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. (more…)

You have to hand it to Bernie Prince, Ann Yonkers and the rest of the team at FreshFarm Markets.  No sooner do they join the ranks of the Twitterati than they hit us with a bombshell:

FreshFarmTweet

That’s right…all that speculation and investigatory journalism over the past few weeks was right on the money!

As you might expect, news of this magnitude was immediately echoed by at least seven or eight of our DC food-writer friends.  But we noticed that the official press release (linked through the image above) was missing something – the names of the vendors who would be at the market next Thursday when the “FreshFarm Market, by the White House” opens for the first time.

We reached out to Bernie Prince and she gave us all the exciting details.  Like other FreshFarm Markets, this will be a producers-only market, featuring eighteen familiar vendors on opening day.  As Bernie explained, “We want this to be a market where shoppers can get everything in one place – from milk and meat to bread and vegetables.”

MiriamsShe also pointed out two more aspects of the market that make it an engaged partner with the local community.  As at their Silver Spring and H Street Markets, the FreshFarm Market, by the White House, will offer a “Double Dollars” program that will match the first $25 in Food Stamps, WIC and Senior Nutrition Dollars spent at the market.  The program is funded through grants and private donations.  Additionally, the market will work with Miriam’s Kitchen as a “gleaning partner” to provide fresh food for their outreach efforts to the hungry and homeless of DC.

The news you’ve been waiting for – the 19 producers who will be selling on Vermont Avenue – after the jump. (more…)

One of Inked's Many Great Market Shots at frozentropics.blogspot.com

One of Inked's many great market shots from http://frozentropics.blogspot.com

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. (more…)