Podcast: NPR’s Intelligence Squared, Is Organic Hype?

“Six debaters, three against three, will be debating this motion: Organic Food is Marketing Hype”

“Now this is a debate, it is not panel discussion or seminar. It is a debate, someone will win and someone will lose.”

That is the intro to the latest debate from NPR’s Intelligence Squared.

I love these debates after picking one up on who is to blame for the Mexican Drug War. They are fun and fascinating, and also heavily liberal.

I do love how they present multiple points of view. They stick to the debate format which includes opening statements, closing ones, and an open question and argue period.

Check out the video and lower on the page are the briefs, audio versions, and an iTunes link.

More Info

photo by Melanie Defazio

Michael Pollan on the Rising Food Movement in the NY Review of Books

“The First Lady has effectively shifted the conversation about diet from the industry’s preferred ground of “personal responsibility” and exercise to a frank discussion of the way food is produced and marketed. “We need you not just to tweak around the edges,” she told the assembled food makers, “but to entirely rethink the products that you’re offering, the information that you provide about these products, and how you market those products to our children.”

In his latest essay, The Food Movement, Rising, Michael Pollan chronicles the rise of the Food Movement. It’s a 5,400 word piece in the New York Review of Books that moves from the roots of the movements, to challenging today’s leaders, and, as always, encouraging us to join in.

A striking point comes when he calls out Al Gore for missing the critical role that agriculture plays in global warming. Citing his book/movie/presentation, An Inconvenient Truth,  for making “scant mention of food or agriculture”. Even though our food system makes up one-fifth of American fossil fuel use. Further, it emits an incredible amount of greenhouse gas even thought “(it) is the one human system that should be able to substantially rely on photosynthesis” (i.e. solar energy).

The health industry is also in the center of his piece, citing that 3/4 of all health care spending treats diet related diseases (heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and at least a third of all cancers).

“The health care crisis probably cannot be addressed without addressing the catastrophe of the American diet, and that diet is the direct (even if unintended) result of the way that our agriculture and food industries have been organized.”

Oddly, the good news portion of his essay comes from the government. The FDA is “cracking down on deceptive marketing”, the DOJ is “avowing” to “pursue antitrust” issues, and even the conservative USDA is getting involved. Most importantly, though, is Michelle Obama’s work. As the cited above her direct statements and in-the-field work seem to be having the greatest impact.

“Mrs. Obama explicitly rejected the conventional argument that the food industry is merely giving people the sugary, fatty, and salty foods they want, contending that the industry “doesn’t just respond to people’s natural inclinations—it also actually helps to shape them,” through the ways it creates products and markets them.”

My favorite part about Michael Pollan’s writing are always his euphoric references to our food future. Yes, there are problems and people are suffering, but the light at the end of the tunnel is awe inspiring.

“The food movement is also about community, identity, pleasure…”

I love how he interweaves politics and beliefs into the piece (conservative libertarianism, comunitarian?). Then moves to explore the backlash against consumerism, “an attempt to redefine, or escape, the traditional role of consumer has become an important aspiration of the food movement”.

Finally, a solid reference to our beloved Farmers Markets:

…an activity that a great many people enjoy…(someone) is playing music. Children are everywhere, sampling fresh produce, talking to farmers. Friends and acquaintances stop to chat. One sociologist calculated that people have ten times as many conversations at the farmers’ market than they do in the supermarket.

The piece is well worth reading: The Food Movement, Rising by Michael Pollan

Arlington Farmers Markets

We love our Arlington Farmers Markets.

Arlington, VA has six farmers markets on everyday except mondays and fridays. They are some of my favorites in the Washington DC region. Open after work and on your lunch break they are ideal for shopping. Go ahead and give them a chance and let me know what you experience.

Also, if you you’re interested in other regional markets I have included on this page the DC and Alexandria farmers markets (and a brochure too). They provide an incredible array of markets with diverse products at many times of the day and week.

