Edit ModuleShow Tags

Family Guide to Seattle Farmers Markets



 

Going to a farmers market is the most fun you can have with your kids and still end up coming home with groceries. Here are three reasons to visit your neighborhood farmers market:

The Food

Not only are there tables piled high with fresh crops from local farmers, there are also great street food vendors, so you can grab lunch or a snack while you are there. And that's not counting the fruits and vegetables that are consumed on the way home. Watch your kid get a sudden appetite for donut peaches, snap peas or some other seasonal treat. Even though you might have had plans to have some to eat later, it's hard to argue with your child eating too many fresh fruits or vegetables. And if you are in a recipe rut, a spontaneous buy at a farmer's market table is a great way to liven your routine and discover new tastes.

Vendors tend to work several markets, so you are likely to run into your favorite people in a variety of places. Some good ones: Collins Family Orchards for apples in fall and winter and cherries in spring, Alvarez Organic Farm in late summer offers an impressive variety of squash, eggplant and peppers. Nash's Organic Produce and Growing Washington always have lush displays of seasonal vegetables. Sidhu Farms has delicious berries and jam. And the frozen treats at Seattle Pops are wonderful on a hot day.

The Folks

In an era where far too much of our social interaction takes place via glowing screens, it is refreshing to have an event that causes random groups of people to gather. Not only will your kids have the chance to chat with the people who grew their food, they will also run into neighbors, former classmates, sports teammates or old friends they don't see often enough. There is usually a puppy or two to greet, and an array of strangers dressed in extraordinary ways.

There are also formal community-building things going on. University of Washington Cooperative Extension has master gardeners at tables at many farmers markets, where they can answer your gardening questions. There are earnest public servants spreading the word about the latest housing, transit or environmental policy.

The Culture

Every busy market has buskers, playing acoustic tunes spanning all manner of genres.  Alongside the farmers, there are artisans selling their colorful creations. And there are sometimes kids' activities. For example, in August several farmers markets host "zucchini races," in which kids race cars they make by attaching wooden wheels to summer squash, provided by farmers. (Races take place 4 p.m. to 6p.m. Aug. 1 at Columbia City Neighborhood Farmers Market, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 9 at Lake City Neighborhood Farmers Market, and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 17 at Phinney Neighborhood Farmers Market.)

Here's a list of Seattle's farmers markets. And Puget Sound Fresh has this longer list including markets outside Seattle proper. Some are compact, some are sprawling, and they all draw on the same group of vendors, who go from market to market.

 

Year Round

Pike Place

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays

Pike Place and Pine St

Setting: The cobblestones in front of the main Pike Place Market building, otherwise known as tourism central.

Convenient to: Seattle Aquarium, Seattle Art Museum, downtown.

The sprawling and eclectic downtown shopping experience that is Pike Place Market got its start in 1907, as a spot where local farmers gathered to sell to city dwellers. The farmers' market still continues. You can find farmers selling their wares on the cobblestones any day of the week, but the big day for Farmers markets is Saturdays.

 

Ballard

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays

22nd Ave NW and NW Market St

Setting: A couple of closed-off city streets.

Convenient to: Ballard, Northwest Seattle

Unless it is raining, this big Sunday street market is crowded, with people sitting on curbs to eat lunches. Somehow buskers find spots to fit in between the crowds going here and there.

 

University District

9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays

University Way NE between 50th & 52nd

Setting: A closed-off city street.

Convenient to: Burke Museum, University of Washington, Northeast Seattle

Like the Ballard market, this is a big market, but it has a calmer vibe. Maybe that's because it's on a wide street, while Ballard's is on a couple of narrow ones.

 

Capitol Hill

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays

Broadway Ave E and E Pine St

Setting: The brick plaza and sidewalk near Seattle Central College

Convenient to: Capitol Hill, Cal Anderson Park, light rail

Some neighborhood farmers markets are temporary landmarks, dropping a nugget of activity and color in an otherwise tranquil neighborhood. Capitol Hill farmers market is more like some activity and color to match all the other activity and color in its vibrant surroundings. As a shopping experience, it's mellow — plenty of produce and treats, but not a lot of crowds and buskers.

 

West Seattle

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays

California Ave SW & SW Alaska

Setting: Closed-off streets.

Convenient to: West Seattle

Another big, bustling, neighborhood market. West Seattle regulates busking a little more tightly than Ballard does, keeping performers to designated spots, for example, and so while you can expect musical accompaniment on a nice day, it won't be quite the free-forall you'd find going on in the other market.

