Explore Washington D.C.

Bounty Hunting

One of the best ways to discover this city’s true “nature”? Wander through some of its many markets, shopping tote and camera at the ready.

In its 35th year, Maryland’s largest farmers market draws 8,000-plus visitors on peak days. Popular items sell out, so arrive early to browse the full delivery from nearly 100 local farms and vendors. Find just-plucked produce beside seafood, meats, cheese and pickles spiced with the area’s famed Old Bay seasoning. Some see the market as buffet, thanks to burritos, “pit beef” (Baltimore-style BBQ) sandwiches and wood-fired pizza. Jewelry, pottery and stained glass make nifty souvenirs. Sun., 7 a.m.-noon, Holliday & Saratoga sts. www.promotionandarts.com

The city’s only year-round farmers market is also a Charles Village social event. Neighbors catch up on local news, as vendors tout their products, whether sweet peas from Gardeners Gourmet or spice blends from Curry Shack. Terunesh Kassa Ray peddles her Ethiopian dishes (think piquant lentil spreads, fresh tomato stews) made at home with market ingredients. Also for sale: soaps, coffee beans and jewelry. Sat., 7 a.m.-noon, E. 32nd & Barclay sts. www.32ndstreetmarket.org

In Federal Hill, culture meets cuisine at Baltimore Museum of Industry’s waterside market. Under a pavilion, tables fill with tasty merchandise—heirloom vegetables and fresh lemonade plus pies, breads and sandwiches. Picnic benches make prime perches for savoring the Inner Harbor view and a heaping bowl of Kilby Cream’s “Oriole Chirp” (orange-flavored ice cream studded with bits of dark chocolate). Sat., 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 1415 Key Hwy. www.thebmi.org/page/bmi_farmers’_market

Some say this downtown destination reflects the “real” Baltimore. Established in 1782 on land donated by Revolutionary War hero General John Eager Howard, Lexington is one of the oldest continuously running markets in the world. In early days, farmers rolled in on Conestoga wagons. Now two large buildings house 140 merchant stalls hawking everything from produce and candy to soul food and perfume. Local faves: Faidley’s crab cakes and Berger cookies (vanilla-flavored disks slathered with chocolate fudge). A dining area allows for eating in, and musicians play at lunchtime Friday and Saturday. Mon.-Sat., 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., 400 W. Lexington St. www.lexingtonmarket.com

Charm-seeking locavores gather at Broadway Square in the heart of this historic seaport. Only in its second year, the outdoor market has 200-year-old reminders of earlier incarnations—stall numbers etched into the street curbs. The 40-plus vendors offer local, often organic, vegetables, jams, salsas and skin care products as well as ready-to-devour “kettle korn,” waffles and panini. Just steps away, find narrow streets lined with shops and restaurants, where chefs tailor their dishes to the nearby market produce. Sat., 7:30 a.m.-noon, Broadway & Thames St. www.fellspointfarmersmarket.com