The Little Market That Could

Photo: Pallavi Chandra

Pallavi Chandra and her husband grew up in India where they always ate the produce that nature and the seasons provided. Over two decades ago, their move to the United States “tantalized [them] with strawberries in December and cauliflower in July.” For many years, the couple was in awe of America’s industrial agriculture and convenience food--until the birth of two daughters restored their desire to eat foods grown locally and in season. Their expanding family drew them into the community where they began supporting local farmers in order to provide healthy food options for their children. 

Photo: Renee Comet

In 2018, Pallavi and her husband created Trishtan Foods, a small batch, high-quality food company. Trishtan believes in sourcing locally; nearly all of their fresh ingredients come from Chevy Chase Farmers’ Market. Granola, soups, dips, salads, spreads and salsas all burst with color and flavor. Their daughters Trisha and Tanya (hence the name Trishtan) have been integral to the family’s entrepreneurial journey, which started in their home kitchen.  Trishtan Foods became a vendor at Chevy Chase Farmers’ Market, and the Chandras spent weekends in the community creating, selling and learning. Haroun Hallack, who started and managed the community market over twenty years ago, was an early mentor to Pallavi. When he retired, he left the market in the capable hands of Pallavi and another vendor, Farmer Brett from EvenStar Farms. Pallavi now leads community outreach, organizes vendors, collects fees and works with the market board of directors to sustain its presence. 

“Our market is the best kept secret in DC,” Pallavi says of the organization she has also characterized as “the little market that could”. “We are very local. Almost everyone is from the DMV besides our Amish goat cheese farmers who come from Pennsylvania.” Citing a temporary relocation in 2016-17 due to school construction, Pallavi describes her ongoing efforts in helping the market reestablish some of its weakened customer base. “The pride and love for the small community and dedication to the finest produce and food brings happy customers and vendors each weekend,” she says. The sense of community, the availability of all essentials within a five-mile radius, great schools, and passionate, hardworking families are what make Pallavi’s neighborhood feel like home to her.

Photo: Renee Comet

As for Pallavi, a love for all things hyperlocal permeates every aspect of her life. Her favorite local establishments - almost all in Chevy Chase DC: Tavira for seafood, Macon Bistro and Larder for grits and biscuits, Bread and Chocolate for yummy baked goods, Periwinkle for house gifts, Comet Cloth for great kitchen textiles, Core 72, Luna Bethesda, and Park Story for clothing, Rodmans DC and Magruders DC for pantry and food, Montgomery County Thrift Store in Bethesda for welcomed surprises. 

Chevy Chase Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday from 9am-1pm at Lafayette Elementary School, Washington DC.

Trishtan is based in Chevy Chase, MD. All products are available for purchase on Saturdays at Chevy Chase Farmers’ Market in Chevy Chase, DC. The fava bean dip, pea pesto and hummus are also available at Rodman's Gourmet Grocer in Washington DC.