce, on the bright side I finally, for the first time in my life, had occasion to use the phrase "a brace of partridge" in a sentence.

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: JonParker

                                            The salsa guy confirmed for me today that the black bean salsa has changed this year. All the ingredients are the same, but some of the beans are pureed and the consistency is quite different. I preferred the previous consistency.

                                            Salt River can never confirm for me when and/or where their fish was caught. That said, I still purchase from there on occasion. Two weeks ago at Waverly, I bought fish caught the day before and I'm spoiled now.

                                            1. re: bmorecupcake

                                              Oooh. Was that the people way at the end that sell crabs sometimes?

                                            2. re: JonParker

                                              How much is a brace?

                                              1. re: ClevelandDave

                                                I think it was around $16

                                                1. re: JonParker

                                                  And WHAT is a brace?? A partridge like "a partridge in a pear tree?"

                                                  1. re: jvanderh

                                                    It's the same partridge as the one in the pear tree, and a brace means two of them.

                                                    1. re: JonParker

                                                      Hehe. And what will you do with your brace of partridge?

                                                      1. re: jvanderh

                                                        You know, that's a really good question.

                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/779768

                                                        1. re: JonParker

                                                          I have absolutely nothing to contribute, but it's chow, so SOMEONE knows how to cook it!

                                            3. Very light haul this morning -- a chicken from KCC and coffee from Zeke's. I was really wanting some fish from Salt River, but they don't take plastic, and the ATM at Sonar wasn't open this morning. Sadly, I had planned on getting cash there.

                                              I didn't see any asparagus, but with no cash I wasn't looking too hard either.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: JonParker

                                                Thought I replied to this. There was asparagus at the produce sand closest to the Hen's Nest or whatever it's called. As for us, it was a light haul as well. Did get some poussins at KCC. Expensive but should be tasty.

                                                1. re: kukubura

                                                  Thanks! Did you see any ramps or fiddleheads? I was looking for those too.

                                                  1. re: JonParker

                                                    Ha, we were looking for ramps too. Not only did we not see them but we discovered that most of the folks running the stands don't know what they are. Great bunch of farmers we got round here.

                                                    Didn't see fiddleheads either.

                                                    1. re: kukubura

                                                      The key word there being "farmer." Ramps can be cultivated with difficulty, but they're usually foraged, and dealing with brokers and getting the necessary approvals from the market master are probably outside the experience of most of the vendors. Ramps will probably start hitting the JFX market next year the way that favas and heirloom melons really only started to show up en masse last year.

                                                      I'd guess that if they show up the mushroom vendor will have them, although if they're priced anything like the $60/lb morels, it probably won't be worth the bother.

                                              2. Seemed to be very light attendance by both vendors and customers this morning. That said, it was a reasonably successful trip. I got asparagus, ramps and morels that are destined for a spring saute this afternoon. I also picked up a pork loin and some chops from Truck Patch, a chicken from KCC, salsa again and Zeke's coffee.

                                                The mushroom lady was the one with ramps, but she only had like five bunches, and if I understood her correctly you could only buy them with the morels.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: JonParker

                                                  Shouldn't that be some sort of antitrust violation? ;)

                                                  We quite enjoyed the light crowd. Got a chance to talk one-on-one with a lot of vendors. It was real fun.

                                                  1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                    Having just finished an insanely good saute of morels, ramps, and asparagus, I say give me the violation. Wow that was delicious.

                                                2. Strawberries! Agriberry had lots, and a couple of other vendors had a few. I got 4 quarts. Green stuff is showing up too-- I got asparagus and morels, another KCC chicken, salsa, bacon, coffee, a piece of smoked bluefish, fresh Italian sausage, and fresh tarragon.

                                                  Pretty decent crowd even as early as I got there.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: JonParker

                                                    Nice market and I parked at one of my favorite Sunday excepted meters.

                                                  2. According to the Baltimore Sun, Sonar nightclub on Saratoga Street has closed. While clubs aren't usually Chowhound's thing, it's relevant here because the club always opened on Sunday mornings, making their ATM and indoor plumbing available to market goers. So for the time being plan on coming to the market with cash.

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: JonParker

                                                      I noticed the lack of sanitary facilities. How can such a thing be justified?

                                                      1. re: elgringoviejo

                                                        It's Baltimore. Our immune systems are highly developed.

                                                        1. re: kukubura

                                                          There are port a potties on Saratoga street, but even though the facilities at Sonar were none too nice, they at least had running water.

