The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Shopping in a Story


Whenever I hear the word “market,” I’m reminded of a sort of fantasy world. Of books about the countryside or historical fictions that described farmers markets with perfectly sweet-tart vibrant peaches warm from the sun, cartons of thick, cold milk with a skim of rich, velvety cream, and loaves of bread so crisp that crushing the outside felt like shattering glass, the inside pillowy and soft. I’m reminded of the summer markets of Warsaw, bustling with people but somehow never too crowded, full of nooks and crannies hiding vendors with baskets of the feathery yellow mushrooms that melt into butter or tiny mountain blueberries.

My love of markets has grown exponentially over the years as I’ve learned how to cook and bake and gotten more and more into D.C.’s culinary scene. Now the traditional treasure-filled land of a market always corresponds to an evening of cooking and eating amazing food. The more a farmers market has to offer the better, so when I looked at the website of the Dupont Circle Market I knew that had to somehow find time within my schedule of nonstop work to plan a trip.

Story continues below advertisement

When I got to the market, I knew that I’d made the right choice. It was paradise. Two street-length rows were composed only of stands bursting with fruits, vegetables, bread, eggs, pastries, fruit juice, honey, flowers, everything I’d wanted and more. There were baskets of salad with the brightest, most vibrant mix of floral leaves. There was a whole stand just for mushrooms! A long line curled around a food truck frying up trays of dumplings, while another trailed behind a wood-fired pizza oven.

There was a small square in the center with live music. Kids were dancing around, some even braving the stage, taking up the microphone to sing the alphabet. Everyone was smiling, chatting, at once bustling and relaxed. The only problem was that I didn’t have enough hands to hold all of the food I’d bought.

In the spirit of Earth Day, I should add that the food market wasn’t only amazing because of its wide array of delicacies, although that was my main focus throughout the trip. I also noticed a stand dedicated to collecting people’s old food scraps and any other food waste to be turned into compost instead of another layer in a garbage heap. Another stand sold small bags full of compost, labeled neatly, with instructions on how to start a garden. Herbs and seeds for planting stood by, along with a helpful vendor ready to explain the ins and outs of raising plants. (Next time I go I’m asking for advice, as I’ve killed every plant I’ve ever owned).

The Dupont Circle Market farmers market offers all of this and more, boasting: “conventional and certified organic fruits and vegetables, pastured meat, poultry and eggs, farmstead and artisan cheeses, sweet and savory baked goods (including gluten-free options), fresh pasta, pickles, jams, and jellies, locally roasted coffee, District-made spirits and beers, wood-fired pizza, handmade dumplings, soups and sandwiches, cut flowers, potted plants, soaps, and more.”

There are farmers markets all around D.C., but Dupont is the only one that is open year-round. The produce offered depends on the season, so every time you go there’s something new and unexpected. Right now you can hope to see ramps, the long, thin green leaves with little bulbs on the bottom that resemble onions; rhubarb, the bright pink, tart stem fruit that will dissolve into jammy, sour-sweet bites inside a cake, and young sugar snap peas, which taste like candy. Tomatoes, radishes, and kale are common as well.

Apples are still in season as well, and they line every stand, complete with little tasting plates it’s easy to pick out a favorite. Some are sweet as crisp, others have a sour aftertaste, and still others taste have the crispness of an apple with the delicate taste of pear.

I ended up using every scrap of food I bought. With the ramps, which tasted like a mild type of onion, I made fritters. They were crispy and light, like onion rings but less heavy and more tender. If you end up getting your hands on this spring vegetable, I recommend Bon Appetit’s recipe for the fritters, they came out perfectly and were incredibly easy to make.

With the rhubarb, I baked what is possibly the simplest cake to make on the planet. It wasn’t the light and fluffy type, but rather gooey and rich interspersed with light, fruity rhubarb. I used this recipe from Food 52, with half the sugar and twice the almonds, and the crumb on top was perfectly crispy and buttery.

Everything else: light and sugary snap peas, cold and crunchy apples, lacy and rich baklava, and delicate and spiced dumplings, I ate pretty much on the spot. Sitting on the warm summer grass, I munched on my chicken and mushroom dumplings while watching puffy clouds roll by, feeling just like a storybook character and escaping my daily life for a taste of wonder.


All photo credit to: Marta Maliszewska


Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All International Dateline Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *