Saturday, June 5, 2010
EXPLORING THE "TALIPAPA" AT OLD TOWN
Friends Jimmy Carino and Chit de Jesus of Forex urged us to check out the Farmers Market in Old Town, Alexandria. So we did.
True enough, the market – which is open from 5:30 to 10:30 AM on Saturdays only – offered only the freshest fare at reasonable prices (they may sometimes appear more expensive than the neighborhood Giant, but the tomatoes, cantaloupes, broccoli and other farm produce are bigger and tastier so in the end, you’re actually getting a bargain).
It pays to go early in the morning when the sun is not yet too high in the sky. We wouldn’t blame you if you’d think the scent of freshly baked products – from quiches to the cinnamon rolls – brings you closer to heaven, even without the freshly brewed coffee.
According to its website, the Farmer’s Market in front of the Alexandria City Hall along King Street is widely believed to be one of America’s oldest continually operating farmer’s markets.
Farmers, artists and artisans have been peddling their wares there since 1753.
Alexandria itself is over 250 years old (the city was quickly occupied by Union forces during the American Civil War and made the seat of the “Restored Government of Virginia” until the end of hostilities) and there’s a reason why they call this part of the city “Old Town”. Many of the homes here have been designated as historic monuments.
There is a certain lure to buying food from people who grew them themselves. You’re more likely to be convinced that worm wriggling in between baskets of peas and beans wasn’t a marketing gimmick.
The Calhoun’s have been preparing ham for three generations – and is reputedly the best in the nation (think fictitious President Andrew Sheperd trying to woo the character played by the breathtaking Annette Bening in the 1995 movie “American President” with a huge leg of ham).
In reality, the White House kitchen has long been a loyal patron of Calhoun country ham so we leave it to you to put two and two together. But you can only buy Calhoun ham products at the Alexandria Farmer’s Market – unless you’d prefer a long, scenic drive to Culpeper, Virginia where they have their store.
So thanks Jimmy and Chit for your suggestion.
There is something to be said about doing your “pamamalengke” in a place so rich with history. It makes you feel you’d gotten such a big bargain without even trying