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May 30 /

Week 3: Swimming in Strawberries!

It goes without saying that, in true DC fashion, summer is here in full force. And with it, strawberry season!!

Just when I didn’t think I could take another apple (which isn’t to say it wasn’t a wonderful fall/winter/spring of applesauce, apple cobbler, apple pie, and unadulterated, perfectly crisp fruit), the first– and arguably most coveted– summer berry arrived on the scene. Generally speaking, I strive for moderation and balance. Strawberries are a necessary exception to that rule. So, with a crate fashioned to the back of my bike, 6 quarts of perfectly ripe Eastern Shore strawberries, and one extra cautious ride home later, I made out like a (delighted!) bandit at last week’s Crossroads market. And I’ve been reveling in the bounty ever since. Our freezer’s stocked with smoothie-ready berries (blend with a handful of fresh spinach and some local yogurt for a perfect mid-morning treat); a pie is in the making for tonight; and we’ve already polished off a batch of strawberry muffins (see recipe below). Yum.

This week, Crossroads will offer five different opportunities for strawberries grown in Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Central Virginia, Adam’s County, PA, and just around the corner in Olney and Edmonston (PG County). Sample them all!

Of course, we’ll also have an abundance of greens (check out Sligo Creek Farm’s selection), asparagus, the coveted garlic scapes, can’t-miss sugar snap peas, kohlrabi, fresh herbs, broccoli, radishes, turnips, and more. Plus, seedlings, Guatemalan baked goods, and Salvadoran and Peruvian prepared foods (new this year!). And, fingers crossed for our first week of meat and eggs!

Need a little extra incentive to stop by? This week’s Crossroads Summer Concert Series will feature local artist Dan Caton with sounds of acoustic folk and bluegrass.

It’s been wonderful reconnecting with so many of you over these first two weeks. Looking forward to more familiar faces soon!

As always, market is Wednesdays, 2:30-6:30pm, rain or shine! 7676 New Hampshire Ave.

Strawberry Muffins
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plain yogurt (Keswick Creamery’s is my favorite)
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups coarsely chopped fresh strawberries
In a small bowl, combine the first four ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, yogurt, butter and vanilla. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in strawberries.
Fill muffin cups coated with cooking spray or lined with paper liners two-thirds full. Bake at 375° for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm.
Note: if desired, sprinkle top with cinnamon sugar for an extra sweet crunch. Wonderful with a tablespoon of plain yogurt spooned on top!

May 17 /

Week One: And they’re off!

It’s that time again!! This Wednesday (TOMORROW!), May 18, 2:30-6:30pm, Crossroads Farmers Market will kick off our 5th season bringing fresh, local, healthy foods to the Takoma/Langley community. We’ve had an incredibly fruitful and fulfilling “off-season” (“off” being a relative term!), and are thrilled to bring that momentum back to 7676 New Hampshire Ave. Please join us in celebrating the first of 24 exciting and delicious weeks!

Check out our website for updates on our winter activities, including the development of a statewide farmers market network, continuing our Urban Farmer Training Program with ECO City Farms, facilitating farm-to-table programming at Rolling Terrace Elementary School, SNAP (food stamp) outreach, and more!

Curious what’s in store for this season? Some highlights:

This season’s line-up of local producers and growers is our largest and most diverse to date. We’ll have some new faces, many familiar ones, and a wealth of delicious options!
ECO City Farms, Edmonston, MD- fruits, veggies, greens, and shoots grown using organic methods on a 1-acre urban farm in Prince George’s County
Musachio Produce Farm, Ridgely, MD- delicious fruits and vegetables from MD’s Eastern Shore
Sligo Creek Farm, Silver Spring, MD- Certified Organic fruits, vegetables, and eggs grown just around the corner
Tuckey’s Mountain Grown Berries, Fruits, and Vegetables, Biglerville, PA- a wonderful mix of fruits and vegetables
Valle Produce, Montross, VA- fruits, vegetables, and Central American herbs
Jose Castillo, Riverdale Park, Maryland- honey (beginning in July)
Painted Hand Farm (NEW!), Newburg, PA- naturally browsed meat goats, humanely raised veal, grass fed beef, pastured poultry
Cuzco Restaurant (NEW!)- Hyattsville, MD- Salvadoran and Peruvian prepared foods
La Chapina Bakery, Hyattsville, MD- Guatemalan cookies and breads
Just Peachy Organics (NEW!), Bowie, MD- handcrafted, organic skincare products
Mireya’s Joyeria (NEW)!)- Takoma Park, MD- handcrafted, Colombian-inspired jewelry
Crossroads Summer Concert Series/Community Corner
- We’re excited to continue our summer concert series, a free weekly performance of live music from local musicians, sharing sound from around the world.
- We’ll also be inaugurating our Community Corner, a weekly booth with representatives from a community organization or business.
… and more!

