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Eastern Market (1971) - Built in 1871, on 7th and C Street SE, Capitol Hill


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Anyone pick up the sorrel from the greens chick at Eastern Market saturday? Absolutely the bomb -- wonderfully lemony, and when served in a mixed green salad with some nice peppery arugala, rockin'. Also some nice spicy edible flowers. I love that lady.

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Okay so I have to say that I can't stop eating the cucumber and yellow tomato salad I made with produce from the Eastern Market Farmers Market. The cukes are the pickling kind from Marshall Farms. They have an amazing variety of cucumbers for sell but I love pickling ones. The tomatoes are from another vendor. A little bit of salt and pepper and summer explodes in the mouth.

Next week Marshall Farms will have tomatoes too... oh how I wish summer could last all year if only for the produce.

Nancy

BTW, I hope I have the name of the cucumber vendor right, if I don't I'm sorry...

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Updated version of my tast of summer salad 2005:

Cucumbers from Marshall Farms

Yellow Tomatoes from another vendor

Basil from the amazing greens vendor at Eastern Market

Fresh Mozzarella from the pasta vendor in Eastern Market

salt and pepper

YUM. Too bad we can't can this salad. Would be delicious in January.

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I've never been to Eastern Market, but am planning on going on Saturday morning, what shouldn't be missed? Please advise on what are the best counters/stands and what if anything should be avoided.  Thanks.

Both meat vendors are good-- I prefer Canale's as their beef usually looks better. Often they have some tasty looking (and tasty tasting) ribeyes. Do not buy any produce INSIDE the market (unless you want to buy a $2 onion), only outside with the weekend vendors. Next to Canale's you can pick up some damn good raviolis and other fresh pastas. The cheese vendor is okay, most of the selection is a step above pedestrian, but that's about it. Both poultry vendors sell very good organic birds at fairly reasonable prices.

Outside can be hit or miss this time of year. I'm not sure if the woman with all the beautiful greens is around yet. Definitely make a trip back later in the spring if she isn't there. There is also a dude who sells buffalo steaks, etc. He may be there, so keep an eye out for the telltale big white igloo coolers.

You can grab a bite of breakfast at the Market Lunch. Frankly, I don't see what the big deal is about the food, but the experience of standing in line in anticipation of your fill of grease can be semi-worthwhile.

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I've never been to Eastern Market, but am planning on going on Saturday morning, what shouldn't be missed? Please advise on what are the best counters/stands and what if anything should be avoided.  Thanks.

I like Calomiris in the middle off the market for produce, but that's a sentimental preference. The other veg stand inside is good as well. If you browse around outside, you may find particular produce you like more. Dan Donahue's stand outside has some really nice produce from PA, including a lot of Amish produce and some Amish baked goods. He's right by the nut guy who gives free samples <_< . That's at 7th and C on the northwest side.

I don't have a preference among the butcher stalls, but I like Canales generally. I think one of their stands has fresh pasta (brain is not fully turned on). Whichever place has the fresh pasta, it's good.

I like Market Poultry for poultry. I've been trying not to get freaky about bird flu but have been noticing, despite myself, that supermarket poultry (everywhere, including Whole Foods) has not been looking good in recent months. The stuff at Market Poultry still looks fine, and that's where I'm buying most of my poultry lately.

The cheese stand is pretty good but I sometimes get a little annoyed there. He's good at giving cheese samples, though.

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What's the pork scene like?

A wide selection of sausage, thick cut bacon, various hams, smoked hocks, slabs of backfat, trotters, ribs, chops, etc. and I noticed this weekend that they were selling little buckets of sausage casings.

The large butcher counter has all sorts of meat (pig, sheep, baby cow, adult cow, assorted little furry animals), a lot of lamb going on right now including kidneys, and sells cooked hot dogs, half smokes, kielbasa (starting at a $1).

The lady with the buckets of greens hasn't made an appearance yet.

And KeithA if you want to make a day of it, you should also think about stopping in at Montemartre for brunch/lunch.

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I second, third, whatever the Canales and Market poultry stand. Once the bird flu hits Mel (the owner of Market Poultry) is going to be the only person I trust.

The pastas from the place next to Canales are great. Last weekend I had spinach and artichoke ravioli that were as good as you would get at any of the nicer Italian places in the area. Make sure to ask for cooking directions if you aren't sure.

