By Meg Butterworth
It’s September. Summer vacation has ended and it’s back to school, back to work, back to daycare! Don’t get too sad though. September in Seattle can often be the best month of the year in terms of weather, which makes strolling through your neighborhood farmer’s market a pleasure the whole family can enjoy!
The mantra of “support your local farmer” certainly rings loud and clear in Seattle. It seems that on just about any given day you can find a farmer’s market happening somewhere in the city and its surrounding suburbs. Farmers travel a fair distance to set up shop and display their bounty of colorful produce. In addition to produce, local bakeries tempt your sweet tooth with mouth watering sweets and fresh breads. Canned goods full of the summers harvest are neatly jarred and decorated ready to find a home in your cupboard for the fall and winter months. Handmade pastas, smoked fish and meats, jellies and jams, flowers, oils and vinegars, and ice cream, ice cream, ice cream! You can find all of this and much more at any one of our neighborhood farmer’s markets.
Two markets that I frequent with my kids are the Wallingford and Phinney Farmer’s Markets. Both are relatively small markets (when compared to the Ballard or the U-District’s markets) which is one reason why I enjoy them. Not having to fight my way through crowds and keep a tight grip on my children’s tiny hands makes for a much more relaxing outing.
The Wallingford Farmer’s Market takes place on Wednesdays from 3:30-7pm starting at the end of May and going through to the end of September. A few rows of stalls are set up in one of the lower fields of Wallingford’s Meridian Park, at the corner of Meridian Ave. N. and N. 50th St. The trees bordering the market and the grass underfoot (instead of asphalt) provide welcome shade and a soft place to rest while sampling some of your purchases on warm days. If you support local musicians as well as food, you can enjoy songs from several bluegrass, folk and string bands that come to entertain market goers. Free your toddlers from their strollers to wiggle and wobble to the music! Further entertainment for your kids can be found at the nearby Meridian Park Playground where they can work off some of the sugar from all of those baked goods and ice-cream.
Another appealing feature about this market is that they have market tokens! Since I rarely carry cash, I don’t have to frantically seek out an ATM machine in order to purchase goods. I simply find the token stand, tell them how much I intend to spend at the market, hand over my debit card, have them charge it for said amount and then take a handful of tokens which I can use in place of cash with market vendors. Genius! The kids love it and always ask to be the keeper of the tokens so they can track how many have been spent and how many are left. Hands on learning at its best!
The Phinney Farmer’s Market is roughly the same size as the Wallingford Market and can be found in the upper parking lot of the Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA) along Phinney Ave. and the corner of 67th Street. The market is open on Fridays from 3:00-7:00pm and runs from May to October. You can find many of the same produce and goods here as you can at the Wallingford Farmer’s Market, with the exception of Verraci Pizza. My kids and I enjoyed a couple of slices at the Phinney Market but did not see a stand at the Wallingford Market. Live music is also provided and often times chairs are set up for folks to sit down and listen to some easy going tunes.
I will always remember convening at the Phinney Market one sunny summer day with my PEPS group. After buying a vat of raspberries and big bag of fresh Rainier cherries we plopped ourselves down near the make shift stage. The kids provided some entertainment of their own while dancing to the music with their red stained hands and cheeks. Like the Wallingford Market there is a playground. Built for the Phinney Neighborho od PreSchool Co-op, it is geared towards young children. Although much smaller than the Meridian Playground it is enclosed so it offers a safe place to play separated from the hub hub of the market. For the older, and more adventurous children, there are slides set up on the hillside just below the market. The steepest of which makes me have to close my eyes at times as children speed fearlessly down it!
Market Tokens are not sold at the Phinney Market but there is a conveniently located ATM machine.
No matter which market you go to, you can find food and entertainment for children of any age. Be sure to go soon though as both markets will end by October!
About the Author
Meg Butterworth lives in NW Seattle with her husband and two children. She’s been a part of the PEPS community for almost nine years. WOW! When she has a couple of kid free hours she enjoys writing, exploring Seattle, and enjoying a couple of beverages with her life line of fellow Mom friends.