We’ll keep you updated with produce lists, special events, and recipes. In the meantime, we hope you’ll come out this Wednesday to say hi, enjoy the fresh tastes of spring, and help us celebrate the beginning of another market season!

May 7 /

We’re (almost!) back: New vendors, New hours, and more!

We’ve missed you!!! It’s been a busy winter, an even busier spring, and we’re thrilled to announce our return to the Crossroads in just a week and a half. We’ll be in touch next week with a final vendor list, updates about musicians and special events, and more. In the meantime, please read on for a few important updates.

Market Hours
- Crossroads Farmers Market will reopen for our fifth season on Wednesday, May 18 at our same wonderful home at 7676 New Hampshire Avenue.
- Please note our NEW 2011 hours! This season, the market will be open from 2:30-6:30pm.
- Mark your calendars: Crossroads will be open every Wednesday, May 18-October 26– rain or shine!

Stay in the loop!
We’re excited to return to our weekly newsletters with market updates, recipes, special announcements, and general musings. If you would like to continue receiving our market newsletters, please let us know!

Food Justice Panel on 5/12 at Busboys and Poets
Our work is continuously inspired by the broader food access/food justice movement in our community and nationwide. Please join Crossroads Co-director Michele Levy and a panel of colleagues in discussing these critical issues at a Food Access panel next Thursday, 5/12 at 6pm at Busboys and Poets on 14th and V Streets, NW.

Wishing you all beautiful spring days. Looking forward to seeing you on the 18th!
Michele, Michelle, and Rosa

Apr 15 /

New Season, New Hours!

With market just a month away, we’re hard at work making sure that the 2011 Crossroads season is our strongest to date. To best serve our customers, we’re changing this season’s market hours. Please take note! The market will be open: Wednesdays from 2:30-6:30pm. Advance apologies to those for whom this new time is inconvenient. But we hope it will enable more and more of you to make it out! Looking forward to seeing you all in May…

Keep your eyes peeled for final vendor list, to be announced soon!

Apr 8 /

2011 Season Opening is Just Around the Corner!

After a whirlwind and extremely fruitful winter, Crossroads is gearing up for our 5th season! We’re excited to announce that we’ve extended our season by two weeks this year– that’s two fewer weeks to wait for opening day, and two more weeks of fresh, local, delicious offerings from local farmers and producers.

So, mark your calendars: every Wednesday, May 18-October 26, 2:30-6:30pm. Rain or shine!

Final vendor information will be posted soon. Expect many familiar faces, one or two new ones, and a bunch of new, tasty offerings (think empanadas, honey, and Central American herbs, for starters!). We’ll be updating this site regularly– keep checking back!

Hope you all had a wonderful winter, and we look forward to celebrating spring with you next month at market!

Oct 15 /

Week 20: USDA Undersecretary to Visit Crossroads Farmers Market THIS Week!

Though there are only be three weeks of the Crossroads Farmers Market left this season, we’re keeping things exciting right until the closing bell…

Come out this Wednesday to be part of the festivities when USDA Undersecretary Kevin Concannon, Secretary of the Food and Nutrition Service, visits the Crossroads from 3-3:45pm to celebrate the season’s many successes. We’re honored and thrilled that word of our programs is getting out, and we thank each and every one of you for helping create such a vibrant, thriving market this season. We hope you’ll be able to join us for this recognition of our Crossroads community’s collective success. In particular, there’s a wonderful lineup of speakers scheduled from 3:25-3:45pm, with a keynote address from Secretary Concannon. Please spread the word, and please join us!

There are treats in store for our tastebuds this week as well, as fall harvest graces us with delicious, colorful abundance! Expect multiple varieties of apples and pears (honeycrisps win my heart every time), sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, radishes, eggplant, winter squash, salad greens, arugula, kale, chard, hot and sweet peppers, and more. Not to mention prepared seasonal goodies from our vendors, including pear and apple butter, apple cider, and atol de elote, a sweet, steaming hot corn drink from our Guatemalan prepared foods vendor, Nancia (note: their tostadas and other snacks have been getting rave reviews by even the harshest of culinary critics!).

