For 20 years, my agency, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), has managed the USDA Farmers Market. It’s quite a milestone, and I’m thrilled to celebrate it this week by hosting the first night farmers market in Washington, DC! There will be live music, food trucks, and an array of farmers, growers, and vendors offering cured meats, fruits and vegetables, cut flowers, cheese and dairy, and delicious baked goods—everything you need for a perfect evening picnic on the National Mall!
As part of our work to support local and regional food systems, AMS is always looking for innovative ways to help farmers markets succeed, including our own market in Washington, DC. As we celebrate the USDA market’s 20th season, we are introducing night markets from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on May 15, June 19, July 17, Aug. 21, Sept. 18, and Oct. 16. Each night market will have a different theme featuring live music and educational exhibits.
This month’s theme—Explore DC: Walk, Run, Ride to the USDA Farmers Market at Night—emphasizes how easy it is to stop by the night market whether you are walking to the nearby Smithsonian metro stop, running along the National Mall, or pedaling home after participating in Bike to Work Day this Friday.
Entertainment will be provided by the band The Foolish Tooks. Our special exhibitors will share their knowledge and enthusiasm for exploring the trails around Washington, DC, on foot or bike:
- Our neighborhood bike shop – Capitol Hill Bikes – will show how they support DC’s growing bike community.
- Test out a Riide bike where you can pedal, twist the throttle, or do both at once.
- City Sports DC staff will help you get geared up for your next big athletic adventure.
- Map out your next DC adventure within your local park or national parks in the area thanks to The National Park Foundation, or in Rock Creek Park with their new community program, Rock Creek Park On the Move!
The night market is brought to you in partnership with Union Kitchen, a local food business incubator, and the DMV Food Truck Association. An assortment of local growers, farmers, and ranchers will also bring in fresh, local products. The USDA Farmers Market at Night will feature different vendors than those at our weekly daytime market, which is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays through Oct. 30, 2015.
So, if you are in Washington, D.C. this Friday evening, I hope you’ll get outdoors and explore DC by walking, running, or riding to the USDA Farmers Market at Night located at 12th and Independence Ave., S.W. For details throughout our market season, follow us on Twitter @USDA_AMS. Look for the #USDAFarmersMkt hashtag for updates about both the day and night markets.
If you’re just visiting the D.C. Metro area, check out USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory—available at www.usdalocalfooddirectories.com – to find a market in your community. The USDA Farmers Market is an important part of our work to support local and regional food systems across the country through grants, applied research and technical services. These efforts are coordinated through USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative.