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The Market at River Falls | 301-765-8001
10124 River Road Potomac, MD 20854
10-7 Monday through Saturday, 11-7 on Sunday.

Jim McWhorter – Potomac Living, October 2020

With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people are taking a more active interest in their health. This is manifesting itself in the following ways – greater focus on weight loss, regular exercise, reduced alcohol and/or tobacco intake, engagement in mindfulness or meditation, and of course, more consciousness around the food one eats.

Regarding the latter, there are two steps to which everyone can easily subscribe. First, reduce processed foods in your diet and, second, become familiar with the market where you buy your fish, seafood and meats.

If food comes in a box, a can, or the grocer’s freezer case, read the ingredients – typically, there is a list of unintelligible multi-syllabic words. If that’s the case, set it back down. Almost any food prepared from fresh ingredients (even pizza!) is intrinsically better for your health than “food” with added chemicals such as flavorings, stabilizers or preservatives.

Create a relationship with your butcher and fishmonger. Ask where the fish is sourced. Ask if it is wild or farmed – there are numerous clean fish farms out there now. Ask whether it is fresh or has ever been frozen. Just like fruits and vegetables, many fish are seasonal. Become educated and buy the fish that is in season, as it will likely be fresher and more affordable.

By far, the majority of shellfish (crabmeat and shrimp) comes from the Far East – China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia or the Philippines. Who would argue that it makes more sense to source your shellfish from this hemisphere where you don’t have to worry about the quality of the water, the processing methods, or supporting abusive child labor practices? Make a habit of asking where your shrimp and crabmeat are sourced.

A relationship with your butcher is perhaps even more important. Ninety-nine percent of the beef and pork raised in this country comes from concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. As part of this process, the adult animals are packed together in enclosed spaces, fed a variety of grains – which they wouldn’t eat in nature – and administered growth hormones and antibiotics.

Also, be wary when buying beef labeled ‘grass-fed’. All cattle are grass-fed in their youth, until they are shipped off to the feedlots to be fattened up. Unfortunately, for the consumer, few retailers make this distinction and the use of the word grass-fed is widely abused. As is the case with ‘free range’ chicken.

Chickens are by nature flocking animals and the words free range mean little to nothing. Confined to small spaces inside barns, which can contain 100,000 birds, they are allowed access to a number of doors leading outdoors. Taken literally, they are “free to range”. The problem is they don’t. They take a few steps outside the barn, feel uncomfortable with being alone, and run back inside to be with the others. Look for ‘pasture raised’ instead.  As we navigate these times, take these two easy steps to help improve your health and that of your family for the long term.

The Latest Market and Coronavirus News

We are less than a week away from the end of our annual July sale which features Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, Wild Alaskan Halibut and Jumbo New England Scallops – all discounted by roughly 33%.

The reception has been overwhelming and some customers have asked how we can sell seafood of such quality at such a reduced price.

The answer to that question is that in years past we would need to negotiate with our suppliers starting in March and guarantee them extra volume in exchange for a good price. This year, they are calling us. With restaurants running, at best, at 50% capacity, there is plenty of product available and it needs to be sold. Please come in and take advantage!

Speaking of sales, mark your calendars on 8/25, 8/26 and 8/27 when we run our end of summer CRAB CAKE SALE. Prices for crab cakes will be reduced to $8.25, $8.26, and $8.27 each as opposed to the regular price of $12.99. There is no purchase limit, and yes, they do freeze well.

We have had enough inquiries about Maryland Jumbo Lump crabmeat that it’s worth explaining the situation. The crab population in the Chesapeake is good and watermen are catching plenty of hard shell and soft-shell crabs. Prices are slightly higher this year, but the quality has been outstanding. Crabmeat is another story. The challenge with crabmeat is that there are few people available to pick the crabs. Seasonally, migrants from Mexico are allowed into the U.S. to pick the crabs. Our understanding is that, this year, the government did not issue enough visas. The onset of the virus and the ensuing travel restrictions also played a part.

