The USDA is ready to kick off another season of its outdoor farmers market and it has a star-studded schedule planned for market visitors. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan will lead the June 4 opening ceremony of the USDA Farmers Market with the help of celebrity chef Eric Ziebold from the nearby CityZen and Sou’Wester restaurants in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Through initiatives like Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food, the Department continues to increase access to fresh, healthy foods by promoting farmers markets like the USDA Farmers Market that connect consumers with the farmers who bring food to their plates. This season, celebrity chefs and other featured guests from the Washington, D.C. area will host cooking demonstrations for market visitors. The USDA Farmers Market features 14 vendors from Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
Chef Ziebold, winner of the 2008 James Beard Award for best chef in the Mid-Atlantic region, is a dedicated customer of the USDA Farmers Market and uses its products in his world famous restaurants. At the market opening, he will demonstrate how to turn a variety of fruits into delicious non-alcoholic cocktails. Chef Ziebold hopes his demonstration will inspire more innovative use of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The exciting market opening and celebrity guest appearances are designed to stimulate interest in farmers markets and other direct-to-consumer operations. A unique setting, which allows direct interaction with the vendors, can offer a tremendous learning experience for market customers. “The vendors can tell you the best time to buy a product, how to cook it, when it is ripe, and so much more,” says Chef Ziebold. “This type of setup benefits the vendor and the customer.”
The USDA Farmers Market is run by the USDA’s Transportation and Marketing Program, which offers many programs to promote farmers markets and other direct-to-consumer operations. The market is open every Friday between 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the corner of 12th Street and Independence Ave, SW. The 2010 season runs from June 4 – October 29. We encourage you to visit the USDA Farmers Market and get to know your local vendors. You can find out more information about the USDA Farmers Market online.