The news that the Tower Grove Farmers Market will open this weekend, and Clayton’s on May 19 cheers us and brings a smile to those who patronize it, or hope to patronize it "some day." Perhaps this month will bring that day for the latter group as the market arrives in a new location, at Straub’s on Maryland Avenue. We buy eggs and lamb, fruits and vegetables and baked goods there, and at Tower Grove Park and Kirkwood during the season.
Prices often are higher than at the grocery store, but we like the freshness, and the interaction with the purveyor, and the opportunity to learn something abut the items that are on sale. Besides, friendly dogs wander around, and the atmosphere is one of peace, kindness and friendship.
Our love for markets is extensive; wherever we travel, we visit the market. It’s a superb way to learn about the community and its products, to sample the fare, to meet the people, to improve what small skills we have in other tongues.
But in tandem with the good news about markets and spring, we heard the terrible news that a fire had almost destroyed one of our favorites, the Eastern Market in Washington, D. C., on the eastern edge of Capitol Hill on Seventh Street S.E. between C and D Streets. The blaze did extensive damage to the 134-year-old landmark, and while there are immediate plans to rebuild, it will take time.
Mayor Adrian Fenty said the city-owned market will be rebuilt and he was searching to find space for the merchants to use while construction is under way. Most of the damage was in the South Hall, where 14 vendors sell fresh meat, cheese, poultry, fruit and vegetables, and a food stall offers a marvelous breakfast that includes some of the best crab cakes we’ve ever eaten.
We’re planning a trip to D.C. in June and will keep readers posted. In the meantime, support your own farmers’ market.