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Best Area Farmers Markets For My Business?


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Greetings,

I am a commercial fisherman from Alaska and am new to the DC area. Through my business Cold Country Salmon I sell my catch direct to the public. I would like to participate in some DC area farmers markets (including Baltimore and other cities within a few hours). However, since I fish in Alaska all summer and my salmon is best for 6-8 months following the summer, I will mostly be selling through the fall and winter. My concern is that most markets seem to happen on Sat and Sun and I want to make the most of those two days. I am looking for the largest and best attended farmers markets (one for sat and one for sun) where I can sell my salmon and educate the public about my product, Alaska and sustainable fisheries in general––all the things I am passionate about!

If anyone has any suggestions about which markets would allow me to make the most of my weekends, I would very much appreciate it. I am aware of the Baltimore Farmer's Market and Bazaar (market under 83) which looks like a wonderful and well attended market. Does anyone know anything about this market?

Thank you so much for you help,

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Welcome to the site and the area!

The Arlington Courthouse (Sat) and Dupont Circle (Sun) markets come to mind. Both of them have requirements about 'local' products. The Arlington Market website mentions that 'farm-raised' fish may be allowed, but some of their other restrictions (no temporary sales allowed) may not make it a good fit for you. Others might have a bit more to add about the Dupont (and other FreshFarm) market(s). Old Town Alexandria's market may be less restrictive and is a busy Saturday market.

I'd suggest getting out and visiting the local markets - you can find out about lots of them in the Market thread - and talk to the market managers.

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The Arlington Courthouse (Sat) and Dupont Circle (Sun) markets come to mind.

A trip to either of these markets, or any of this area's reputable farmers markets would not prove worthwhile because of their policies. Alaska does not provide local food to the Chesapeake Bay watershed region, so your business would not be eligible. Oranges grown in California cannot be shipped into the Washington, DC metropolitan area and sold in producer-only farmers markets dedicated to local foods even if the person who owns the groves has moved to the east coast.

Why do you want to sell at farmers markets this far away from your home base instead of visiting high-end stores that specialize in seafood? (Pick up the May 2011 edition of The Washingtionian for details.)

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They 'winter' here in DC, so I'm guessing they want to sell their summer catch here once they come down for the season. If they are interested in informing the public about responsible fishing at the same time they are selling its a little harder to do at a fish store. While not local per se, still sounds like their mission of having people know their food source and buying responsibly might fit with the ethos of some farmers market. I'm guessing the real question is - are there any that are well attended without locally produced restrictions?

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Agree with above comments. Farmers markets in the DC metro are generally local and local only, which is what a farmers market ought to be.

You may be eligible for the Old Town and Del Ray markets on Sat.'s, however, they are basically on life support all winter. I remember a seafood vendor (used intentionally vs. producer) at Del Ray, oh, I'd say a year ago.

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They 'winter' here in DC, so I'm guessing they want to sell their summer catch here once they come down for the season. If they are interested in informing the public about responsible fishing at the same time they are selling its a little harder to do at a fish store. While not local per se, still sounds like their mission of having people know their food source and buying responsibly might fit with the ethos of some farmers market. I'm guessing the real question is - are there any that are well attended without locally produced restrictions?

Eastern Market's weekend outdoor market isn't producer-only, and at least some produce comes in from several states away. They really seem to be moving (to my distress) more away from raw foods to prepared foods and crafts. In some sense, frozen Alaskan wild salmon might be a perfect fit for that market and neighborhood. The fillets are already cut and ready to go. I don't know how easy it is to get a spot there, but it should be easier in the winter. Of course, the crowds are smaller then too.

There is a fishmonger inside, but I don't know if they would care about a competitor outside. IIRC, that's owned by the family that manages the market. (Do you know if that's correct, Anna Blume?)

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Hello all and thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts. I am doing some research on some of those suggestions now and will try to visit some of the markets this weekend.

My goal in participating in farmer's markets is to have to the opportunity to talk to people about what we do and to get the word out about our salmon. This is such a new business that we are in the "planting the seeds" phase. I think word of mouth will be good for us. We are planning a free salmon bake here in the DC area for early May which should be a lot of fun.

In terms of local fish markets, interacting with folks is important to me and I would like to keep my business between the fisherman and the consumer. This is the heart of my co-op, fisherman direct, marketing plan. Plus I really like talking about what we do and learning about and making friends with my customers.

I saw that issue of Washingtonian from May about food. I also couldn't help but notice there was no good, wild salmon source mentioned. I have been trying to contact them for a few weeks now but no reply.

It's Saturday morning, I'm off to the farmer's markets!

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