Winter Farmers Markets for DC, VA, MD

It’s the end of November and all my favorite markets are closing!

As we say goodbye to our favorite vendors it’s time to prep for Winter. Here is a brand new list of Winter markets, updated from last year, and now including our local coops and organic markets (bottom half of the page).

Also, this is the time of year when Dupont becomes the best market around, less crowds and better vendors, it’s my favorite winter market.

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DC


Sunday

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

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

Eastern Market (outdoor market only) — 7 -4 pm — 225 Seventh St SE

Saturday

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

Sheridan School — 9 -1 pm — 4400 36th Street NW (36th and Alton)

Eastern Market (outdoor market only)  — 225 Seventh St SE

Friday

Horace Mann — 3:30-6:30 pm — 4430 Newark St NW (by American Univ)

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MD


Saturday

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

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

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

Sunday

Bethesda Central — 9 -1 pm — Bethesda Ln between Elm St and Bethesda Ave

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

Wednesday

Twin Springs Fruit at Concord St. Andrew’s Church — 10 -2 pm — Goldsboro/River Rd

Thursday

Twin Springs Fruit at Goddard Space Flight Center — 10 -2 pm

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VA


Saturday

Old Town Alexandria — 5:30 -11 am — 301 King St (City Hall)

Arlington Market — 8 -12pm — North Courthouse Rd and 14th St (courthouse parking lot)

Del Ray Alexandria — 8 -12pm — East Oxford and Mount Vernon

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

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

Oakton — 10 -2 pm — Unity Church of Fairfax, 2854 Hunter Mill Rd

Sunday

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

Wednesday

Clarendon — 3 -7 pm — Wilson Blvd and N. Highland St, Arlington (Clarendon Metro station)

George Mason Univeristy — 11 -2 pm — Southside Plaza

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Coops!

Takoma Park – Silver Spring Coop

Two Locations both open 9am – 9pm everyday

Silver Spring

8309 Grubb Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Takoma Park

201 Ethan Allen Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20912

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Bethesda Coop

6500 Seven Locks Rd – Cabin John, MD 20818

8:30am – 9pm (sun open till 8pm)

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Glut Food Coop

4005 34th Street, Mt. Rainier, Md. 20722

Opens at 9am daily, closes at 8pm on Tue-Fri, and 7pm on Sat-Mon

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Maryland Food Collective

B0203 Stamp Student Union, College Park MD 20742

M-F 7:30am – 3pm, Sat 10:30am – 5pm, Sun 12-6pm

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MOM’s Organic Markets

*the only organic markets that commits to buying local and quality*

All stores open 9am -9pm, except Sun 10am – 8pm

Alexandria

3831 Mt. Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22305

Bowie

6824 Race Track Rd, Bowie, MD 20715

Frederick

5273 Buckeystown Pike, Frederick, MD 21703

Jessup

7351 Assateague Dr. #190, Jessup, MD 20794

Rockville

11711 B Parklawn Drive, Rockville, MD 20852

College Park

9827 Rhode Island Ave, College Park, MD 20740

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Photo by Andrew Bossi

Tips for the Farmers Market Diet

It’s farmers market season and everyone is feeling the pull toward the street markets. Shopping at them can be confusing and overwhelming. To help you get through the season happier, healthier, and with more money in your pocket, here are some tips.

Cost

Every newbie to the markets talks about cost. I call it the supermarket hangover. They have trouble understanding why they should pay more. Isn’t food at the supermarket and the farmers market the same?

Definitely not. The supermarket food is priced correctly, cheap because it is cheap food. It has low levels of nutrients, vitamins, and other essential health elements. Which results in shoppers buying 2-3 times more than they need to and all of the weight problems associated with it.

Farmers markets food is high quality, or it can be. The point of these markets is to get you food when it is of the highest quality (fresh, in season, ripe). If done right you will find yourself eating much less food and the smaller amounts should help your budget and your waistline!

Fake Farmers Markets

I always try to warn folks about the fake farmers markets. You can easily spot a fake market by looking for the fruit and vegetable stands. The best markets have a good assortment of fruit/vegetables compared to everything else (bakers, cheese, meat). The worst markets have a surplus of dessert vendors and folks selling meat, bread, and cheese.