Additionally, even if migrant workers were able to get here, it’s very difficult to socially distance while picking crabs. Furthermore, most of the pickers are housed in large open dormitories, where the virus could spread in no time. So as not to repeat the scenarios in meatpacking plants earlier this year, the decision was made to limit picking in favor of maintaining people’s health. While we always try to have Maryland Jumbo Lump in stock, we are asking you to be a little flexible as sometimes we can only get crabmeat from Virginia, North Carolina or the Gulf of Mexico. This situation won’t resolve itself this year, but at least there should be a healthy population of crabs in the bay going forward.

As we try to create a new “normal” in Potomac, we would like to advise you of a number of protocols which we intend to keep in place long after this crisis moves on.

  1. We believe that home delivery and curbside pickup are here to stay. You are all busy, and we are happy to accommodate your needs. If you are short on time just order online or order over the phone and we will deliver your order ($75 minimum) or bring it out to your car (no minimum).
  2. We will fastidiously wash our hands and use hand sanitizer. As much as we would like to continue the practice of gloves, once the threat of the pandemic is mitigated, we feel it makes better sense for the planet to eliminate the practice. Too much plastic waste!
  3. We will keep the wiping and sanitizing of common touch points in place long after the virus is gone. While we have never had any sanitation issues with the health department – we just passed inspection this week with flying colors – we are now accustomed to obsessively cleaning with hospital grade sanitizer, which will continue.
  4. We still check the temperature of every staff member daily and will continue the practice into the future. There are a lot of us, and a lot of you, and it makes sense to ensure that no flu, severe cold or any other fever causing illness enters our workspace – at least not from our end.

We are still feeding the health care providers at Suburban Hospital and first responders at the five local fire stations, albeit on a reduced schedule. The kitchens in the fire stations had been closed over the past few months due to Covid-19, so outsourcing meals was critical to them. They recently reached out and told us they now have access to their kitchens, so we could stop the deliveries. We told them we would like to continue on a monthly basis for the foreseeable future and they were delighted. We want to thank all of you who have helped make this possible. If would like to help with the continued effort, you may do so HERE.

We have been fortunate to have hired five part-time staff members over the past year – all local high school students – Lia, Nikka, Claire, Sebastian and David. We have enjoyed having them behind the counter and appreciate their service. Frankly, we could not have handled the surge in business over the past few months without them. Sadly, for us they will be leaving soon to go off to college, and we wish them all the best of luck.

As a result of their departure, we are in need of one full-time staffer and possibly one part-timer as well. We pay well above the county minimum wage, offer vacation pay and health insurance and provide a fun, safe place to work. Previous food experience is helpful but not a requirement. If you know of anyone who is looking for work and might be a good fit for us, please send them our way!

Finally, we’d like to share a moment which was very special to our customer service rep, Lia Papageorge. Lia, a senior at Winston Churchill High School, was the captain of the Churchill’s women’s basketball team this year, which made it all the way to the state semifinals before the season was terminated. Ted Leonsis, Market customer and owner of the Wizards and Capitals, was kind enough to spend a few minutes with Lia last week and urged her to follow her passion as she heads to the University of Michigan in the fall. Congratulations, Lia!

Summer Seafood

When the dog days of summer arrive here in Maryland, the heat is on! It’s only natural to want to eat lighter and spend less time thinking about cooking during the summer months. Grilling, salads, and refreshing beverages come to mind when we think about what to have for dinner.

Seafood is one of the easiest and most versatile proteins you can prepare at home. There are so many types of seafood out there that it’s fun to try new things. Think seafood stew, fish tacos, grilled fish, blackened fish, shrimp kebabs, shellfish like clams & mussels, scallops and lobster. Not to mention the light, flaky fish like cod, tilapia, haddock or the meatier, richer fish like salmon, trout, seabass and swordfish. It’s important to know how to buy fish and understand what you are getting. Our fish monger, Junior is always happy to make a suggestion and tell you what just came off the boats. We pride ourselves on our great selection of the freshest seafood delivered to us daily for you to create satisfying and healthy seafood meals at home. We will be happy to make wine pairing suggestions for your seafood dinner as well!

If you need some fun ideas, we’ve included a few of our favorite summer seafood recipes here. They are all light, really easy to prepare and delish!

