Working it Out at the Farmer’s Market

On Sunday mornings when most of my friends are at the gym or enjoying long bike rides, my workout consists of trying to decide which farmer’s market to visit. I usually alternate between the Olney Farmers Market and the Bethesda Central Farm Market.  They each have their own unique appeal. Both markets get my heart racing with excitement as I begin my lap around the vendor displays. Since an increased heart rate is the point of exercise, I am pretty certain that I have discovered the perfect way to multitask.

I like Olney Farmers Market because it’s larger than the Bethesda Market.  There are often cooking demos and live music, and artisans displaying their crafts.  I am usually too preoccupied with selecting my purchases to partake in any of these extra attractions, but they are nice to have in the background. The Olney Market is as much about community as it is about buying food.  I almost always run into someone I know from my synagogue or neighborhood. That’s usually a good thing, unless I’m feeling particularly disheveled that morning, since once in a while I am actually coming straight from a long walk or a trip to the gym.

My routine usually includes the purchase of a loaf of bread at Atwaters (they sell bread at many area markets) and always includes the purchase of a variety of seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables.  I occasionally buy goat cheese, olive oil, and baked goods.  I know that I’m spending more money that I do at the grocery store, but it feels great to support local farmers and small, independent businesses. For the most part the quality is decidedly better. 

So, why the conflict about whether to head north to Olney or south to Bethesda?  One major attraction lures me to the Bethesda Market…Buzz Bakery.  In early August, I discovered that Buzz Bakery from Alexandria, VA has a booth at the Bethesda Central Farm Market.  Buzz Bakery makes great cupcakes, although in my three recent visits to the market they have yet to have any available.  What I found instead goes on my “best things I ever ate” list.  Cinnamon buns.  This bun is pure perfection.  Not too sweet.  Not too much frosting.. A delicious cinnamon crunch topping.  At $3 this is a steal.  I pay double that for a bag of lettuce greens and while they are excellent greens, they don’t compare to the Buzz cinnamon bun.

After fasting yesterday, I decided that a cinnamon bun is just what I needed to start my day.  Imagine my disappointment when I arrived breathless at the booth, only to find they were already out of the buns.  It was only 10:00 a.m.!  I appease myself with a ginger cookie, which is good but cannot compare to that cinnamon bun.

I further indulge myself with a piece of pizza offered by a new vendor, “Fired Up.”  “Fired Up” offers wood-fired pizzas, which is a unique concept for a farmer’s market.  They feature a pizza with a whole grain crust, flax seeds and all.  I try the marherita pizza.  While I can appreciate that this pizza is indeed healthier than most, I don’t particularly like having seeds in my pizza crust.  I also like pizza crust to be crispy, and this doesn’t have a bit of crispness to it.

So which direction will I head next Sunday?  I haven’t decided.  I may throw caution to the wind and visit a market in Takoma Park or Dupont Circle.  Or I may do something really daring and forego a market and head to the gym.  I’ll work it out…one way or another.

Olney Farmers and Artists Market, Route 108 and Prince Philip Drive

Bethesda Central Farm Market, Bethesda Lane between Elm and Bethesda Avenue

List of Local Farmers Markets

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