                                                          1. re: JonParker

                                                            Thanx for the 411.

                                                            1. re: elgringoviejo

                                                              Sonar was open for both facility and ATM use this morning. Not sure how long that will last though.

                                                              1. re: JonParker

                                                                Yea, they were. I tried looking for some Key Limes but I was unable to find.
                                                                I called the HV Wegmans the other day (Crazy off hour, like 11:30PM, thinking Customer Service could help me when they wouldn't be slammed) and the lazy person who answered the phone just told me call back at 6:30AM.

                                                                I e-mailed Wegmans HV also, and they replied with some childish response " peek season for your limes isn't until fall. We do carry Key Lime juice in a bottle."

                                                                Peek? Really. Looks like my two year old wrote t hat :/ and last I checked Key Limes PEAK May/June until Fall-ish. :/

                                                                I know, Good story. Crowds starting to pick-up now @ the market w/ the nicer weather...

                                                                1. re: JamesPapa

                                                                  You can find key limes at H Mart in Catonsville.

                                                                2. re: JonParker

                                                                  Sonar reportedly plans to be open for normal operations again in the next couple of weeks, so my guess would be that if they were open yesterday, Sunday service (such as it is) will be uninterrupted.

                                                                  Lousy weekend for foraged goods. The Waverly market didn't have any ramps at all and the lady at JFX said she only had a few left and could only sell with mushrooms. As I'd already bought a half-pound of morels the morning before, I had to pass. Anybody know how many weeks are left in the season?

                                                      2. I finally woke up early and went out to the market. Seeing the sunrise was also nice. It was awesome for the DC metro/Baltimore area! I have been to a lot of markets in and around DC, domestically, and abroad. It reminded me a bit (tad) of the borough market in London. Thank you for this post and for everyone giving their suggestions, because it really helped. I got eggs from the hen's nest, bean salsa, olives from the pickle guy (I have had these before from the Eastern Market), cheese from South Mountain Creamery (I have done home delivery from them in the past), and some other random goodies. The produce was amazing, of course not sure about the organic-ness of it all. I didn't get much because I am overloaded right now with my CSA. All the food vendors looked great too. It was a bit early for the pizza but I did see them out there too. There was also a wool/yarn vendor, which I thought was neat. If you are looking for a lot local meat you should hit the market. There were a lot of vendors. Also, there was a vendor for ice cream, kettle corn, spices for chili and such and so many more. If you are a true foodie you gotta check this market out...

                                                        1. Just got home. I am loving the strawberries from the pumpkin man with the long beard. I also got a wood-fired pizza, and it's so delicious. I saw that mushroom lady had black truffles. If she has them again, I might shell out for one next week.

                                                          1. Spoke to Pea Man today. Fresh peas either next Sunday or def. the Sunday after.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Tugboat

                                                              Oh mama

                                                            2. Peas are here! I got three lbs. Also strawberries, asparagus, spring onions, sugar snap peas, and lots of other stuff.

                                                              But peas! It's the most magical time of the year.

                                                              13 Replies
                                                              1. re: JonParker

                                                                We got a couple pounds of peas too. The pea guy also had green tomatoes which we passed up but the countdown to his fabulous ripe tomatoes has begun!

                                                                1. re: kukubura

                                                                  I like peas, but I'm totally jealous of the sugar snaps. I finally had a bike smoothie and I loved it!

                                                                  1. re: jvanderh

                                                                    The sugar snaps were on the south side of the market at that vendor with the huge table sort of near the west end -- if you're walking east, they're just past Neopol, the pasta guy and the bread people.

                                                                    1. re: JonParker

                                                                      Thanks. I was very late today, but I'll try next week.

                                                                      1. re: jvanderh

                                                                        Sugar snaps we got from that vendor were a little starchy. Maybe picked a day or two earlier?

                                                                        I can't for the life of me cook the fresh peas properly. Frozen peas, no problem, fresh always come out... hard. Maybe fresh peas have a firmer texture and that's my problem. I run home so the peas stay fresh, wash the peas, simmer the peas not more than 3 minutes, toss with butter, cover 4 minutes off heat, and optionally add a little fresh tarragon. Some peas come out perfect, others are "crunchy." I have tried lots of variations, like sauteeing in the butter over medium-low heat after simmering, steaming the peas, simmering less , simmering longer. Maybe if there was a live demonstration at the market... ;)

                                                                        1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                          That softens my pain about not getting any :-P

                                                                          Peas come out sorta hard for me too. I think freezing breaks cell walls or something.

