Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Dupont Circle Farmer's Market

Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market
20th St. NW (between Mass. Ave and Q St)
Regular season (April to December 2007): Sundays, 9 am to 1 pm.
Winter Hours (January to March 2007): 10 am to 1 pm

I’ve made frequent visits to the year-round farmer’s market in Dupont Circle for at least two years now. Each time, I’ve been transfixed by the gorgeous tables piled high with fruits and vegetables that travel hours to get to the city from nearby Virginian and Maryland farms. In the summer, I usually go for staples such as tomatoes, berries, and zucchini/squash. But recently, I decided it was time to branch out and try some new things.

First on my list was a bunch of garlic scapes, a curious arrangement of long, curly green stems which actually grow out of garlic bulbs and are only in season a few weeks in a year. The Washington Post’s Kim O’Donnell blogged several times about garlic scapes in stir fry or turned into pesto, so I bought a healthy looking bunch for only $2.50. Unfortunately, the looks belied the taste - mine were perhaps too old and tasted much like woody asparagus or old, stringy green beans.

Last week, I decided to experiment with kohlrabi, a bulbous vegetable with huge leafy greens growing out of the top. Sources say to choose one no larger than a tennis ball and to pare back the harder outer layer to get to the crunchy and slightly sweet insides. I thought the taste resembled a broccoli spear, but sweeter, and it had the texture of an apple. Tossed into a stir fry with chicken, mushrooms, and onion, it was truly delicious.

What next? Perhaps golden beets, if I can still find them, or maybe I’ll sample some of the myriad of greens. Whatever it is, it will be an adventure both at the market and back home in my kitchen! Farmer’s markets are such a fun way to experiment with new food… why not visit your local market this weekend?

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