Tag Archives: fresh

Tomorrow: Charles Street Friday Market @ Charles & Lanvale

The Chop has always has decidedly mixed feelings about farmers’ markets. We’re certainly glad they’re there… no doubt about that. At the same time though, we don’t actually go out to them and buy produce as often as we probably ought to.

We like the Waverly market quite a lot, but it ends at noon and quite frankly if we’re waking up at 10:30, getting dressed and running out to buy vegetables isn’t always at the top of our priorities list, especially if we’ve still got to go into Giant for items not available outside. That’s the reason it took us so long to get to the JFX Farmers’ Market, and now that we’ve been, well, we’re in no rush to go back. The JFX market is just the right mix of dirty hippies, snotty yuppies, oblivious children, and a 30-deep line for coffee to make it equal to about the 5th level of hell.

Charles Street Friday Market combines two classic Baltimore pastimes: buying produce and drinking in the street.

The new Charles Street Friday Market might be a little more up our alley. First of all, we don’t have to roll our ass out of bed at the crack of 9 am to get there on time. The Lanvale Street location is just about perfect for being close to home and central, but not blocking up Friday rush hour traffic, and being in Station North (we suspect) will draw a better mix of people than some other area markets.

We were out of town last Friday for the inaugural setup of the Friday Market, but we expect it will have everything the JFX offers, only on a decreased scale. We’re looking for tomatoes and corn and spinach and asparagus… the hula hoops and baubles and scented soap are none of our concern.

But perhaps the best thing going for the Friday market is that they’ve got the one thing we may love more than coffee… beer. The market is sponsored by Frederick’s Flying Dog Brewery, and you can even sip on an Old Scratch or a Snake Dog while you’re shopping. In addition, the Metro Gallery will open its doors at 3 pm with happy hour specials, and is also now featuring a carry out license for beer and wine.

The combination of a farmers’ market and a happy hour isn’t just clever, it’s one of those ideas that’s so ingenious that we didn’t even know we needed it in our lives until someone invented it. As if you weren’t doing enough good by supporting local farms and brewers, a portion of the market’s sales will go to benefit League of Dreams, which helps children with developmental disabilities get involved with baseball and softball throughout the area. It’s not just win-win, it’s win-win-win.

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Charles Street Friday Market runs from 3-8 pm every Friday in the unit block of Lanvale Street.

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Best Bets: Decorating With Flowers

Years ago the Chop spent a couple of months out in Seattle, and perhaps the biggest point of culture shock in the Emerald City was the near-universal habit of buying fresh flowers regularly. Maybe it’s a direct result of the mostly dreary weather there, but Seattleites go around buying flowers like Parisians buy baguettes.

As a city, Baltimore is not particularly floral. We tend to buy most of our flowers in connection with funerals or anniversaries, and even with a recent increase in the presence and awareness of urban gardening on public and private lots, the vast majority of that soil has been given over to vegetables. Flowerbeds in public parks and flower-potting in streetscapes remains minimal.

Daffodils look great in Cylburn Arboretum... or in your living room.

We grew up in a house where fresh flowers were seldom present. When they did appear indoors, they were always meant to sit in the same heavy crystal vase on the dining room table. Over time, they began to achieve the same effect as a Christmas tree; they were around to mark an occasion and they had a great effect when first placed there, but with each year that went by and each day they sat in the same spot they were just too easy to get used to, and were eventually overlooked almost entirely.

Now that we’ve got a house of our own with plenty of space to decorate we’re discovering that flowers are the best way to keep the home looking fresh as time passes. If the warm weather we’re enjoying recently has you thinking floral, here are a few tips to get the best of your buds.

  • Buy different flowers each time. Daisies are nice, but if all you ever buy are daisies, you might as well just buy a picture of some daisies and be done with it. You’re better off just going for whatever is in season, or whatever has been marked down for a quicker sale. This way you get variety without having to think too much about it.
  • Have a few different vases handy. It’s best to have about 1 vase for every room in your house where you might put flowers. If you have a studio with a kitchenette, 2 is enough. If you’ve got six rooms plus a good size bathroom and a screened porch, get as many as 8 vases. They don’t need to be expensive, and a few of them should be plain and understated for moving from room to room. (Thrift stores are a great source for plain vases.) Make sure the sizes and shapes are different to accommodate different flower varieties.
  • Flowers in each room, not every room. It’s just too much work to keep flowers trimmed and watered in every room at the same time. Keeping them in one room at a time minimizes work while maximizing appeal. Dress out the table for dinner guests, or put them in the bedroom on date night. Try to keep them in the room in which you’ll derive the most enjoyment from them in any given week.
  • Make buying flowers a habit. Perhaps no one loves flowers more than the Dutch, and in the Netherlands flowers have a regular spot on the shopping list next to bread and milk. We in Baltimore would do well to be on a first name basis with our neighborhood florists, or make the flower cart a regular stop on our weekly trips to the grocery store or farmers’ market.
  • Don’t be afraid to grow your own. It takes good timing, a little knowledge, a lot of work, and a bit of luck to grow flowers from seeds. If you’re not possessed of all of the above though, you can still grow flowers successfully, barring a garden-digging dog or any neighbor kids running roughshod over your yard. Nurseries and home improvement stores have thousands of types to choose from, and will be happy to help you find the best type for you. Most places even sell flowers in biodegradable, plantable pots keeping the work required at a minimum.

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