                                                                          1. re: jvanderh

                                                                            Does anyone remember the name of the farm from last year from the west side which sold fruit - peaches, plums from West Virginia? I didn't see them yet and wondered if they pulled out or just have nothing yet to sell?

                                                                            1. re: hammocc

                                                                              I think they have nothing to sell yet. They were mostly orchard fruits which aren't producing yet.

                                                                              1. re: hammocc

                                                                                I don't remember their name, but I did check this morning and they are planning to be there, probably in the next couple of weeks.

                                                                                1. re: JonParker

                                                                                  you just may be my hero. I was walking around yesterday trying to determine who to ask. My hubbie keeps saying they were here this time last year I am sure of it. I say -Market did open month earlier may feel like they should be here but when S. VA stand had cherries (2nd week) and Raspberries...felt like WVA guys had cherries -maybe not. Do you know if they will be West side again or in the main market side? They had best stone fruit last year.

                                                                                  1. re: hammocc

                                                                                    Am fairly certain that they'll be in the same place as last year--whenever they get there (which should be soon-ish).

                                                                            2. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                              Freshly shelled peas are so good. I think they can be simmered in boiling water for up to 5 min. then shock them with ice water. Cook them until you get the desired tenderness. I also think they ones at market are somewhat larger then frozen peas. Frozen ones I also think have been blanched before freezing. So you are essentially cooking 2x? I think you can saute quickly post blanching or microwaving to soften them. We eat them raw with pinch of salt b/c we like them crunchy. Good luck

                                                                              1. re: hammocc

                                                                                I am almost done with two pounds of peas and it's only Monday evening. They are good!

                                                                  2. Peas still there, asparagus, strawberries. Got another chicken from KCC, fresh tarragon, salsa, coffee, and horseradish from Gary's Turkey Burgers.

                                                                    It was really busy early this morning. I think the market is growing in popularity.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: JonParker

                                                                      Have you ever prepared one of KCC's chukars/partridges? If so, how did you prepare?
                                                                      We tried them a week ago and we split them to grill them and we used a brick to keep them flat - well needless to say - sooo tough. Think we should not have used the brick. Meat had great flavor but just tough (not dry). Didn' t know if we messed them up.

                                                                    2. Came home and had half a container of that pickle before dinner time. Very nice. The pork chop fried up delicious and juicy. It's been a few years since I had pork chop this good. Two pounds of peas are finished now.

                                                                      I think I've been given a piece of farmed salmon for wild salmon, and charged for it. It was quite strange when I was given the redder batch of salmon. When I got home, the salmon was very red with an astaxanthin color. It's got scales, which the wild ones I had last week had none. When I cooked it up, I became very angry. For a guy naming himself "CFOODIE" and have eaten salmon almost weekly if not daily since the age of 5, to be passed a pice of half pound farmed salmon and be charged wild salmon rate ($10 for half pound) is an insult. I don't think this is a mistake cause the older guy was the one who sold it. Makes me wonder how many others who don't know salmon got the same deal.

                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                      1. re: cfoodie

                                                                        I gave up on those fish sellers, with their crabs that are "caught _just_ a few days ago". I'm thinking about trying this guy for fresh crabs: http://www.facebook.com/MarylandCrabs...

                                                                        1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                          I decided to go to Whole Foods for my fish after JFX. At least you know the employees won't intentionally cut you a piece of farmed salmon and sell it for wild. The crab guy's crabs looked fresh, but crabs are light at this point. I will try crabs later on in the season. Unfortunately I don't buy enough crabs at one time for delivery so will shop around.

                                                                          1. re: cfoodie

                                                                            The crab guy in the same aisle as the pickle guy and hen's nest (egg people) are fresher, but he runs out fast. The crab guy right next to Salt River, I don't feel like his crabs are fresh.

                                                                            1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                              Is this why the crab guy next to the pickle left early. Maybe bad karma being next to the Salt River Lobster guy. I won't touch the lobster guy with a 10 foot pole. You can get live lobster at H-Mart/Super Grand/Lotte for 20-30% cheaper on a regular day, and even lower on sale. I guess they also trucked the farm raised Atlantic Alaskan Wild Salmon they sold me from Boston along with the Halibut and Chilean Sea Bass. Probably cheaper to re-sell ones from H-Mart.

