Farmers Market Reboot

April showers bring May flowers, and Eastside farmers have been hard at work gearing up for another great market season. There is at least one farmers market in every Eastside city or region, so no more excuses about not eating your veggies!

Farmers markets have had something of a personality change in the last several years: from a place that sells produce, eggs, and meat to more of a county fair atmosphere that includes nonfarm items like kettle corn, snow cones, artisan jewelry, frog aquariums, and hot dogs. While none of those newer additions is necessarily bad, some argue that they detract from the real point of a farmers market — namely, a place where farmers can sell their produce directly to consumers.

“Every food dollar you spend, you could be impacting the farmers that are 20 minutes away from you.”

In a recent conversation with Meredith Molli, owner and farmer at Goose & Gander Farm in Carnation and co-owner of La Medusa restaurant in Columbia City, she brought up the idea that even though most of us would probably claim to care about locally sourcing our food, the reality is that our support has been reduced in recent years to lip service. Consumers tend to check off the “local food” box because they showed up at a farmers market, without paying attention to whether they purchased kettle corn or carrots. Molli wants to encourage local eaters (er, all of us) to rekindle our commitment to locally grown produce, and makes the following suggestions for how to get back on the wagon.

Make the market a priority. Incorporate the local farmers market into your grocery-shopping schedule.

Stop at the market first. If you know you’ll be going to the market and a grocery store on the same day, purchase produce at the farmers market first.

Get to know the farmer. Ask what is freshest, what products have a short season, how they would prepare a certain item, where their farm is located, what challenges they face?

Remember that the farmer probably got up at 3 or 4 in the morning to harvest, clean, and pack those vegetables; then drove to the market location; carried products from the truck; set up the stand; and then spent the remainder of the market on their feet. And a final thought from Molli: “Every food dollar you spend, you could be impacting the farmers that are 20 minutes away from you. Use those dollars according to how you feel about local farmers. People have so many opportunities to make a positive impact, and they may not even realize it.”


 

Eastside Farmers Markets

 

Bellevue Farmers Market
“Cultivating Farms, Growing Community”
3-7 p.m. Thursdays, May 18-Oct. 12,
Bellevue Presbyterian Church, 1717 Bellevue Way N.E.

Redmond Saturday Market
“Eastside’s Oldest Market”
from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays,
May 6-Oct. 28, 7730 Leary Way N.E.

Kirkland Wednesday Market
“The Best Farmers Market on Seattle’s Eastside”
2-7 p.m. Wednesdays, June 1-Sept. 27, Marina Park.

Carnation Farmers Market
3-7 p.m., Tuesdays, May-October,
Stossel Avenue N.E. and N. Bird St.

Little Brother Farmers Market
Pop-up Market on May 13; 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturdays, June 3-Oct. 13,
456 Central Way, Kirkland.

21 Acres
Year-round Farm Market, Wed.-Sat.,
13701 N.E. 171st St., Woodinville.

Woodinville Farmers Market
“Eat Local, Eat Fresh, Eat Well”
9 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturdays, May 6-Sept. 30,
DeYoung Park, 13680 N.E. 175th St.

Bothell Farmers Market
Noon-6 p.m., Fridays, June 2-Sept. 29,
located at Country Village in Bothell.

Issaquah Farmers Market
9 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturdays, May 6-Sept. 30,
at Pickering Barn across from Costco, 1730 10th Ave. N.W.

Renton Farmers Market
“Local Farmers, Fresh Food, Friendly People”
3-7 p.m. Tuesdays, June 6-Sept. 26, at Piazza Park.

North Bend Farmers Market
4-8 p.m. Thursdays,
June 8-Sept. 7, at Si View Park.

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