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According to WTOP, Michelle Obama is supporting a request to close down Vermont Ave. Thursdays 1:00-8:00pm. I'm not sure what the logic is behind the location (traffic is bad enough in that area) or time (7 hours is a long market) but it will be interesting to see what influence FLOTUS has on the process.

Edit: The thread title has changed to reflect FRESHFARM's sole management of the market. Mrs. Obama is said to support the market but is not behind the creation or management.

Edited by hillvalley
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Um, it's not like they're planning on closing the entire length of Vermont Avenue. It'd just be the block between H and I (DCist has a map), which, despite the level of traffic on the streets either side, gets remarkably little through traffic - if any street in downtown DC has to be closed, that one will probably cause the least amount of mayhem.

It's also basically right on top of McPherson Square metro, which is going to make it a pretty tempting stop on the way home for Blue and Orange line commuters - much more so than the Penn Quarter market.

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I would love for this to happen because I work on that stretch of Vermont Ave. It has some traffic, but it's not particularly busy. Most of us just dart across rather than go to the sidewalks at either end. Vehicular traffic could use 15th or 16th Sts to get around the blockage.

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According to WTOP, Michelle Obama is supporting a request to close down Vermont Ave. Thursdays 1:00-8:00pm. I'm not sure what the logic is behind the location (traffic is bad enough in that area) or time (7 hours is a long market) but it will be interesting to see what influence FLOTUS has on the process.

1-8 would include the setup and breakdown time. I suspect the market itself is probably 3-7...

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I really really hope that the metal detectors were there because the Obamas or some other traveling-security-circus-requiring official was planning on walking through the crowd. If not it's just really sad.

I walked down from my office, saw the half block long line to get in, turned around and walked back.

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I really really hope that the metal detectors were there because the Obamas or some other traveling-security-circus-requiring official was planning on walking through the crowd. If not it's just really sad.

I walked down from my office, saw the half block long line to get in, turned around and walked back.

The security fencing and other measures are gone. It's very easy to walk in now.

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Well, now, if any of you had gotten there early, you would have been able to get through security and start shopping right away. Because of the visit by Mrs. Obama, Ag Sec. Vilsack, Mayor Fenty, et al., this was a one-time deal. Starting next week, you will have to wait for the opening bell at 3. My companion for this outing spotted Todd English of Equinox, but we were remarking on the fact that we didn't see a single person we recognized in that crowd. This was in between sampling all the food that was available. Our lunch was mostly cheese :rolleyes: .

There were more vendors than at Penn Quarter, but this market will close at the end of October, if I heard correctly. Too bad, because it is more convenient for me than PQ.

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Well, now, if any of you had gotten there early, you would have been able to get through security and start shopping right away. Because of the visit by Mrs. Obama, Ag Sec. Vilsack, Mayor Fenty, et al., this was a one-time deal. Starting next week, you will have to wait for the opening bell at 3. My companion for this outing spotted Todd English of Equinox, but we were remarking on the fact that we didn't see a single person we recognized in that crowd. This was in between sampling all the food that was available. Our lunch was mostly cheese :huh: .

There were more vendors than at Penn Quarter, but this market will close at the end of October, if I heard correctly. Too bad, because it is more convenient for me than PQ.

Even with the rain, it was fun. And I heard the same thing, that it will run until the end of October.

In addition to my share of cheese, I ate a tasty brioche from Praline Bakery in Bethesda--I was curious about their baked goods from postings here, but don't get out to that part of Bethesda too often. It was quite good. I also bought a bison steak for dinner tonight. (And I actually got to share an umbrella with Chef Gray. Although I would not have recognized him if I hadn't seen the Equinox logo on his Chef's jacket. :rolleyes: )

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Didn't seem like it added a lot to the Greater Market Scene, but it seems like a place I could walk to from work and then take the bus home, which makes it more convenient for me. Chatted up a farmer who was a little pissed at the Michelle speech "what the hell does this have to do with health care...if they just cut the subsidies to wheat and corn they'd solve the goddam health care crisis...can't say that with the fucking Secretary of Agriculture standing right there...."

Between the idea/And the reality/Between the motion/And the act/Falls the shadow.”

Smartest thing I heard anyone say all day.

