Seattle’s Farmers Markets

Another thing that I love about summer besides grilling, is the abundance of local neighborhood farmers markets that sprout throughout the city. Search here to find the market closest to you. In the past few weeks Capitol Hill and Wallingford have ushered theirs in, while Queen Anne and a few other start up in June. I love farmers markets for what they are; a chance to get great stuff from our local neighbors, support the community, and best of all, be outside!

What’s great about all the farmer’s markets around town is that each of Seattle’s distinct neighborhoods have their own. Live in Columbia City? You’re good. Phinney Ridge? Of course. Magnolia? Another reason to never leave your enclave. They roll throughout the summer and you’ll pretty much be able to go to a farmer’s market every day of the week at almost every hour of the day. Don’t believe you could get fresh local produce from a farmer at 11am on a Tuesday? Go to Pike Place Market.

I also love farmers markets because they truly enrich our area. Of course they are local businesses, but they also help support our local restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores. Farmers markets are pretty much the farm’s retail face. A great chance for them to showcase their goods to us, but they also supplement a large part of their income by providing produce, cheese, meats, etc to our local restaurants and food shops. The food scene around town is very insular and circular; everyone pretty much helps out everyone else, and I love it! That’s why I like going to these markets; I always feel that I’m part of something bigger, all for the quest of good food.

The funny thing about my favorite farmers markets is that my favorites are the three that are year round. The market’s in Ballard, West Seattle, and the University District are those that I most often frequent, and a big part is that they are the homebase or the places I can always turn to. I do look forward to visiting some of the seasonal markets, but I’ll always stand by the Big Three. Here are the reasons why I like them so:

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Seattle Cheese Festival – May 16 and 17

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend and you love cheese, you’d be hard pressed to find something cooler or more fun than the Seattle Cheese Festival at Pike Place Market. I’d highly suggest going.

Seattle’s venerable Pike Place Market will be hosting the 5th Annual Seattle Cheese Festival this. It’s spread over Saturday May 16 and Sunday May 17 and it’ll be a blast. I’ve gone to a couple of events in the past and have always had a really good time. The organizers have outdone themselves by having some cool stuff going on besides sampling the over 200 local, regional, and international cheese producers. There will be a fresh mozzarella making demonstration put on by DeLaurenti. Awesome. There will also chef demos throughout the weekend. Rad. And be sure to donate a couple of bucks when you’re at the Cheese Concourse; it goes to a Cheese Scholarship!

The Seattle area is predicted to get some really nice weather over the weekend, so you should make your way down to Pike Place Market with an empty stomach, ready to indulge and binge on cheese. And be patient! Pike Place Market is already busy and this event will have people coming in droves. Which means the likelihood of seeing socks with sandals and Crocs are especially high. It’ll be crowded and you’ll stand in line for cheese, but it’s all in good fun. My suggestion; truly explore the depths and nuances of Pike Place Market. Spend half an hour at Golden Age Collectibles. Walk around visit a cheese booth every now and then. Check out the craft booths. Have some more cheese. Pretty much take it all in, exhale, have a good time and enjoy being in the culinary heartbeat of our fine city.

Photo courtesy of Omar Delacruz

Eats in August


Seattle’s food scene is one of the best in the country. I don’t have much proof to that statement, but I don’t really think I’m going out on a limb with it. From our restaurants to the local ingredients and Washington wine, we have a distinct culture of food here that should to be explored and appreciated. And along those lines are some really cool events in the coming weeks that Seattle foodies would be proud of.

In the batter’s box is Pike Place Market’s Sunset Supper. This event happens on Friday, August 15th from 7:30 to 11pm. After the market closes, some of our finest restaurants in Seattle occupy the stands in the market to do their thing. What’s also cool is that it benefits the Market Foundation. Prices are $85 or $125, and get your tickets here. Bring your appetite! Seattlest had a great write up on the event, check it out.

On deck is the Pig & Pipes event in Ballard on August 23. On that particular Saturday, the Olde Pequliar will be hosting this really cool event. As the name implies there will be two roasted pigs on the menu and the pipes portion will be coming from the bagpipes. Holla. This event will be supporting Seattle’s Bravest, a charity to support the Seattle Fire Department. I found out about it on Nancy Leson’s wonderful All You Can Eat blog. The event is $15, there’ll be drink specials, and doors open at noon. As before bring your appetite.

Waiting in the dugout is the Incredible Feast. We went last year and had an awesome time. It’s in Phinney Ridge where their Farmer’s Market normally occurs, at 67th and Phinney. This event spotlights local farmers, and some of our finest local restaurants will be using the farmer’s bounty in their offerings. The Incredible Feast has been going for a few years now, and was started by Brasa‘s own Tamara Murphy. She wanted to make sure that local farmers got their due and this event is the result. It’ll be on Sunday, August 24 from 4:30 to 7:30, and it’s $65. Get tickets here. I don’t need to say it, but may as well; bring your appetite.

Happy eating and hope to see you getting full at one of these!

 

VeggieTales

Today we went to the West Seattle Farmer’s Market in search of Mangalitsa. Sadly it wasn’t to be, we were able to grab some Berkshire jowl bacon (stay tuned…). We didn’t let this deter us as this gave us an opportunity to try some new things. Farmer’s markets are always fun in that you’ll walk around aimlessly, but you’ll know you’re in for something good. Produce, meats, flowers, baked goods, etc., basically everything has a chance to be good and ultimately you’ll be supporting small local business, something we should all do.

As we strolled through the market we happened across the Stoney Plains Organic Farms spot with their beautiful array of vegetables. We stood and absorbed the whole scene, figuring out what to do. They happened to have beet greens. My friend Kendall mentioned that beet greens are edible and are excellent! With this knowledge we grabbed a bunch and thought about what else to have for dinner.

Patrick stepped in and suggested trying some kale. He made this an active endeavor to talk about other greens, like lamb’s quarter, kailan and tsoi tsim. He suggested that we try them by tearing off leaves and trying them in the raw. This was so much fun! Trying the product is always a key to creating action. We ended up getting some kailan and tsoi tsim plus a few other items.

At a farmer’s market you can learn about the food, learn about who makes it, how to prepare it, and how to enjoy it. It’s a fuller experience than just going to the grocery store and getting the same ol’ same ol’, you’re able to try something new and feel better for doing so.

Don’t forget to bring a bag. Mayor Nickels would love that.