                                                                              1. re: cfoodie

                                                                                Not fair. I've had both H mart and SRLCo many times and SRLCo has consistently been much better and seemingly fresher lobsters than H Mart's which are considerably less (I think 8.99 /lb) but not as good. I think SRLCo has some of the best lobsters around the area and the other seafood I have bought has been very good. Now the price has been high and that is a factor but I can't hit them for quality... ebertne

                                                                                1. re: ClevelandDave

                                                                                  They taste exactly the same to me, consistently. Maybe high prices make it taste better.

                                                                                  1. re: cfoodie

                                                                                    The Salt River Lobster Company lobsters are way better than any others I've bought in Baltimore. I'm married to an expatriate New Englander, and have had plenty of lobster in New England and Maine. It's much, much better when it's fresh. And it's much less expensive near the source.

                                                                                    I'd suggest that if you can't taste the difference, you should buy the cheap lobster.

                                                                                    1. re: Hal Laurent

                                                                                      First, it's not less expensive "closer to the source" ie Salt river. Second, maybe you can specify how it is different, and please don't assume others can't taste. I eat lobster twice a week and know that there is no significant difference as the H-Mart places have high turnover. Maybe it's like the red wine study that was published...the more you pay, the more you think it's better. So even though these folks can't put up a nice story or resemble the lobsterman, I am happy buying the cheaper live lobster at H-Mart, supergrand...etc.

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      H-Mart
                                                                                      800 N Rolling Rd, Catonsville, MD

                                                                                      1. re: cfoodie

                                                                                        "Closer to the source" referred to Maine, not the JFX market.

                                                                              2. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                                I bought lobster for $5.95 pound at H-Mart last Friday. They were very lively but soft shell; never the less they were excellent tasting. Very fresh. I did have to communicate to the clerk that they had to be very lively and he was careful to pick and offer me only lively ones. My experience at Salt River has been good but at $5.95 a pound H-Mart is a great deal.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                H-Mart
                                                                                800 N Rolling Rd, Catonsville, MD

                                                                                1. re: jfish

                                                                                  No doubt! H mart is a great deal, but as you say, it is hit or miss. Never had a bad lobster at Salt River though, whereas some of H Mart's have been better than others, though they've all be "lively"...

                                                                        2. Peas are still going strong. Pea man also had tomatoes -- I assume that they are greenhouse grown but I didn't ask..

                                                                          I saw the year's first cherries, and some small squash. Didn't notice any zucchini blossoms though, but I wasn't looking that hard.

                                                                          Strawberries look like they are on the way out, sadly. Still plenty around, but not as many as the last two weeks.

                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                          1. re: JonParker

                                                                            The Agriberry person mentioned next week is the last week for them for strawberries. Since they're out of Richmond, not surprising since their growing season is a couple weeks ahead of the northern farms, However the raspberries and blueberries are starting up, so still plenty of anti-oxidants available. Good lettuce (non-greenhouse) out there also. And of course peas. Can't wait for July for fresh beans.

                                                                            1. re: bigterp1

                                                                              So far haven't found good sugar snaps or unshelled peas, but organic vendor next to The Breadery had good snow peas.

                                                                              1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                                We had excellent sugar snaps three weeks ago at the South Mountain Creamery side vendor. We checked last weekend and they looked "older" and decided to skip. Is the season starting or ending?

                                                                                1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                                  I got some awesome sugar snaps this week. It was either pea man or one of his neighbors. I think they're still in season, my neighbor plot at the community garden has some that look fat and crunchy. (I didn't steal any, but it was hard).

                                                                                  1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                    We got lovely ones up at the Belair farmers market but no one here wants to talk about that one... :(

                                                                                    1. re: kukubura

                                                                                      I saw your post. . . it sounds like a great market. . . it's just sooooooo far away :-P If the Big Man gets a dog, we just might check it out :-) Do they sell prepared food and coffee at that one too?

                                                                                      1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                        One way it's been seriously lacking is in prepared food, alas. But it's still filling out. There was a table from a local cafe making salads and I'm sure they're lovely but compared to tamales, fried fish, etc... it's not a draw.

                                                                                        There are some cute delis and stuff in the neighborhood with outdoor seating but we haven't tried them.

                                                                                        It is far, but it's a nice drive if you take Harford road. If nothing else, it's a fun change of pace.

                                                                                        1. re: kukubura

                                                                                          I understand your support of a fledgling farmer's market. The new one at the harbor is really small, but I'm happy to have one in the neighborhood.

