At the sound of a herd of cow bells, the farmers market by the White House kicked off yesterday. Surrounded by Washington, DC-area sustainable and local food advocates, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan helped ring in the 2010 season of the FRESHFARM Market.

Merrigan–who recently landed on the 2010 TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people for her work in agriculture–wished a bevy of vendors good luck. The market features local fruits and vegetables, all-natural meats and dairy products, seafood, breads, and flowers, as well as gelato and handmade pastries.

Last September, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the inaugural season of the market–which caused many to refer it as “the White House farmers market.” It is, in fact, not sponsored by the White House, but it is certainly in line with many of the Obama Administration’s food initiatives.

The FRESHFARM Market provides double dollars for food assistance recipients, a policy meant to help all socioeconomic groups have access to healthy, local food. In the past year both Michelle Obama and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have launched an offensive on eliminating food deserts. (See the USDA’s Food Environment Atlas).

Located at 15th and Vermont, a little over a block from the Oval Office, the market will run every Thursday from 3 to 7:00 p.m. through Thanksgiving.

Photos from Opening Day

wh market opening.jpgKathleen Merrigan, center left, FRESHFARM Market founders, center, get help ringing cow bells to start off the season.

wh opening 2.jpgMerrigan wishes a local vendor selling radishes and greens good luck at the market.

bread.jpgThe market has an excellent selection of breads, pastries, muffins, and cookies.

strawberries2.jpgThe season’s first round of West Virginia strawberries.


A selection of local apples, which were widely-sampled by White House staffers and Federal employees perusing the local food selection.

First two photos courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture blog, rest by Helena Bottemiller.