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It had been a long time since I'd visited Old Town Market on Sat. mornings. It was packed and full of farm fresh food, baked goodies, crafts, flowers and teas.

I picked up some shitake mushrooms, raspberry bread and a savory scone, and lapsan souchong (sp) tea.

You can click below to see pics and a slide show. It was a gorgeous morning.

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As I walked around the Market Square on Sat. morning, I thought I saw something familiar-the red umbrellas and distinctive set up of Spring Valley Farm. SVF started selling at the Alexandria market last Saturday, and by appearances, they were very popular right out of the gate. I was about the 4th person to note that I shop at their stall at Dupont. I'll probably catch them on this side of the Potomac, since their prices were noticably lower.

Strawberries-$5

Ramps-$4

Once again, Mr. MV and I enjoyed sweet and savory baklavah from Emine's table. Brocoli, lentil, black bean balavah all were combined with curried cabbage, and jasmine rice. New to her line-up was chocolate baklavah, also delicious.

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The market was about 80% full today. Flowers and tomato plants were everywhere. I bought fresh mozzarella from Blue Ridge Dairy, for pizza on the grill tonight. I asked about their buffola mozzarella, because I haven't seen it since last year or so at Dupont. I was told that they were breeding the water buffalo, and that's why no mozz de buff. (AB may know more).

Another exciting return today was Emine's baklava. She makes both savory and sweet baklava and you can't go wrong with any of her imaginative creations:

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Another exciting return today was Emine's baklava. She makes both savory and sweet baklava and you can't go wrong with any of her imaginative creations
A lady with Emine's baklava has been at the Falls Church market during the winter season. She was there today, but today was also the last of the winter season, so I don't know if she'll be there next week, but what do you recommend to try, monavano?
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A lady with Emine's baklava has been at the Falls Church market during the winter season. She was there today, but today was also the last of the winter season, so I don't know if she'll be there next week, but what do you recommend to try, monavano?

I generally go for her savory baklava-terrific spice combinations. Get any of her brown rice or potato filled baklava!

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When it's good, it's good. When it's winter, it's desolate and depressing. Now is the time to enjoy the Alexandria market. I'm always heartened to see the market square packed with patrons-albeit some of them tourists. The chef de cuisine from the Hay Adams was doing a demonstration on how to utilize summer's largess- tomatoes in red gazpacho, fruits, berries and fresh herbs were all from vendors just steps away.

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The market was packed due to the Alexandria Arts Festival yesterday and today. I couldn't resist getting these beautiful speckled beans (hulled in photo) from Spring Valley. I cooked them in a court boullion and think I'll mix them up with some corn, peppers and onions and make a succotash later.

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The market was packed due to the Alexandria Arts Festival yesterday and today. I couldn't resist getting these beautiful speckled beans (hulled in photo) from Spring Valley. I cooked them in a court boullion and think I'll mix them up with some corn, peppers and onions and make a succotash later.

Scooping up handfuls next to a Colombian woman at Dupont Circle, I learned that she cooks them with lots and lots of grated corn first, then throws in onions and finally basil. I should have asked about fats and liquids, but she said she doesn't use stock, broth or any other flavors. Sounded good.
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Need an excuse to go to the Alexandria Old Town market? How about Stachowski charcuterie?

I believe yesterday was Jamie's first day there and he seemed a bit nervous that the market wasn't at full-tilt yet, but I assured him that over the next few weeks, the producers, vendors and patrons will fill the square.

I also picked up shaved Va. ham from Calhoun's (I've been missing that!), a loaf of ciabatta from BonJour Bakery (I believe that's the name-I will have to verify this) for $2 ;):P and it's excellent-a true ciabatta with a slipper shape, rather large holes and a thin, crisp crust.

Blue Ridge and Spring Valley aren't back yet, but the market is coming back to life after winter.

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Need an excuse to go to the Alexandria Old Town market? How about Stachowski charcuterie?

I believe yesterday was Jamie's first day there and he seemed a bit nervous that the market wasn't going at full-tilt yet, but I assured him that over the next few weeks, the producers, vendors and patrons will fill the square. We'll be braising and grilling his chicken brats tonight.

I also picked up shaved Va. ham from Calhoun's (I've been missing that!), a loaf of ciabatta from BonJour Bakery (I believe that's the name-I will have to verify this) for $2 ;):P and it's excellent-a true ciabatta with a slipper shape, rather large holes and a thin, crisp crust.

Blue Ridge and Spring Valley aren't back yet, but the market is coming back to life after winter.

