Four years and nearly 600 posts later, Mixed Greens blog is still going strong. Sally and I continue to encourage everyone to eat locally and live sustainably. My commitment to the local food movement began with a weekly trip to the farmers market. Every Saturday morning, now year-round, Charlie and I do much of our weekly grocery shopping at the farmers market. We’ve been going to the University Farmers Market for as long as it’s been open — at least 15 years — have met some of our best friends there, know the vendors by name and it’s no surprise to me that it was named one of the top 10 Farmers Markets in the US by the Huffington Post. Many of our out-of-town guests have been dragged out of bed on Saturday morning to accompany us and most are delighted with the friendly atmosphere and incredible array of local food and flowers.
Seattle has at least 13 markets throughout the city. Seven of those markets are part of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance and are food and farmer-only markets, meaning no crafts, flea markets, non-food businesses or wholesalers. Two are open year-round, University District on Saturday and West Seattle on Sunday. Broadway opened in April, Columbia City in May and three more will open in June — Phinney, Magnolia and Lake City.
But wait. There’s an entirely different organization, seattlemarkets.org, with 4 more markets to choose from. The Fremont Market (year-round on Sunday) has more of a European street market feel with food, crafts, collectibles, imports, antiques, clothes and plenty of excellent people-watching. The Ballard Market is a traditional farmers market and is also open Sundays, year-round. I can’t wait for the Wallingford market to open next Wednesday. When our favorite tomato/strawberry vendor, Billy’s Organic, left the University market, we were devastated and could hardly imagine a summer without his tomatoes. It turns out that he switched organizations and now we can still get his wonderful produce at Wallingford, Madrona or Queen Anne (which, by the way, seems to be the only independent market not affiliated with any organization). Whew! Have I missed anyone? I haven’t even begun to list the markets on the Eastside.
These days you can find me most Saturdays at the Orcas Island Farmers Market, often chatting with my old friend Brenda Harlow of Blackdog Farm. There’s a great variety of small farms represented there — Maple Rock Farm is another favorite. You can also find locally made crafts and local food and drink vendors.
If you want to do just one thing to improve not only your own health but the health of our beautiful planet, start by shopping at your local farmers market. You’ll find a community that will greet you with open arms. If you come home with food that you can’t figure out how to prepare, search that ingredient on our blog and I’m certain somewhere in our 600 posts, we’ll have some good suggestions for you.
I must have passed on my love for the farmers markets to my grand-daughter, Lily. Here she is, dressed in pink, of course, selling rosemary lemonade last weekend at the Lopez Island Farmers Market. How cute is that?