Food market weekend

Yesterday I went to the Capital City Market (a.k.a. the Florida [Avenue] Market) on a tour by Richard Layman, Ken Firestone and Elise Bernard on a tour sponsored by Cultural Tourism DC. (I’m the fifth figure from the left — brown polo shirt and jeans — in this photo.) This is a wholesale market with a growing retail edge. Formerly Jewish and Greek, then Asian, the market now as strong Latino and African (east and west) participation. So you’ll see a mix of families, small restaurant owners and delivery rigs. Quite busy, considering a walking group of 80-100 visitors are added in.

I value the Florida Market for the commercial capacity it provides. Many small businesses would be hurt if they couldn’t pick up their relatively modest supplies. I even think that many of the vegetables consumed in the city’s poorer neighborhoods — whether sold in mom-n-pop shops or in take-out meals — came to the city through the Florida Market, to say nothing of the meat, eggs, rice or spices, or the serving containers and cleaning supplies. It isn’t chi-chi, and doesn’t need to be. I hope the zoning powers-that-be and city council understand that, since there are plans to destroy the market — er, re-site it; yeah, right — and redevelop it for high-end commercial space and housing. Perhaps the market downturn has changed the economics of this plan.apples, potatoes, cabbage and organic sweet potatoes from the Dupont market

In other news, it was a cool, misty¬† day at the Dupont Circle farmer’s market. This is a producer’s market, transitory by nature and far higher-end. But with $9 I was able to get this bounty, which will make several meals this week.

A bunch of Florida Market pictures at Flickr.

P.s. Yes, people were buying up rice like a storm yesterday, but who’s to say that’s not normal? All of the main ethnic groups that work and shop the market (myself included I suppose) have rice-intensive diets. And the prices at several dealers were quite good, if not rock-bottom as once remembered.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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