I really like the Bloomingdale Farmers Market

Ethopian Baked Goods Stall
Originally uploaded by In Shaw

I don’t care that it isn’t in the TC. Nor do I care that it isn’t in my single member district or whatever political or government designated boundary. All I know is that a 5 minute walk from the house brings me to a small collection of tents where I meet neighborhood friends and see familiar faces.
But you know what I really love about the market? The vibe. It is a vibe that everyone contributes to. The vendors give samples and talk about their produce and it isn’t always busy so they can take the time. There are the visiting and occasional vendors mixed with the vendors that are there every week. There aren’t that many vendors, and the market succeeds despite or because of it. At one point this year there may have been just 4 vendors, yesterday there ware about seven. The vendors, what they sell, where they sell, that can be planned.
What can’t be planned is the turn out. That’s you and me. People come from near by, from way over from central Shaw (in my lazy moments I consider 9th St far away), they bring pooches, or leave the can’t play well with other pooches home, and kids. The toddlers aged kids are really entertaining. It’s amazing how the 5 second rule gets applied with them.
In all this people come together. Dog owners chat with other dog owners. Maybe they’ve seen each other walking around but this is their first time to actually introduce themselves and say hi. Parents, sort of the same. I overheard some parents talking about pre-K and the process, one set was telling about their experience while the other set asked questions. The non-crowded-ness of the market allows the kids a little bit more free reign. Freer than what I’ve witnessed at Dupont, where a kid can easily be temporarily lost.
All this, and the adjacent Big Bear Cafe, contributes to a wonderful casual vibe.

Addendum- I couldn’t figure where to put this above, but I need to mention a failed market in Eckington/Bloomingdale. Back in 2003 there was the short lived North Capital Farmers Market that operated at North Capitol St and Florida Ave in the unpaved dusty parking lot. There were like 2 vendors and the produce was sad and pitiful looking like something left in the refrigerator too long. It wasn’t welcoming as I remember it. We learn from failure as well as success, and we need to remember that farmer’s markets can fail too.