Today, the Del Ray farmers market opened for the 2008 season. Del Ray is a small-town-main-street-cottage-filled hamlet just 5 miles from Washington D.C. Originally D.C.’s first commuter suburb, the Town Of Potomac, Virginia was chartered in 1908 and became Del Ray when it was annexed by the city of Alexandria in 1930.
Located at the corner of East Oxford Avenue and Mount Vernon Avenue, the Del Ray farmers market began its 15th season with sounds from the Irish Breakfast Band and smells of coffee and fruit pastry. I counted 11 vendors this morning, selling produce, pastries, breads, jams, jellies, meats, pasta, sauces, mushroom, eggs, cheese and fresh potted herbs. Much to my delight, Marcela’s Bakery arrived a bit later to the market, with chicken saltenas accompanied by fiery green chili sauce. Oh, and asparagus…did I mention ASPARAGUS? Yes, it’s official-spring is here and although the few bundles of asparagus were quickly snapped up from Three Way Farm, I was told that next week there will be more and in addition, strawberries just might make their debut if the weather does not turn cold again.
On the Mount Vernon side of the market, a tall sign stood cloaked in red velvet, awaiting unveiling. It is one of seven new signs in Del Ray which commemorate Del Ray’s history and the centennial of the Town of Potomac. Alexandria’s Mayor Euille dedicated the signs, and thanked the many people who helped bring them to fruition, including the Alexandria City Council and Historic Alexandria.
After the dedication, the market resumed humming with market goers, including Chef Will Atley of Evening Star Cafe. Chef Atley was excited to browse the market goods and stopped to admire containers of honey mushrooms at the mushroom stand. A proponent of local foods, Chef Atley said that he plans to serve locally and seasonally inspired meals at a communal table in Planet Wine, adjacent to Evening Star Cafe. “Market Dinners” are being planned for Sunday nights.
From Bonaparte Bakery, a napoleon cum lasagna caught my eye, which had layers of crepes, not pasta, stacked impossibly high. Individual rolls once again looked too doughy and delicious to pass up, and I bought a bag of 6. Last, I spied Marcela’s Bakery’s table (as I mentioned earlier) and bought a chicken saltena which will be dinner tonight.
Until the next At The Market, eat and buy local when you can.