From Stephanie Willis. Email her at stephanie[AT]borderstan.com, follow her on Twitter @shaw_girl.
When I go to a farmers market, I go not only for quality ingredients but for the chance to interact with the people who bring them. I love talking with the vendors about their products and hearing their suggestions for how I should prepare them. Some of my best dishes were born from a conversation with a farmers market vendor.
So it was with great sadness that I learned Jimmy Hogge of Buster’s Seafood died on Monday night. Jimmy and his wife Paige were regular fixtures at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market, sharing their fresh crab, oysters and rockfish with the masses on Sundays. Jimmy was the epitome of a true fisherman who loved sharing his knowledge with others.
The first time I approached their stand, I was in search of crab meat for a crab cake recipe I wanted to try. I had never bought fresh crab meat before, so I was unsure of what to get. Not being a huge seafood eater, crab was never high on my shopping list. And truth be told, I was a bit wary of buying fish from a farmers market.
Having recently moved from Charlotte (which was a farmers market desert back then), buying meat and seafood at an open air market just seemed risky to me. I think Jimmy could sense my apprehension because he gave me a half-smile and asked if I was looking for anything in particular. I told him about my crustacean culinary plans and he nodded towards his containers of lump crab meat. When I asked him about the different kinds of crab meat, he was more than happy to give me a quick tutorial. He also gave me suggestions for my crab cakes and offered to hold onto my crab meat until I was ready to leave the market.
Jimmy and Paige both helped me to slowly get over my trepidation and I enjoyed many fine meals thanks to their fantastic seafood. This is my own little Jimmy story, but I’m sure there are thousands more out there. I hope he knew what a wonderful presence he was at the market and how much many loyal market shoppers will miss him.
Ann Yonkers and Bernie Prince wrote beautiful tributes to Jimmy on the FreshFarm Markets website and there will be a memorial for him this Sunday at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market. If you’ve ever bought some of Buster’s fantastic seafood, consider stopping by on Sunday to pay your respects to a beloved member of the market.
And please, feel free to share your stories of Jimmy in the comments below.