Most people would probably agree, there’s something uniquely appealing about a farmer’s market. I’m sure it must summon some collective memory of community and abundance, a kind of tribal well being–and it’s undoubtedly a treat for the senses. Being outdoors and surrounded by all the color, tastes and smells of fruits, vegetables, baked goods and meat on the grill is inspiring and invigorating.
Sunday is market day in our Palisades neighborhood. Farmers, bakers, butchers, coffee roasters, jam makers, bee keepers, flower growers, pickle picklers and a host of other local vendors come and set up on a small side street near the library. Nearly every week we grab a backpack and a couple of shopping bags and head out down MacArthur Avenue for our supplies, not only because it’s a nice walk and a great way to get out into the community, but because we like supporting the locals and eating the best, fresh food available.
It’s a great thing to become acquainted with the person who’s raising your eggs and meat, and to be able to ask the farmer exactly what fertilizers or pesticides they’ve used on your produce. Because you know exactly where the food has come from, you can establish a connection with not only with the grower, but with the farm itself.
A lot of our meat comes from Smith Family Farms in Gainesville, Va. We went to their open house last year and got to see beautiful pastures where the cows eat grass their whole lives and the chicken yard moves around with the flock as they eat there way around, controlling insects and fertilizing the grass as they go. Garner’s Produce on the northern neck of Virginia has some of the most beautiful fruits and vegetables you’ve ever seen, many of them grown using organic methods. And I must mention Jamie Stachowski, the “maestro of meat,” our own celebrity charcutier of History Channel fame. Given Ted’s inclination to eat like a caveman, he and Jamie have become fast friends.
We try to stick with the healthiest foods when we’re buying for the week, but no trip to the farmer’s market would be complete without some shameless indulgence. Today’s choice was a light, buttery and exquisite almond croissant– excellent with a fresh pot of coffee. Talk about abundance!