Young and Hungry

D.C. Grey Farmers Market Steps Out From the Shadows

Sunday's kick-off event for the D.C. Grey Farmers Market, the subject of last week's Young & Hungry's column, appeared to go off without a hitch.

A small side room in Kushi Izakaya & Sushi near Mount Vernon Square played host to the market, which was originally slated to be held in Petworth. The majority of the 11 vendors were selling prepared goods: bread pudding, jams and jellies, pickled fruits and vegetables, and sweet potato butter, to name a few. (The exception was White House Meats, which arrived with a cooler of various cow cuts.)

Though the market was named for the "gray economies" that fall under a relatively hazy legal framework—think cell phone or textbook re-sales to consumers that don't have access to those goods in the first place—the market was held in a licensed business possessing a certificate of occupancy. That made it totally legal by Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs standards.

That said, at least seven of the vendors did not produce their goods in kitchens inspected and certified by D.C.'s Department of Health, something that would disqualify them from selling at nearly all other farmers markets in the city. It's not surprising, then, that those hawking their wares were excited to do so—and were more than willing to engage with customers that stopped at their booths. The large crowd (which nearly overwhelmed the space that Kushi had provided) moved slowly, taking the opportunity to speak with vendors about their products. That degree of human contact was a nice touch—and something that's often absent in the city's larger greenmarkets.

If you missed it, the Grey Market will rise again in June and September. Locations and vendors are to be determined.

Photos by Alex Baca

  • http://www.cunninghamfarms.com Andy

    Check out this feature of Cunningham Farms Sweet Potato Butter in the NYT's T Magazine: http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/we-made-it-ourselves-cunningham-farms-sweet-potato-butter/

    Looking forward to the next Grey Market!

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  • Lara Mayer

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