-

Arlington Farmers Markets

-

Fridays

none

-

Saturdays

Arlington Market at Courthouse – 8-12pm – Year Round
Courthouse Metro (1 block south)

-

Sundays

Columbia Pike – 9-1pm – Year Round
S. Walter Reed Dr at Columbia Pike

Mondays

None

-

Tuesdays

Crystal City – 3-7pm – May to Oct
Crystal Drive – 18 to 20th St

-

Wednesdays

Clarendon – 2-7pm – Year Round
Clarendon Metro

-

Thursdays

Rosslyn – 11-3pm – May to Oct
Wilson Blvd/N. Oak St- Rosslyn Metro

Ballston – 3-7pm – May to Oct
Wellburn Square, 9th/N. Stuart, 1 block south Ballston Metro

-

Alexandria Farmers Markets

-

Fridays

none

-

Saturdays

Old Town Alexandria – 5-10:30am – all year
Market Square/City Hall, 301 King Street

Del Ray Alexandria – 8-12pm – till dec
East Oxford & Mount Vernon Ave

-

Sundays

West End Alexandria – 9-1pm – May to Nov
4800 Brenman Park Drive

-

Mondays

None

-

Tuesdays

none

-

Wednesdays

King Street Alexandria – 3-7pm – May to Oct
1806 King Street, King St Metro

-

Thursdays

none

-

DC Farmers Markets

-

Fridays

USDA People’s Garden – 10-2pm – Jun to Oct
12th/Independence Ave – Smithsonian Metro

-

Saturdays

Eastern Market – 7-6pm – Year Round
225 7th ST, SE – Eastern Market Metro

14th & U St – 9-1pm – May to Nov
14th/U St – U St/Cardozo Metro

Adams Morgan – 8-1pm – Apr to Dec
18th/Columbia, NW

Silver Spring – 9-1pm – Apr to Dec
951 Ellsworth Dr – Silver Spring Metro

H Street – 9-12pm – May to Nov
625 H St, NE – Union Station Metro, (5 blocks away)

Chevy Chase – 9-1pm – Apr to Nov
Broad Branch Rd/N Hampton St, NW

Bethesda – 9-1pm – Jun to Oct
Norfolk Ave at Veteran’s Park, Bethesda Station Metro

-

Sundays

Dupont - 9-1pm – Year Round
1500 20th St – Dupont Metro

Eastern Market – 9-5pm – Year Round
225 7th ST, SE – Eastern Market Metro

Bloomingdale – 10-2pm – May to Nov
1st/R St, NW – Shaw/NY Metro

Takoma Park – 10-2pm – Year Round
Carroll/Laurel Ave – Takoma Park Metro

-

Mondays

None

-

Tuesdays

New Morning – 4-8pm – Jun to Sep
36th/Alton Place – Sheridan School

-

Wednesdays

Foggy Bottom – 2:30-7pm – Apr to Nov
Foggy Bottom Metro – 2400 I St/New Hampshire

Health and Human Services – 2:30-6:30pm – Jun to Oct
200 Independence Ave, SW – Federal Center Metro

Crossroads – 3-7pm – Jun to Oct
Holton Lane/New Hampshire (Takoma Park)

-

Thursdays

Penn Quarter – 3-7pm – Apr to Dec
450 8th St, NW – Chinatown/Archives Metro

White House – 3-7pm – May to Nov
810 Vermont Ave, NW – McPherson Square Metro

-

Farmers Market Brochure

To help you find all these markets A Clean Life offers a brochure (link below) listing them by day/hour/metro.

Lower on the page you will find a comprehensive list of all markets in the DC metro region.

Untitled 2pdf of brochure for download —-  high res screenshot

Seasonal Eating Guide to DC, Baltimore, Arlington

A seasonal food guide for the Capitol Foodshed which includes DC, Baltimore, Arlington, and Northern Virginia. A full list (pdf) is available from FreshFarm Markets.

Vegetables

Spring

Asparagus, Beets, Greens (Collard, Spinach, Chard, Kale), Mushrooms, Onions, Radishes/Turnips, Squash

Summer

Artichokes, Green/Lima Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Greens (Collard, Chard, Kale, Spinach), Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garlic/Onions, Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes/Turnips, Squash, Sweet Potatoes

Autumn

Artichokes, Green/Lima Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Greens (Collard, Chard, Kale, Spinach), Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garlic/Onions, Mushrooms, Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes/Turnips, Squash, Sweet Potatoes

Winter

Greens (Kale, Spinach), Squash – Dec Only: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Greens (Collard), Garlic, Peppers, Radishes/Turnips

Fruits

Spring

Apples, Strawberries

Summer

Jun: Cherries, Berries (rasp, straw), Tomatoes
Jul: Cherries, Apricots, Berries (black, blue, rasp, straw), Figs, Melons, Nectarines, Peaches, Plums, Tomatoes
Aug: Apples, Berries (black, blue, rasp), Figs, Melons, Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Tomatoes

Autumn

Apples, Melons, Pears, Tomatoes – Sep Only: Blueberries, Peaches

Winter

Apples, Tomatoes

Herbs

Spring

Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Parsley, Sage, Sorrel — **None in Mar

Summer

Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Fennel, Mint, Parsley, Sage, Sorrel, Tarragon, Thyme

Autumn

Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Fennel, Mint, Parsely, Sage, Sorrel, Tarragon, Thyme

WinterDec Only

Basil, Mint, Parsely, Sage, Sorrel, Thyme — **None in Jun/Feb

The Case for Local Food

Here is a food claim may shock you.

