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Sep 6, 2011 05:50 PM

Best produce in DC?

Hey all, I just moved to DC. One thing I've seen quite a bit of from going to Safeway, Giant, and Harris Teeter is that the produce is mediocre (downright poor at Safeway, which is right down the street from me). What farmer's market is generally considered the best for produce? I've read that Dupont (correct me if I'm wrong) is the largest one, so by sheer size of the selection I feel like I'll have the best luck there. Either there or Whole Foods, I suppose. Any thoughts?

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  1. I probably live near where you moved and I'll give you my strategy for buying fresh, reasonably priced produce:
    Wegmans. I drive to Wegmans almost every week. Now that my husband is deployed, I do go less frequently, but when he's here, we basically go weekly. It's saves me so much money. It's about a 20-25 min drive to the one in Lanham for me, and worth it.

    If I don't go to Wegmans, I shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joes. I find that produce at WF can be shoddy and overpriced, but it's convenient. I buy seasonal produce at the U Street Farmers Market, which I find much more of an enjoyable shopping experience than Dupont, but I do go to Dupont (EARLY!!!) once in a while. Both markets have pretty much the same thing, though U Street has Whisked baked good and Lois from Pennsylvania who makes amazing (read: sinful) whoopie pies. I like supporting that market and it isn't crammed with strollers or tourists taking pictures.

    Lastly, I very, very rarely buy produce at Safeway. I don't live conveniently to a Giant and find Teeter to be super expensive. That Safeway on 17th St, I always think I'll get tetanus from the produce.

    1. I sometimes use DC Green Grocer (although not this summer when I have gone to local smaller farmer's markets in Maryland). There is no contract (obligation) and they deliver.

      1. If you're interested in good prices and amazing selection, try the many asian markets which are mostly in the 'burbs but worth a periodic drive. Hmart, Grandmart, Fresh World, to name a few that are not far from me in NoVa.

        1. Yeah, produce here is subpar (I moved here from LA). Safeway I think is the worst, followed by Harris Teeter and (surprisingly) I've found the Giant I live by now has decent produce, but still not as good as the farmers markets - which I am still somewhat disappointed in. I go to the Mt. Pleasant (because it's closest), Bloomingdale and Dupont farmers markets, and Dupont is the best because they have the biggest selection and they basically have the same vendors as the other two. It is a clusterff@*k though. One place that I'm surprised has worthless produce is Trader Joe's. They do a number of things well, but produce is not one of them. Haven't been to the WF out here, but I hated WF in CA (but there it was really easy to get good produce).

          1 Reply
          1. re: mdpilam

            I would either go to the weekly farmers markets in the area, or Whole Foods if you have a car I would hit up Wegmans or the Amish Market in Laurel.

            mdpilam-just be glad DC has any grocery stores a few years ago there was only a handful

          2. Each Safeway is different, each Giant is different. It depends on how recently they've been renovated, their management, etc. Some things can be reliable, some not.

            Where precisely do you live? We might be able to recommend a specific store. Near me, Timor has an awesome weekly delivery. MOM's Organic Market can be great, Magruder's can be great. And you'll also see that many of the same vendors sell at multiple markets, so don't think that one would be better than another. They just may be bigger, but the things that make them bigger may be flours, honey, etc.

            6 Replies
              1. re: alexinct

                Do you have a car?
                If not, I think metroing to the Whole Foods in Tenley (or Friendship Heights, which I happen to find a bit easier to navigate - less crowded) is your best bet to supplement Teeter. And Farmers Markets.
                If you do....Wegman in Lanham as frequently as you can!

                I should run a small business - will drive you to Wegmans for a fee! heh

                1. re: alexinct

                  I've only been once, and didn't get much in terms of produce, but Yes Organic should be pretty close to you - worth a shot. They had a "Whole Foods-ish" vibe, but very small.

                  1. re: mdpilam

                    Prepare yourself for sticker shock at Yes Organic. It's basically Whole Foods prices or higher, and I have not been impressed by the produce quality (ie, often have wilted greens, not fresh stuff at all). I prefer Whole Foods to Yes, and (not related to produce, but important) at least they have the 365 Organic products while Yes is just crazy expensive on everything.
                    i like the 14th and U Market as well, though it's pricey. Quality there is higher than even Whole Foods though. I imagine it's similar at the Columbia Heights market, which is also on Saturday mornings.

                    1. re: hamster

                      "Prepare yourself for sticker shock at Yes Organic" - they have to pay for sky high rental rates some how

                2. re: katecm

                  Boy katecm you are right about that. My local Safeway is ok, as is Giant. The Giant near my mom is horrible. She said they were selling cabbage at full price, with various places cut away as if they'd gone bad and has other horror stories. She said something to a produce dept. worker and he just said "I'm sorry" but without any emotion (likely just sorry she'd said something to him.).

                  For consistently good produce I don't know of anywhere except Wegmans. The places others have suggested can be quite good (although some are pricey like Whole Foods or the organic markets), but sometimes not so good.