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What do you wish you could find at the local farmers markets but can't? I'm interested in what other produce are people looking for that you can't get. For example, if you want fresh, local lemongrass, could you find it?

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Great possibility-stretching question!

My starting wish list is as follows; might add more as I think about this more.

Really Wish It Were Local (possible high-demand items if grown locally; our climate is laughing at me and my silly wants)

-Hatch Chiles

-Olives

-Citrus other than kumquats

-Artichokes

-Coffee

-Bamboo shoots; maybe this one belongs in the category below...

Local But Hard To Find (overall demand is probably lower than my personal demand, or else more vendors would carry these)

-Lemongrass

-Gooseberries

-Microgreens

-Grape leaves

-Shiso perilla "sesame" leaf

-Ginger

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You can find baby artichokes at Bloomingdale, fresh ginger, gooseberries, and lemongrass at Dupont and other markets during the season. Farms that sell micro greens to restaurants will often sell you their leftovers if they have any; it's a matter of creating good relationships.

Granted it is January and all I dream of are tomatoes in August, but I can't think of anything we can't get at our local markets that isn't already out there if you are willing to look.

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What do you wish you could find at the local farmers markets but can't? I'm interested in what other produce are people looking for that you can't get. For example, if you want fresh, local lemongrass, could you find it?

Great possibility-stretching question!

My starting wish list is as follows; might add more as I think about this more.

Really Wish It Were Local (possible high-demand items if grown locally; our climate is laughing at me and my silly wants)

-Hatch Chiles

-Olives

-Citrus other than kumquats

-Artichokes

-Coffee

-Bamboo shoots; maybe this one belongs in the category below...

Local But Hard To Find (overall demand is probably lower than my personal demand, or else more vendors would carry these)

-Lemongrass

-Gooseberries

-Microgreens

-Grape leaves

-Shiso perilla "sesame" leaf

-Ginger

When in season:

Lemongrass: Evensong at HHS and Silver Spring markets; Sand Hill and Anchor Nursery at Penn Quarter; Next Step Produce at Dupont Circle.

Ginger: See article by Tim Carman in WaPo where he mentioned farms I don't know. Ones I do: Tree & Leaf, Next Step, New Morning and Mock's.

Gooseberries: Black Rock Orchard sticks in my brain, but there are others. Quaker Valley, maybe? (I'm not a fan, so...)

Microgreens: Endless Summer, new line. However, what right-minded, small farm would bother to sell off their babies when there is so much more profit to be made allowing those micros to mature? (Thus, high cost that seems off-putting. Same goes for spring lamb.)

Artichokes: Big Bear or whatever the former CIA-agent calls his farm, HHS. Also, Garners.

Bamboo shoots: Stay tuned. Kevin Villalovos from Cure, as always, prepared a delicious dish at Dupont Circle that featured local bamboo which the chef showed how to break down to extract shoots. This is very much a seasonal thing since it only works w very young bamboo. Next Step Produce's farmer, Heinz Thomet, spoke w chef. Who knows if he has enough time to harvest when the time comes, but there is a big patch of bamboo on his organic farm...

Chilies: I think I've seen them.

Rest? Some markets sell coffee roasted by small, local producers. Next Step sold Jeffersonian lemons that require an acquired taste. Talk to someone who grows grapes about leaves, e.g. Winn and Freddie of Quaker Valley.

A couple of years ago, Garners asked people at the Penn Quarter market what hard-to-find, locally-produceable foods they'd like to see at market and didn't get much in the way of feedback. It's always good to ask. Me, I got to know Heinz Thomet since I was scouting in vain for a source for cardoons, starting at grocery stores. The farmer obliged since he had been experimenting, and ended up bringing it to Dupont Circle for several years. He stopped since there wasn't much demand; I admit that I could live happy without ever encountering that particular vegetable again, though it was fun for a while.
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Someone at Takoma Park has gooseberries in season too. I've seen ginger at the Bethesda Central Market and they have a coffee vendor as well. Falls Church has coffee too.

One of the farmers at either the White House or Penn Quarter is experimenting with bananas.

I'd love more local organic, grassfed milk and dairy product options at prices that don't make me blush when I admit paying $12 a gallon from Clear Spring Creamery. (Which I rarely do anymore because I can get decent grass fed milk elsewhere.)

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Well, the reason I ask is because I have ten acres sitting idle and don't want to grow soybeans or corn. I do grow on a very limited scale, olives, lemons, and limes, plus lemongrass. Sesame is a good idea. Ginger is not that interesting to grow. Bananas are difficult but very tasty. I'm open to suggestions if you have a hankering...

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Great possibility-stretching question!

My starting wish list is as follows; might add more as I think about this more.

Local But Hard To Find (overall demand is probably lower than my personal demand, or else more vendors would carry these)

-Shiso perilla "sesame" leaf

Watch out for shiso! A few years ago I had one little plant (one of the green varieties), grown in Aerogarden as part of a mixed herb kit. I put it in the dirt in the backyard. Now it has spread like kudzu all over the yard, and comes back more populous every year. Hard to believe that it is possible to have too much shiso, but every summer I do.

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My wish list would be some of the gorgeous multicolored corn, cantaloupe, and winter squash varieties that I see from Baker’s Creek and Southern Exposure. I understand that they’re probably tricky to grow and keep in sellable condition, but this is wishful thinking, right?

Ditto garlic – everyone sells Music (I’m sure that yields and keeps great) – how about some Spanish Roja, Chesnok Red, or Burgundy into the mix? Ditto Jerusalem Artichokes – everyone sells Stampede – are the other varieties that much lower yielding or harder to sell? Also – native persimmons, hickory, chestnuts, fresh ume. Yes, I know it can take 10+ years for some of these to start yielding commercially…

For something slightly more practical - have you considered growing hardy bananas or lotus for their leaves? That could be a nice specialty item during the summer/fall grilling season.

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