After last week’s search, I knew this would be the premiere week for asparagus at the Dupont Circle farmers’ market, but I also knew that supply would be very limited and that it would sell out quickly. My desire for sleeping in won out over my desire to get to the market at 9am on a Sunday to square off against the hordes in pursuit of those first spears.
When I stopped by the market around lunchtime, I asked the young woman at the Freshfarm info booth how quickly the asparagus supply had sold out that morning. Pretty quickly, she said. And next week, I asked? She said there would be more in stock, but that it would still be good to come on the early side. The stars of late April in the mid-Atlantic – morels, asparagus, ramps – evidently have enough of a rabid following in locavore-rich Dupont Circle that arriving after 10:30am is risking disappointment.
But the Freshfarm rep had advice for me: try going to one of the weekday markets, such as Wednesdays in Foggy Bottom or Thursdays in Penn Quarter. She said these markets attract fewer crowds than Dupont, so supply would be less of an issue. I’d also surmise that the produce is likely to have been picked that same day, whereas I’m sure much of the Sunday produce is picked throughout the week in order to satisfy Dupont’s demand. Perhaps I can take a late lunch over in Foggy Bottom and sneak off with some fresh veggies.
Now, if I were a cynical sort, I’d bemoan how locavorism has gotten faddish and, oh, woe betide those of us who have shopped at farmers’ markets for years only to see them overrun. But I’m happy that demand exceeds supply, since that encourages more local farming. And I’m happy that so many people want to buy seasonal, local produce. I wonder if Dupont could sustain a multi-day market with a permanent structure, like the ones in that other Washington where I grew up.
UPDATE II: Kerry at To Every Meal is collecting farmers’ markets reports here. Neat way to see what’s in season around the country.