Farmers markets offer food that is three times better for you than supermarkets.

A study published in September 2007 by the Organic Center discovered this startling fact after looking into our modern food system. They had a theory that food has changed since the 1950s, before the industrial food revolution. To test this they gathered seeds from the 1950s and today, grew them to harvest, and compared their nutrient values.

In nearly every category our modern food was lacking. The study gets complicated and covers many areas, so an easy way to sum it up is this. Industrial food producers grow crops for quantity. They want to grow more every year and have increased their production by incredible amounts (400x!). The unfortunate consequence of this massive growth is their food quality has dropped.

The quality vs quantity difference is on average 3x.

It’s a seminal piece of work, or has the potential to be. It could explain our obesity epidemic since we are eating three times more food than we used to. It could explain why so many people dislike healthy food in favor of fast food. It could even explain why healthy food cost more.

Imagine our obesity epidemic if we all ate 1/3 less.

Imagine how different vegetables would taste if they are three times as rich.

Imagine if you had to purchase 1/3 less food. Most folks say that healthy food costs twice as much. Do the math and if you’re buying 1/3 less and spending twice as much it is still cheaper.

Combine these three and you have the perfect solution. A diet that is cheap, tasty, and healthy. If this is true it also supports local economies, small business, and drastically reduces our environmental waste.

Here is the kicker. In America we do not subsidize fruits and vegetables, but we do subsidize fast food. Imagine how this whole equation could change if we made fast food more expensive and fruits and vegetables cheaper.

This is the case for local food.

Try It Out

No more imagining. Test this study out in real life. Find the quality food. See if it fills you up, gives you energy, and saves you money. It has for me and hundreds of my friends.

Here are a few recommendations to help you find quality food:

Fruits/Vegetables – farmers markets. They offer items that are picked at their peak. Grown in ideal conditions. Sold at their freshest. Every other place, including supermarkets, offer declining levels of quality.

Grains/Beans/Nuts – only buy from the bulk sections at Whole Foods and other health food stores. Sometimes also sold at farmers markets.

Meat/Seafood/Dairy – sold at farmers markets and Whole Foods (health stores). The key is to buy items that are raised cleanly and sold fresh.

DC Farmers Markets

We love our DC farmers markets. We love our VA farmers markets.

Here in the DC metro area we have an incredible amount of markets (among highest in people/markets ratio). There are multiple markets every day (except Monday) and they are open during your lunch break or in the evenings.

To help you find all these markets A Clean Life offers a brochure (link below) listing them by day/hour/metro.

Lower on the page you will find a comprehensive list of all markets in the DC metro region.

Untitled 2pdf of brochure for download —-  high res screenshot

-

DC Farmers Markets

-

Fridays

USDA People’s Garden – 10-2pm – Jun to Oct
12th/Independence Ave – Smithsonian Metro

-

Saturdays

Eastern Market – 7-6pm – Year Round
225 7th ST, SE – Eastern Market Metro

14th & U St – 9-1pm – May to Nov
14th/U St – U St/Cardozo Metro

Adams Morgan – 8-1pm – Apr to Dec
18th/Columbia, NW

Silver Spring – 9-1pm – Apr to Dec
951 Ellsworth Dr – Silver Spring Metro

H Street – 9-12pm – May to Nov
625 H St, NE – Union Station Metro, (5 blocks away)

Chevy Chase – 9-1pm – Apr to Nov
Broad Branch Rd/N Hampton St, NW

Bethesda – 9-1pm – Jun to Oct
Norfolk Ave at Veteran’s Park, Bethesda Station Metro

-

Sundays

Dupont - 9-1pm – Year Round
1500 20th St – Dupont Metro

Eastern Market – 9-5pm – Year Round
225 7th ST, SE – Eastern Market Metro

Bloomingdale – 10-2pm – May to Nov
1st/R St, NW – Shaw/NY Metro

Takoma Park – 10-2pm – Year Round
Carroll/Laurel Ave – Takoma Park Metro

-

Mondays

None

-

Tuesdays

New Morning – 4-8pm – Jun to Sep
36th/Alton Place – Sheridan School

-

Wednesdays

Foggy Bottom – 2:30-7pm – Apr to Nov
Foggy Bottom Metro – 2400 I St/New Hampshire

