by Mikayla Baiocchi
A stretch of road starting in the middle of the bustle at the heart of Washington–the National Mall–leads south to a quiet neighborhood nestled amongst the workings of our nation’s capital, where the streets are closed off for public use.
There lies Eastern Market. A bustling but quaint community hub that attracts hundreds of people a day with its vendors that sell everything from homemade candles to fresh peaches.
This is how it has been for 136 years, according to Eastern Market’s official website. Eastern Market, which is advertised on its website as the city’s original and premier food and arts market, sits on 225 7th St. SE with an indoor and outdoor component.
Vendors line the inside of the market’s sprawling brick building that was built in 1873. Customers ping-pong from one side to the other, purchasing fresh meats on one side and beautiful floral arrangements on the other.
This is where Leon Calomiris sets up shop. His stand, “Thomas Calomiris & Son’s,” sells fresh fruits and vegetables along with jams and syrups.
“[The Eastern Market] is a neighborhood place,” Calomiris said, who has worked here all of his life. “Everything here is family owned, which is rare.”
On one side of Calomiris, who is positioned in the middle of the indoor market, is a vendor who sells all kinds of nuts and cheese. On the other, is another vendor who is selling fruits and vegetables. Across from Calomiris, lies a vendor who is selling fresh Mexican food–enchiladas, tubs of fresh guacamole, and containers of homemade salsa included.
Outside, white tents span the length of the historic brick building, where customers can find the bulk of the fruit and vegetable vendors.
Mark Golliday is set up among the outdoor vendors, where he sells asian salad mix, Lacinato
Kale and spinach. The produce comes from a 27-acre farm in Westminster, Golliday said.
While there is a multitude of fresh fruits and vegetables for the market’s customers to browse, there are also homemade pies, jams, and even popcorn available.
On the northern end of the market, lie even more tents. But, there’s something different about them–they don’t sell food.
On the northern end of Eastern Market is where the art vendors are set up. Here, curious customers wander around, browsing through the jewelry in one tent and woven baskets in another.
It’s clear that Eastern Market has something for everyone. Even though it has pumpkins and squash for sale, the market is ultimately one last breath of the summer that we thought was gone.