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Market Square mural, Houston, Texas. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.12325

A Trip to the Farmers Market

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One of my favorite weekly activities is a trip to the local farmers market. The bounty of fruits and vegetables, as well as other products like meat, eggs, and baked goods, offers so much potential for cooking good meals and trying new flavors.

Farmers have been bringing their goods to market for thousands of years. Just across the river from Washington, D.C., in Alexandria, Virginia, is the Old Town Farmers Market. The market was established in 1753 and is said to be the longest continuously operating market – at the same location – in the United States. George Washington sent produce grown at Mount Vernon to be sold at this very market location. Below you can see the Old Town market in a photo taken eight years ago, still going strong.

View of shoppers at the Old Town Farmers’ market in Alexandria, a historic Virginia river port next to Washington, D.C. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2016 July 23. https://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.61805

Take a visual tour of farmers markets through the photos below, all from the collections of the Prints & Photographs Division. Something tells me you’ll be hungry by the end!

Pushcart market on Belmont Avenue, Brooklyn, New York City. Photo by Roger Higgins, 1960. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.12709
Jersey tomatoes at The Corn Stop Farmer’s Market in Mount Holly, New Jersey. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2017 Aug. 14. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.45594
New York City Mayor Robert F. Wagner purchasing a pumpkin from Arthur Conklin at a farmer’s market in the Bronx. Photo by Roger Higgins, 1958. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.12706
Customers in front of the Tri-County Farmers Co-op Market at Du Bois, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jack Delano, 1940 Sept. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8c03027
Inside of the Tri-County Farmers Co-op Market at Du Bois, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jack Delano, 1940 Sept. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8c02988
Local growers, Nashville. Photo. © JD Sloan, 1975. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppss.01070
Italian pushcart market, Arthur & Crescent Avenues, Bronx. Photo by C.M. Stieglitz, 1940. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.12707
Uptown fruit market at the Riverbend, New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.14844
Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. Bananas, coconuts, rice, beans and other produce for sale at the produce market. Photo by Jack Delano, 1942 Jan. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8c08336
Washington, D.C. Watermelon vendors at the farmers’ market. Photo by Marjory Collins, 1942 July. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8c28532

Learn More:

  • Two of the photos above are from the Tri-County Farmers Cooperative Market in August and September 1940. Per the original caption for the group of photos, this was a “Cooperative roadside market managed by group which operates farms and mines simultaneously in the same area of central Pennsylvania.” Farm Security Administration photographer Jack Delano took over 100 photos of the farmers and miners (or both), and their families, as they prepared products to sell at market.
  • Revisit a previous Picture This post about public markets.
  • Feast your eyes on more photos of farmers markets from our collections.

Comments

  1. I grew up in the neighborhood of Arthur Ave and Crescent Avenues as seen in the Stieglitz photo of 1940. The pushcarts are gone but continue on in spirit inside of the Arthur Avenue Retail Market where residents can purchase fresh fruits, veggies and meats from various stalls.

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