When it comes to eating locally, it can get downright depressing here in Washington from November through March.  Sure, there are plenty of greens to be had and the apples that were picked in the fall tend to last all the way through, but your choices for fresh veggies tend to get pretty slim.  Thankfully, that all changes round about April, and by the time May rolls around we’re already awash in fresh asparagus, ramps and even strawberries from local farms.

For us, however, the real sign of spring isn’t the profusion of new produce – it’s the reopening of some of the more seasonally-oriented farmers’ markets around the city.  This year, the District’s market scene reaches critical mass over the next week, starting with a pair of openings tomorrow and continuing through next Thursday and Friday.  We’ve got your guide right here, complete with a Who’s Who of producers at each market.

Opening Tomorrow (Saturday, May 1, 2010):

H Street NE FreshFarm Market
625 H Street NE (parking lot directly across from the H Street Self Storage between 6th and 7th Streets, NE)
Saturday, 9 AM – noon

Returning vendors: Atwater’s Bakery, Blueberry Hill, Cedarbrook Farm, Clear Spring Creamery, Dolcezza Gelato & Sorbet, Garden Path Farm, Keswick Creamery, Quaker Valley F&O, Richfield Farm

New this year: Dangerously Delicious Pies (weekly); Red Apron Butchery (first Saturday of every month)

Chef at Market this week: Casey Patten of Taylor Gourmet

14th & U Farmers Market
Reeves Center plaza sidewalk (corner of 14th & U Streets, NW)
Saturday, 9 AM – 1 PM

Returning vendors: Truck Patch Farms, McCleaf, Garner, Kuhn, Copper Pot Food Co., Pecan Meadow, Panorama Bakery, Keswick Creamery, Cherry Glen Farms, Dolcezza, Mountain View,

New this year: Chez Hareg (actually returning after a year’s absence)

After the jump, find out who will be cooking at the FreshFarm Market by the White House and the Capital Harvest on the Plaza.

Opening Thursday (May 6th, 2010)

FreshFarm Market by the White House
810 Vermont Ave., NW (between H and I Streets, NW)
Thursday, 3 PM to 7 PM

Returning vendors: Blueberry Hill Farm, Bread Ovens at Quail Creek Farm, Cedarbrook Farm, Chris Marketplace, Clear Spring Creamery, Endless Summer Harvest, Everona Dairy, Farm at Sunnyside, Firefly Farms, Groff’s Content, Gunpowder Bison, Keswick Creamery, Praline Bakery, Solitude, Spring Valley Farm & Orchard, Sunnyside Farm & Orchard, Toigo Orchards, Welsh Gardens, Wollam Gardens

Chef at Market this week: Giant Paella courtesy of Jaleo and Jose Andres’ ThinkFoodGroup

Opening next Friday (May 7th, 2010)

Capital Harvest on the Plaza Farmers Market
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW (on the Woodrow Wilson Plaza at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center)
Friday, noon to 5 PM

This year’s vendors: Santa Lucia Estate Coffee, MeatCrafters, Take Home by Anna Saint John, Hawks Hill Creamery, All Things Olive, Gun Powder Bison and Trading Company, Firefly Farms, The Breadery, Lingenfelter Seafood, Nuts…to You!, Tuckey’s Mountain Grown, Ayrshire Farm, Floradise Orchids, Original Kettle Korn of Maryland, Hickory Chance Beef, Savory Soups, Edible Favors, Lois’s Produce, Panorama Bakery, Mystic Water Soap, Lehigh View Farm, the Zahradka Farm

Chef at Market this week: Todd Gray of Equinox