We look forward to celebrating the season with you– both the weeks past and the weeks to come– this Wednesday, 3-7pm at 7676 New Hampshire Avenue, rain or shine!

Sep 28 /

Week 18: Dia del Nino and Delicata Squash

Happy Autumn! I’m headed out the door to celebrate Sukkot, the Jewish harvest festival, and enjoy the rich autumn bounty (apple crisp, anyone?). As we’ve officially transitioned from one season to the next, at least per the calendar if not the weather, our fall crops are beginning to emerge. Honeycrisp apples are at their peak perfection, bouquets of broccoli are blooming, and deep orange sweet potatoes are ready for roasting and mashing. It may still be steamy outside, but in my kitchen? It’s definitely fall.

So with only five weeks left in the 2010 Crossroads Farmers Market season, don’t miss these last chances to experience the best in fresh, local produce!

This week at the Crossroads: Dia del Nino!
This Wednesday, September 29, is Dia del Nino/Kid’s Day at the Crossroads Farmers Market! Timed to coincide with the October 1st Kid’s Day celebration in Guatemala, we’ll be packing the full four hours of markets with activities for children and families. With entertainment from the Jazzy Juggler from 3-5pm, English/Spanish yoga for kids at 5pm, hourly raffles, and other games throughout the afternoon, this week’s market is not to be missed! So come on out with the whole family to enjoy what’s forecast to be our first day of sunshine this week.

Also, thanks to all who participated in last week’s Mark’s Kitchen Third Tuesday Fundraiser. It was wonderful seeing so many familiar faces there! Many thanks for all the support.

Looking forward to seeing you, rain or shine, from 3-7pm at 7676 New Hampshire Avenue.

Sep 28 /

Week 17: Mark’s Kitchen Fundraiser and Dia del Nino

The outdoors are calling my name– and yours!– on this deliciously perfect fall afternoon, so I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Just a few quick invitations and updates:

Mark’s Kitchen Third Tuesday Fundraiser– TOMORROW 9/21 9am-9pm
By now, you know the drill… bring the friends, the fam, yourself, and come on out to Mark’s Kitchen anytime tomorrow! 10% of the day’s proceeds go directly to the Crossroads Farmers Market. With vegan, vegetarian, and meat options, there’s something for everyone at this Takoma Park institution. See you there!

Crossroads Summer Concert Series– 9/22: This Wednesday, a highly-recommended local harp and guitar duo, Hector and friend, makes its Crossroads debut!

Dia del Nino/Kid’s Day– Wednesday, 9/29

Join us for everyone’s favorite event of the season: Dia del Nino! Timed each year to coincide with Children’s Day in Guatemala (October 1st), we’ll be celebrating kids of all ages at next week’s market with performances by the Jazzy Juggler, face painting, bilingual kid’s yoga, nutrition games, treats for children, and more!

Looking forward to seeing you this week! As always, market is open rain or shine, 3-7pm at 7676 New Hampshire Avenue.

Sep 15 /

Week 16: A is for Autumn, Apples, and Acorn Squash

Ok, so it’s not quite autumn yet (the first day of fall actually coincides with next week’s market). But, as I write with mug of tea in hand, its presence is certainly starting to make itself known. So as we say “see you next year!” to peaches and berries, please join me in extending a warm welcome to our good friends apples, apple cider, and acorn squash, all of whom will make an appearance this week. There’s even been talk of sweet potatoes… come find out for yourself!

I’m in awe that more than two-thirds of the way through the 2010 season, the Crossroads Farmers Market continues to grow. To date, we’ve already distributed over $20,000 in Fresh Checks, a 25% increase over last year’s record-breaking season, to 949 households. And we’re not slowing down– 49 new families participated in the program last week! As demand increases at the market, we’re committed to also increasing supply. Please stop by tomorrow and give a warm welcome to our two new vendors! Engaged Community Offshoots (ECO), a PG-county based urban farm and close partner of the Crossroads Farmers Market, is bringing honey (it’s a must try– I’ve already given three jars as gifts) and phenomenally flavorful bagged greens. We’ll also be joined by a Guatemalan prepared foods vendor, bringing tacos, tostadas, horchata, atol de elote, and other delicious snacks. Let us know what you think!

Speaking of good food and good fun, please mark your calendars for our upcoming Mark’s Kitchen Third Tuesday fundraiser– Tuesday 9/21, 9am-9pm!!! 10% of all proceeds from the day will go directly to the Crossroads Farmers Market. We hope to see you there with family and friends in tow!

