Summer is slow to arrive in the Pacific Northwest but it’s here now and that means farmers’ market season is in full swing. We count ourselves lucky in Seattle to have over a dozen markets operating in peak season and on any given day there is probably a farmers’ market operating within a short walk or drive from your home or office. So why not take full advantage of summer and get out and explore the city’s markets? You’ll find fresh affordable produce that’s good for your health and easy on the wallet.
Summertime is Prime for Veggies
During the winter and spring, market offerings can be lean, but in July and August, market tables are loaded with fruits and vegetables of all sorts and sizes. Of course, greens are evergreen in Seattle but this month brings a wide variety of peppers including Habanero, Thai, Serrano, Poblano, Anaheim, Cayenne, Jalapeno, Hot Wax, Pepperoncini, Hot Hungarian, Golden Dagger, Bell and more. You can also count on onions like Cippolinis and Red Torpedos from farms such as Willie Greens Organic Farm, Alvarez Farms and Nash’s. Got a sweet tooth? You won’t go hungry as vendors like Mair Farm-Taki, Tonnemaker Farms and Tiny’s bring beautiful plums, melons, berries, apples, cherries and peaches to market.
Tips from Chefs at Farmers’ Markets
If you’re struggling with what to do with your recently purchased bounty of produce, many of the area farmers’ markets offer up free chef demos where you can watch the pros put together simple, yet tantalizing dishes that highlight the fresh fare of the day. If you happen to miss the demo, most farmers’ markets will post the recipes on their websites for easy reference. For instance, one market posted a recipe for a Panzanella salad by Chef Ethan Stowell that was made with juicy tomatoes from Billy’s, sweet cucumbers from Local Roots and onion and garlic from Alvarez Farms. Another recipe featured a Watermelon Gazpacho by Chef Jason Franey of renowned Seattle restaurant, Canlis. The Gazpacho featured perfectly picked watermelon, ripe and juicy heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers all procured from stalls right inside the market.
Have Your Thanksgiving Pie in Mind While You Browse
One Seattle farmers’ market brought in an area expert to show market goers how to take the ripe, Pacific Northwest peach to an altogether new level. Eschewing the traditional way of baking a peach pie, this peach pro cut the stone fruit longitudinally and placed the peaches right on a nice, hot grill. As the peaches cook up, the crust was prepared. Once it was determined that the peaches had reached the ultimate temperature, they were added into all of the fixings for a caramelized pie that can only be created by the magic of first preparing the peaches on the grill.
If these dishes have your mouth watering and you’re looking for a market near you, stop by one of these bustling hubs below and start filling your basket with some of the freshest late summer produce in the area.
Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance
Pike Place Market
Queen Anne Farmers Market
Ballard Farmers Market
Jenise Silva is a freelance writer in Seattle who has studied culinary, visual and performing arts. She penned the financial planning guide Women & Money, and has been writing about food and the arts for a number of years. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.