I buy my butter from the cheese guy and now can taste a difference between it and most other store brands. The milk from Lewes dairy is also better than anything you'll find at the super market.

If you need a quick bite the half smokes from the meat counter across from Market (aka Mel's) are great and there is no line. Cheap too.

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I second, third, whatever the Canales and Market poultry stand. Once the bird flu hits Mel (the owner of Market Poultry) is going to be the only person I trust.

The pastas from the place next to Canales are great. Last weekend I had spinach and artichoke ravioli that were as good as you would get at any of the nicer Italian places in the area. Make sure to ask for cooking directions if you aren't sure.

I buy my butter from the cheese guy and now can taste a difference between it and most other store brands. The milk from Lewes dairy is also better than anything you'll find at the super market.

If you need a quick bite the half smokes from the meat counter across from Market (aka Mel's) are great and there is no line. Cheap too.

Just a quick note from the Cheese Shop, Bowers Fancy Dairy Products, inside Eastern Market... if you have any particular types of Cheese for a special event or even on a regular basis, please let me know!

Kind Regards, Mike Bowers

bowers.cheese@gmail.com or

mike.bowers@gmail.com

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Union Meat has these extra thin pork chops that are great for pan-frying or doing your own "shake n bake". The thin cut allows for quick cooking avoiding the dreaded dried out chop.

Just a random tip...

Al

Along those lines, if Union is sold out of the skinnies, Mario cuts the chops off the bones, pounds them flat and then does a little egg-breadcrumb dip thing. Same good results, plus the fun of beating your meat.

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Arriving in the afternoon on a Saturday, I missed a few of the better venders outside at the market, though my main goal was simply to scout out the place since I haven't been to Eastern Market for a number of years. Around me were lot of tourists, young people who don't get up early on weekends, and locals lining up for fish sandwiches. The soft-shell crabs looked good.

What I discovered much to my delight was cured pork jowl at Union Meats. No sign of a juniper berry on it, but I picked some up to try out on spaghetti carbonara as a surrogate for guanciale. I also bought a little bacon, the real, cured thing which I haven't bought for years, both produced in Pennsylvania. The poultry looked really good across the aisle.

Pam the Butcher, formerly an icon of Cleveland Park, was there selling cheese and doing well.

As far as the produce sold inside goes, I was surprised by the high prices and mediocre quality. Same with most of the stuff outside, shipped from Florida, etc. I am sure this has been said before.

However, it strikes me how Eastern Market's web site boasts of the age of the civic institution and the fact that it has been continuous. Yet it does not really offer the neighborhood what residents of Philadelphia or St. Louis (this the one contrasting example most familiar to me) can expect from their city's counterparts, especially in terms of economy.

I spoke to someone from Maryland who sold me a quart of his farm's small, ripe strawberries for $5, or $2 less than at Dupont Circle ($1.75 less than Heinz's organic ones). He's been coming to Eastern Market for only three weeks and so far it's been worth the trip. He usually sells in Baltimore.

"See this?" he said picking up a bunch of scallions with enormous bulbs. "$2.00! In Baltimore, I get 50 cents."

"These here," pointing to the strawberries," $3.50."

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I hit Eastern Market with a friend on Sunday around 1 p.m. The NC peaches were not yet ready for purchase and the honeydws that were left at that point were either too hard or turning, but I bought some wonderful tomatoes and vidalia onions. The stall along the short side of the market had fresh figs, but it strikes me as a bit early for figs and for $1.25 each, I wasn't taking my chances. The sorbet stand was a great treat at 91 degrees. :)

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What was not good was the produce vendor at Eastern Market trying to sell me about 1/3 lb of the rabe for $12. Jeebus, she's a sweet ol' lady and all, but WTF?
I usually go to that greengrocer stand and have for years, but I've noticed lately that some of the prices seem oddly skewed. Several weeks ago, I went through a phase where I kept running out of onions. Since it's nearby and quick, a couple of times I stopped there to get onions. Good god, they were expensive! The second time, my husband was with me. He was amazed at the price for a couple of onions too.
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I heard on the radio this morning the bad news of a fire at Eastern Market. Sounds like it hit the part of the building where the food vendors are, and it's bad. Anyone had eyes on?

This morning they had the pictures on local news and they interviewed the owner of Capitol Hill Poultry. He discussed the possibility of his family simply moving on. I hope that this would not be the case and if anyone knows of ways to help out the vendors at Eastern Market please let everyone know about it.