Crossroads Summer Concert Series: If you’ve missed the Malian music this summer, you get one more chance! From 3-7 pm this Wednesday, the air will be filled with sounds of traditional music from Mali, West Africa. It’s worth heading to market just for the free concert– Musician Cheick Hamala Diabaté and friends are coming to put on a show!!
Musician Cheick Hamala Diabaté is recognized as one of the world’s masters of the ngoni, a Malian traditional instrument. A sought after performer, lecturer, storyteller and choreographer throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and Canada, Cheick Hamala mastered the ngoni, a stringed lute and ancestor to the banjo, at an early age. His international performing career has included performances at the Smithsonian Institution and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Cheick Hamala shares the oral history, music and song of his culture as it was passed on to him from birth by his parents.

As always, we’ll be open Wednesday 3-7pm at 7676 New Hampshire Avenue, rain or shine. Looking forward to enjoying a lovely end of summer afternoon with you!

Jul 6 /

Week Six: Cool as a Cucumber Melon

Hope you all enjoyed a wonderful weekend filled with fresh food, friends, family, fireworks, and sunshine– we certainly did! Yesterday, the Crossroads Farmers Market participated in the City of Takoma Park’s 121st annual 4th of July parade. With the help of an amazing team, we cruised the streets of Takoma in style, perched atop a flat bed pick-up truck carrying a tractor, a manure spreader, and a group of cheering kids carrying hand-painted fruit and vegetable signs. The Jazzy Juggler, a local favorite, also brought his antics to our float, revving up the crowd as he successfully juggled a tomato, a cantaloupe, and a large butcher’s knife! Such a great morning of community, celebration, and laughter was a prize of its own– but it was made all the more exciting when we learned this morning that the Crossroads Farmers Market float placed second in the Wacky Tacky Takoma category! Huge thanks to all who participated and to all who cheered and waved along the way.

The celebration will continue at market this Wednesday. After all, with the forecast hinting at triple digits, what’s there to do but celebrate summer at its fullest?! All of our vendors will be there this week, ready to supply you with a mid-week pick-me-up. Early July is an interesting time for local produce; the cooler weather plants are starting to fade out, while the heat-loving blooms are just getting ready to burst through. So while tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and other summer favorites are just around the corner, take this opportunity to try out something new– you might be very pleasantly surprised!

My top picks for the week:

  • Peaches and apricots! Need I say more? Also, check out this great guide to peaches from Three Springs Fruit Farm. They explain the differences between different varieties and offer some great tips for selection and storage.
  • Black raspberries- Nope, they’re not blackberries. But they’re equally wonderful. Smaller and a bit sweeter than their notoriously tart cousins, these have me hooked. Delicious on their own, and perfect for the fruit crisp I’ll be making this weekend!
  • Red and golden beets- Full of magnificent flavor and color, beets are one of my favorite additions to a summer salad. Roast them, shave them raw, or check out one of these great recipes. And don’t forget about the greens! Cook them as you would chard or kale, and enjoy!
  • Sugar snap peas- these have quickly become my snack of choice, and I’m stocking up before their season ends– don’t miss out! True to their name, these are perfect for satisfying a sweet tooth and provide a crisp, fantastically refreshing crunch. Eaten whole or shelled, raw or boiled, on their own or in stir-fries or pasta, snap peas are the perfect way to add both sweetness and green to a meal.
  • Fresh herbs- While one of the great joys of eating fresh foods is that their natural flavors are so distinct and vibrant, a touch of complimenting basil, thyme, sage, cilantro, dill, or parsley can draw out subtle undertones and transform the simplest meal into a culinary celebration. I can say honestly that not only are the herbs I’ve had at Crossroads among the freshest I’ve found at other area markets, but they are far and away the least expensive!

Special Events: Summer Concert Series and Volunteer Opportunity
Our good friend Yousef will be back with Conga drumming this Wednesday. Grab your hand drum or something to bang on and come join in!

Help get the word out about the Crossroads Farmers Market! Join us next Wednesday, July 14th, to flier Crossroads area neighborhoods and businesses and potential shoppers know we’re here. We’ll meet at 10am in front of 7676 New Hampshire Avenue, and will reconvene at noon for treats from Chapina Bakery.

As always, your thoughts and feedback are always welcome– please don’t hesitate to let us know what’s working, what we could improve upon, and what else you’d like to see.

See you Wednesday, 3-7 pm at 7676 New Hampshire Avenue! And make sure you stop by Three Springs to check out their cucumber melons. That combination of cool and refreshing sounds about perfect right now, doesn’t it?