FreshFarm Markets Brings Local Farms to Washington, DC

10 Jun
June 10, 2011

In recent years, there’s been a drastic shift in the culinary world. The focus, from chefs down to consumers, has put a spotlight directly on the carbon footprint caused by eating.

In an effort to reduce that, a massive local food movement is underway, with people trying to mostly consume products grown or raised near where they live.

In the D.C. area, this trend has been successful because there are numerous farms raising almost anything you could want, allowing you to cook entire meals with ingredients that all come from within 100 miles of your house.

Of course, as busy as we are, no one has the time to drive down to rural Virginia or up to southern Pennsylvania to buy an organically raised chicken.

That’s okay, because everything is brought here for the area’s numerous farmers markets. They dot the area, allowing you to buy farm fresh, healthy food whenever you want.

The biggest purveyor of area farmer’s markets is FreshFarm Markets, which runs 11 markets in the District, Maryland and Virginia.

They are so large that they have a market open somewhere in the D.C. area five days a week. On Tuesday, there’s a Crystal City location. Wednesday’s they host two, in Foggy Bottom and by the Health and Human Service Building in Southwest DC. On Thursday, there are options at Penn Quarter and near the White House. These weekday markets are typically open from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 at night.

On Saturday, four of their spots are open: Silver Spring, Bethesda, H Street NE and St. Michael’s. Sunday brings their largest farmer’s market, the Dupont Circle Market, located just north of the circle. Weekend markets are typically selling from 9:00 a.m. to noon or one.

You can see FreshFarm’s full schedule here.

FreshFarm Markets’ suppliers are some of the area’s best farms and the list of food to purchase is astounding. Just about everything is grown or raised in the Washington, DC region.

At the Bethesda Market, you can pick up locally grown lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers from Mocks Greenhouse which brings their produce to D.C. from just over 100 miles away, in Berkley Spring, West Virginia.

For fruits, Black Rock Orchard, provides to almost all of FreshFarms’s locations, bringing apples, raspberries, apricots and nectarines. They all are grown in Carroll County, MD, just northwest of Baltimore.

But this generation’s farmer’s markets aren’t limited to produce. No, they also provide a stunning array of meats.

If you are looking to cook a lamb dinner, there’s no need to pick up chops butchered in New Zealand and flown over the Pacific. Virginia Lamb raises lambs on a farm in Berryville, just 60 miles west of the city. Virginia Lamb only sells at the Dupont Market though, so if you are interested, be sure to head there.

At FreshFarm’s Annapolis location, you can buy bison meat that is raised right in Maryland. Yes, this area has its own bison farm, Gunpowder Bison & Trading Company, in Monkton, Maryland, just 30 miles north of Baltimore.

The selection of cuts for bison are the same as cattle. There are bison steaks, roasts, burgers and sausages. It’s a healthy and more-environmentally friendly alternative to beef.

There’s also freshly made cheese to purchase. In Shippensburg, PA, Garden Path Farm makes cheddar and asiago from their cows and feta from their sheep, which they bring down to the H Street NE farmer’s market.

So next week, do yourself and the environment a favor, and check out the area’s local farmer’s markets. There’s certainly one near you.   And when you go, set a goal: just like locavores want, see if you can put together a meal that comes entirely from this region. It’s much easier than you think.

- David

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