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I was awake for hours last night hearing the sirens. They sounded off and on from 1 until after 3. Then I heard a helicopter and another siren at 4 (don't know if that was related). I almost got up in the middle of the night to check the news because it sounded like it must be a really bad fire. Damn it.

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I'm sitting here at Murky Coffee looking up the street at the couple of hundred people standing around Eastern Market. They're taking photos, checking out the news crews and the mayor, and a few have tears in their eyes. The place is gutted.

The fire is still smoldering a bit, all the windows are shattered and you can see the sunlight shining through the roof down on the blackened market stalls inside. I saw Mr. Canales and his son and told them how sorry I was to see this. His son just said "it's gone". He said that the fire started on the southern end of the west side of the building where the merchants dispose of all their cardboard cases and wooden pallets. Looks like someone started this intentionally.

Eastern Market is such an integral part of living on the hill. Until it's rebuilt, it just won't be quite the same.

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I am in complete and utter shock. Eastern Market was my childhood. I literally learned how to count change from Mel and Mrs. Posen. Our chicken for Friday night dinner always came from Mel (Market Poultry) as did our Thanksgiving turkey. I have not had a Thanksgiving turkey from anywhere other than Mel in the last 20 years, at least. I still get a free banana from the produce lady or Mr. P when I buy from them. I could go on about the connection I have with many of the vendors, and I know I am not the only one.

As I type I think of all the people who watched me grow up; it's impossible to think of the Hill without them. Few neighborhoods in the city had a community gathering place like Eastern Market. A piece of my childhood, my memories, went up in smoke this morning.

It's all I can do to not leave work and join Al down there.

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I am in complete and utter shock. Eastern Market was my childhood. I literally learned how to count change from Mel and Mrs. Posen. Our chicken for Friday night dinner always came from Mel (Market Poultry) as did our Thanksgiving turkey. I have not had a Thanksgiving turkey from anywhere other than Mel in the last 20 years, at least. I still get a free banana from the produce lady or Mr. P when I buy from them. I could go on about the connection I have with many of the vendors, and I know I am not the only one.

As I type I think of all the people who watched me grow up; it's impossible to think of the Hill without them. Few neighborhoods in the city had a community gathering place like Eastern Market. A piece of my childhood, my memories, went up in smoke this morning.

It's all I can do to not leave work and join Al down there.

I'm sorry. I can't even imagine how upsetting this is to you, having grown up there. I've lived in the neighborhood 19 years, and I'm so upset that I don't want to head over there, even though I usually buy my morning coffee around this time at one of the places right nearby.

In addition to my grief for the vendors who had stands inside, I can't help thinking about all of the other businesses whose customer base is tied to the market, including the weekend vendors and the businesses up and down 7th street. The fact that some of the nearby small shops also close on Monday (or used to) always seemed a sign of how closely their business was tied to the market's customer base. The market's the anchor of the neighborhood--socially and commercially. My heart goes out to everybody who has lost something from this. My own inconvenience seems pretty insignificant.

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Even for us relative newcomers to the Hill (just past 8 years), this is a horrifying event, so I can only imagine how longer-term residents like HillValley and Pat feel. I too didn't want to see it, but I'm glad I did--the damage is terrible, but to my eyes at least, it looks salvageable--the old girl has some strong bones on her. I suppose the question is, Will it be the same Eastern Market that we knew and loved? Mayor Fenty was there this morning and I said to him, with tears in my eyes, "Please, bring it back." He looked directly at me and said, "You have my assurance." I know that many of us on the Hill and beyond are going to hold him to that promise. And I think the fact that so many in Congress, like Eleanor Holmes Norton, Carl Levin, Lois Capps, and others, live on the Hill and frequent the Market regularly may bode well for this getting federal aid as well.

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I am in complete and utter shock. Eastern Market was my childhood. I literally learned how to count change from Mel and Mrs. Posen. Our chicken for Friday night dinner always came from Mel (Market Poultry) as did our Thanksgiving turkey. I have not had a Thanksgiving turkey from anywhere other than Mel in the last 20 years, at least. I still get a free banana from the produce lady or Mr. P when I buy from them. I could go on about the connection I have with many of the vendors, and I know I am not the only one.

As I type I think of all the people who watched me grow up; it's impossible to think of the Hill without them. Few neighborhoods in the city had a community gathering place like Eastern Market. A piece of my childhood, my memories, went up in smoke this morning.

