Looking for a farmers' market in DC and not sure where to start? This enormous year-round market is perfect for every market shopper from the curious to the dedicated.
In our second installment of Farmers' Market Highlights we're focusing on Dupont Circle's FRESHFARM Market, smack in the heart of the capital, right down the street from Embassy Row.
Farmers' Market Highlight - Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market
Located on 20th St NW between Hillyer Place NW and Massachusetts Ave NW this farmers' market is easily accessible by metro, bus or car (although we caution that parking can be hard to find if you don't come either for the early crowd or the late straggler crowd). Established in 1997 by FRESHFARM a 501(c)(3) non-profit public education program of the American Farmland Trust, it is a producer-only farmer's market accepting only regional growers from the Chesapeake Bay watershed (Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia).
Open year-round from January through December every Sunday morning from 8:30am to 1:00pm this market was named one of the top farmers' markets in the country by The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times of London. During the peak season (April through October) there are more than 50 farmers selling conventional and organic produce, meat and dairy products, fresh baked breads and pastries, District-made spirits and small-batch beers, fermented vegetables, herbs, flowers, plants, soaps, soups and sandwiches, fresh made juices and more.
Grab a cold-pressed juice from Fruitive, or a fresh roasted cup of coffee from Zeke's, and walk around to the different booths, try food samples, listen to the musical street performers and enjoy the abundance of options available in this large outdoor market.
Here are some of our suggestions for places to check out at the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market:
1. Number One Sons - whaat? They sell at Old Town Alexandria and here too? Yes they do! You can find spicy or mild kimchi, sweet or spicy or sour pickles, and several sauerkraut options at the Number One Sons booth. And of course we love that you can try samples of every fermented food they have. Plus they sell kombucha!
2. Hex Ferments - another fermented foods booth? Yep! We hate to pick sides, and it's awfully hard to do between Hex and No.1 Sons, so we'll just say Hex has awesome kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut and kombucha options too. They don't usually have their samples out ready to taste like No.1 Sons, however they give them upon request. Also like No.1 Sons they have seasonal kimchi and sauerkraut varieties - like zucchini, carrots, kale - that are only available for a month or so each, so it's always nice to stop in to check and see what's new. Hex Ferments kimchi and sauerkraut can also be found at Whole Foods, Yes! Organic Market and MOM's Organic Market!
3. King Mushroom Farm - okay, so technically you can probably find fresh mushrooms at just about any farmers' market near where mushrooms can be grown but the first time we tried these mushrooms we fell in love with mushrooms all over again. There's nothing like fresh mushrooms. Truly. No comparison. And these guys have the freshest, most delicious mushrooms - the kind of mushrooms you would totally pop whole and raw in your mouth, slice for a salad, lightly saute for a breakfast sandwich - you get the idea. We love mushrooms and we really love King Mushroom Farm mushrooms. In the words of one of their regular customers 'it's like finally understanding what mushrooms should always taste like.'
4. Atwater's Traditional Food - freshly baked breads, pastries and other baked goods, our favorite go-tos are their old-fashioned starter sourdough and rye breads. They also have a seeded gluten-free loaf, carefully made and packaged separately from their wheat-based breads. If you don't have a wheat or gluten allergy, they give samples of their breads and there are rave reviews for their chocolate chip cookies.
5. O Earth Creamery + Bakehouse - speaking of gluten-free, these guys only make gluten-free baked goods - breads, cookies, muffins, tarts and more. They also have several plant-based gluten-free options. It's like they knew we were coming or something.
6. Gardener's Gourmet - while there are plenty of booths in this farmers' market that sell salad greens and herbs, these guys are pretty awesome. Their spinach, according to one devoted customer 'tastes like butter' and their variety of basil - lemon, Thai, African, Italian, sweet, purple, holy - is unparalleled in comparison to other farms. Always fresh and lusciously vibrant, their salad greens taste like they were picked minutes before you put them into your salad. Not only do they offer several leafy green varieties and herbs, but also some specialty vegetables like edible flowers and asparagus. We suggest the spinach, kale, arugula and mesclun - and the basils, of course. :)
7. Soupergirl - there's a vegan booth too! Selling plant-based soups, salads and hummus, we are all kinds of excited that these guys have a booth at Dupont Circle! Not only that, every week they have different options, so we suggest making sure you stop by each visit to see what new and exciting flavors they have available. Don't forget to ask for samples - they give generously, probably because they know that once you try some you'll absolutely want to buy.
We'll also give a shout-out to Spring Valley Farm & Orchard for their apples and onions (they also sell in Old Town Alexandria), New Morning Farm for their abundance of organic options, and Old World Breads - they've got great sourdough and cookies too!
Clearly there's so much to choose from it's actually hard to make a list. So check out this farmers' market for yourself and see all they have to offer - and don't forget to take advantage of the samples!
Check out this link for more information on the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market.
For further information on farmers' markets in general, or how to find a farmers' market near you, check out our Farmers' Market Lowdown post.
Been to the Dupont Circle farmers' market and found some allergy-friendly items you think we missed? Let us know in the comments below!