Archive for the ‘farmers market news’ Category

FRESHFARM Week: Meet The Mushroom Stand

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

I’ve written about mushrooms a lot, but haven’t properly introduced our source: The Mushroom Stand, or Mother Earth Organics from Pennsylvania. Ferial Welsh, better known as The Mushroom Lady, can be found each week at FRESHFARM Penn Quarter or Dupont Circle patiently explaining the difference between her numerous mushroom varieties and offering cooking instructions. I first seek out the stand in early spring for those coveted wild morels, but the cultivated mushrooms are available nearly year-round. More frequently, we buy my son’s favorite, tiny honey mushrooms. But shitake, maitake and others make an occasional appearance on our dinner table as well.

the mushroom stand freshfarm markets

Try The Mushroom Stand’s mushrooms in some of these favorite recipes:

Find The Mushroom Stand at FRESHFARM‘s Dupont Circle and Penn Quarter markets, and at the Falls Church Farmers Market.

PS Obviously that is not a recent photo… but I couldn’t resist a flashback to cooler times as we suffer through 100 degree days here in DC this week.

Opening Weekend at DC/VA/MD Farmers Markets

Friday, April 29th, 2011

I’ve been spoiled to live by year-round markets, but my heart still skips a beat at the first spotting of bright green stalks of asparagus after a long, cold winter. This past weekend I lucked out and found the season’s first Northern Neck strawberries, too — much to the Foodie Tot’s joy. (Yes, he did a dance after peering into my market bag.)

black rock orchard asparagus

But May brings the opening of many of the area’s seasonal markets — including Fairfax County markets, the Alexandria West End market (Sundays, 9am-1pm — **note, opening has been delayed until next Sunday, May 8), the FreshFarm Crystal City market (Tuesdays, 3-7m), and others. happy strawberry danceThe FreshFarm Market by the White House opens next Thursday (3-7pm), and one of my favorites, West Virginia’s Bigg Riggs Farm, is joining the market this year. (You can also find them at Crystal City and Alexandria’s Old Town and Upper King Street Markets — and they’ve had ramps the past couple weeks.)

If you’re headed out in search of asparagus this weekend, Northern Virginia magazine offers some pointers on how to choose and prepare them. Me, I roast them in olive oil and sea salt for about 8-10 minutes (400 degrees), until just tender enough for the baby to gnaw on.

That’s right, the Foodie Bebe has already savored her first asparagus. The boy’s fancy for it comes and goes. (Though I did discover he likes it better if I pan roast it in the cast iron skillet with butter instead of olive oil, and a little parmesan cheese never hurts.) Do your kids like it?

Win for Healthy Schools in DC (and 5 links for Friday)

Friday, May 7th, 2010

jamie oliver food revolutionFirst, some good news: Earlier this week, the DC City Council unanimously approved the “Healthy Schools Act.” The measure creates strong nutrition and exercise standards in a city with one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the country. Among the highlights, the new legislation will:

  • Mandate lower-calorie, lower-fat nutrition guidelines be met;
  • Triple the amount of exercise school children get in physical ed;
  • Provide free breakfast in the classroom for high-poverty schools;
  • Establish a farm-to-school program and provide extra funds to encourage schools to source local and organic produce;
  • Establish a school garden program.

This is clearly a huge win for all involved (kudos to  Councilmember Mary Cheh, the sponsor, the DC Farm to School Network, and others!) and a good example for other school districts around the country. The only downside is that the legislation did not include an effort to curb sugar. Read more about the sugar-laden DC school meals at the Better DC School Food blog (caution: you may get sugar shock simply from viewing the breakfast pictures), and read Marion Nestle’s take on the issue here.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to sign Jamie Oliver’s petition supporting better school food for kids.


And now, some more links for your weekend reading:

  1. On the subject of Jamie Oliver, are you all following 30 Days to a Food Revolution over at the W.H.O.L.E. Gang? Lots of helpful information and tips for anyone looking to clean up their diets.
  2. It’s rhubarb season at the farmers market! Check out the drool-worthy assortment of recipes over at food52 for inspiration. On my list: Rhubarb Curd Bars, one of the finalists by local foodie Rivka of Not Derby Pie.
  3. Speaking of local foodies, check out the pictures from opening day at the Farmers Market by the White House by Adventures in Shaw. (And no, I didn’t make it over for some of Chef Jose Andres’ legendary giant paella — bummer!)
  4. If you needed more enticement to head out to the farmers market for fresh strawberries (here in DC anyway, apologies to those further north!), La Vida Locavore reports that California has given preliminary approval to a pesticide (methyl iodide) that is used to induce cancer in labs, and causes miscarriages. Please, please, buy organic strawberries!
  5. On a lighter note, if you’re making strawberry shortcake for a mother in your life this weekend, check out Rick Bayless’ Strawberry Tres Leches Shortcake for a new spin. Yum!

From the White House to DC School Cafeterias: Local Flavor Week

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama opened the new FreshFarms Market by the White House. Next week, the fresh, local food movement will march not on the marble steps of the Capitol, but down hallways of the District’s public, charter and private schools. As part of this week’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” roll-out by the US Department of Agriculture, additional tools and $50 million in funds were announced to help bring healthy, local foods into schools, now, without waiting for Congress to take up school lunch re-authorization. (Which isn’t going to happen until next year.)

dc farm to school

Also not waiting for Congress to act is the new DC Farm to School Network, which is launching “Local Flavor Week” September 21-25 as the opening foray into bringing the regions farmers into local schools. Together with the Capital Area Food Bank, Whole Foods and other community partners, DC Farm to School is coordinating a full week of taste tests, cooking demonstrations, farmer visits and nutritional education activities. The festivities kick-off Tuesday at the Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School cafeteria in Southeast DC, where local chefs Peter Smith of PS7 and Oliver Friendly of Eat and Smile Foods will compete Top Chef-style using ingredients grown in the school’s garden.

Andrea Northup, coordinator of the DC Farm to School Network, notes that the District has one of highest child obesity rates in the nation. “School-aged children consume most of their daily calories in school meals, so it makes sense that we should connect school with nearby sources of fruits and vegetables to serve in their cafeterias. The only way the District’s schoolchildren will thrive is if they are well nourished and armed with the skills they need to make healthy lifestyle choices.”

If you’re in the area, find out more about participating schools and activities — and volunteer opportunities — at dcfarmtoschool.org/localflavorweek. And to find a Farm-to-School organization in your state, take a look at the National Farm-to-School map.

PS If you didn’t catch my live tweets from the White House market opening, here’s a slideshow recap (click picture to view):

white house farmers market whrrl

You can read more about the market opening, and see pics of the First Lady and Chef Kass (whom I missed waiting in the security line), on Cookography, Obama Foodorama and the twitter stream from @FreshFarmMktsDC.

Don’t forget it’s Fight Back Friday — visit the Food Renegade to join in!

A Market by the White House (and a wish for more to come)

Friday, September 11th, 2009

penn quarter farmers market dcAll politics is local, they say, and nothing is more political these days than local food. FreshFarm Markets announced last night that they are, in fact, opening their ninth market on Vermont Ave. in DC, just steps away from the White House. The vendors, as identified by Capital Spice, are familiar to anyone who shops DC’s existing markets, ranging from organic and quasi-organic produce to bakeries, dairy and meat producers. The White House involvement was downplayed in the news release, and reportedly seems to be limited to a “hope” that assistant chef and food initiative coordinator Sam Kass will appear for cooking demonstrations. The press release, did, however, invoke the symbolism of the new market’s location saying, “This is the culmination of a long journey for FRESHFARM Markets, which has brought farmers into the center of Washington, DC, where policy is made.” Intrigued by the suggestion that perhaps FreshFarm was opening this market as a volley into political advocacy in support of increasing access to fresh foods*, I obtained this follow-up explanation from founder and co-director Ann Yonkers:

“We think the farmers presence in the center of Washington, DC, is the best answer to many policy questions about how we should eat.  There’s no need to talk, one bite of the delicious local food and the argument for fresh and local is made.”

No need to talk? Maybe members of Congress won’t shuttle across town, bite into an apple from Spring Valley Farm & Orchard, and suddenly be inspired to rush back to the drawing board to come with an extra billion dollars to double the funding for school lunches. But perhaps tourists who drop by the new market will be inspired to go home and write their legislators to urge their support for farm-to-school and healthy lunch programs. If so, then the market will achieve more than just symbolic change. We do need to talk, and loudly, to change our food policy for the better.

I love farmers markets, and I agree they are powerful for creating sustainable local communities. I commend FreshFarm Markets for the work they’ve done to grow the local foods movement in DC. I just continue to hope that the White House will work to extend their reach into the communities in Washington who still don’t have access to fresh produce. Let’s make the White House farmers market more than just a symbol.

*Note: As with several of their existing markets, FreshFarm Markets will double the value of Food Stamps, WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Coupons at the new market and offer a gleaning program to benefit Miriam’s Kitchen.

P.S. Don’t forget it’s Fight Back Friday over at the Food Renegade – go check it out!