Thursday, August 5, 2010

midsummer romp at the queen anne farmers market

blue sunglasses.  blue dress.  blueberries.

One warm summer’s evening, my daughter Annabelle and I visited the Queen Anne Farmers Market,  nestled just off Queen Anne Avenue, on West Crockett Street.  Held on Thursdays, from May through October, this quaint market features a wealth of local, organic produce, a handful of bakeries and a number of niche food vendors.  

We perused rows of stalls spilling over with luscious berries, ripe juicy stone fruit, crisp vibrant greens, and a smattering of cheese purveyors and local bakeries offering crusty loaves of bread and buttery baked goods.  The backdrop was decidedly immaculate with nary a stray napkin or wilted leaf of arugula to be found.  In its entirety, the market graces one block and an adjacent lot where temptation runs deep amongst a myriad of prepared foods ranging from clay oven pizza to do-it-yourself bicycle powered smoothies.  

After divvying up a pint of sweet, plump, local blueberries, we indulged in yeasty soft pretzel knots and deep chocolate whisky cake  from Columbia City Bakery, sampled surprisingly tasty gluten-free caprese pizza at a cooking demonstration and caught the tail end of a live Spilled Milk podcast featuring local authors, Matthew Amster-Burton and Molly Wizenberg. 
Round about six, the street was buzzing with a hungry dinner crowd, comprised primarily of families and empty nesters.  Due to prior dinner plans, we could only scope out the scene in anticipation of future visits. We paused to gawk at a quirky food truck, artfully disguised as a larger than life aluminum pig, with massive snout protruding from the grate and two giant ears pointing skyward.  Emblazoned on one side were the words,  ‘Maximus Minimus’, a reference to their housemade hot and mild barbeque sauces.  A chalkboard menu boasted all-natural pulled pork sandwiches, slaws and slices of a sweet treat dubbed sugar high pie. 

Annabelle set her sights on Parfait, a tres chic ice cream truck with a tempting array of flavors featuring locally sourced, organic ingredients.  If the steady line of ice cream hopefuls was any indication, Parfait is indeed very, very good.  With their shop on wheels making its rounds throughout the city, it won’t be long before our opinion is an educated one.

For us, the trek to Queen Anne proved a tad ambitious, particularly on a weekday afternoon.   Neighborhood farmers markets are best suited to those living nearby.  Traffic aside, it was worth the effort to witness another glowing example of our city’s growing appreciation for local, organic food and farming.

While Queen Anne may not be on your radar, most cities have one or more markets to chose from…  Shopping your local farmers market is a rewarding way to put your money where your mouth is.

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