Now I have nothing against meat, bread, and cheese. I buy my fair share at the market. The problem is with markets who make no effort to balance their offerings. Folks need to be able to find healthy delicious fruits and vegetables, beyond the loaves of bread and steaks.

Foggy-Bottom-Farmers-Market-brocolli-radish-DCAnother type of fake farmers markets are those with no standards. Places that allow folks to buy from supermarkets or wholesalers and offer them at the market for a mark-up. Places like this really make me angry since they are using the market prestige to swindle customers.

Typical markets are “producer only” which means that farmers can only sell what they grow. To figure out if your market is producer only you can look it up on their website, ask the market manager or the vendors, look for/read their signs. In fact, you want to shop at the places with more signs and more transparency. A good rule is that if they aren’t telling you then don’t trust them.

The Back-up Store

You love farmers markets but it’s monday and no markets are open on monday. Stayed late at work or slept in. It happens to the best of us. Here are a few options for supplementing your farmers market diet.

Get to know the bulk foods in the bins at your local health food stores. They are often the freshest, cheapest, and healthiest items in the whole store. I regularly buy rice, beans, and nuts at my local store.

Another, but more limited option, is the local food at supermarkets. Stores like Whole Foods and Mom’s Organic Market tend to carry a few local items. Usually greens and mushrooms. Which can make for a great salad especially after a slight saute and some balsamic vinegar. They also offer local eggs and milk.

Finally, look around for your local food coop. These are community formed grocery stores that allow you to choose what they stock. Many of them are locavore havens but not all. If you happen to have one close, join-up, get the member discount, and make sure they know how much you love local foods!

PS – my local coop is the TPSS coop :)

photo by mastermaq

Silver Diner Offers Local Food, Claims Farm To Table

Silver Diner, a restaurant chain serving Virginia and Maryland, recently decided to offer “fresh and local” food. When I heard this I excitedly ventured out to our closest diner with a group of colleagues. We were ready for some good old fashioned home cooking and jukebox heroes (yes they do have them!). Trouble was not far away though…

The first thing one notices at the new Silver Diner are the advertisements all over the diner for the new local food. The host and server make sure to mention it. The menus is similarly plastered with the words local, fresh, farm. The marketing was a little over the top but at least it got the job done.

The next step was looking into the food. Are they really committing to this or just jumping on the local bandwagon (like Harris Teeter is doing). They appear to be doing both.

The food is local, fresh, and from the farm. They are buying local wine and coffee from a local roaster. These are amazing steps that contribute greatly to local business and can even spur these local industries to greater heights. I think it is important to recognize these steps and even say “thank you”.

Thank you Silver Diner for committing to local, fresh, and farm to table.

With that being said here are some points to improve upon. Transparency is sorely lacking. The menu is more marketing than information. I was forced to ask the server for more details (which she barely knew). Of the two farms listed both were in Pennsylvania, which seems not local at all since farms and cooperatives exist in Virginia and Maryland offering meat, eggs, and dairy. The farms they do mention have only basic websites and do not even list certifications like organic or certified naturally grown.

I was forced to google for information and found that one of them was linked to being a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation). I didn’t want to believe that Silver Diner could have overlooked this huge problem but found that the farm in question lists on its website a herd of 2,000 cows in a gigantic indoor facility, a sort of half-CAFO. Without more information and more transparency, what am I to think of this?

Further, the main reason I would continue coming back is for the vegetables and fruits. The menu and the website only state “produce from local farms”. A method to fix this, since produce is perishable and seasonal, is to list the farms that you regularly buy from or an extra menu listing farm, season, and offerings (provided upon request).

Another issue is standards. Just what are you committing to? The local roaster, Arlington based Greenberry, does not seem to believe in Fair Trade, which is a way to ensure that coffee farmers are not being exploited as cheap labor. If you’re going to offer hormone free meat, then why no offer antibiotic free as well? Also, no mention is made of organic or certified naturally grown, or any other standard that covers pesticide use?

Overall I am impressed by the moves Silver Diner has made. They are good first steps and probably necessary to build local food relationships. It does takes time to establish the operations of delivery and scheduling in bulk quantities. If they can continue their new efforts and build on them I will definitely be a frequent customer.

