THIS WINTER’S SNOWSTORMS did more than shut the city down; they also impacted local farmers’ produce. Bryan Kerney of Truck Patch Farms in New Windsor, Md., said the snow over-wintered some produce, while Sidney Kuhn of Kuhn Orchards in Cashtown, Pa., said that melting and refreezing caused some apple trees to lose their limbs. But they and other farmers noted that the effects of the snow weren’t all bad — the feet of white flakes helped insulate crops and are providing extra moisture in the fields this spring.
“The warm weather these past few weeks has actually pushed the season ahead of schedule,” Kuhn says, adding that the snow insulated crops like strawberries and garlic, providing an even temperature all winter. Kuhn says she’ll be bringing asparagus, rhubarb and sunchokes to the U Street and Bloomingdale markets this spring.
At Garner’s Produce in Warsaw, Va., which provides produce for the U Street and Bloomingdale markets, Dana Boyle says the snow added extra moisture to the ground and resulted in a full irrigation pond.
“We’re happy the weather broke just in time to get the early crops in the ground,” Boyle says. “The warm temperatures recently have allowed us to prepare land for sweet corn, beans, tomatoes, peppers, melons and eggplant, which will be planted throughout April. … Our strawberries are blooming and asparagus will soon be peeking out of the ground.”
Winifred Schulteis of Quaker Valley Orchards in Biglerville, Pa., which provides produce to the Mt. Pleasant market, agreed.
“Everything looks good for a good season,” she says. “My husband has been working the fields, and I planted broccoli yesterday and plan to get some onions in next week. The apricots are in blossom, and the buds on everything else are swelling. We should have asparagus in a few weeks — yum!”
FRESH FOR THE PICKING
Despite the difficulty discerning seasons these days, the opening of area farmers markets tells us spring is most certainly in the air.
» Dupont Circle: 20th and Q streets NW; Sundays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Mushroom Stand offers an array of fungi including oyster, portobello and shiitake.)
» Foggy Bottom: I Street between New Hampshire Avenue and 24th Street NW; Wednesdays, 3 to 7 p.m. (Gunpowder Bison and Trading dishes up bison meat made into sausages and burgers.)
» Penn Quarter: 8th Street between D and E streets. NW; Thursdays, 3 to 7 p.m. (Red Apron Butchery’s charcuterie includes bacon and hot dogs.)
» Eastern Market: 7th Street and North Carolina Avenue SE; Saturdays and Sundays, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Spice up your haul with Uncle Brutha’s hot sauce.)
» Palisades Farmers Market: 48th Place and MacArthur Boulevard NW; Sundays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Bonaparte Bakery has fresh bread, quiche and pastries.)
» H Street: 625 H St. NE; Saturdays, opens May 1, 9 a.m. to noon. (Atwater’s Bakery sells classics like sourdough as well as loaves stuffed with cranberries and pecans.)
» Mt. Pleasant: 17th and Lamont streets NW; Saturdays, opens May 1, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Cherry Glen Goat Cheese Co. serves up chevre, ricotta and other cheesy options.)
» U Street: 14th and U Streets. NW; Saturdays, opens May 1, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Dolcezza offers artisanal gelato.)
» White House: 810 Vermont Ave. NW; Thursdays, opens May 6, 3 to 7 p.m. (Maryland’s Clear Spring Creamery offers tasty Camembert cheese.)
» Glover Park-Burleith:Wisconsin Avenue and 34th Street NW; Saturdays, opens May 8, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Salsa Las Glorias offers salsa made with locally grown vegetables.)
» Bloomingdale: 1st and R streets NW; Sundays, opens May 16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Copper Pot Food Co. sells jams, pastas, sauces and more.)
» Columbia Heights: 14th and Kenyon streets NW; Saturdays, opens June 5, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Written by Express contributor Amy Cavanaugh
Photos by Kris Connor