                                                                                          1. re: kukubura

                                                                                            Many times you can get much fresher veggies at the local markets. I would say most vendors at the Sunday market have something on their stands that was picked Saturday morning, Friday, and even as early as Thursday. Those are items that were picked fresh for local markets and didn't sell, so end up at the weekend markets. Sometimes, even items that were picked the afternoon before suffer a huge quality loss. For example, Agriberry's raspberries arrive refrigerated, having been picked the day before. However, at my local Catonsville market on Wednesdays, I purchase raspberries picked that same morning and there's no comparison in texture and flavor.

                                                                              2. Has anyone gotten any really good stone fruit?

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                  It is early in the season but the West Virginia Farmers Ashton on the craft side has been having pretty good peaches. Nectarines were out last weekend. Look for more to come. The Agriberry folks just started with plums last week. You are just beginning the season so hang tight. Although I was surprised to see apricots.

                                                                                  1. re: hammocc

                                                                                    Thanks. I remembered reading about people liking those West Virginia peaches last year. I tried a slice from a white peach sample on Sun, but I didn't think it was good at all. I bought some Agriberry seconds. Unfortunately, they were too banged up and damaged to be any good-- they rotted before they ripened, for the most part, but one of them was excellent. If the Ashton folks have a sample, I'll try again next time, and otherwise I think I'll pay full price for Agriberry.

                                                                                2. I'm thinking I'd like to try making that paratha with ground turkey. I thought there was something a little unusual about the dough. . . it's kind of gummy, in a good way. It may also just be that it's thicker than I'm used to. Anyone have any advice?

                                                                                  1. I saw a post from last year about a farmer that sells unrendered frozen leaf lard at this market - any idea who it might be and if he's still there? We're heading to Baltimore this weekend and I'd love to pick some up.

                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                      The pork vendor, Truck Patch, has it. They've got a big spread of coolers in the southeast corner of the market (next to the beans and across from the melons). About $2/lb and they don't carry much, so can sell out fast.

                                                                                      1. re: perlish

                                                                                        If you let them know ahead of time, either by calling or stopping by a week ahead of time, they'll be happy to set aside what you need. They are very cooperative.

                                                                                        1. re: JonParker

                                                                                          Thank you! I'll give them a call!

                                                                                        2. re: perlish

                                                                                          Well, I forgot to call and of course they were sold out when I got there. However, it's great to know it's there and I will be sure to call next time we go to Baltimore. We really enjoyed the market - got some great peaches, tasted some terrific hummus and black bean salsa, had a delicious sausage on white bread from the BBQ guys at the south end, etc.

                                                                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                            Not sure where you're coming from, but Truck Patch also sells at some markets in the DC area.

                                                                                            1. re: JonParker

                                                                                              There's a grass-fed beef purveyor (Ferguson Farms) at the Lauraville market who has leaf lard.

                                                                                      2. Has the bean folks started selling kidney beans yet? Haven't been able to make it down there for a couple of weeks.

                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: bigterp1

                                                                                          October and Black.

                                                                                          1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                            Lima, black eye's, are they available yet?

                                                                                            1. re: RobertM

                                                                                              Market was closed this week.

                                                                                              1. re: RobertM

                                                                                                And no beans at all this week

                                                                                                1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                                  Sad to say, I drove up and got mired in the Grand Pre stuff.
                                                                                                  only to find out all the guy had was bushel baskets of okra!

                                                                                                  i like the drive up from DC early Sunday mornings, but the prices of some of the stuff offered is rip off expensive. $5.35 cents a pound for chicken drum sticks Vs 99 cents everywhere else? or Corn 50 cents an ear, some asking $1, same corn 10 for $2 at most local stores? Bean Man, egg man, pickel folks, pit beef guy, the Bee Pollen folks, and a few others make it all worth while. The fruit is nice, but way over priced too. Still a nice early Sunday drive, rain or shine. we read the sale pages for grocery stores while drinking tea or coffee while there, then head out to complete our shopping. Costco / Sam's club / Whole Foods / Giant. Waiting for Wegmans to finish buiding on Route 3 or Columbia!

                                                                                                  Will check back with Bean man next Sunday, he says he got em, just didnt bring any, so stay tuned.

                                                                                                  1. re: RobertM

                                                                                                    Seriously doubt that 99c/lb chicken at costco is pasture raised. More like beak hot sliced, battery caged and dumping tons of sludge in the bay. But, you know, whatever!