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Well, now, if any of you had gotten there early, you would have been able to get through security and start shopping right away. Because of the visit by Mrs. Obama, Ag Sec. Vilsack, Mayor Fenty, et al., this was a one-time deal. Starting next week, you will have to wait for the opening bell at 3. My companion for this outing spotted Todd English of Equinox, but we were remarking on the fact that we didn't see a single person we recognized in that crowd. This was in between sampling all the food that was available. Our lunch was mostly cheese :rolleyes: .

There were more vendors than at Penn Quarter, but this market will close at the end of October, if I heard correctly. Too bad, because it is more convenient for me than PQ.

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I was there early enough to be standing fairly close to the speakers' platform, in with an enthusiastic bunch of women who were screaming for Michelle like she's a rock star... and everyone but me had a digital camera or cell phone camera. I chatted briefly with Sam Kass, and got to look into Michelle's market basket with her purchases from The Farm at Sunnyside--Emily's probably going to be on the news tonight, by the way. Anyway--Michelle bought two bunches of Tuscan kale, boxes of cherry tomatoes, hot chiles and new potatoes, and a dozen eggs. No beets. Then she went over to Clear Springs Creamery and bought chocolate milk and a camembert. Claire from Clear Springs was on the dais and gave a little speech as a representative of the farmers. Also saw José Andres, Todd Gray, RJ Cooper and a few other guys wearing chef coats.

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...got to look into Michelle's market basket with her purchases from The Farm at Sunnyside--Emily's probably going to be on the news tonight, by the way. Anyway--Michelle bought two bunches of Tuscan kale, boxes of cherry tomatoes, hot chiles and new potatoes, and a dozen eggs. No beets.
Emily's already in a pic on the Huffington Post web page. (Don't really care about what Michelle was wearing but Em's shirt is fabulous dahlnk.) Michelle is also standing in front of TFaS logo when she gave her opening speech. Woo Hoo!!!
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A less swoony look at the market opening.

"Obama, in her brief speech to the vendors and patrons, handled the affordability issue by pointing out that people who pay with food stamps would get double the coupon value at the market. Even then, though, it's hard to imagine somebody using food stamps to buy what the market offered: $19 bison steak from Gunpowder Bison, organic dandelion greens for $12 per pound from Blueberry Hill Vegetables, the Piedmont Reserve cheese from Everson Dairy at $29 a pound...."

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"Obama, in her brief speech to the vendors and patrons, handled the affordability issue by pointing out that people who pay with food stamps would get double the coupon value at the market. Even then, though, it's hard to imagine somebody using food stamps to buy what the market offered: $19 bison steak from Gunpowder Bison, organic dandelion greens for $12 per pound from Blueberry Hill Vegetables, the Piedmont Reserve cheese from Everson Dairy at $29 a pound...."

Not that there's some truth in this statement, but c'mon! I think everybody would agree that these are luxury items.. Why not mention the staples that food stamp recipients would presumably be drawn to? Are they not selling apples and greens and peppers and tomatoes for a reasonable sum? Isn't there some nice double coupon value there? A better argument would be to say that you can't get a dozen eggs for less than $3-4 when they sell for $X at the local grocery.

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Not that there's some truth in this statement, but c'mon! I think everybody would agree that these are luxury items.. Why not mention the staples that food stamp recipients would presumably be drawn to? Are they not selling apples and greens and peppers and tomatoes for a reasonable sum? Isn't there some nice double coupon value there? A better argument would be to say that you can't get a dozen eggs for less than $3-4 when they sell for $X at the local grocery.

Not to mention the fact that the "$1 a dozen" eggs that Milbank is recommending (and when was the last time he was in a grocery store?) are from factory-farmed chickens that are held in cruel circumstances vs. free-roaming chickens with beyond humane living circumstances that provide the eggs for the market vendors. With double coupons, those eggs are certainly within reach of families and seniors in the food stamp program. In this instance, as in others recently, Dana Milbank is a professional back-of-the-classroom adolescent snark-meister.
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Not to mention the fact that the "$1 a dozen" eggs that Milbank is recommending (and when was the last time he was in a grocery store?) are from factory-farmed chickens that are held in cruel circumstances vs. free-roaming chickens with beyond humane living circumstances that provide the eggs for the market vendors. With double coupons, those eggs are certainly within reach of families and seniors in the food stamp program. In this instance, as in others recently, Dana Milbank is a professional back-of-the-classroom adolescent snark-meister.

