Note Be sure to also visit the more recent photo page, University District Farmers Market Summer 2010, with an audio clip of Susan at this fabulous market.
I have been completely remiss in not trekking to Seattle’s University District to check out the farmers market, until recently. I mean, you know, how good can it be?
Instead, when I am in the Seattle area, I head out very early Saturday morning and slip into MY parking spot at the Pike Place Market (PPM) around 7:30. This is a routine that has been going on for DECADES folks, so it is not insignificant that I now alternate between PPM one week and the University District Farmers Market (UDFM) the next. I feel a little guilty, but there’s no turning back.
The University District Farmers Market, founded in 1993, is similar to other seasonal farmers markets across America, in that all of the 50+ sellers are local growers or producers. It differs from the norm, however, in not only the variety and abundance of the edible offerings (no crafts thank god!) but in the esthetically pleasing way the sellers display them. In addition, there is a palpable, buoyant energy to this year-round market that is engaging and welcoming. It’s the farmers market of your dreams!
When you start picking through a gorgeous display of gooseberries and currants, rather than yell at you, the seller flashes a winsome smile and seems genuinely happy to wax rhapsodic about the particularities of this year’s crop. If you aren’t careful, you can end up consuming way too much time just talking to the sellers.
This would not be wise, however, as The Bell goes off at 9 A.M. sharp, and most displays have customers already lined up, goods in hand, ready to pay and run. You Snooze–You Lose should be the motto at this farmers market. No one is here just to look. In fact, I recommend that you show up by at least 8:30, which gives you just enough time to formulate your game plan before the bell goes off.
Many of the growers drive 3-4 hours in the pre-dawn hours to haul their picture-perfect comestibles over the mountain pass from Eastern Washington. Look, for instance, at these difficult-to-find pie cherries I scored the first weekend of August. The Eastern Washington (Chelan) farmer had not one, but two, types of pie cherries to choose from: balotin and montmorency (95% of the sour cherries on the market), both at a whooping $9.00 a pound. I tasted each variety and managed to buy two pounds of the balotins before the hordes completely wiped out the supply. Then I zoomed back to the LunaCafe kitchen and created the best cherry crisp ever: Balotin Cherry and Lime Crisp with Toasted Almond Streusel.
The only difficulty I have at this farmers market is not buying more than we can reasonably prepare and consume in a few days. I mean, don’t you want to grab all of those radishes?
These multi-colored carrots would be dynamite in Julienne of Carrots with Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette. (I’ll share the recipe with you later.)
Have you ever seen more beautiful beets? So small, so vibrant, so tempting. And the weird thing is that I don’t even like beets. But that has to change.
I do, however, LOVE cauliflower–and look, there are four hues here: white, yellow, green, and purple. Also four hues of green beans. That far cream and purple varigated variety is called Dragon’s Tongue.
For the past three weeks, UDFM has had stunning displays of multi-colored chard. I want to live surrounded by these gorgeous crimsons, corals, and soft yellows. Next best thing is to eat them.
Oregon Cherry Growers