Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The White House FreshFarm Market (or, How to Get 500 Lawyers to Flee Work at the Same Time)

Hello! I’m Dori, a friend of Michelle’s from way back in middle school. I’m a self-taught cook and amateur herb gardener. I recently bought my first home, and have happily been growing herbs in my tiny fenced in back yard. I love fresh, seasonal produce and am finally starting to be less of a slave to recipes and improvise more, which makes it the perfect time to buy fun foods at a farmer’s market! Michelle asked me to take some pictures and write a post about the farmers market Michelle Obama opened in the middle of September. I took the opportunity to post a picture of the meal I made with ingredients from the market because I am a giant nerd who takes pictures of her food. :)

Frustratingly, most farmers markets in my area are inconveniently open in the middle of the week, in the middle of the day, making it pretty much impossible for someone who works full time to shop at them. So, like many other denizens of Northern Virginia, I make my Sunday pilgrimage to Wegmans and worship their enormous produce section and mighty cheese shop. Happy little Wegmans cult member that I am, I was overjoyed when I heard that Michelle Obama attended the opening of a FreshFarm market right in front of my office building. Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend the opening, but I’ve gone every Thursday since, and I love it!

The FreshFarm market is on Vermont Avenue, near the White House. In addition to the usual produce that can be found at a farmers market, there are vendors selling artisan cheeses, live hydroponic lettuce, locally raised organic meats, locally made pasta, bread, and pastries. I was intrigued by the hydroponic lettuce booth, which sold a variety of live lettuces. The vendor assured me that unlike my fancy box of supermarket lettuce, this stuff would live in my fridge for a month so long as I kept the root ball intact. It’s over a week old now, and hasn’t shown any signs of wilting or going bad. It’s so tasty that it won’t survive for a month, but I’m happy knowing that it would live long enough for me to use it all.

The market features many local and organic produce vendors selling a variety of fruits and vegetables. My personal favorites right now are the crazy varieties of tomatoes that are unavailable at the grocery store.

Lastly, I think I might be addicted to eating lavender. As soon as I left my building, I could smell the lavender booth. A sign proclaimed, “eat lavender!” and the drug dealers vendors were offering free samples of chocolate and lavender covered almonds, which were very tasty. I could definitely taste the lavender, but it wasn’t overpowering. My bag of almonds smelled heavenly for the few days it lasted.

From last week's run, I made a grilled chicken salad with romaine and “rustic” guacamole. It's my adaptation of a Rick Bayless recipe. I added tomato and marinated the chicken to make it a little bit spicier. All ingredients were from the market except the chicken and the avocado. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of my bison meatballs with cilantro yogurt sauce!


Michelle said...

Huzzah! Wonderful post Dori! Welcome to the blog!

Dori said...

Thanks! :) Blogger is easier to wrangle than LiveJournal. If I ever decide to start a food blog, I'll use Blogger over LJ.