07 October 2008

Going local: Del Ray Farmers' Market

Two months later, here is my review of the Del Ray Farmers' Market.

The best thing about this market, to me, is that it's a five-minute walk from my house. Located across the street from the Dairy Godmother in the heart of Del Ray, the market is actually pedestrian-friendly for a lot of local residents. The parking situation is a little worse than Arlington's (the market in Del Ray actually covers the only parking lot in the vicinity), but that is not an issue if you arrive on foot and carry out your produce. For those who might drive, there is usually some street parking not too far away. For those walking with dogs, you'll have to tie them up on the fringe of the market--no dogs allowed inside.

At first glance, the market seems much smaller than its Arlington counterpart. The parking lot it covers isn't really all that big, and staring across the street it looks like the number of vendors that can be crammed in under the few tents ought to be pretty limited. But after going to the market a few times and going back to Arlington, I've decided that the number of vendors at Del Ray can't be that much lower. Even if it is, the Del Ray market carries a competitive amount of variety and quantity in its offerings.

The vendors at Del Ray sell produce as tasty and fresh as those at Arlington--especially notable are the tomatoes and peppers. Look around and you'll also find a variety of specialty products like jams, preserves, syrups, and vinegars. The central table-tent of the lot belongs to bakers who offer samples of breads, cookies, rolls, muffins, and cakes.

If anything suffers from the cutback in size, it's the variety of meat and dairy vendors available to shoppers. There is a good meat vendor that sells fresh eggs, and one or two dairy booths. My first week there I bought a container of maple syrup yogurt; it was good, but not as good as the Blue Ridge Dairy honey yogurt from the Arlington market.

For its size, though, the market is a great place to shop and it has the same friendly community feeling present in Arlington. The Del Ray community is famous for its small-town, mom-and-pop feel, and the farmers' market there fits right in.

You can shop the market on Saturdays from eight in the morning until noon. The market opens in the spring and stays open through the first Saturday in December--if you want to scrounge for produce in the winter you'll have to visit Arlington or the Old Town Farmers' Market.

Fringe benefits available to those who choose to patronize the Del Ray Farmers' Market include the Cheesetique (where the cheesemongers know everything there is to know about cheese!), Let's Meat on the Avenue (an old-fashioned butcher shop full of the freshest meats, run by an experienced Australian), and Tops of Old Town (not food, but the hats are cool and the proprietor is the sweetest lady you'll meet).

7 comments:

320 excavator said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cabeza said...

Sorry that I had to turn comment passwords on again. Some bot left a comment, and I don't dig that.

The Shark said...

Oh yeah? Well that bot just donated half his paycheck to orphans -- orphans with diseases!

Darren said...

Nice post, and that dog is so freakin' cute...

Asian Keng said...

I love farmer's markets!! I love your pictures! I love DC!!

Club Narwhal said...

oh la la! i am so jealous! one day i will post about iowa city's farmers market. it's quite lovely.

Christina said...

I must go. I will go. I shall go.