We've decided to highlight farmers' markets near our area to give an idea of some of the items that are sold and what you can keep an eye out for. Some farmers' markets are larger than others and some have a wider array of food stuffs (and allergy-friendly items) than others, just like small markets versus supermarkets. That being said, there are some things you can only get from a farmers' market - one of those being the direct interaction with the person who made the food you consume.
For further information on farmers' markets in general, or how to find a farmers' market near you, check out our Farmers' Market Lowdown post.
Today we'll highlight the Old Town Alexandria Farmers' Market, said to be the oldest continually running farmers' market in the states.
Farmer's Market Highlight - Old Town Alexandria
This farmers' market is located in Market Square off King Street right behind the new court house in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, about 20 minutes outside of Washington, D.C. and is said to be the oldest continually running farmers' market in the U.S. having opened every Saturday in the exact same square since 1753.
This farmers' market is open year-round from January through December every Saturday morning from 7am to 12noon, offering not only produce but also fresh bread, flowers, handmade fermented and preserved foods, artisanal teas, jewelry and art, among other things.
Our favorite places to stop by while shopping at Old Town Alexandria Farmers' Market:
1. Number One Sons - sell kimchi (from spicy to mild, carrots, cabbage, kale and radish - all
without fish or shellfish, unlike most traditional kimchi) and saurkraut (cabbage and beets). In our opinion their fermented foods taste better than just about anywhere else we've eaten fermented foods. We try to get enough to last us until our next visit. There are about 10 or so different options so it can be a bit daunting at first, but luckily you can sample each one to help you decide which you'd like and they come in super small to family-size containers, so you don't have to commit to something you're not sure you're going to finish, or worry about not getting a big enough size. But let's be real - it's fermented; it'll last a good long while.
2. Zuzu Cuisine - this Lebanese bread and falafal booth is worth the trip alone. You should stop here first (bring cash!) so you can eat your bread or falafel or sweet treat while you check out the other market booths. While they aren't gluten-free, wheat-free or nut-free, they do have vegetarian and vegan options, and they don't cook with eggs or soy; they are also the friendliest, most energetic, helpful and cheerful aunties we've ever come across. If only we lived near them, we'd be having zatar bread and falafels every day of the week!
3. Bread and Water - we'll say this straight off the bat: this is not a gluten-free bread booth, however, if you're only gluten-sensitive and you've found that sourdough and rye doesn't bother you, then this place is where you need to be. They sell some of the tastiest old-fashioned starter sourdough we've ever had. They're super helpful, knowledgeable and friendly however if you don't get there early (we mean before 10am) you're going to be in a long, long line that blocks other booths because they are so busy (with good reason!).
4. Whole Health Living Wellness - selling both artisanal teas as well as potpourri, you're lured to this booth by the pleasant floral and herbal aromas. These teas are packed in tins and the proprietor will let you smell the different blends before you have to decide on a purchase - which is one of Joy's favorite parts about this booth - that and the awesome teas. The teas are blended for sleeping, waking up, upset stomach, better circulation and more. It's pretty much impossible to decide on just one. Did we mention how fantastic they smell?
5. Kiwi Kuisine - mainly selling hot food that you can eat while you shop, this booth specializes in New Zealand-style savory tarts and pies with either gluten-free or vegetarian options. It's best to stop by this booth early because the allergy-friendly options sell out fast.
6. Dimitri Olive Farms - selling small-batch olives, olive oils, infused olive oils and balsamic vinegar made from Greece-grown olives. Maria loved the authentically thick balsamic vinegar they offered (and let us taste) and, while we're aware this particular food item isn't exactly local, we were impressed by the family-run and operated business.
Been to the Old Town Alexandria Farmers' Market and found some other awesome items you think we should include? Let us know in the comments below!
Check out this link for more information on the Old Town Alexandria Farmers' Market.