Cravings Don’t Make You Fat

2968102780_7ca4f9bec7Cravings don’t make you fat. Being inactive doesn’t make you fat. On the flip side working out will not stop you from being fat. Diets won’t help either.

It’s all about the food.

It’s the food you put into your body. Every bite and every morsel.

It’s very simple. Put food, real food, into your body and you will lose weight.

The complex part is determining what real food is. Nobody really knows anymore. Most of us know more about the “recommended daily nutritional intake” than we do about ripe fruit. Our minds are inundated with marketing slogans. They come upon us so fast that we have become accustomed to new products and new “needs”, like new non-fat cookies.

If you separate yourself from the swhirl of science, diets, and nutrition, it’s actually very easy. Somewhere out there exists real food. Take a trip to the farmers markets and you will see it. It’s not in a bag and its not in a box. Its just sitting there in a pile after being picked from the ground, tree, or bush.

You can buy and eat an apple and feel good. You could also buy a can of chopped apples and not feel good. The reason why this is so is simple too.

The fresher your food the better it is. If it was picked yesterday and you ate it today then it was the best for you. It also helps to have it picked during its peak maturity and not when its to young. Almost nothing in your local supermarket is fresh. All of it is picked too early or arriving weeks later. Often items in cans and boxes are months older (some don’t even go bad).

And, the older food is the worse it is for you. The impact it will have on you decreases over time. I have no research, yet, to give you real numbers, but I will posit that one fresh apple does as much for you as ten canned apples. If this is true, we can eat much less food, orders of magnitude less.

This could mean less money spent on food and less time cooking. It could mean a natural way to lose weight. It could mean no more diets, no more overeating, and no more cravings. It just could mean that.

A theoretical example. A craving hits for some vitamin C. Pop a vitamin C pill and you’re still hungry. Eat brocolli that is picked before its ready and a week old. The amount of vitamin C in that piece is probably very small, so you’re still craving some vitamin C. Okay, then pop the vitamin C pill and then eat 3x as much brocolli. Now you might feel satiated. Chances are you’re not. There are not many people I know who get full, stop eating, and go about their day. Most eat, feel tired, and start thinking about their next meal.

Now just imagine eating a piece of fresh brocolli. You get a powerful dose of vitamin C as well as a powerful dose of many other nutrients. Craving is satiated. You’re full. Energy abounds, mind activates, and you go about your day.

Again, it could be possible.

Now, I leave you with these thoughts. They are radical yet natural. The science is not there, but sometimes science can be corrupted. Try this fresh food for yourself. I have and so have many of my friends and family. There is no mistaking the impact it has had on us. Perhaps you can join us and experience the same liberating healthy food that we have.

Fresh Food is Not Expensive!

My baby girl challenged me to post my spending habits. Below are all of my purchases for as far back as I can grab. It reflects money spent on only fresh local food since June 1, 2009. Before that it is a mix of grocery stores, whole foods, 7 Eleven, and others.

The point of this is to show that fresh local food is not expensive. I even find it less expensive!

Should you want to try this too remember, like anything in life, it is a process. It’s taken me years to get to this point and become comfortable with the new lifestyle. But, what an amazing lifestyle it is.

After one month completely on the fresh food diet I am tempted to call it the Perfect Diet. My cravings are gone, I don’t think about food anymore, I workout less, I’m losing more weight, and frankly I’m in the best shape of my life. Further, I have shown this lifestyle to other folks ranging from girls, guys, seniors, 20 somethings and all are raving about it.

*These purchases are mostly for 1-2 people, though I do cook for lots of people, so its more of a mix.

DeMystifying the Costs of Fresh Food

July 2009

  • Farmers Markets – $16.00

June 2009

  • Whole Foods – $134.41
  • Other Grocery Stores – $9.06

May 2009

  • Whole Foods – $100.17
  • 7 Eleven – $8.23
  • Other grocery stores – $21.84

April 2009

  • Whole Foods – $114.64

March 2009

  • Whole Foods – $219.64
  • 7 Eleven – $10.99
  • Other grocery stores – $19.73

February 2009

  • Whole Foods – $170.00

January 2009

  • Whole Foods – $242.44
  • Safeway – $64.54