It's all I can do to not leave work and join Al down there.

I've lived on the Hill for 10 years and while I did not grow up with the Market, I can relate to you HillValley. Every weekend I buy cold cuts at Canales deli (Smoked Turkey and provolone cheese) and I have watched their daughter Catalina grow up from being a teenage, through college, and now married. Mrs. Canales poking fun at me. Chats with Senior Canales about DC United. Eastern Market is a rare spot of true community in DC. It is a sad Monday.

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I am deeply saddened by the loss of the Market but even more deeply concerned about what might replace it. I have visions of public-private partnerships combined with the usual incompetence and half-assedness concerning anything of value and importance in this city. The result: chain stores and mallification.

Since moving to the Hill from Germany twelve years ago, my wife and I have been religious customers of the Market. Meeting vendors who had been there for generations and taking care of our daily needs in a comparatively non-commercial "European" setting helped assuage the pangs of culture shock. Like other Hill residents, we've seen the lock-down of the Capitol area following 9/11, where we used to enjoy the Armed Forces concerts on the East Terrace and the view of the Mall at sunset on the West Terrace. Now this. It's as if the things that make up the appeal of the Hill are eroding.

Now is the time for the Capitol Hill Restoration Society to live up to its name and do all it can to ensure the new Eastern Market maintain the tradition of the old.

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This is horrible.

Given the historical significance and age of the building, regulations governing the preservation of buildings should save the structure from becoming a parody of its former self. I do worry about funding and where the project will be placed in terms of municipal priorities, especially given promises to redress the disrepair of D.C.'s public schools. I don't know if nostalgia and the community's concern can galvanize private contributions the way baseball does.

Are there any spaces nearby that could accommodate at least some of the vendors? Collectively?

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Marc Fisher's thought's.

(Worth the time to read.)

Even if they rebuild, it won't be the same. Nothing ever is. And if vendors like Mel don't come back the spirit, the soul of the market is gone.

I can't think of any space near by, other than the South wing, that might work. Maybe the cafeteria at Hines, which is being converted to offices next year? Of course that would involve DCPS so I wouldn't hold your breath.

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On the 10 O'Clock news, the mayor said that they are looking into a temporary venue. The Fire Chief said that the building seems structurally intact, with the roofs being destroyed. The poultry vendor looked devastated. I hope it can be restored and come back better than ever. I pray for the vendors' loss of livelyhoods and will be looking forward to participating in ways to support and sustain them through this tragedy.

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They could have relocated to the O Street Market if the city had done any work there since its roof collapse four years ago.

Hopfully this event will also make the city rethink the massive redevelopment being planned for the Florida Avenue wholesale market area.

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Marc Fisher's thought's.

(Worth the time to read.)

Even if they rebuild, it won't be the same. Nothing ever is. And if vendors like Mel don't come back the spirit, the soul of the market is gone.

I can't think of any space near by, other than the South wing, that might work. Maybe the cafeteria at Hines, which is being converted to offices next year? Of course that would involve DCPS so I wouldn't hold your breath.

I was wondering about Hine, since it's supposed to be closing but the current school hq still has another year on its lease (as I understand it). Since the mayor has taken over the schools and seems determined to find an alternative spot for the vendors, that might be a possibility.
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I can't think of any space near by, other than the South wing, that might work.
You mean the north wing, right? I've heard that they're already looking into retrofitting that to accomodate some of the vendors. Perhaps the Canales Deli could set up some limited business over at the Tortilla Cafe, which they also own. I was even wondering about that strange little mall space next to CVS on Pennsylvania Ave., which is mostly empty and up for sale/lease. It's at least close by, though the parking would be a problem.
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Hearing a ton of sirens last night, we walked outside to see what was going on. To say that the loss of Eastern Market is a horrible one for Hill residents is an understatment. Eastern Market would not be what it is without all of the wonderful proprietors that we have come to know and trust over the years, Mel and his family and the Canales first among them. We'll be hoping for a quick rebuild, and of course for our friends the proprietors to make it through.

To me, Eastern Market was/is the best thing about living on the Hill as opposed to another less connected community.

