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From Market to Table: 9 Must-Visit Farmers Markets

Even if a CSA box is delivered weekly to your doorstep and your freezer is packed full of a Portlandia-like abundance of organic, free-range, shade-grown goodness, there are still dozens of reasons to explore Seattle’s better-than-ever farmers markets. Beyond the gorgeous fruits and veggies you’ll find to fill the crisper, and the locally caught salmon and grass-fed lamb ready for the grill, you’ll also encounter food trucks galore and ready-to-eat soups and pastas, as well as surprising staples like dried beans, olive oils and salt. Make it a quick trip if you want, but don’t be surprised if your kids are begging you to stay. With music, kids’ tents, activities and super-friendly vendors, each of the markets below are practically recruiting centers for Future Farmers of America.

Queen Anne Farmers Market

Seattle

Columbia City Farmers Market
Smack in the heart of the historic Columbia City neighborhood, this growing neighborhood farmers market is packed from the moment it opens with loyal customers and more than 40 vendors. Even if you live up north, make this an adventurous outing that ends in tasty treats by taking the light rail from downtown directly to the market (15 minutes each way!). Local musicians will serenade you while you chat with your kids about the curious culinary ingredients available like goat meat from Toboton Creek Farms and foraged mushrooms from Terra Fleurs.

columbia city farmers market

Your kids will love: The kids tent with face-painting and weekly activities and pulling their own grocery “wagon” (available to borrow complimentary from the info tent). Don’t miss the chance to show off your skills at the Cherry Pit Spit on July 3!

You will lovePiccola Wines will soon be sampling at the market, and selling wine on tap and in super eco-friendly bags (complete with carabiners to hook to your stroller for an evening picnic).

Columbia City Farmers Market
South Edmunds Street and 37th Avenue South
Seattle, Wa 98118
Online: seattlefarmersmarkets.org/markets/columbia_city
Dates: Wednesdays, May – October 16
Time: 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Wallingford Farmers Market
As 2012’s Farmers Market of the Year in Washington, the Wallingford market is not to be missed. In fact, considering the gorgeous setting, it may just be the best ready-to-picnic spot of the summer, so why not make an evening of it? Just bring a blanket and your family and some cash (most, but not all, vendors also accept plastic), and the market will give you all the picnic supplies you could ever need. Spend a warm summer evening underneath the shady 100-year old apple trees and let the kiddos dance to the funky musicians who gather every week while you try to enjoy your very own berry-palooza with a pint of strawberries from Tiny’s Organic Farm and a strawberry pink peppercorn balsalmic soda from Soda Jerk Soda.

wallingford-farmers-market

Your kids will love: The location of the market which is smack in the middle of the lovely, tree-filled Meridian Park. Plenty of room to roam and play equipment for those who need to get their swing on. Right next door is the Seattle Tilth Pea Patch where you can see the miracle of veggies growing in their native soil.

You will love: Weekly cooking demonstrations from 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm from amazing local chefs from restaurants like from Tilth and Revel, and getting your knives sharpened while you shop from Your Knife Sharpening Guy.

Wallingford Farmers Market
Meridian Park
4649 Sunnyside Avenue North
Seattle, Wa 98103
Online: wallingfordfarmersmarket.wordpress.com
Dates: Wednesdays, May 29 – September 25
Time: 3:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Queen Anne Farmers Market
If your go-go-go kids yawn at yet another trip to a farmers market, take them to Queen Anne, which specifically aims to please the youngest market-goers. No bored babes here! A weekly market treasure hunt will tempt your tots into meeting the farmers and taste-testing some of their delectable wares. Your kids will be excited to show you which of the 10+ different varieties of organic apples they like best. Then, as they hit the activity tent or dance their crazies out to the live music, you can grab a week’s worth of farm-fresh produce and the perfect gluten-free baguette to go with that homemade plum butter that found its way into your reusable grocery sack.

zucchini-farmers-market

Your kids will love: A new activity every week like cookie decorating with Macrina Bakery (June 13) or kid’s drum circle time (July 11) and the weekly kid-a-rific musical performance from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Get the market treasure hunt map from the community kiosk.

