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Where to get fresh spring produce?

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As a transplant from the west coast, I find that I am always searching out the best places to acquire produce. Today -- a sunshine filled day after a many rainy days -- has led me to start searching out farm-fresh spring produce. I am talking about fresh grown greens, spring peas, green garlic, fava beans, maybe someone who sells ramps, etc (probably not actually available until a few more weeks). Does anyone have a place to recommend?

What I am not looking for: a big-chain grocery store (Whole Foods, Wegmans, etc) or a FreshFarm market (I've been unimpressed or a CSA (I am a big supporter, but for a variety of reasons, not what I'm looking for).

Where: We live in Alexandria, but I'm open to traveling anywhere so long as the produce is real, great, and freshly grown.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

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  1. I personally think the best farmer's market in the area is the Dupont Circle Farmers Market (open every Sunday).

    It is a FreshFarm farmers market. What have you been unimpressed with?

    Honestly if you are looking for something similar to what you use to get on the west coast (especially California) you are bound to be disappointed. Our farmers markets are pretty different than the ones I've been to in San Francisco for instance. But there are some really nice ones out there: Dupont, U Street, and Penn Quarter.

    Start going on a regular basis, get to know the farmers and I think you will be excited with what we have to offer.

    -----
    U Street Cafe
    1301 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

    7 Replies
    1. re: Elyssa

      I'm a regular at the dupont circle farmers market and have actually been to every one in the city (as well as the del ray and old town markets). I haven't found what I am looking for at any of the markets. I am not expecting to find a SF farmers market here - but maybe a fantastic produce stand or small market in loundon county or something? A hidden jewel? Again, willing to travel anywhere!

      1. re: hppyheather

        I wouldn't expect much for a couple of weeks in terms of spring produce. My two favorite area markets are the Falls Church market (saturdays) and the Arlington courthouse market (also saturdays). Both should have ramps, spring peas, plenty of greens, and garlic scapes. Not sure about the favas, though. Some of my favorite produce vendors are Potomac Vegetable Farm (at both), Wheatland (courthouse), Red Rake (courthouse), Musachio Produce (at both), and Tree and Leaf (at falls church).

        1. re: CoconutMilk

          I'm looking forward to trying the falls church market in a few weeks - do you think that'll be a good start to the season, maybe by April 23 or so?

          1. re: Jeserf

            I think things have likely been set back a little bit because of the weather. But with all the rain I bet we'll start seeing some great stuff in a few weeks!

        2. re: hppyheather

          Can you be a little more clear on what you are looking for? Specific produce?

          1. re: Elyssa

            Well, fresh spring greens (prefer of heirloom/unusual varieties), green garlic (aka garlic scapes), fava beans, and spring peas are at the top of my list. I'm agree that the weather has set things back and so wasn't expecting this right away, but am looking forward to checking out both the Falls Church Market as well as the Montgomery Farm Women's Cooperative soon!

            1. re: hppyheather

              Realize of course that climate drives what you get around here. Lois's Produce at the Falls Church Farmer's market did have Fava bean last spring for two weeks. It's extremely hard to grow them locally as they hate the heat.

              I've had fresh greens at the Falls Church market nearly year round -- Sunnyside Orchard grows them in their green houses. But come May Potomac Gardens will be back at the market with lots to chose from .

              Peas should be appearing at the markets in a few weeks, more of a "May" item and will disappear by June as the heat sets in. By June you start seeing scapes and green garlic.

              But also I'd recommend learning to love the gems of our local region, like lima beans come July, sweet fragrant melons and peaches to die for this summer.

      2. Montgomery Farm Women's Cooperative Market In Bethesda, Maryland.

        http://www.farmwomensmarket.com/

        "In the fringe of Washington, stands an institution as distinctively American as the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, but it is not included in the list of sights worth seeing in the Capital. Yet thousands of Washingtonians visit it every week and hold it in warm regard."
        - “Women’s Home Companion” of October, 1937

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