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Press release from Eastern Market, mostly concerning the flea market:

The Flea Market at Eastern Market Press Release

The Flea Market at Eastern Market Announces

Market Building Burns, Flea Market Vows to Continue

PRESS RELEASE

April 30, 2007

Washington, DC (April 30, 2007)--"We will be open this Sunday and every Sunday," Tom Rall, Manager of The Flea Market at Eastern Market, vowed today, despite the fire that devastated the South Hall of the Historic Eastern Market early this morning. For the most recent story see Historic Capitol Hill Marketplace Burns

"We appreciate that City Councilman Tommy Wells, representative for the markets' ward, and Mayor Adrian Fenty have pledged their support in keeping our popular outdoor market open during the rebuilding of Eastern Market," Rall said.

"Though some exhibitors may have to relocate throughout the reconstruction period, we hope to be able to accommodate our entire regular contingent," he continued. On nice weekends 120 people show their wares in and around the market building. "We do not expect any disruption to our operation at Hine School across the street," where another 100 set up in the play ground, Rall stated.

"We feel a special heartfelt thank you is due to Howard-Amin Gassaway III, manager of the neighboring Rumsey Aquatic Center, who has already promised use of the majority of the pool's outdoor plaza for displaced exhibitors," Rall said. "And we thank all the people who are flooding our email and telephone answering service with sympathetic messages."

For further information please visit our web site often during the upcoming days.

EasternMarket.net

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Although I am unable to claim, like Hillvalley, that I have childhood memories entwined with Eastern Market, I can say that I have been a frequent shopper there for over twenty years and that I will be unable to replace it as a source for my household cooking. Every Christmas for the past decade (maybe more) has been marked by the marvelous standing rib roasts which were procured there at Union Butchers. My heart goes out to the several families whose livlihoods have been disrupted if not destroyed. This is indeed a grim story :blink: The news that the buildding is still structurally intact is the only heartening part, so we can perhaps hope that it can be speedily restored. Tonight I will be grilling the hanger steak I brought there the other day with a heavy and prayerful heart.

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I'm back at a nearby coffee shop. Quite a lot of the neighborhood has come by after work to inspect the damage. A crane sits in the middle of 7th St pulling off the structurally unsound parts of the roof-- which looks to be the better part of it.

At its best, Capitol Hill can feel like a small town in the middle of a big city. It's as if Main Street burned down.

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I finally got myself down to Eastern Market at about 4:30. I've got to say, I don't think I've been at a spot where I've seen that many people crying except at a funeral. The smell of smoke was not as bad as I had expected, though a waitress at Tunnicliffs was having problems from having inhaled smoke all day while waiting on customers outside. A bar manager who was working at the time of the fire last night said that the smoke got so strong that he couldn't see across the street. He had to go back inside.

At the corner, as I approached, I saw one of the outdoor vendors I regularly buy from on the weekends. He was on his cell phone, and I didn't want to interrupt, so I just said "I'm sorry." Seeming more concerned for me than anything (maybe I looked really bad? :blink: ), he said (I'm paraphrasing slightly since I didn't write it down, but this is close): Don't worry. It's going to be fine. We just had a meeting.

I do remember his last sentence verbatim, however: "Just keep coming."

I sat at the end of the bar at Tunnicliffs and stared into the open doors of the market across the way, at where the fish counter and Union Meat had been. It was mesmerizing and heartbreaking. The affected parties had just finished a meeting there. I saw so many people I recognized streaming out as I drank my beer. I wished Mel Inman good luck, and he gave me a very sweet response. (I'm sorry? Good luck? That's all I've got. I wish I had more.)

From what I gathered from people's overheard conversations of the meeting, they are going ahead with Market Day (done on 7th st., outside the market every year) as scheduled on May 5th 6th. All of the vendors who have the capacity to be out there will be out there.

Just keep coming.

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From what I gathered from people's overheard conversations of the meeting, they are going ahead with Market Day (done on 7th st., outside the market every year) as scheduled on May 5th. All of the vendors who have the capacity to be out there will be out there.

Just keep coming.

I'm pretty sure that it's Sunday, May 6th.
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According to the DC Gov Emergency Management Agency it is on Sunday. (The link to Friendship House shows that it is on 5/7, so I don't think that is correct.)
I saw the 5/7 one too when i checked Friendship House. I'm know that's wrong. I swear I saw the 5th today, but now I can't find where I saw it. The 6th would seem right, except the newscast said they'd be back out there in 5 days.

I found it as Sunday the 6th, listed under CHAMPS: on the second search

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