Health and Human Services – 2:30-6:30pm – Jun to Oct
200 Independence Ave, SW – Federal Center Metro

Crossroads – 3-7pm – Jun to Oct
Holton Lane/New Hampshire (Takoma Park)

-

Thursdays

Penn Quarter – 3-7pm – Apr to Dec
450 8th St, NW – Chinatown/Archives Metro

White House – 3-7pm – May to Nov
810 Vermont Ave, NW – McPherson Square Metro

-

VA Farmers Markets

-

Fridays

McLean - 8-12pm – May to Nov
1659 Chain Bridge Rd – Lewinsville Pk

-

Saturdays

Arlington Market at Courthouse – 8-12pm – Year Round
Courthouse Metro (1 block south)

Old Town Alexandria – 5-10:30am – all year
Market Square/City Hall, 301 King Street

Del Ray Alexandria – 8-12pm – till dec
East Oxford & Mount Vernon Ave

Vienna – 8-12pm – May to Oct
131 Church St NE

-

Sundays

West End Alexandria – 9-1pm – May to Nov
4800 Brenman Park Drive

Columbia Pike – 9-1pm – Year Round
S. Walter Reed Dr at Columbia Pike

-

Mondays

None

-

Tuesdays

Crystal City – 3-7pm – May to Oct
Crystal Drive – 18 to 20th St

-

Wednesdays

King Street Alexandria – 3-7pm – May to Oct
1806 King Street, King St Metro

Clarendon – 2-7pm – Year Round
Clarendon Metro

-

Thursdays

Rosslyn – 11-3pm – May to Oct
Wilson Blvd/N. Oak St- Rosslyn Metro

Ballston – 3-7pm – May to Oct
Wellburn Square, 9th/N. Stuart, 1 block south Ballston Metro

Winter Farmers Markets – DC, VA, MD

A helpful guide to farmers markets by day all around the WMA (washington metropolitan region). The list includes markets from DC, MD, and VA from the small stands to the big FreshFarm/Smark Markets.

I have visited many of these markets but not all. If you go to one please pass along your experience. It would be helpful to know that all are open and worth visiting.

And, if you’re starved for quality local food on off-days the Silver Spring Coop is open everyday from 9-9pm and located at – 8309 Grubb Road, Silver Spring, Md.

Enjoy!

—-

DC


Saturday

Eastern Market — 7 -4 pm  — 225 Seventh St SE

Sunday

Dupont Circle — 10 -1 pm — 20th and Q St NW

Eastern Market — 7 -4 pm — 225 Seventh St SE

Palisades — 9 -1 pm — 48th Place NW and MacArthur Blvd

—-

MD


Saturday

Great Frederick Farmers Market — 8 -2 pm — 797 East Patrick St (fairgrounds)

Kensington Farmers Market — 8 -12pm — Howard Ave (Kensington train station parking lot)

Montgomery Farm Women’s Coop Market — 7 -4 pm — 7155 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda

Silver Spring FreshFarm Market — 10 -1 pm — Ellsworth Dr (Fenton St and Georgia Ave)

Twin Springs Fruit Farm at Bethesda United Church — 10 -2 pm — Fernwood Rd and Democracy Blvd

Sunday

Bethesda Central Farm Market — 10 -2 pm — Bethesda Ln between Elm St and Bethesda Ave

Takoma Park Farmers Market — 10 -2 pm — Laurel Ave between Eastern and Carroll

Wednesday

Montgomery Farm Women’s Coop Market — 7 -4 pm — 7155 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda

Twin Springs Fruit Farm at Concord St. Andrew’s Church — 9  -2 pm — Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt

Thursday

Twin Springs Fruit Farm at Bethesda United Church — 10 -2 pm — Fernwood Rd and Democracy Blvd

Friday

Montgomery Farm Women’s Coop Market — 7 -4 pm — 7155 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda

—-

VA


Saturday

Alexandria Farmers Market — 5:30 -10:30 am — 301 King St (City Hall)

Arlington Farmers Market — 9 -12pm — North Courthouse Rd and 14th St (courthouse parking lot)

Del Ray Farmers Market — 9 -12pm — East Oxford and Mount Vernon

Falls Church Farmers Market — 9 -12pm — 300 Park Ave, City Hall parking lot

Leesburg Farmers Market — 9 – 12pm — Virginia Village Shopping Center, Catoctin Circle