You will love: The ability to grab groceries and get the whole family an easy and delicious dinner from one of the many rotating food trucks (including some of Seattle’s healthiest trucks).

Queen Anne Farmers Market
Corner of Crockett Street & Queen Anne Avenue
Seattle, Wa 98109
Online: qafma.net
Dates: Thursdays, June 6 – October 31
Time: 3:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Phinney Farmers Market
Let’s be honest. After a long week, cooking dinner probably ranks pretty close to toilet scrubbing on your Friday evening’s to-do list. As for the kids, grocery shopping sounds about as fun as listening to NPR for an hour. So grab the Littles after school and head to the Phinney Farmers Market. There’s music. There are lots of gorgeous flowers, fruits and vegetables to revive your interest in feeding your family. And, there’s parking (it’s the little things, right?). Partake in the sweet summertime rite of passage with a sinfully delicious (and dairy-free) ice pop before dinner from Six Strawberries. Then grab a grass-fed steak from Olsen Farms and some gorgeous greens and organic grillables and you’ll feel like maybe making dinner together might not be such a terrible idea after all. And, if you still can’t face your stove, grab some tamales from Patty Pan Grill and call it a day!

phinney-farmers-market

Your kids will love: Putting together their own afternoon snack from the tasty produce the vendors are sampling. Raspberry-apple cider and squeaky cheese curds, anyone? Also, be sure to hit the Zucchini 500 Race on August 9th (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) where the kids can make and race their own veggie cars.

You will love: This not-too-big neighborhoody market that is super stroller-friendly. Did we mention the easy parking?

Phinney Farmers Market
Phinney Neighborhood Center (lower parking lot)
6615 Dayton Avenue North
Seattle, Wa 98103
Online: seattlefarmersmarkets.org/markets/phinney
Dates: Fridays, June 7 – October 4
Time: 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm

University District Farmers Market
Celebrating its 20th birthday this summer, the U-District farmers market is colorful, loud, busy and boisterous; so steer clear if you’re looking for a lazy weekend stroll. But don’t let the crowds keep you away; they’re here for a reason. As the oldest and biggest market in Seattle (and one of only three year-round markets), this is also a well-organized market machine (it’s gotta be, with more than 60 vendors!). In addition to vendors, there’s a summer-time food court and kid activities every week, so bring your little hooligans and get into some food-loving, farm-friendly mischief.

farmers-markets-flowers

Your kids will love: Coming early and getting a free “Happy Birthday” cupcake on June 8 from Trophy Cupcakes… more celebratory birthday events will be held the first Saturday of each month this summer.

You will love: Picking up a free parking token (for one hour at nearby UDPA lots) and watching a real live version of Iron Chef with local chefs at the uber-popular Ready, Set, Go… Cook! event on August 3.

University District Farmers Market
University Heights Center (south parking lot)
5031 University Way NE
Seattle, Wa 98105
Online: seattlefarmersmarkets.org/markets/u_district
Dates: Saturdays, year-round
Time: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Fremont Sunday Street Market
The Fremont Market is so much more than just a farmer’s market – offering a huge assortment of craft booths, flowers, farm fresh foods and entertainment; you can easily spend the entire day exploring everything! Kids will especially love the cool treasures that can be found at the Fremont Market – keep an eye out for the booths selling old badges from the American West and customizable skateboards. And, be sure to come hungry – yes, hungry – there is always a tasty selection of Seattle’s best food trucks at the Fremont Market. A tip for parents with the littlest ones – we suggest bringing a carrier or stroller to keep them out of the crowd. Check out all the details on the Fremont Market website.

fremont-sunday-market

Your kids will love: Coming to the market for delish food, kid-friendly entertainment and boat watching.

You will love: Purusing up to 180 exhibitors each week and finding a treasure (or two!) along with your Sunday dinner.

