Yesterday I went to the Capital City Market (a.k.a. the Florida [Avenue] Market) on a tour by Richard Layman, Ken Firestone and Elise Bernard on a tour sponsored by Cultural Tourism DC. (I’m the fifth figure from the left — brown polo shirt and jeans — in this photo.) This is a wholesale market with a growing retail edge. Formerly Jewish and Greek, then Asian, the market now as strong Latino and African (east and west) participation. So you’ll see a mix of families, small restaurant owners and delivery rigs. Quite busy, considering a walking group of 80-100 visitors are added in.
I value the Florida Market for the commercial capacity it provides. Many small businesses would be hurt if they couldn’t pick up their relatively modest supplies. I even think that many of the vegetables consumed in the city’s poorer neighborhoods — whether sold in mom-n-pop shops or in take-out meals — came to the city through the Florida Market, to say nothing of the meat, eggs, rice or spices, or the serving containers and cleaning supplies. It isn’t chi-chi, and doesn’t need to be. I hope the zoning powers-that-be and city council understand that, since there are plans to destroy the market — er, re-site it; yeah, right — and redevelop it for high-end commercial space and housing. Perhaps the market downturn has changed the economics of this plan.
In other news, it was a cool, misty day at the Dupont Circle farmer’s market. This is a producer’s market, transitory by nature and far higher-end. But with $9 I was able to get this bounty, which will make several meals this week.
P.s. Yes, people were buying up rice like a storm yesterday, but who’s to say that’s not normal? All of the main ethnic groups that work and shop the market (myself included I suppose) have rice-intensive diets. And the prices at several dealers were quite good, if not rock-bottom as once remembered.