 

Seasonal

Seattle City Hall Plaza

1o a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, May 29 through Oct. 9

600 4th Ave

Setting: City Plaza

Convenient to: Central Library, Downtown YMCA, Downtown

This is one of four small satellite markets that Pike Place Market runs around the urban core. The timing is directed at a lunch crowd of downtown workers, but if your summer wanderings take you to, say, the Central Library, this is an ideal spot to stop for a snack or lunch.

 

Columbia City

3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, May 9 through Oct. 10

37th Ave S & S Edmunds St

Setting: Closed-off city street.

Convenient to:  Light rail, Columbia City, Southeast Seattle

This medium-sized market has buskers and kids activities and is a packed neighborhood hub through the summer.

 

Denny Regrade

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, May 29 through Sept. 25

Seventh Avenue and Lenora St

Setting: The plaza in front of the Amazon Spheres

Convenient to: That frenzied, traffic-plagued area north of downtown sometimes known as Amazonia.

Denny Regrade is one of four small satellite markets Pike Place Market runs for downtown lunch crowds — in this case, Amazon workers.

 

First Hill

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays, June 1 through Sept. 28

Ninth Ave and University St

Setting: Plaza at Virginia Mason Medical Center

Convenient to: Virginia Mason, First Hill

One of four small satellite markets Pike Place Market runs around the urban core. This one is at First Hill, sometimes known as "Pill Hill" because it has a cluster of hospitals and other medical facilities. If you have to go to Pill Hill on a summer Friday for an appointment, or to visit a loved one, a stop at the farmers market is a great addition to your day.

 

Lake City

3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays, June 7 through Oct. 4

NE 125th St and 28th Ave NE

Setting: In front of a community center, next door to a library and a park.

Convenient to: Lake City, Matthews Beach

This medium-sized market is well set to enhance the summer of neighborhood kids. The Seattle Public Library's Lake City branch, situated next door, runs story times at the market at 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. The market itself boasts activities for kids, and live music. Plus, kids can let off steam at the playground in next door Albert Davis Park.

Madrona

3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays, May 18 through Oct. 12

Martin Luther King, Jr. Way and E. Union St.

Setting: Parking lot of Madrona Grocery Outlet

Convenient to: Central District, Madrona

A medium-sized market and social hub for families on Friday evenings.

 

Magnolia

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, June 2 through Oct. 20. (Closed Aug. 5. Open Nov. 17.)

33rd Ave W and W McGraw St

Setting: Closed-off street

Convenient to: Discovery Park, Lowery  C. "Pop" Mounger Pool, Magnolia.

A small and mellow market with a devoted neighborhood following.

 

Phinney

3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Fridays, June 1 through Sept. 28

N 67th St and  Phinney Ave N

Setting: Upper parking lot of Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Center

Convenient to: Phinney Ridge, Greenwood, Green Lake , Woodland Park Zoo, Ballard

If the weather is decent, this medium-sized market will be packed. The nearby Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Center has a fun playground.

 

Queen Anne

3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, June 7 through Oct. 11

W Crockett St and Queen Anne Ave N

Setting: Closed-off street, parking lot of Queen Anne Pool.

Convenient to: Queen Anne Pool, Queen Anne

This busy, medium-sized market is the only farmers market in Seattle that is not part of one of three larger entities: Pike Place Market, the Seattle Farmers Market Association (which runs Ballard, Madrona and Wallingford markets) or Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets. Instead, this market is proudly independent, and works with a board of people from the neighborhood.

 

South Lake Union

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays, May 31 through Oct. 11

410 Terry Ave N

Setting: Urban plaza

Convenient to: REI, Museum of History and Industry

This is one of four small markets Pike Place Market holds in spots around the urban core, directed at an office lunch crowd — in this case, Amazon workers.

 

Wallingford

3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, May 16 through Sept. 26

Meridian Playground, Meridian Ave. N and N 50th St

Setting: Park

Convenient to: Wallingford, Green Lake

This medium-sized market is situated in a spacious park, featuring a fine playground, a gazebo, a thriving P-Patch, and an orchard dating from the beginning of the 20th century. It is very pleasant to eat market treats on the lawn, in the shade of a century-old fruit tree.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

7 scenic Seattle-area spots for fall foliage, family photos

Time to take the kids to a farm or pumpkin patch

Here are some tips on where to go (divided by main attractions), when to go, what to bring and what not to bring.

7 Best Family Farms and Petting Zoos around Seattle

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Family Events Calendar

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags