Monday, December 3, 2007

To Market, To Market

Nearly all of the farmers markets in our area here in the District of Columbia have closed for the season. As I see it, this presents a real challenge to those locavores among us who've signed up for making Dark Days meals. Unless you have found a way to grow your own food through the winter (a personal hot house, perhaps?) or had the foresight to stock your cellar with several months worth of canned goods, where are all those local ingredients supposed to come from? (And I'm not talking to you, West Coast, Southwest, Texas, Florida).




One of the few farmers markets in our area that remains open year-round is the one at Dupont Circle, the biggest and most diversely stocked market in the city. Yesterday was cold and overcast--perfect for the 20-minute walk from our house to the upscale Dupont Circle neighborhood. As you can see, we were not the only ones thinking along these lines. It may be just three weeks till Christmas, but the farmers market was jammed.

We found that there are still loads of apples for sale in many different varieties...




As well as apple products.



There are always cheeses, jams, preserves, soaps and other handmade goods on display at the Dupont Circle market. I was impressed with this vendor's large selection of local yarns in a range of colors and textures.


But what I really came for was to get a sense of the kinds of foods that might be available to fill our caloric needs in the months ahead. So I was glad to see lots of sweet potatoes and standard potatoes, turnips, rutabagas...



And of course squashes...





Plenty of greens...



Radishes, leeks, onions, garlic. I also noticed cabbage--makes me think it's time for sauerkraut. There were also several vendors hawking meats: lamb, pork, beef chicken, even local oysters. No lack of protein there.


By January, when we are in the depths of winter--and it can get pretty cold and nasty here in the nation's capitol--there will probably be no more than a handful of vendors still standing. That will be the true test of our local food supply.



For now, it was enough to visit the Churreria Madrid and warm ourselves over a hot cup of chocolate and a plate of fresh churros.

6 comments:

Green Aunt #4 said...

Churro, hot chocolate girl sure is cute.

Joanna said...

Fabulous photos ... love that sign, love that yarn ... this post makes me realise that I am chicken - last year, we only ate UK-grown vegetables through the winter, which is nearly the same as your dark days challenge, but not quite. It was great, although you cannot imagine the yearning for tomatoes and salad leaves that went on in this house by about the end of February. But really local food? That's a whole other layer, and I'm not quite ready for that.

Good on you ... and good luck
Joanna

PS locavores - good word!

Ed Bruske said...

GA, hot chocolate girl has a nasty sweet tooth...

Joanna, I plan to continue these weekly investigations of the local farmers markets through the winter to see what local ingredients or area has to offer in the depths of winter. I'm afraid you need to put tomatoes out of your mind, unless they are canned or pickled tomatoes.

Tanya said...

The Dupont market is really fabulous. I don't know how many years you've gone, but while the vendors change, I'm always amazed at just how much there is in the dead of winter.

Ed Bruske said...

Tany, I have stopped by the Dupont Circle market in winter a few times in recent years but this year I am making careful note of what's available. I plan to make this an ongoing feature in the coming months so readers can have a good idea of what the market has to offer during the dark days.

Tanya said...

:) Well, maybe I'll see you there. I'm spoiled- it's my "home" market (though it is about twice as expensive as the markets I frequented before I moved here, sadly)