FRESHFARM Markets


MEET OUR COFFEE ROASTERS!
Coffee Blog Pic

Over the nearly 20-year tenure of the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market, one question has stood the test of time: “Where can I get some coffee?” This question comes from shoppers and farmers alike; with farmers pulling out of their driveways at 3am to get to market, hundreds of thousands of cups of coffee have fueled our markets over the years.

As Washington D.C. has grown in its love of all things fresh and carefully sourced, so has the demand for quality coffee that holds up to the same standards. This is why we are excited to introduce two D.C. coffee roasters, Qualia Coffee and Zeke’s Coffee, to our farmer/producer line up at the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM market.

Both of these roasteries have a unique approach to supporting sustainable agricultural practices and valuing the farmers that grow their green beans. Qualia Coffee roasts coffee daily and in small batches at their storefront in Petworth. Owner, Joel Finkelstein, and his team have worked to form single-source, direct-trade relationships in procuring their green coffee beans. They focus on working with farmers directly to ensure the highest quality beans, sustainable agricultural practices, and that farmers are being paid fairly their product. Qualia’s farm-specific bags of beans allow you to go on a “tasting tour” featuring multiple varieties from farms spanning the equator. Moreover, Qualia composts leftover coffee grounds with our very own CompostCab and serves coffee in biodegradable cups.

Zeke’s Coffee, owned by John Kepner and based out of the Woodridge neighborhood in North East Washington D.C., also does small batch roasting, specializing in organic, fair trade, and sustainable Arabica beans. Zeke’s roasts single-origin coffees and creates its own custom blends sourcing from a mix of direct-trade relationships, co-ops, and specialty coffee distributors. Like Qualia, Zeke’s is committed to being as eco-friendly as possible. They prioritize purchasing shade-grown, Smithsonian Certified Bird Friendly and Rain Forest Alliance Certified beans. Leftover coffee grounds and chaff (a byproduct of the roasting process) are passed on to the compost pile at EcoCity Farms. Finally, they also serve their coffee with compostable cups and lids.

These two local roasteries will be alternating weeks at Dupont Circle, selling both hot brewed coffee and freshly roasted beans to keep you properly caffeinated throughout the week. Of course, a fresh cup of joe wouldn’t be complete without some locally sourced milk, cream, or honey so Qualia and Zeke’s are happily be providing dairy and honey sourced from local milk producers and apiaries. Last week was Zeke’s market debut and shoppers stopped by market information tent with their caffeinated smiles to tell us how exited they were to have local roasters at market. This week Qualia starts! Be sure to stop by and welcome these new businesses to market!

Written by Megan Day, Market Manager at the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market

 

 

 

 

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FROM THE FIELD – FARMER UPDATE
T&L Blog
After a week of the #DCDigOut we are all getting back to our regular routines, and our farmers are prepping for the weekend as our winter markets return to their regular schedule. The last two weeks have been extra work for our farmers in the field, both preparing for snow and then the aftermath (anywhere from a foot to over two feet of snowfall). Sheltering animals and plants alike was the main concern for farmers. Below is a recap!
Livestock farmers had an especially large to-do list before and during last week’s blizzard. Animals keep warm in the cold by increasing their metabolic rates and therefore need to consume more calories than normal. For Julie Stinar (Evensong Farm) this meant that she distributed a week’s worth of hay for her cattle and filled bulk feeders for her chickens and pigs to capacity. This was both very expensive and time consuming task compared to the warmer months where her animals forage and graze for most of their food. Check out Julie’s Instagram feed (and our featured Instagram of the week!) to see some incredible photos of her farm during last week’s extreme weather.
Kip Kelly of Full Cellar Farm reported that his chickens and pigs stayed sheltered indoors with the pigs snuggling up with an extra bale of straw to keep them cozy. He currently distributes a weekly CSA to the H St. NE neighborhood on Thursdays and faced the obstacle of a frozen veggie wash station prior to the storm.  He overcame the cold weather to bring a mix of spinach, head lettuce, tatsoi, scallions, kale, collards, pea shoots, squash and storage roots to his dedicated year-round locavores!
In addition to combating the snow, our farmers and producers are also preparing to open for spring markets. Zach Lester of Tree and Leaf Farm let us know that he will be planting 15,000 spring transplants in his greenhouses at the end of February so that they will be ready to return to our Dupont Circle Market starting in April. Zach’s wife Georgia has also been busy creating beautiful vegetable art! You may have seen her handmade items at market but you can also check out her Etsy store, GeoMade. Zach has also been busy in his role as Farmer-In-Residence for our FoodPrints program at Francis-Steven’s Elementary School. This week’s lesson was all about soil.
With a few more months till spring, we encourage you to explore winter markets. Winter markets are so important to our farmers bottom line. Explains Julie: “Winter is a tough time because of all of the extra work and expense of feeding and keeping animals comfortable in cold weather.” Find her and all of our thawed out farmers this weekend at both our Downtown Silver Spring and Dupont Circle markets, and remember keeping sustainable food systems viable means purchasing from local farmers and producers all year long!
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MARKETS ARE BACK ON THIS WEEKEND!
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The Silver Spring and Dupont Circle Farmers Markets are back on the weekend of January 28th.  Join us in supporting our farmers and producers after a week of #dcdigout.

