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An Insider’s Guide to Farmers Markets

Who sells the sweetest tomatoes, the tenderest lettuce, the eggs with the richest yolks? It’s the job of chefs to know these things, and they’ve tasted around many local farms and markets to find the best. We asked them to share their favorites.

Chef Eric Ziebold. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Gina Chersevani, mixologist at Hank’s on the Hill and Buffalo & Bergen
Favorites: Herbs and edible flowers from Spring Valley Farm & Orchard. “It’s all so lovely and fresh, and the herbs aren’t ‘stemmy,’ ” says Chersevani, who likes to make thyme syrup or marigold tea to mix with bourbon.
Where to find them: Glover Park-Burleith Farmers Market, Burke Farmers Market, Falls Church Farmers Market, Old Town Farmers Market, Reston Farmers Market, Westover Farmers Market, and Dupont Circle, Silver Spring, and White House FreshFarm Markets.

Eric Ziebold, chef at CityZen
Favorites: Peaches from Harris Orchard, melons and okra from Penn Farms. “The okra is to die for,” says Ziebold. “It doesn’t get overgrown and dried out, and it tends to be plump and tender.”
Where to find them: DOT Farmers Market and USDA Farmers Market (Penn Farms); USDA Farmers Market, Hyattsville Farmers Market, and River-dale Park Farmers Market (Harris Orchard).

Spike Gjerde, chef/owner at Woodberry Kitchen and Artifact Coffee, both in Baltimore
Favorites: Seasonal fruits from Black Rock Orchard, such as strawberries, stone fruits, and apples; grains including barley and oats from Next Step Produce. “It’s great to connect with a grower in Maryland who’s pushing the accepted notion of what’s possible,” says Gjerde of Next Step, one of the few local grain producers.
Where to find them: Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market.

Graeme Ritchie, chef de cuisine at Volt in Frederick
Favorites: Chickens, eggs, pork, and rabbits from Whitmore Farm, which specializes in heritage animal breeds. “A lot of the pork we’re using at Range right now also comes from them,” says Ritchie of chef/owner Bryan Voltaggio’s sister restaurant.
Where to find them: Glover Park-Burleith Farmers Market.

Dennis Marron, chef at Poste
Favorites: Lettuces such as butterhead and watercress from Endless Summer Harvest. “It’s great because it’s year-round,” says Marron of the hydroponic farm. “I get just as good lettuces in winter as in summer.”
Where to find them: Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market and Falls Church Farmers Market.

Kyle Bailey, chef at Birch & Barley
Favorites: Garner’s Produce corn and tomatoes. “I buy 800 pounds of tomatoes from him every season,” says Bailey, who also loads up on corn. The chef fills his Mini Cooper during summer and dries the kernels for polenta through the fall.
Where to find them: Bloomingdale Farmers Market, 14th and U Farmers Market, Palisades Community Farmers Market, Penn Quarter FreshFarm Market, Frying Pan Park Farmers Market, Oak Marr Farmers Market.

Nate Anda, chef/butcher at Red Apron
Favorites: Chicken and duck eggs from Waterview Foods. “He’s my favorite egg man in all the markets I’ve ever sold at,” says Anda, who worked the market circuit for four years with his charcuterie stand. He uses the rich yolks for pâtés and terrines as well as breakfast.
Where to find them: Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market.

Marjorie Meek-Bradley, chef at Cleveland Park’s Ripple
Favorites: Cheeses from Everona Dairy, particularly the hard Piedmont sheep’s-milk variety with truffles, which she includes in the restaurant’s extensive cheese selection; breads and croissants from Quail Creek Farm.
Where to find them: Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market and Vienna Farmers Market (Everona Dairy); Penn Quarter, White House, and Annapolis FreshFarm Markets, Arlington Farmers Market, and Burke Farmers Market (Quail Creek Farm).

Frank Saporito, chef at Black Market Bistro in Garrett Park
Favorites: Anything from Even Star Organic Farm—tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers to mushrooms and greens. “They have amazing winter greens, like bok choy, mustard greens, and sweet-potato leaf,” says Saporito.
Where to find them: Broad Branch Farmers’ Market.

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