By Peter Rhee, Creative Media Director for USDA’s Office of Communications
With the first day of summer just around the corner, USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan rang the ceremonial cowbell today, signaling the beginning of the 2010 USDA Summer Farmers Market season. With extra help from the hot sun and heat rising off the pavement, the air carried with it smells of fresh produce, fragrant soaps and flowers, and piping hot kettle corn.
Local vendors from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia were on hand, selling their fruits, vegetables, herbs, bakery products, and other goods like coffee and honey.
Another aroma wafting through the air was the scent of grilled burgers and strawberry shortcakes, prepared fresh on the spot by Eric Ziebold, Executive Chef of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel’s prized restaurant, CityZen.
Chef Ziebold and his team, with some help from Deputy Secretary Merrigan, transformed flour, butter, and strawberries, into delicious desserts worth fighting the large crowd over. The cooking demonstration was a highlight of the USDA Farmers Market kick-off celebrations, and drew a large crowd of hungry onlookers.
Farmers markets are important nationwide outlets for agricultural producers to offer consumers affordable, convenient, and healthy local foods and goods. USDA’s Summer Farmers Market has been a DC favorite for the past 15 years and offers local vendors the access to expand their outreach efforts to the local community.
Come get your fill every Friday, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the corner of 12th Street and Independence Avenue, S.W. through October, 2010. For more information on Farmers Markets, where to find one, how to become a vendor, or registering your own Farmers Market, click here.