Nor does he make note of the vast difference in eggs from farmers markets and those cheapo things from the supermarket. I was amazed at the first ones I bought from the Tuscarora stand one Saturday in Adams Morgan and will now only buy the supermarket ones to dye at Easter and then throw out. Even at 5$/dozen, they are still a fairly cheap source of protein, although the Tuscarora ones are significantly cheaper at $3.25 or so.
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Not that there's some truth in this statement, but c'mon! I think everybody would agree that these are luxury items.. Why not mention the staples that food stamp recipients would presumably be drawn to? Are they not selling apples and greens and peppers and tomatoes for a reasonable sum? Isn't there some nice double coupon value there? A better argument would be to say that you can't get a dozen eggs for less than $3-4 when they sell for $X at the local grocery.

Eggs were going for $5/dozen at the WH market yesterday. The lowest I could find on Giant/Peapod was $1.63. Granted they are from nasty caged maltreated chickens but sometimes you need to save the extra $ to keep the electricity on to cook them.

Looking into apples a 3 lb bag of gala "organic" apples costs $4.99 on peapod and I don't think I've seen them much lower than $2.00/lb at the market. In this case your argument would be correct.

That Milbank piece was uber-snarky. He really must be a self-loathing liberal mass-media journalist. kidding. kind of.

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Not that there's some truth in this statement, but c'mon! I think everybody would agree that these are luxury items.. Why not mention the staples that food stamp recipients would presumably be drawn to? Are they not selling apples and greens and peppers and tomatoes for a reasonable sum? Isn't there some nice double coupon value there? A better argument would be to say that you can't get a dozen eggs for less than $3-4 when they sell for $X at the local grocery.

To be honest, i think even that's dangerous as it seems that just about everything from the freshfarms markets--including staples like potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, etc. is significantly more expensive than the same items bought from any non-whole foods supermarket. I'm not knocking the markets--i happily shop at them because they have the best produce in the area--but they certainly aren't cheap. i'm regularly astonished by tomatoes at $3.50/lb at the height of the season, $.75 per ear of corn, $1.50 per head of garlic (usually $.50 at shoppers or safeway). in contrast, in the midwest, where i grew up, the produce at the farmer's market is significantly cheaper (and better) than at the supermarket. I was at the soulard farmers' market over labor day and corn was 3/$1, tomatoes about $2/lb.....

Again, i'm not knocking the markets, and i am very glad they exist, but it's always struck me as odd that in the push for more people to go to them, there's so little consideration of the relatively high prices for most things.

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Not to mention the fact that the "$1 a dozen" eggs that Milbank is recommending (and when was the last time he was in a grocery store?) are from factory-farmed chickens that are held in cruel circumstances vs. free-roaming chickens with beyond humane living circumstances that provide the eggs for the market vendors.

And you think somebody on food stamps really gives a s#!%? Look, we're all for sustainable, organic foodstuffs and don't mind spending an extra $1 or $0.50 to have them. But let's not for one second think that everybody sees it that way.

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To be honest, i think even that's dangerous as it seems that just about everything from the freshfarms markets--including staples like potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, etc. is significantly more expensive than the same items bought from any non-whole foods supermarket. I'm not knocking the markets--i happily shop at them because they have the best produce in the area--but they certainly aren't cheap. i'm regularly astonished by tomatoes at $3.50/lb at the height of the season, $.75 per ear of corn, $1.50 per head of garlic (usually $.50 at shoppers or safeway). in contrast, in the midwest, where i grew up, the produce at the farmer's market is significantly cheaper (and better) than at the supermarket. I was at the soulard farmers' market over labor day and corn was 3/$1, tomatoes about $2/lb.....

Again, i'm not knocking the markets, and i am very glad they exist, but it's always struck me as odd that in the push for more people to go to them, there's so little consideration of the relatively high prices for most things.

The price of everything is the city is higher. Funny thing is that the farmer's market right here in Burke VA sells things much cheaper than the DC markets. Hell, even the same vendors sell things cheaper at the Arlington market. It is all about location, location, location...

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And you think somebody on food stamps really gives a s#!%? Look, we're all for sustainable, organic foodstuffs and don't mind spending an extra $1 or $0.50 to have them. But let's not for one second think that everybody sees it that way.

And that's why Mike Tabor of Licking Creek Farms has been such a treasure for a very long time. He's been selling on Saturday in Adams Morgan since before the bank was built there and the folks with the WIC coupons flock to his stand during the season that the coupons are valid. He was amazed when I told him what the vendors at Penn Quarter were asking for some of their produce. He is very much "down-scale" and proud of it and is as deserving of support as any other farmer.
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I've weighed in on this before so many of you can just skip ahead, but the thing that struck me was the juxtaposition of the First Lady and the Ag Secretary. As a well-of consumer I am always eager to have another convenient place to shop and as a friend of the farmers, I am glad to see them have another place to sell their wares. But the fact is, the warm fuzzy symbolism of Michelle opening a farmer's marklet is grotesquely overmatched by the dyspeptic reality of tens of billions of dollars in agricultural subsides that subvert, at every step the ideals behind the market. A little Googling suggests that farmers markets gross about a billion dollars a year; ag subsidies run about $55 billion. When the Obama Administration takes steps to reverse that ratio, I promise to regain a little bit of my enthusiasm for Michelle's public wet kiss to fruit and vegetables. Until then, it's just politics as usual.

And, as much as I like, them, and as "good" as they are, and for all Millbank's snark, farmer's markets remain a hobby for the well off. The food stamp thing is nice, but it still doesn't cover the difference and does no good for the larger mass of middle class people with flat wages, rising housing and health care costs and college to save for. $20 a week works out to a grand a year and shopping at farmers markets boosts your bills by a lot more than $20 a week.

If there is a deeper virtue to farmers markets than giving people who can afford $5 a pound access to superior potato, then it's fast becoming time to figure out how to make the model work for a lot more people than it does now. Until that happens, and until we have an allegedly organic administration whose symbolism is backed by substance, the celebration should be a little muted.

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I've weighed in on this before so many of you can just skip ahead, but the thing that struck me was the juxtaposition of the First Lady and the Ag Secretary. As a well-of consumer I am always eager to have another convenient place to shop and as a friend of the farmers, I am glad to see them have another place to sell their wares. But the fact is, the warm fuzzy symbolism of Michelle opening a farmer's marklet is grotesquely overmatched by the dyspeptic reality of tens of billions of dollars in agricultural subsides that subvert, at every step the ideals behind the market. A little Googling suggests that farmers markets gross about a billion dollars a year; ag subsidies run about $55 billion. When the Obama Administration takes steps to reverse that ratio, I promise to regain a little bit of my enthusiasm for Michelle's public wet kiss to fruit and vegetables. Until then, it's just politics as usual.

And, as much as I like, them, and as "good" as they are, and for all Millbank's snark, farmer's markets remain a hobby for the well off. The food stamp thing is nice, but it still doesn't cover the difference and does no good for the larger mass of middle class people with flat wages, rising housing and health care costs and college to save for. $20 a week works out to a grand a year and shopping at farmers markets boosts your bills by a lot more than $20 a week.

If there is a deeper virtue to farmers markets than giving people who can afford $5 a pound access to superior potato, then it's fast becoming time to figure out how to make the model work for a lot more people than it does now. Until that happens, and until we have an allegedly organic administration whose symbolism is backed by substance, the celebration should be a little muted.

Dana Milbank and you and others are deriding Michelle Obama for promoting and shopping at THIS particular farmers' market in the middle of downtown DC, where most of its customers will be relatively well-off federal employees and downtown office workers, lawyers and such.( And it is true that she is unlikely to return, since it would cause incredible disruption to the market with the metal detectors and all. But Granny Robinson and the girls might come, and I'm betting that Sam Kass will be a regular--the guy who no doubt prepares most of their everyday meals.) But the larger, more important point is the SYMBOLISM of what she is doing, in terms of raising the profile of the farmers market, around the country and the world, in the way that her garden has. Double coupons could very well make it possible for low income people to buy some of their food directly from a farmer. Hell, I can't afford to buy all of my food at the farmers market. But what I do buy, and what everyone else buys at the farmers market enables small farmers to make a living, and allows small farms to survive. Go ahead and deride the high prices at farmers markets in affluent neighborhoods--they aren't all as expensive as Dupont and WH, as others have pointed out--but heaven help us all if everyone is again as totally dependent on cheap, corporate, federally subsidized industrial agriculture for their food as the poor and lower middle class currently are. It doesn't mean that ex-urban farmers who bring their food to the city to sell directly to customers should sell their food as cheap or cheaper--they've been going broke and leaving the land because of the pressure they've had to sell cheap to middle-man wholesalers--but maybe what it does mean is that some Federal subsidies that are still going to ConAgra and ADM should be used to triple or quadruple the value of food stamps and WIC coupons, when used to buy food at farmers markets. And the criteria for inclusion in the food stamp program be expanded to include more than just those in extreme poverty.
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Not to mention the fact that the "$1 a dozen" eggs that Milbank is recommending (and when was the last time he was in a grocery store?) are from factory-farmed chickens that are held in cruel circumstances vs. free-roaming chickens with beyond humane living circumstances that provide the eggs for the market vendors. With double coupons, those eggs are certainly within reach of families and seniors in the food stamp program. In this instance, as in others recently, Dana Milbank is a professional back-of-the-classroom adolescent snark-meister.

