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May 4, 2008

Opening Day



When I got to the Baltimore Farmers Market under the JFX viaduct this morning, I found I'd misled Bill, and therefore you in my post last night. It looks like only local produce is for sale, and most important, there were no strawberries. (I had assumed there would be because on my Eastern Shore trip last week they were for sale all along the highway. Of course, I didn't stop because I figured I could get them at the market.) ...

I had forgotten how much more this market has than my beloved Waverly Market, like Hickory Chance beef. I haven't tried it; maybe next week.

And, of course, there's the ever popular Kettle Korn.

As jwiv famously said last August, Yay, Kettle Korn. 




(Photos by me) 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 9:22 AM | | Comments (17)


We picked up some Hickory Chance beef. The prices were pretty good. Can't wait to try it. Came home with asparagus, spinach, apples, eggs, and bread, and my cats are thrilled with the new supply of cat grass (wheat grass) from the cat grass man!

You must try the Hickory Chance beef. It is marvelous. Closed herd, she grows what she feeds them, doesn't do prophylactic antibiotics and it tastes great.

I like to get the skirt steak, slice it thin and freeze it in one meal quantities. Then I toss it into a marinade, walk the dog, then stir fry the beef, usually with green beans, maybe some onions.

Actually, there were strawberries there this morning, but when I got there at 8 am, there were very few left. They were probably gone by 8:30!

Is Hickory Chance Beef new this year? I don't recall seeing them before.

I got there at 11:00 (slow start this morning) and missed all of the asparagus. I did get some beautiful shitake mushrooms, lettuce, fresh cut herbs, herbs to plant and some spinach. My big score was getting the last pint of local strawberries. They didn't realize that they had enough left for one pint. I just happened to be there at the right moment. How lucky!

I think this is the 3rd year for Hickory Chance. I agree that they have excellent meat. I only wish they were allowed to sell it non-frozen.

You didn't mention that there is milk this year. MILK! South Mountain Creamery is at the JFX market, which has never had milk before - at least not for the 4 years I've been going. The other dairy that comes just sells cheese and ice cream. I'm so excited.

I was there about 8:30 and saw two vendors with strawberries--but I spent all my money on pastries for my sweetie and plants for my front porch. I'm already planning to get more plants next week and maybe check out that beef--sounds good!


The kettle korn, doughnuts, and Zeke's coffee lined up in a row are a powerful triple-team for aroma. Sad to see that a cup of coffee has doubled in price since last year, but it's still a good deal for some of the best coffee in the city.

I, too, missed the strawberries but consoled myself with a hefty assortment of bread and pastries. Seems only fair.

Excuse me Rev'Ed. Shiitake. And we wonder why people are afraid to post.

That's all right. People are correcting me all the time. And I'm supposed to get it right. EL

I noticed that one of the vendors, a bakery, listed "upscale breads" as part of their items for sale. Doesn't anyone sell "downscale bread"?

"upscale breads" is just a warning that they will cost twice as much as other bread. ;-)

I got there around 9 and saw a basket or two of strawberries on a table next to some asparagus. While the asparagus looked good, the strawberries didn't look great. It's still a bit early for the season, and I think it showed.

Just to reiterate - the Hickory Chance meats are fantastic. Especially when you couple them with spices from the spice guy around the corner. His stuff is completely magical.

I completely missed the cat grass though, so I'll have to keep an eye out for it next week.

I got to Bartenfelder's at about 8:45 and had my choice of 3 boxes of strawberries. (At $5/box)

I bought lots of herbs to put in the garden. (You'd think I cook!) And chives! And (drum roll please!) whole grain cinnamon raisin bread with walnuts! (Quite wonderful!)

I loved the steel drum band and that the saxophone guy was back on his corner!

Clearly for all my fine words, I got there too early -- not long after 7:00. No strawberries were out yet. EL

I was there about 10:30. No strawberries. Drat these sons of the soil, rising with the dawn. Don't they realize some city folk have lazier habits?

I saw some spinach and other greens that were no better than what I could get at a supermarket at a better price. Isn't cutting out the middleman supposed to mean a better price? I did pick up some still-good apples from last fall. I need to price honey to see if it's going to be worthwhile. And I need to get out earlier.

I got there around 11am and did see strawberry plants, but no strawberries. I picked up some basil, cilantro and mint plants for my city concrete-patio garden and got a big bag of spinach and some dill weed. And of course, I had to wait in the long line and get a crepe- Yum Yum! I thought the prices were pretty good, the dill was definitely cheaper and I think I've paid more for less spinach (of course I'm not sure I'm going to be able to eat all of it before it goes bad, but I'll certainly try).

I know this is about the JFX market, but I live in Bel Air and our market is pretty gosh darned good too. Hickory Chance sells there as well, and we have Deer Creek Beef and lamb and pork from Broom's Bloom dairy (as well as their ice cream!!!!!).

Probably the best meal we had last summer was a top round from Hickory Chance, seasoned with the aforementioned local spices, and done pit beef style, with homemade horseradish sauce and kimmelweck rolls from Wegman's (Western New York "beef on 'weck" a la Pulaski Highway).

Second best meal was pulled pork from a shoulder from Broom's Bloom, but they had to special order it -- which made me wonder a bit about what their deal is with their butchers.

When I talk about the two Baltimore markets, I hope you'll continue to add what Bel Air is doing. (That goes for the rest of you who shop at other farmers markets.) Thanks. EL

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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