09 Sep 2010

Market Meals: The Tiny but Mighty H Street Farmers' Market

Photo by María Helena Carey

Fearing that Market Meals is becoming a little too Eastern-Market-centric, my fellow THIH writers suggested I try shopping someplace different– a rather mindblowing concept, but one that I approached as one should do any new challenge: with an open mind, and cold hard cash on hand.

The challenge: try to suggest a meal for you readers out there buying only from the tiny H Street FRESHFARM Farmers’ Market. This little itty bitty market (emphasis on ALL TINY-CONVEYING WORDS) can be found on H Street (naturally) between 6th and 7th Streets, NE, every Saturday from May 1st to November 20th, between 9 am and 12 noon.

When I say the market is tiny is because there are few words other than this one to convey its size.  (Is femto-market even a term?)  But what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in variety: there were about seven different booths, but each one had awe-inspiring variety; and within the booths, no two seemed to carry exactly the same thing.  There was the Red Apron booth, where a red package captured my heart and my stomach: “BACONWURST.”  Life cannot get more perfect than that, I think.  There was a local farm’s booth (I was so impressed with the range of their offerings, I didn’t record the farm’s name),  with the most intriguing offering: “lambcetta,” or lamb bacon (I have vowed to return to it).  There was the stand with the rainbow chard and the patty pans and the nearly-white tomatoes — so many intriguing vegetables and vegetable colors that they puzzled the eye and mind.  There was the one with the nearly-white green beans mixed in with the purple beans; and the one with the stripey eggplants and the nearly-black ones, all begging to be mixed together with some egg-yolk, serpentine-looking zucchini and the aforementioned nearly-white tomatoes for a crazy Ratatouille dish.

Photo by María Helena Carey

There was a well-stocked bakery, with lovely pies.  There were flowers and there was a street performer filling the parking lot with his sweet bluesy saxophone music.  There were community members engaging others — a beautiful young family passing out pretty and delicious samples of raw curry, along with a recipe.  Children roamed the premises, skipping and shouting; an industrious young soul even sketched a hopscotch on the asphalt.  Overall, the market’s atmosphere had a timid but festive feel to it — it probably just needs more early birds to come out and shop and play.

So, what meal can I recommend you make here?  I honestly could not narrow it down to just one choice: since the produce is all extremely fresh and seasonal and there is plenty of different meats available, you can just do yourself a favor and swing by next Saturday and I am pretty sure you will not be disappointed: the sight and sounds alone will probably get your creative juices flowing.  And if you walk from points south or east, the exercise will probably help you with the motivation.

This FRESHFARM market is located at 625 H Street, NE.

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  • HSGS

    Glad you enjoyed our little market! It really does have a bit of everything even if it isn’t as large as Eastern Market or Dupont.

    We put together “market meals” from the H St market at least 2-3 nights a week. Fresh eggs, pastrami from Red Apron, Beef, Lamb, Chicken, Pork, salad greens, berries, veggies galore, and cheese, baked goods, and pie for dessert. They did a great job of fitting everything you could want from a market into the tiny space here.

    And, unlike Eastern Market, H Street is a FreshFarm, which means it is producer-only and everything is local. We gave up on Eastern Market years ago when we realized much of what we were seeing was available at the grocery store having been shipped in from miles and miles away. Everything you get at H Street or other Freshfarms is really local farmer-produced and you can see and taste the difference. IMHO, it is one of the very best things our great street has to offer.

  • chuck

    For the record, I love the lamb bacon. Different taste, but delicious. Also, the bread and pie guys are quite awesome too.

  • Darcy

    The market on H Street is like a family. And a number of great families are there with their wares. One family, the beef purveyors, is the Kauffmans. They bring down their fresh chickens, great beef and pork sausages every week in the summer, along with fresh eggs. However, even in the cold and gloomy winter, they drive down from Garden Path Farm in PA with meat you can order online the week before. They are in the H Street parking lot every other weekend all winter long, even in the snow. Find them at http://www.gardenpathfarms.com (think web .02). To order, email them at sales@gardenpathfarms.com and enjoy that lamb bacon all winter long!

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