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Posts Tagged ‘Dupont Circle’

Two months ago the trees on my street were covered in a thick layer of puffy white snow:

Now they’re covered in a thick layer of puffy white and pink flowers:

I love the spring!!

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In case you haven’t heard, it’s SNOWPOCALYPSE 2010!  While I know there will be a lot of negative consequences to this storm, it’s been really fun to waddle around in the snow.  I just got back from the Dupont Circle snowball fight, which was SO much fun.  It was supposed to be a North Dupont vs. South Dupont kind of snowball fight, but it really turned into a giant outer ring of people versus a scrappy crew in the middle, defending the Dupont fountain. (Update: NBC news just said there were 5000 people there!!)  Check it out:

Memorable quotes from the snowball fight:

“Umbrellas are cheating!!”

“Who brings a @#&$%! shovel to a snowball fight?!!”

“USA! USA! USA!” (after someone brought out an American flag)

“We need snow!  We’re out of snow!”

More pics and videos below:

Dupont Circle snowball fight gets patriotic. USA! USA! USA!

Lots of trees and limbs down.

Snow on my Street

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Many homeowners on my little side street in Dupont Circle keep tiny gardens in front of their rowhouses (those of us who rent second-floor apartments, alas, must garden elsewhere).  Our block doesn’t have much of a margin between house and sidewalk, but some gardening is possible.  My neighbors mostly grow flowers, with perhaps a tomato or two in the mix.

But one neighbor has managed to grow an impressive variety of vegetables in her small, semi-shaded, concrete-bordered bed. In addition to perennial sage and rosemary bushes, her spring garden featured arugula, peas, and garlic. Now she is growing a lot of kale and Brussels sprouts, both members of the brassica family.  Look how far along these sprouts are!

Brussels sprouts

Maybe I’ll put some in for fall.  If my neighbor can get such lovely sprouts out of a partially-shaded plot with relatively poor soil, I have to imagine they’d work in my community garden plot.

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Last Sunday I made my usual rounds at the Dupont market, but this time I kept track of exactly what I spent.  For $35 dollars, I brought home:

market_haul35 (Medium)

A half gallon of creamline milk, a wedge of specialty cheese, a quart of lard (more on that in future posts), a pound or two of green beans, two ears of corn, six medium purple peppers, one medium zucchini, a head of romaine, a large slicing tomato, a peach, two onions, and a half dozen eggs.

DSC00080 (Small)For the cost, is this a lot of food or a little?  To me it seems like a lot, but maybe I’ve just gotten used to the prices.  Farmers markets are (sometimes wrongly, often rightly) accused of being expensive.  But as I’ve said before, with regard to local free-range eggs, it all depends on your frame of reference.  In absolute terms, many of the items at the market are not exorbitantly priced, it’s just that mass-produced supermarket food can be so damn cheap by comparison.

DSC00084 (Small)But then, of course, there’s the issue of quality.  Even skeptics would agree that the average farmer’s market item is of higher quality and superior flavor than the average supermarket item.  The question is whether it’s worth the added cost.  I say yes, but others might have valid reasons to say no.

There is also a behavioral element.  The high quality, I have noticed, inspires positive changes in my eating and cooking patterns.  I am more likely to DSC00083 (Small)make a lunch to bring to work with me, which saves me money (lunch in downtown DC is pricey).  I am less likely to let things get old in the fridge and have to be tossed.  I am more likely to have friends over for dinner instead of suggesting we go out.  So from an economic standpoint, I am not convinced that there is a huge gap between what I currently spend on food and what I would spend if I stopped going to the farmer’s market.

Have any other locavores out there experienced similar behavior changes?  Or is this all just meaningless justification for being a bourgeois food snob?

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cherryblossomsAfter 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.

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