                                                                                                    1. re: kukubura

                                                                                                      I'm certain that it costs more to raise a chicken humanely, but I am not sure just how much. I am happy to eat cheap cuts of meat, and willing to pay more, but I'm not willing to pay that much either.

                                                                                                      1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                                        Just saying.
                                                                                                        I’m all in for reasonable profit for the single family farmers, or co op’s.
                                                                                                        A bit more, sure.
                                                                                                        I used to go to pick your own places with my kids. Heaven that seems like a life time ago.... As for chicken, I will be as politically correct as possible: I go to the Latino, or Asian markets. Must be something in the chicken’s water because they sure do thrive off the stuff. And other than their spices, I can't tell humanly raised, or killed, from Tyson’s or Purdue, except it is a heck of a lot cheaper than $5+ per pound! That includes Trader Joes / Whole Paycheck / or Mom's Organic markets. Then as we walked around the market we bought some of that chicken on a stick, 3 for $5, yum, I don't think that was organic either, but it was so good!
                                                                                                        And Egg man’s eggs do taste better than store bought!
                                                                                                        Off topic, just a bit there is a guy at the Jessup flea market that sells live poultry, and fresh eggs.
                                                                                                        Every Saturday & Sunday. Route 175 to Route 1 north, big grey building with Flea Market on the side.

                                                                                                        1. re: RobertM

                                                                                                          As we stray off topic, Whole foods haas chickens for under $2.00 per pound. I choose chickens raised without antibiotic not because they taste better but I cannot accept the impact to the environment that all these antibiotics will likely cause,

                                                                                                          1. re: jfish

                                                                                                            Agreed all around.
                                                                                                            We usually go the Annapolis store on the way back from JFX.
                                                                                                            Gotten to be a routine.

                                                                                          2. Was reading about pawpaws on a DC market thread. It's sort of rare these days that I discover a local piece of produce I've never heard of, so I'm way intrigued. Anybody seen any?

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                              They have pawpaws at the Catonsville Farmers Market on Wednesdays. I didn't go this week, so not sure if the season is over. It's so hard to describe. Depending on ripeness, it'll taste like some combination of pear, mango, guava, and/or durian. Pawpaws are so exotic I can't believe the fruit actually grows in Maryland. It's definitely a hound sort of fruit, though not as "menacing" as durian. Most people introduced to pawpaws will probably not appreciate their custardy deliciousness.

                                                                                              1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                                                Thanks. One of the vendors was familiar with them, and she thought the season was just starting.

                                                                                                1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                                                  Has anyone been to the Catonsville market recently? (either Wednesday or Sunday) Is it still a worthwhile visit? Wasn't sure how much produce was available this late in the season, and for the most part, I skip the prepared food vendors.

                                                                                                  1. re: guenevere51

                                                                                                    We frequent both the Wednesday and Sunday Catonsville markets. Both are dying down as the season is progressing, but to be honest the Wednesday market has been slowly dying for the past two years. Still, there is plenty of produce available this late in the season.

                                                                                                    At the Wednesday market these past two weeks, I have purchased eggs, winter squashes (acorn, butternut, and more) , tatsoi, bok choy, lettuce (romaine and iceberg-like), spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, brussel sprouts, savoy cabbage, apples (golden delicious, stayman, jonathan, crispin), sweet peppers, hot peppers, eggplant (many varieties), sweet potatoes (white and regular), broccoli, garlic, leeks, cauliflower, celery, and more.

                                                                                                    I don't purchase much produce this late in the season at the Sunday Catonsville market. However, White Rose farms at the Sunday market has by far the best salad greens in the business (both lettuce and spicy greens), but you must get there very early. In general, their produce and eggs are my favorite from the Sunday market, but they don't always have the greatest variety. If purchasing apple cider, stay away from the apple guy. Ironically, the other stand selling cider there uses a far better apple blend. There is a stand dedicated to garlic I quite enjoy. As much as it pains me, considering they are local roasters and all, I would stay away from the coffee bean vendor. Even though you skip the prepared foods, I must recommend the waffle stand here, but with a caveat. They have perfected their own waffle mix , complete with Belgian pearl sugar. Lately, however, they have "downgraded" to an electric waffle iron. If you get there early enough, they might fire up the gas grill and make you a perfectly imperfect waffle in their old fashioned cast iron waffle iron. It's far easier for them to use the electric iron, and most customers don't care, so sadly the gas grill might soon disappear forever.

                                                                                              2. When does the JFX season close?

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: ClevelandDave

                                                                                                  The Sunday before Christmas.