Freemont Sunday Street Market
West of the Fremont Bridge on North 34th Street
Seattle, Wa 98103
206-781-6776
Online: fremontmarket.com/FremontWelcome.html
Dates: Open year-around on Sundays… Rain or shine!
Times: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

West Seattle Farmers Market
Known as the friendliest market in Seattle, the year-round West Seattle Farmer’s Market is the perfect place to take your family to pick up some fresh, local produce, meat and cheese. There isn’t as much flare at this market in comparison to its larger year-round siblings, but their commitment to educating shoppers (including the kids!) about local products has won our heart. The West Seattle Market is also a good solution for a child who is dog-shy – there are no dogs allowed, whereas other markets are usually filled with four-legged visitors. Keep up on what’s hot for the week on their website.

strawberries-farmers-market

Your kids will love: The samples around every corner and catching a Caspar Babypants sighting (or free concert!) every now and again.

You will love: Being able to get in and out of the market with little hassle and the local farms who make the trek from Vashon Island each week.

West Seattle Farmers Market
At the West Seattle Junction, 44th Avenue Southwest & Southwest Alaska Street
Seattle, Wa 98116
Online: seattlefarmersmarkets.org/markets/west_seattle
Dates: Year-around on Sundays
Time: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Eastside

Redmond Saturday Market
If you’re on the Eastside, the Redmond Saturday Market is a must for spring and summer weekends. There are farm vendors aplenty, but there are also booths with handcrafted jewelry, stationery, art, pottery, woodworking, fabric arts and more. Your dog needs a new quilted doggie bed? Well, you can find a handmade one here. Your kiddo needs a wacky felt hat to wear at her summer camp talent show? Yup… you’ll find those too. Need to figure out what shade-loving, water-hating house plant might grow in your living room? Have no fear… the King County Master Gardeners are here each week to answer your flora-filled questions and multiple nursery vendors to shop from. All this plus music each week and a food court area, this is more than your average market and well worth the visit.

redmond-farmers-market

Your kids will love: Special theme days like Hawaiian Day (learn to hula on July 20), Pirate Day (treasure hunt on August 24) and Outer Space Day (take pictures with a Vulcan on September 14).

You will love: The Redmond Saturday Market for being open nearly all day long to fit whatever crazy nap schedule your toddler is currently holding you hostage to.

Redmond Saturday Market
Redmond Town Center (western side)
7730 Leary Way NE
Redmond, Wa 98073
424-556-0636
Online: redmondsaturdaymarket.org and on facebook
Dates: Saturdays, May – October
Time: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Issaquah Farmers Market
Another great choice for folks living outside the city, the Issaquah market is a delightful mix of produce, plants and fresh-cut flowers, and craft booths hosted by friendly local artisans. This convenient location has great parking all day which is truly miraculous considering that this busy market has more than 8,000 visitors each week. Be sure to take advantage of the many ready-made foods available here (jams, jellies, pickles, sauces, salsas and more!). As you cruise the stalls, take a few extra moments to check out some of the nonprofits and community groups who have set up booths at the market. What a great excuse to talk to your kids about what’s going on in your neighborhood and community service opportunities!

issaquah farmer's market via issaquah 360.com

Your kids will love: Buying creations from their entrepreneurial peers at Kids Day at the Market (held July 20 and August 17).

You will love: Getting all your organic goodies at the market and then popping across the parking lot to Costco to stock up on bulk TP and snacks. Don’t forget to clean out the trunk before heading out Saturday morning!

Issaquah Farmers Market
Pickering Barn (across from Costco at Pickering Place)
1730 10th Avenue Northwest
Issaquah, Wa 98027
424-837-3311
Online: ci.issaquah.wa.us
Dates: Saturdays, April 20 – October 12
Time: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

For a full listing of all Puget Sound Farmers Markets, check out Puget Sound Fresh.

Which farmers markets do you and your family frequent? Do you have a favorite vendor? Let us know in the comments section below.

–Katie Gruver

Photo credit: Wallingford Farmers Market Facebook page, Phinney Farmers Market Facebook page, Issaquah Saturday Market, Redmond Saturday Market, Queen Anne Farmers Market Facebook page, and Issaquah360.com

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