Smart Markets at Oakton — 10 -1 pm — Unity Church of Fairfax, 2854 Hunter Mill Rd

Sunday

Columbia Pike Farmers Market — 10 -1 pm — Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Dr (Pike Park, in front of the Rite Aid)

Tuesday

Smart Markets at Fairfax Corner Center — 11:30 -2:30 pm — 11895 Grand Commons Ave, Fairfax (Monument Dr and Government Center Prkwy)

Wednesday

Clarendon Farmers Market — 2 -7 pm — Wilson Blvd and N. Highland St, Arlington (Clarendon Metro station)

The USDA Wants You To “Know Your Farmer”

This morning I was fortunate to attend new media press event with Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. A small group of us took a short trip outside of Washing DC to Tree and Leaf Farm. Which is exactly 47 miles away from the Dupont Farmers Market in the city, according to co-owner Georgia O’Neal.

The reason for this farm adventure was to launch a very special program for the USDA, called Know Your Farmer Know Your Food. The details of which are still coming out. DepSec Merrigan did clue us in on the plan which includes a weeklong series of programs, announcements, and events. With the culminating event being the official opening of a farmers market one block away from the White HouseThough for new media fans, on Friday Kathleen Merrigan will be entertaining a live facebook chat.

I am betting that for the rest of the country the white house farmers market will be the big hit. It’s an easily condensible byte of news and I expect it to hit all the major networks this Thursday and throughout the weekend. The news for farmers should be a big hit as well since it announces many new plans for grants, guides, and programs. All in support of the campaign promises of Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s idea of “wealth creation” in rural communities.

Tree and Leaf

Tree and Leaf Farm

News aside, it was quite refreshing to visit one of DC’s regional farms the Tree and Leaf. The farm is run by Zach Lester and Georgia O’Neal who offer their bounty on Saturday’s at the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market and on Sunday at the Dupont Market. They have 5 acres of land and according to Zach produce a wide variety of crops.

They are definitely into the Organic movement, though I would say they better align with Joel Salatin’s credo of “beyond organic”. Even in our short time Zach dropped into biodynamics, the five folds of nature, the importance of compost, and more.

Their story gets more interesting as you dig into it. Their farm operations include several employees and one farm manager who helps with the direct marketing (getting the food sold), on only five acres of land!

Georgia and Zach

The land is is rented on a year-to-year lease. This is causing them some hardship since Organic farming requires a few years investment to get into place and not having a multi-year deal means they may expend money and sweat for no reason. It also deters them from making infrastructure improvements to increase their food quality, type, and length (growing in deep season, winter).

Their food is sold in markets and CSA’s in DC, but rarely in their own county. Both lamented the fact that the new Loudon County residents rarely get out of their cars to participate in the community. They are locked into the same problem the rest of the country has, trucking their food outside of their community while others simultaneously truck in low quality, unhealthy food for supermarkets.

The farm was truly a beautiful place to be. Zach’s landscaping skills make it a beautiful scene. Both he and Georgia make quite a team on the farm and their little boy, who I really thought looks like Conan the Barbarian in training.

Politics as NOT Usual

It seems that the politics of food has changed. It is now okay to talk about the inequities in our food system. It is even okay to till your own organic garden, start a farmers market, and even shop at one. This is reflected in the seemingly out of nowhere White House push for organic gardening and a farmers market.

Still the vast majority of Americans are lost in these markets which means we have a long way to go. A large amount of education is needed to bring back proper eating into the consciousness of the public. Hopefully, this new USDA program and high profile maneuvers from the White House will start the awareness. Like my Mom always reminds me, its a process, and we can’t erase bad habits overnight.

photo (2)
From Zach: "the structure is a rebar bean tunnel with swiss chard growing underneath"

Keep an eye out for more news as the week rolls on. Check out fellow foodie and blogger Obama Foodorama who also joined us on the farm trip.

Certified Naturally Grown vs. Organic

All of this content comes to us from a comment on a previous post. Tom Hedrick (his farm) said it perfectly and so no need for my commentary.

Certified Naturally Grown vs. Organic

Another topic I think lots of us would be interested in is the significant difference between “Certified Naturally Grown” and “Organic”. Organic certification is really a barrier to entry for most small farmers. From the Wikipedia article, “To be Certified Organic (as opposed to Certified Naturally Grown) in the US, a grower must keep detailed records of planting, cultivation, fertilization, harvest, and storage, and must pay for both organization membership and periodic inspection. This process works well for large-scale commercial growers, but becomes onerous for small mixed-agriculture farms. Since only certified seeds may be used, the varieties available to be grown are limited, and sustainable practices such as seed-saving is not permitted, unless the farmer also applies to be certified as a seed supplier.

