Famous for its generous selection of well-priced produce, Magruder's at Connecticut Avenue has its bounty spilling out into bins at the "back porch" entrance of the store and on the wide sidewalks at the front doors. If the colorful fruits and veggies displayed don't call you over, surely the season-welcoming rows of potted flowers and plants will. By all means, grab that mum that matches your dining room and work your way to a basket -- past inquiring customers who want to know where you found that lovely plant. Then, armed with a basket or cart, go for pound after pound of everything that's good for you.
Follow your nose to the bread racks. Comb the shelves for a treat: Find pastries and a fat and heavy olive loaf or a few plump croissants just right for sandwiches. Visit the deli -- as renowned as the produce department -- for tasty complements to your bakery selections.
What's a special celebration, picnic or party without something festive to pour? Don't let the variety of bottles and bubbly drive you to drink. Ask for help. A good tip can come from the staff or another customer -- for instance, the one checking out with a counter full of his favorite.
Designated a farmers market, this Magruder's carries a limited variety of groceries, and timing is the trick to shopping here. Pocket your list and arrive as early as you can to avoid tight parking, congested aisles and long lines checking out. Though connected, the small market and liquor store have separate entrances and slightly varying hours. Space may be limited, but the ambiance is warm and neighborly.
-- Victoria Lemley