With Seattleites’ love of nature and precedence for healthy lifestyles, the plethora of farmer’s markets throughout the city isn’t surprising. But did you know that the bulk of our neighborhood markets (excluding the Queen Anne market which is independently managed) are run by two separate non-profits, both with very different goals and intents for the markets they run?
The first group, the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance (NFMA) are for the purists at heart who don’t want to see any Shabby Chic tables or Guatemalan handbags mixed in with their fruits and vegetables. The NFMA’s mission is “to support and strengthen Washington’s small farms and farming families” and spaces are dedicated exclusively to Washington State farmers and small food businesses. A quote from their website states “buying direct from local farmers gives us the opportunity to enjoy food that is truly in season, to hone our sense of place and our connection to the landscape we live in.” The NFMA started in the University District in 1993 (it’s the oldest and largest ‘farmers-only’ neighborhood market in Seattle) and is now comprised of the following seven markets: University (Saturday), West Seattle (Sunday), Broadway (Sunday), Columbia City (Wednesday), Lake City (Thursday), Magnolia (Saturday) and Phinney (Friday). The University and West Seattle markets are open year-round; all other markets are seasonal. Check out their website, www.seattlefarmersmarkets.org, for times and locations. Their website, by the way, is excellent, and it includes a ‘Ripe & Ready’ guide listing what is available at their markets each week, a produce calendar listing what’s in season each month, a great recipes section and an events calendar.
The second group, the Seattle Farmers Market Association, is for the adventurous at heart. Their mission is “to create a sustainable marketplace that supports [a] self reliant micro-business culture.” Billing themselves as European-style markets, they are modeled after the “vibrant and diverse European street markets which offer visitors a little bit of everything.” All markets include farm fresh produce, crafts and street food. Fremont and Georgetown also include antiques, collectibles and world imports. This group began with the Fremont market over 20 years ago and now includes the following six markets: Fremont (Sunday), Ballard (Sunday), Wallingford (Wednesday), Madrona (Friday), Georgetown (Saturday) and their newest addition, Interbay (Thursday). The Fremont and Ballard markets are open year-round; all other markets are seasonal. Check out their website, seattlefarmersmarketassociation.wordpress.com, for times and locations.