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Jul 25, 2010 09:05 AM

Farmers' market at Pike Place

even longtime seattlites do not know (or have forgotten) that there are two distinct levels of food sales at pike place market - though the majority of merchants are selling products bought elsewhere (the 'high stalls'), there are many sellers of goods (the 'low stalls'') produced by their own hands or on their own land - the market master is scrupulous with these vendors as "MEET THE PRODUCER" has been a market mantra for over 100 years. some of these merchants are there every day (cheese, sausage, hazelnuts, honey, etc.) and some are there this time of year every wednesday through sunday when they set up in pavilions on the street. of course, a shopper must wade through a zillion tourists seeking thrown fish and the original starbucks but the food products are just as fresh and shiny as at any smaller farmers' market

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  1. Thank you for this, Howard. It bears repeating.
    My habit, for decades, was to look for Pasquelina Verdi among the low stalls. Did the Verdi stall become just another high-stall reseller? or is there still a family-farm connection, or am I just confused (again).

    2 Replies
    1. re: mrnelso

      Pasqualina passed years ago. I still expect to see her. Her son Mike and his wife Shelley left Pike Place years ago because tourists don't buy produce. You can find them at West Seattle and Columbia City farmers markets as Whistling Train Farm

      1. re: Daniel

        Mike and Shelley are also sometimes at the U Dist market on Saturdays. I, too, used to buy from Pasqualina.

    2. Only thing i go to the market for... is World Spice Merchants, and the Bavarian Delicatessen. I never trust a fruit stand that has the same fruit year round, at a markup no less.

      World Spice Merchants
      1509 Western Ave, Seattle, WA

      6 Replies
      1. re: brianv78

        please reread my posting - there are REAL farmers selling home-grown produce all summer (and the rest of the year, too, for certain products) at pike place market in the same glorious variety as any other farmers' market. as for "year round", remember that (unless you live in hawaii) you have never purchased a pineapple or banana or papaya or cashew, etc., etc, from anyone EXCEPT a commercial reseller

        1. re: howard 1st

          It absolutely bears repeating as brianv78 just proved. It's sad that people don't know about the farmers stalls at the Market.

          1. re: Lauren

            I was told that by two of the vendors during the winter most is outsourced. And during the summer its packed as hell and not worth the crowds. Doesn't really make going down to the market worth it for me. But yayyyyy for you guys. o.0

            1. re: brianv78

              This summer my experience has been that Pike Place Market during peak time is only slightly more crowded then the neighborhood farmer's markets during their peak time (specifically Ballard and UDistrict). Maybe the crowds don't bother me as much, but its not as if you can't get any shopping done.

              Additionally, I agree with brianv78 that World Spice Merchants and the Bavarian Meat Delicatessen make a trip to the market worthwile regardless crowds.

              Pike Place Market
              1501 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101

              World Spice Merchants
              1509 Western Ave, Seattle, WA

              Bavarian Meat Delicatessen
              1920 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101

              1. re: Mike CP

                It is pretty awful on a Saturday afternoon, at least in the indoor area, but otherwise you only have to avoid the sidewalk outside of Starbucks.

              2. re: brianv78

                of course the winter produce is "outsourced"; if you know a local source for green goods in january, please share. the market established "high stalls" in 1910 so that seattlites would have a way to buy goodies year round. my original post was simply to point out the presence of genuine farmer/merchants there several days a week from june to october including the not-so-crowded wednesday and thursday. on weekends, the inside of the market is absolutely ridiculous but the street - where the traffic is diverted and the farmers are set up - is much more bearable

        2. I live on the Eastside, so here is my tip for when I drive into Seattle (usually I bus): If you can scoot in and buy your goodies and be out in less than an hour you can get free parking at the garage on Western, directly behind the Market. Anything over an hour you have to pay for though.

          And yes, I love the seasonal vendors as well. The sweet, soft apricots are to die for!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Zereh

            Sorry to say, the one hour free parking deal has not been offered for a couple of years now. The $5 all-day Sunday deal is off, as well.

            1. re: voodoobec

              If you really need to park at/near the Market then Costplus offers an hour or parking. Of course you will have to buy something at Costplus but it gives you a better parking value if you get something besides parking in the deal.

              On Sundays if you go between 9 and 9:30 AM you can often find street parking which is free on Sundays. It's also not as crowded at that time and the booths are set up. We have found some great, local, organic produce are very good prices. Last time it was beets with excellen greens for $2 a bunch, basil $2, carrots $2. Lot's of fresh herbs and cheaper than Whole Paycheck.

          2. Another thing to remember is that the Pike Place Market is historically preserved not only for its historical architecture and buildings (which is usually what you see in historical districts) but also for its historical uses (read: food). This is why the vast majority of businesses are owner-operated. There are a very few exceptions--for example, Starbucks, which started there, although you'll notice that that store looks nothing like any other Starbucks because they are required to have decor that fits into the historical district.

            The Market is also an amazingly cohesive and strong community--within its boundaries are many services such as a bank, barbers, dentists, and doctors. There's a child care center, a food bank, a senior center, and a sliding-scale medical clinic. They have their own security force and handle their own garbage and recycling--they don't just set out cans for the city to pick up. Market people know each other and take care of each other, much like an old-timey small town. That's why the Market "feels" like no other place and no other farmers' market.

            Pike Place Market
            1501 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101

            1 Reply
            1. re: Erika L

              And don't forget that on the first Friday of December, the Pike Place Senior Center and Climic holds a musical fundraiser called Figy Pudding. It's an open-call charoling exhibition, in which several dozen local singing groups and choruses sing on the streets and pass a hat for the seniors. The Seattle Labor Chorus, a stalwart in this event, made a Christmas CD and all proceeds go to the event. It's a hoot.