For updates on who is at market, sign up for our e-news.

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REFLECTIONS ON THIS YEAR
Winter Farm for Blog

Reflect.

Epistemologically oriented, as I am, when first tasked with this subject I sought origins. First used in the 15th century, “reflect” meant to “bend back,” “to turn into or away from a course.” In modern use, reflect “implies the entrance of an idea into one’s mind with or without deliberate consideration” and “suggests unhurried consideration of something recalled to the mind.” The specificity of language is important to me; I confess: the erosion of language in the rapid washing of modern media leaves me only with despair. There is no space for reflection in the froth of endless 140-character blurts.

This year.

Equal parts decay and gestation wafting upwards between the chaotic interstices of human and electronic activity. Each of us struggling to make some sense of it: the violence, the urgency, the rage, the fear, and the eventual numbing retreat and isolation. Whether the historians will write of this year as bearing the significance that I sense in it has yet to be seen. My spirit suggests this year, this moment, challenges each of us to take some sort of action.

My immediate challenge and my assigned task: reflect upon this year. So reflect I did.

Cooking a winter meal: cabbage, onion, carrot, potato, garlic, and two game-bird-sized organic chickens all procured from those who grew, and raised, and tended, and sold them. Wash, and rough-chop the vegetables: the sound of a carrot responding to the sharpness of the knife blade by splitting abruptly like wood under an axe, the peppery and acidic odor of the onion as it protects itself from my attack, the moisture weeping from the cut edges of the halved potatoes, the fierce holding on of the cabbage leaves to one another even after being cut into wedges, the whisker-like remains of feathers on the chicken wings. Then simple composition in a roasting pan: chopped vegetables mixed by hand, mixed again with olive oil and seasonings, butter-rubbed-skin-side-up chickens laid on top of the vegetables, more seasoning added in final Kandinsky and Pollack flourishes. And finally, roasted slow: high heat to crisp buttered skin, heat then lowered, wine and stock added, remaining wine poured and shared.

Cook real food from scratch. Eat it at a table with others. Talk to them. Listen to them more.

Spending time outside: this confused, slow-to-come winter left its first snow in Mountain Maryland Friday night. Awakening Saturday – my birthday – I knew it was there. The snow was the best present I could have asked for: finally, the hibernating spirit of winter had laid its quiet spell. Coldness begets introversion and reflection: the crunch of the snow underfoot, the crystalline sheen on the bare tree bark, the bright and discordant green of the December-warmth-forced lilac buds popping out from under the snow covering, the stilled sense that fauna was at long last resting. Our rural farmhouse sits adjacent to western Maryland’s Savage River State Forest and here in DC we are surrounded by green space, Rock Creek Park winding into the heart of the city like an artery. Much has been written about Washington DCs renaissance, but little attention has been paid to its parks and their rebirth: a group of cyclists whirs intensely past, a wonderfully self-absorbed family absent mindedly gaggles down the trail at a pre-school pace, “millennial” couples bench-sit and return yearning smiles from inside their head-phone bubbles, a joggers type-A furrowed intensity focused ten-feet-forward-asphalt angled.

Wherever you are, there is a park outside. Spend time there. Invite community with your smile and your willingness to greet what and whom you encounter.

My grandfather, a farmer, and my father, the son-of-a-farmer, often said: “a wise man is slow to speak.” As children, my sisters and I had little understanding of their intention in repeating this often to us. We’d all turn it to play: “who can remain quiet longest?” Dad would challenge. And, seconds later we’d burst into giggles. Oddly, the writing of this piece brought to mind clearly both this paternal admonition and the childish game it would inspire. I miss my Dad. I miss the simplicity of a child’s mind.

The food I cook, the company I welcome to my table, the environment I find when I go outside: whether I walk among the trees and stars or mingle about the paths and sidewalks of my city all call to me: Listen more than you speak. Take time to reflect. Resist fear and numbing isolation. Form community.

