Fall Is the Perfect Time to Sample DC’s Farmers Markets
WASHINGTON — The temperature is dropping, the leaves are colorful and your thoughts are probably turning to comfort foods like soups, stews and baked goods. You may be adding squash, pumpkin and apples to your recipes. There’s a reason these fruits and vegetables come to mind in the fall — they’re seasonal.
Eating fresh produce is always in style, but you can cycle your choices with the seasons for added benefits while supporting local farms by shopping at some of the best farmers markets.
What is Eating Seasonally?
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is key to a healthy diet. They’re great carbohydrates that give you energy and contain micronutrients that provide numerous health benefits. Although you can get your favorites year-round at grocery stores, you can also try eating seasonally.
Eating seasonally simply refers to eating produce grown, harvested and picked at its peak — typically at local farms. You can then purchase local produce at farmers markets. There are fruits and vegetables that peak in each of the four seasons. After a summer of strawberries, peaches, and tomatoes, we move into the fall with apples, pumpkins, root vegetables and more.
Why Eat Seasonally?
- More Nutrients: According to The Mayo Clinic, foods picked at their peak have fully matured on their plants, making them more nutrient-dense than those picked earlier. They may also retain more nutrients since local produce has not been frozen or transported long distances.
- More Flavorful: Fresh, seasonal foods at their best also pack more flavor.
- May Be Environmentally Friendly: There is a popular claim that eating local, seasonal foods is more environmentally sustainable than eating globally. However, research indicates that it is a complicated issue.
- Supports Local Farms: Although its impact on the environment may be unclear, getting your produce from farmers markets in D.C. does help support farms in our area. For the environmentally-conscious, you can look into local farms and their practices.
Fall Seasonal Foods
Think of your favorite fall holiday foods — many of them are seasonal. Fall fruits and vegetables come in bright colors like red, orange, yellow, and green. Each color indicates different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Getting these nutrients in the fall can boost your immune system and help you fight off illnesses as the weather gets colder.
- Brussels Sprouts
- Sweet Potatoes
Guide to Washington D.C.’s Farmers Markets
The best way to eat nutrient-dense, delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables this fall is to visit your local farmers markets. Washington, D.C., and the greater DMV area have ample options. Here are a few to check out.
The Sunday farmers market in Dupont Circle is the largest in Washington, D.C., with over 50 vendors. The Wall Street Journal named it one of the best in the United States.
- Enter at 1600 20th St. NW.
- It’s open year-round, on Sundays, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m..
- It’s also open on Thursdays from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m., although fewer farmers participate.
The Dupont farmers market is a Freshfarm market. Freshfarm is a network with over 20 locations throughout the DMV, including City Center, Columbia Heights, Petworth, Foggy Bottom, Mount Vernon Triangle, Penn Quarter, the White House, H St. NE, Maryland and Virginia. Check out their website to find the closest market to you.
The Eastern Market farmers market is in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. It’s one of the oldest in the area, dating back to 1873.
- Enter at 225 7th Street SE.
- It’s open year-round. The hours are Tuesday to Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Check out their website for more information.
You may be familiar with Union Market’s famous food hall with many vendors and local restaurants. They recently opened a Freshfarm market where you can get seasonal produce.
- Enter at 1309 5th St. SE.
- Open Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The United States Department of Agriculture has its own farmers market. The USDA calls it a “living laboratory.” They provide an opportunity for farmers across the country to sell their produce in Washington, D.C.
Unfortunately, it closed at the end of September, but keep it in mind for next year.
- Enter outside the USDA on the Mall, at the corner of Independence and 14th Street S.W.
- Open on Fridays from June to October, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- More information on their website.
Autumn Apples, Pumpkins, and More!
As you prepare your shopping list for upcoming holiday meals, consider supporting local farmers by getting fresh produce from a nearby market. Your fruits and vegetables may be more nutrient-dense and taste even better. Soak up the fall season, improve your health and enjoy.
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