The weather is getting warmer, local ramps and asparagus have started to show up at markets (if you get there early enough to snag them), and we’ve already had a few days hot enough to make think about turning on the air conditioning. For those of us who live in the H Street neighborhood, that means it’s farmers’ market time again!
Sure, you can find farm-fresh produce all year ’round at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market…but if you’ve been there on a snowy January (or even March) morning you know that H Street isn’t missing much by waiting until the first weekend in May to open up. Don’t get me wrong – apples, kale and root vegetables are especially delicious when they’re local – but the ‘wow’ factor that comes from colorful fruits and vegetables just isn’t there.
Tomorrow morning at 9 AM, the opening bell will signal the start of the H Street FreshFarm Market’s fifth season. That’s right – the market has been doing H Street since 2004 – way before H Street was cool. Located in a parking lot on H between 6th and 7th Streets, NE, this producers-only market is open until noon every Saturday morning from now until November 21st.
Some coming attractions for this season – including the two new vendors who will be participating this year – after the jump.
FreshFarm Markets is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay region by building community and creating urban-rural partnerships. FreshFarm staff can be found at the market almost every week – look for their nametags and be sure to introduce yourself. They are a great group, and it can be inspiring to talk with them about their efforts.
When the H Street market opens tomorrow, it will once again feature Sidamo coffee and six returning favorites:
- Atwater’s Bakery – This Baltimore-based baker turns out everything from sourdough to scones (AMAZING scones) with the occasional homemade soup thrown in for good measure. Although it’s good advice in general when dealing with farmers’ markets, get there early for the best selection.
- Blueberry Hill Farm – An organic farm that specializes in fresh-cut flowers and vegetables, Blueberry Hill’s prices may be a bit higher than some, but the quality and the flavor of their produce have made plenty of fans.
- Cedarbrook Farm – David Ober’s “pasture pure pork” has been a long-time favorite here at Capital Spice. Every cut, from the bacon to the tenderloin, has a deep and meaty flavor that reflects its pastured upbringing.
- Keswick Creamery – The Dietrich family’s handmade cheeses are sold at the H Street Market by the folks from Cedarbrook Farm. Though the selection isn’t quite as expansive as it is on Sundays at Dupont Circle, you can still find their delicious feta, bovre, yogurt and semi-firm cheeses here on Saturdays.
- Quaker Valley Orchards – The fruits and veggies sold by Quaker Valley are great au naturale, but they’re also delicious in the pies and jams that the Schulteis family makes from them. Bonus – they also operate a guesthouse at their farm near Gettysburg, PA if you’re looking for a rural getaway.
- Richfield Farm – To us, these guys are the anchor of the H Street Market. You can find them at the back of the lot, and their tables are always groaning with an array of delicious produce and beautiful flowers. It’s rare that we leave the market without something from them.
And this year, H Street will welcome two new vendors to the lineup – Garden Path Farm and Dolcezza Gelato. Garden Path Farm is an Amish purveyor of eggs and pasture-raised meats, including chicken, lamb and beef. Dolcezza, the Georgetown-based Argentine gelateria, has been a regular presence at both the Dupont Circle and Penn Quarter Markets. Their arrival on H Street (which will occur next weekend, May 9th) will bring mouthwatering gelatos that use local produce and dairy products to create flavors like bourbon peach and dulce de leche.
As at other FreshFarm Market locations, H Street will also offer special guest stars through their “Chef at Market” program. Local chefs will demonstrate recipes using fresh, local produce and distribute samples for shoppers to taste and enjoy. Look for participants from some of the up-and-coming new restaurants along H Street and in the surrounding area over the course of the summer.
Next weekend, players from the Washington Mystics will be at the market from 10 to noon. They’ll be signing autographs, posing for photos, shooting baskets and advocating good nutrition and exercise habits. They’ll even take part in a cooking demonstration led by Through the Kitchen Door, a non-profit training program aimed at recent immigrants, low-income adults and at-risk youth.
We’ll be there bright and early tomorrow morning – hope to see you there!