I have lived in DC for almost a year now and am ashamed to admit it took me this long to finally make it to the venerable Eastern Market. But despite the torrential rains on Sunday, I headed out with a local Eastern Market tour guide (henceforth known as Pepe…don’t ask, just go with it).
My usual farmer’s markets include DuPont Circle and Adams Morgan, so I am used to only seeing locally grown produce. So I was more than surprised to see peppers, tomatoes and other produce I knew wasn’t yet in season in this area. One of the vendors told me a majority of the produce out that day was not local, which was a disappointment to me. But I was assured once the growing season was well under way, Eastern Market would be awash with local fruits and vegetables.
When we moved over to the South Hall of the Market, I realized instantly why Eastern Market is such a DC institution. There was an enormous amount of fresh fish, meat and pastas to choose from and it was hard to decide where to begin. The first stall was filled with seafood, something I rarely use in my cooking. Pepe pointed out some really nice mussels and a couple of other choice items (including a blue fish).
I ended up getting a few sausages, including a whisky fennel I plan on using in the coming weeks as a pizza topping and a sausage marinated in red wine that will go great with my red sauce and a fresh egg tagliatelle I picked up. I also got a nice cheese (more on that later) and a veal shank for my upcoming brave attempt at osso buco. If for nothing else, I will definitely head back to Eastern Market for the South Hall’s bounty of fresh meats, cheeses and pastas (mmmmm….cheese).