DuPont Circle Farmers Market 10.20.07

DuPont Circle Farmers Market
Sunday, Oct 20 2007
11 AM

As I emerge from the metro, I amusedly realize that I was expecting to emerge in New York, based I suppose on all the subterranean traveling I did when I lived there for three years. What a pleasant surprise to emerge in DC and at a booming outdoor market! The weather is perfect; sun so bright that it is difficult to look directly at all the bright white pop up tents. I take a few minutes to examine the literature about the market. It is run by FreshFarm Markets (www.freshfarmmarkets.org) and they have put together a few pamphlets “Words to Eat By (A guide to terms you may see and hear at FreshFarm Markets)” and “Join the Delicious Revolution” which serve as education and definition of this interpretation of a producer-only market.

I take a casual walk around the market; I am astounded by the quantity of produce that is still available, even though the market runs for just three hours and we are entering the third. Stacks and stacks of milk crates are stuffed with greens; huge circular wooden bowls are packed with every type of green (mixed, asian mix, arugula, spinach, kales, chard).

This extended Indian summer is a pause in the seasonal progression; it is as if I stand at a corner and look into the fiesta-colored past of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and basil; then I turn my head and see the future in the form of proud kales, chard, cabbages, onions, broccoli and cauliflower. I feel like a contemporary Persephone – unable to stay focused on the future, seduced by the rich array of the past. In addition to all of the vegetables I notice fresh ginger at$15/lb; lemongrass bouquets for $2 (looking more ornamental than culinary); flower bouquets pushed into hollowed pumpkins (I snap photos of all of these things to show to Megan at Roundabout – these could be million dollar ideas!).

Alex and I pause to absorb the display and the smells at Mount Harmony Fine Herbal Soaps – their display is closer to a cheese counter than a high-end soap shop as they have crafted their wares in large, rectangular blocks that are sliced using a cheese wire. The aromas are otherwordly – herbal culinary with just a hint of upscale boudoir and roses – and the soaps boast textures of oatmeal, poppy seed, lavender, and various seeds and peels.

Alex takes me on a tour of her favorite spots, pointing out specialties and notables as only a neighborhood foodie can do. She points out her meat boyfriend (selling bison, goat, lamb and beef), tastes me on Firefly Farms Goat Cheeses (not nearly as good as Gail’s, and that’s a quote).

After overindulging in a Peruvian lunch at Inti (featuring choclo, a sweetened purple drink made of oversized Incan corn) we meander back to Alex’s apartment and promptly take naps. When we awake, we enjoy a glass of small-batch, biodynamic wine from Italy; priced at $35 a bottle wholesale, this is the most expensive wine that I have enjoyed in a long time. Apparently most of the harvest was lost to drought that year (2005?); somehow the biodynamic nature of this vineyard saved it and produced a very rare wine. Alex encourages me to try a bit of dark chocolate and wash it down with the wine, which yields an incredibly complex swirl of flavors in the back of my throat.

Slowly we approach the kitchen and prepare pan fried soft shell crabs from the Chesapeake basin; we cut and sautee cardoons and a variety of asian greens (tat-soi, bok choy and some leafy lemongrass) to serve underneath the crab. While I was still full from lunch I managed to choke down the local dinner, crunching unsuccessfully on the thin fibrous legs. Not my favorite.

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~ by a local notion on November 26, 2007.

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