There is a park at the center of every farmers market. There is seasonal food to cook: food born of the soil and spirit of your home. There are people there that will listen. There is community. See you at the market.

Written by Mike Koch, Executive Director of FRESHFARM Markets.

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GIVE BACK THIS THANKSGIVING!
Food Drive Blog Image

For the past seven years, FRESHFARM Markets has seized the Thanksgiving holiday as an opportunity to both fight hunger and help the farmers who make it possible for you to eat the very best regional foods all year round. Our FRESH food drives are different than most. Rather than asking you to purge your pantry of dusty canned goods that you never seem to get around to using, we ask that you help us buy fresh food from our farmers as a donation.

The way our food drives work is simple: Over the next few weeks we are accepting tax-deductible monetary donations from shoppers (which can be made online or in person at our markets). Then, starting on November 18th at Foggy Bottom FRESHFARM Market, we will spend all the funds raised with our farmers on food to be donated to our gleaning partners, organizations such as Miriam’s Kitchen and Arlington Food Assistance Center who help fight hunger in our market neighborhoods.

Our FRESH food drives are a double benefit: the food we purchase feeds those in need and every dollar we raise will be spent with our farmers which will help them sustain their business as most of our markets will soon be closed for the season.

Last year FRESHFARM markets shoppers donated over $10K at seven markets. This season, we’ve expanded to eight markets (this year will be the first for our FRESHFARM Market by the White House) and our hope is that we can raise even more money, but we need your help.

Donations of any size are appreciated, but any donation over $10 gets you a chance to win a fully loaded basket filled with market goodies; for details on prize levels, click here. If you’re a regular Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market shopper, you can also help out by grabbing a cup of coffee or bag of beans from local roasters selling at our Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market for the next two Sundays, where 25% of your purchase will be donated to the drives.

Our FRESH Food Drives take place at the following FRESHFARM Markets the week before Thanksgiving Day. Here is the full schedule.

Wednesday, Nov. 18th at Foggy Bottom benefiting Miriam’s Kitchen

Thursday, Nov. 19th By the White House benefiting Thrive DC

Thursday, Nov. 19th Penn Quarter benefiting Thrive DC

Saturday, Nov. 21st H Street NE benefiting First Church of Christ Holiness

Saturday, Nov. 21st Downtown Silver Spring, benefiting Shepherd’s Table

Sunday, Nov. 22nd at Annapolis, benefiting Annapolis Light House

Sunday, Nov. 22nd at Dupont Circle, benefiting DC Central Kitchen & Iona Senior Services

Tuesday, Nov. 24th at Crystal City, benefiting Arlington Food Assistance Center

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VOICES FROM THE MARKET: NEW MORNING FARM
Em and John for Blog

Voices from the Market, a new and recurring blog feature, connects you with the people who grow and make your food! For our debut installment we posed five random questions for John DiZazzo and Emily Best, who farm together at New Morning Farm and can be seen most Sunday selling at our Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market. Have a random question for a farmer or producer or a specific farmer or producer you’d like us to interview next? Let us know by sending an email to info@freshfarmmarkets.org

What do you grow?

At New Morning Farm, we grow a variety of certified organic berries, vegetables, and herbs. We focus on the standard items: green beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, summer squash, potatoes, onions, broccoli, and greens like lettuce, chard and kale. We grow strawberries in the spring and raspberries in the late summer and early fall. Our most famous items are rhubarb in the spring (and through the summer in smaller quantities), Sungold cherry tomatoes in the summer, and romanesco cauliflower in the fall. We also grow many other items in small quantities — including winter squash, fennel, bok choi, and more!

How did you get started farming?

John’s from Connecticut and started farming up there immediately after high school, in search of a tangible and real experience. I started farming at NMF, after a stint in the Peace Corps in Senegal and getting an MA in Environmental Policy from American University; I was also looking for a tangible way to be involved in the food system.

Weirdest request or question a customer has asked you?

Do you have bananas? Actually, the question we dislike the most (especially as an organic farm) is the “Do you use chemicals?” ALL farmers use chemicals (like water, or soil nutrition of one form or another). There’s a misconception among some folks that chemicals are inherently evil — it’s much more nuanced than that.

If you could add another product to your stand, what would it be?

Avocados! A real item–blueberries. Been wanting to grow blueberries now for several years… may still happen someday.

What is your favorite way to cook or prepare food that you grow?

We both like to eat our produce as simply as we can — salads, stir fries, and gazpacho are frequently in the rotation. Our stuff tastes so great that it doesn’t need much!

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