Just came back from the Safeway, where the cheapest eggs in the store--Lucerne ordinary white eggs--were on sale for $1.99 a dozen, down from $2.49. At the farmer's market, it is possible to find eggs that cost between $4 and $5 a dozen, and with double coupons, that means that cage-free, healthy chicken eggs can be bought for essentially the same as factory-farmed eggs from a chain grocery store. The other point, even if the great majority of "the poor" care only about cheap food and not the circumstances under which it is produced, a notion that I reject--is that these eggs are more nutritious and they taste so much better.
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Stopped in today because we needed Clear Spring milk and I'm going to be away on Sunday so no Dupont or Takoma Park markets for the BLB family.

Liked how much more space there was than at Dupont or Penn Quarter.

Didn't like the insane number of line jumpers.

And I love Wes and Quail Creek but he needs to start having lines...

I missed my Black Rock Orchard and Blue Ridge fixes. Also missed Mountain View. So unless I need milk, I'll probably stick to Penn Quarter on Thursday's.

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Speaking of seeing Jose Andres out and about... He was also at the opening day last year. This year, he did a huge piella.

Paella was great. I believe it had mushrooms and chicken, a recipe from his cookbook. I like the fact that Chef Andres was personally delivering samples to other vendors! Thanks to him and his team.

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Saw Andrew Zimmern, the bizarre foods guy from the Travel network there with a camera crew yesterday. Unfortunately, due to the bad weather there were very few vendors so I don't think there was much filming. Andrew was chomping on an apple and chatting people up. He seemed very nice.

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This is now very much like an outdoor food court, with only a few vendors really selling fruits, veg, meat and baked goods. The five options for lunch (based off of memory) are:

  1. Red Apron (Hot dogs!)
  2. Fish Burger (Fish burger)
  3. Red Zebra Pizza (Pizza)
  4. Three Little Pigs Charcuterie (Pulled pork and Smoked pork sandwiches)
  5. Someplace that sold hot dogs and other stuff too

Pleasant Pops and a kettle corn vendor were present, along with two bakeries, Praline and another P-named bakery.

I wish TLP had some of their meat wares available for sale, but since I wasn't in a barbecue mood, I had to sadly walk past the very pretty Ms. Gomez's greeting smile.

First, I *heart* Chef's hotdogmobile - specialty license: "Pork Fat." I have van envy.

I indulged in a Chef Nathan Anda hot dog ($8) - for once it's all pork! (Yes, technically, it's a non-traditional hot dog or brat, but it's hot dog sized and shape!) The Bacon Dog was an all-pork bacon with bacon fat, bacon sauerkraut (omitted) and mustard on an Uptown bakery challah roll. I was thinking how much biting into the hot dog was like eating a xiaolongbao, where all the nice juicy porky-ness flowed out into a burst of satiation. You really don't need the mustard or sauerkraut, if you just want to appreciate the meat-craft, but if you want more accentuated seasonings, then a bit of onion-sauerkraut will hit the spot.

The only thing I think they need is to hang a sign on the outside, top of the tent - you could barely see the Red Apron banner.

I really look forward to Chef's shops opening. In FM news, Toigo had their seconds bin for tomatoes. Time to make some sauce!

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Today was the first day of the season for the White House Farmer's Market, and the first time I'd stopped by since they moved to the mid-day rather than late afternoon time slot. The vegetable tacos I had from a vendor who's name I can't recall were ridiculously good. They were not traditional in any way, shape or form, but they were delicious. The line moves slowly, but I'm glad I stuck with it.

On the produce side, the traditional spring items were all there in abundance, including morels, ramps and asparagus.

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