Fish Tacos-

https://www.skinnytaste.com/cod-fish-tacos/

Grilled Swordfish-

https://thestayathomechef.com/grilled-swordfish/

Mussels-

https://www.dishofftheblock.com/Recipes/MUSSELMANIA

Shrimp Ceviche-

https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/shrimp-ceviche/

Cod with Fresh Tomatoes-

https://www.emp180weightloss.com/cherry-tomato-cod/

Steamed Clams-

https://whatsgabycooking.com/steamed-clams-with-garlic-and-chives/

Lobster Rolls-

https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a28510797/best-lobster-roll-recipe/

After you try these recipes, let us know which was your favorite!

Photo: What’s Gaby Cooking| Gaby Dalkin

Grains Are Good!

Potomac Market River Falls Grain Bowl BarWhat’s new at the Market? Our new Grain Bowl Bar!

Think Poke Bar, but with a variety of warm vegetables and proteins piled high on your favorite healthy grain and finished off with a sprinkle of this and a drizzle of that. Just what you’re craving during the winter months and beyond. And don’t worry, our Poke Bar isn’t going anywhere!

Building on the popularity of our Poke Bar and the trend of customizable, healthy bowl meals, we realized that we were uniquely poised to deliver the type of meals you are hungry for. With a new display case in place (look for it in the self-serve soup area), we set out to fill it with favorites from the kitchen that represent a variety of flavors, colors and textures. Offering such a wide assortment that one day your Grain Bowl can lean Mexican (with quinoa, grilled chicken, grilled vegetables, cucumber, tomato, corn and chipotle vinaigrette), the next day Harvest (with farro, butternut squash, roasted beets, balsamic mushrooms, pickled onions, feta, shrimp and honey mustard dressing) and the day after that Asian (with brown rice, cauliflower rice, roasted sweet potato, shredded greens, edamame, chopped scallions, grilled salmon and carrot ginger dressing) . You get the picture? Let your imagination be your guide.

The Grain Bowl Bar will be self-serve and priced by weight. You are invited to enjoy as much or little as you like.

We expect to have it ready by February 1st and will surely make an announcement via Instagram, Facebook, e-blast and on our website so you don’t miss it. #RFgrainbowl

 

 

 

Beef at The Market

Best Beef Potomac Market River FallsWe strongly believe that the industrialized food system in America is broken, with the greatest culprit being beef and pork raised in CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) or Feed Lots.

CAFOs are horribly inhumane to the animals and incredibly destructive to the environment. While they are very efficient and keep the cost of meat low, it is a little known fact that CAFOs contribute more to the destruction of the ozone layer than do all of the cars and trucks on the road combined.

In addition, the animals are given large amounts of growth hormones so that they can be brought to market sooner and are given daily doses of antibiotics to ensure that their crowded living conditions don’t lead to illness. We don’t eat factory meat at home and it is against our principles to sell it in our Market.

We believe grass fed is best and the reason is simple… an animal’s diet has a direct impact on the nutritional value of the product.

For example, the meat from cattle that eat only grass contains two to three times the amount of CLAs (Conjugated Linoleic Acids) compared with grain-finished beef. CLAs are healthy fats associated with reduced cancer risk, reduced cardiovascular disease risk, and better cholesterol levels. Grass fed meat is leaner, and lower in saturated fat and cattle raised on grass are less likely to be given hormones and antibiotics. Grass-fed beef has also been found to have a healthier ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.
ALL of our meat is pasture raised and grass fed (some of it is finished on grain), humanely raised, free of hormones, steroids or antibiotics while being intensely flavorful, nicely marbled and super tender!

The truth of the matter is, meat from cows that graze freely on grass for their entire lives is the best for your health and the for health of our planet and both of those things are very important to us.

Yes, it is more expensive as family farms are not as efficient as factory farms, but your health and the health of your family is priceless.

We source our beef from:

Meyer’s Ranch in Montana
Visit their website @ https://www.meyernaturalangus.com

Strube Ranch in Texas
Visit their website @ https://www.struberanch.com