Not all of the local winter farmers markets are equal.
Some have next to no produce, hardly selling anything but meat and jelly, and worse still some continue with only one or two vendors on the street, meanwhile others are filled with produce, indoor heated shopping, free parking, and are just as bustling as they are in the summers.
Two of the Virginia farmer’s markets were among the best in the area Falls Church Farmers Market, filled with produce, locally raised meats, locally made cheese, eggs, and milk, homemade soaps, local mushrooms, and baked goods was bustling even on a snowy morning. Almost on par with Falls Church was the Arlington farmers market, the only market I visited to also have sea food for sale.
The two markets with the least to offer were Del Ray and Silver Spring FreshFarm Market. The vendors were scarce with little selection. Silver Spring, however is right amongst the shopping and restaurants making it easily convenient if you want to pick up a few apples.
If you’re up for a drive the Lancaster County Dutch Market in Germantown Maryland is an excellent excursion. The freshly made pretzels are delicious with lines that can reach out the door, freshly baked breads right out of the oven, a full range of butcher’s specials, homemade jams, produce, deli salads, and a large baking section with excellently priced semolina flour and oats, and cinnamon drops for baking. My recommendation for anyone who would have to drive more than half an hour to Germantown, however, would be to wait for the summer and also go berry picking at the nearby farms.
Want to know more about your local market? Here’s a compiled list of local markets in the DC metro:
Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market – Washington, DC
Advantages: adjacent to the Q st. metro entrance, amongst nearby shopping and restaurants
Disadvantages: produce is scarce after November, street parking is hard to come by
Sundays 10 am to 1 pm
20th St. NW (PNC Bank parking lot)
Adjacent to the Dupont Metro Q St. Exit
Eastern Market – Washington, DC
Advantages: Open Daily, Indoor Shopping, ample vendors with proteins, some produce, baked goods and cheeses
Disadvantages: Street Parking only, in winter less produce, not necessarily local
Daily 9 am to 5 pm
7th Street between C St and North Carolina Ave, SE
2 minute walk from Eastern Market Metro
Silver Spring FreshFarm Market – Silver Spring, MD
Advantages: Located in the middle of the Silver Springs shopping, ample parking and next to a movie theatre and coffee shops if you want to warm up.
Saturdays 10 am to 1 pm
Ellsworth Dr. (Fenton St. and Georgia Ave.)
4 minute walk from Silver Spring Metro
Kensington Farmer Market – Kensington, MD
Advantages: Adjacent to Antique Row
Disadvantages: Completely open air, few vendors, and vendors will pack up early if the market is poorly attended. Show up early to make sure the vendors are there!
Saturday 8 am to 12 pm
MARC Train Station on Howard Avenue
Takoma Park Farmers Market – Tokoma Park, MD
Sundays 10 am to 2 pm
Carroll Avenue and Laurel Avenue
10 minute walk from the Tokoma Metro
Bethesda-Montgomery Farm Women's Co-op Market – Bethesda, MD
Advantages: Indoor and Outdoor shopping, on site parking, more vendors, produce, flowers, etc. than most winter markets, open three days a week, one block from ample shopping, restaurants and movie theaters.
Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 7 am – 4 pm
7155 Wisconsin Ave
5 minute walk from the Bethesda Metro
Lancaster County Farmers Market – Germantown, MD
Advantages: Ample fresh produce and proteins, fresh cut flowers, full service restaurant, free range chicken, low cost semolina flour, excellent collection of baked breads
Disadvantages: Inconvenient via public transportation, some items are significantly overpriced
Thursdays 10 am to 6 pm, Fridays 9 am to 7 pm, and Saturdays 9 am to 3 pm
12613 Wisteria Drive
30 minute bus ride from Shady Grove Metro
Old Town Farmers Market – Alexandria, VA
Advantages: Close to nearby shopping and restaurants
Disadvantages: Street parking, not close to a metro, no animals allowed, under a dozen vendors
Saturdays 5:30 am to 11 am
301 King Street
20 minute walk from King St. Metro or 10 minute bus ride
Del Ray Farmers' Market – Alexandria, VA
Advantages: Next to Cheestique and Dairy Godmother
Disadvantages: You can count the number of vendors on one hand, inconvenient location via public transit, street parking only
Saturdays 8 am to 12 pm
Corner of East Oxford & Mount Vernon Avenues
5 minute bus ride from Braddock Road Metro
Falls Church Farmers Market – Falls Church, VA
Advantages: More produces, local meats and cheeses than most markets, ample street parking, one of two markets selling mushrooms
Disadvantages: Inconvenient via public transportation
Saturdays 9 am to 12 pm
300 Park Ave.
20 minute walk for 7 minute bus ride from East Falls Church Metro
Arlington Farmers Market – Arlington, VA
Advantages: Close to public transit, parking does not get crowded in winter, some produce but primarily fruits, one of two markets selling mushrooms, only market with seafood
Disadvantages: pay to park, overpriced bee pollen and local honeys
Saturday from 8 am to 12 pm.
N. Courthouse Rd. and N. 14th St.
3 minute walk from Courthouse Metro
Columbia Pike Farmers Market – Arlington, VA
Sundays 10 am to 1 pm
Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Dr.
9 minute bus ride from Pentagon City or 9 minute bus ride
Jana Erwin is the primary chef and writer of CherryTeaCakes.com, a non-profit venture combining the love of fine desserts and feeding the impoverished in Washington DC.