Certified Naturally Grown farmers follow the USDA standards of the National Organic Program, but the record keeping and inspection process is tailored to accommodate the needs of small-scale mixed-agriculture farmers, and are not normally permitted to use the word “organic”. Farmers commit to act as inspectors. Farmer-Inspectors are uniquely qualified to observe and note whether their neighbors are sticking to the standards, and are encouraged to provide helpful feedback, which helps foster a sense of community and sharing. Inspection forms are posted on the Internet for anytime public access, and all farms are subject to random pesticide residue testing. All in all, the CNG procedure requires significantly less paperwork, yet arguably results in more transparency and fostering of better farming practices, than the Certified Organic process, which primarily depends on farmer declarations backed by copious paperwork, and which inspects the paperwork rather than the farm.”

Support biodiversity, encourage the use of open pollinated seeds for seed saving and sharing. Remember nothing tastes better or is better for you than an heirloom fruit or vegetable!

114255191_2475eb358f

On CSA’s – Community Supported Agriculture

Steven,
Regarding getting ultra-fresh food, there is one thing that I haven’t seen you mention and that is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). It alleviates much of the very valid concerns that Kelcy brought up. For instance, when you go to the local farmer’s market, you have no idea how their produce is grown. Do they use herbicides and pesticides and tons of water soluble fertilizers? Did they raise their livestock on free range grasses chock full of Omega-3’s or was it just a small-scale version of the high production farms? Were those animals slaughtered in a humane manner? CSA’s give the consumer an opportunity to truly develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown; annual or even more frequent farm visits are encouraged. Check out this link, plug in your zip and find a CSA near you:

Local Harvest

Another great read is the late John Seymour’s book, A Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It.

It doesn’t get any fresher than if you grow it yourself. Doesn’t even require much space and you can put that compost to great use even if it is just a container garden on a city balcony.

Also there was a question above of what to eat in the winter when local farms are not producing. Community farmers throughout the US even in northernmost states are noticing a great return on minimum investment by using High Tunnels (cheap plastic cold frames that greatly extend the growing season).

High Tunnels

keep up the good work

tom

A Visit to Farmers Markets in Long Beach and Huntington Beach

2539937014_f55ecebf38Long Beach

A visit to Long Beach is always exciting for me. I love its small city charm mixed in with the grit of its bigger city (LA) next door. The downtown farmers market was no different.

Some details on the market is that its open from 9-4 on Fridays and is at Long Beach Blvd and 5th Street next to the Walmart in a big shopping center. They shut down two full roads of traffic for the vendors which means their are a lot of them. The vendors range from east asian farmers to regular farmers, jamaican art dealers to watch and jewelry repair. It’s safe to say that you have many options at this market.

Some quick items that struck my fancy…there are numerous vendors selling cooked food. These restaurants on the go were nearly everywhere and not something you usually see at a farmers markets…If you want to buy a vegetable, wait on it, there are so many options you are bound to get a better deal as you walk…and brush up or practice your spanish, this is a good place to talk to friendly bilingual farmers.

Definitely visit this market if you get a chance!

———————–

a farmers market in san francisco by Swami Stream on Flickr
A farmers market in San Francisco by Swami Stream on Flickr

Huntington Beach

I did not have high expectations for the Huntington Beach farmers market. I assumed their would be more art vendors than food ones. I was pleasantly suprised, though, we found more food vendors and even caught an acrobatic show on the pier right afterwards.

The market is open on Fridays from 1-5 and is open all year round. You can find it next to the pier, northside. It is a small market but just right for me. Some prefer larger ones with more selection and the ability to shop around. Not me, I like just the right amount of vendors where its small enough to have a friendly chat with each one.

As Spence and I shopped around we noticed that many of the vendors here were the same ones at the downtown LB market. Strange but I guess they are getting big-time in the markets. Anyway, there were a variety of food options including honey, mediterranean, fish, mexican, bread, and nuts in addition to the multiple produce vendors.

As always there were art vendors and goods for sale. Many of them quite beautiful. We were on limited time and so had to skip that this time.

The best benefit of this market for me is that its close to where I live and there’s nothing like shopping for food on the beach. This may become my go-to market.

Written on my iPhone