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Jamie Stachowski wasn't at the market yesterday, but Blue Ridge Dairy was ;)

Buffalo Mozzarella, 2/$15

I'm hoping Spring Valley returns soon...

The cookies below are from a producer that is new to me. She sells baked goods (at the SE corner of King and Fairfax), granola, spice mixes, rice mixes and something she calls a "walkabout bar" that this one guy was buying 5 of, saying "OMG! you have to market these!"

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Wonderfulyl cool, repeat, cool market that was quite busy.

I bought:

Toigo's corn at the Old Town market as "Butter and Cream" and huge. $.50/ear.

Toigo peaches

Bigg Riggs tomatillos

Ober Good Goat Cheese's Camembert-really excellent and $16 for a 3 1/2" wheel

Calhoun's shaved country ham

Hollin Hall Pastry Shop raisin and chocolate chip scones

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I had a feeling that Stachowski's meats were not going to be at the market once the weather got cold and the market crowds dwindled a bit. I was right on one count-Stachowski was not at the market, and in fact, won't be returning because it just isn't profitable enough (this market could be great, but it just hasn't reached its potential for whatever reasons). However, the crowds were strong, perhaps there to buy from the many vendors with holiday wreaths, centerpieces and garland.

I picked up fresh thyme, rosemary and sage, as well as parsnips and fennel (don't know the name of the producer, but he's by the fountain, left side).

Apples from Bigg Riggs.

Shaved, cooked country ham from Calhoun's.

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The market was understandably not as crowded on Sat. due to Irene. We got there about 20 minutes before the rains started. I got the best field tomatoes in memory from Bigg Riggs, along with peaches and peppers.

Blackberries (made into gastrique... next batch is going to be a gelato)

Croissant from Bon Jour La Parisienne. This bakery provides the world's lamest baguette to my local Safeway, the only one they carry. Yet, their baked goods and breads at the market are truly terrific.

There's a new meat producer in the back-- Old Pioneer Kitchen. Bacons, all sorts of sausage. It looked good, but he has to kick it up a notch and cook up samples like Jamie :mellow: (come to think of it, maybe the market prohibits any cooking)

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The market was packed due to the Alexandria Arts Festival yesterday and today. I couldn't resist getting these beautiful speckled beans (hulled in photo) from Spring Valley. I cooked them in a court boullion and think I'll mix them up with some corn, peppers and onions and make a succotash later.

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Beautiful pic of beans! I shop at the Farmer's Market most Saturdays, but don't pay so much attention to the vendor's names, I just know where they are. Which one is Spring Valley? I'll want to keep an eye out for these in September...

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Just fyi, was at the market this weekend, and we saw that Paul Brock, "The Sausage Man" had died that Wednesday from a heart attack. :(

Don't know if anyone on here was familiar with him. He sold exceptional meats, and seemed like a really nice guy. I feel terrible for his wife...

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Big Riggs had ramps on Sat. @ $4 a good sized bunch. He also had a limited amount of morels which sold out before I got there. Calvin said to contact him via Facebook to reserve a pint or two for next Sat. if he indeed finds more, which he expects to.

I can't wait to make braised chicken thighs with ramps and morels. It's become a sort of rite of Spring, if I can find the morels! Last year was a bust.

Blue Ridge was offering a 2 for $12 special on their mozzarella. Got a smoked and regular that will top pizza later this week.

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The Old Town farmers market is on Saturday morning in front of City Hall on King Street a couple blocks up from the river.  I'm no expert on farmers markets, but it's the biggest one I've seen around here.  They have a lot more non-edible things than other markets like flowers, and photos/paintings.

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I agree the Alexandria market is by far the biggest.  It should be as the oldest running farmer's market in the United States.  They have all the usuals- bread, meat, cheese, veggies, as well as, juices, pies, flowers and other items.  I will probably be there soon selling raffle tickets for the Campagna Center and will try to take head of what is there.  The Del Ray Market is smaller, but worthwhile- although it is better if you live in the area and can walk, parking is quite something normally in Del Ray, but especially then.  I haven't been to the West End or Fairlington Market.

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Thanks.  I will have to check out Del Ray.  I think the Old Town market has the most beautiful site I've visited in these parts and there were at least two farms I respect and frequent as a shopper. There is something to be said for dedicated market spaces and I do wish D.C. were more accommodating in this respect.  I also appreciated having Sur la Table right across the street and a lovely architectural/foliage scene to check out while heading to Duke Street, WFM, and back to the King St Metro.  I am sure it's a good place to shop during the heart of the season.  I ended up buying eggs from Coulter and then headed to Dupont Circle on Sunday for all my greens.

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