Last summer, Assistant Innkeeper Sarah volunteered at the Queen Anne Farmer’s Market, one of several in Seattle’s thriving neighborhoods. She loved that shopping there shortened the number of steps between her and the people who plant, feed, protect, and harvest the bounty of Washington State.
So what happens in the winter? Many local farmers’ markets run June through October because there isn’t enough profit to be made in the months where frost starts creeping up the vine. But a few venues keep it coming year ‘round, as Sarah reports:
Closest to 9 Cranes Inn is the Ballard Farmers’ Market on Sundays, located 1.5 miles west of the inn, and running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can easily spend the entire morning losing yourself in the aromas of lavender and salmon chowder. Take your loved ones and plan to stay a while: you’ll be in the heart of Ballard’s bustling center, and can find entertainment by browsing the produce, eating freshly shucked Hamma Hamma oysters, buying gifts for your artisan-loving friends, or simply exploring local shops. If you aren’t stuffed from food offerings from the stalls, there are plenty of restaurants nearby boasting exceptional fare.
Other year-round markets to visit include University District (2.5 miles away, Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Capitol Hill (5.6 miles, Sundays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Both neighborhoods offer locally owned coffee shops and restaurants when you need to take a seat. If you’d like to explore a different area a little further away, visit the West Seattle Farmers’ Market on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; then stroll Alki beach for views of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains; and check out any number of restaurants listed in West Seattle’s visitor guide.
If you just can’t handle the constant threat of rain, there’s a sort of indoor farmers’ market called Top Banana (open daily from 8am-8pm) at the intersection of 65th and 15th in the Ballard neighborhood (just 1.5 miles from us). This produce stand covers all of the bases: supporting many local farms, employing well-informed and approachable staff, offering a wide variety of affordable options, and even boasting free parking!
Top Banana Owner Jimmy tells us that they try to bring in as much local produce as possible. It gets challenging, he says, when the frosts sets in and a lot of the local produce goes into making wine, and as land is being sold to create new housing. Jimmy reports that in winter, Washington continues to produce hearty vegetables that can withstand the cold – like kale, chard, beets, leeks, and onions. Other than that, he says that we are fortunate to be so close to California, which continues to produce fresh vegetables throughout the year.
In addition to enjoying the bounty from these markets yourself, note that many of the Seattle’s Farmers Markets advocate for low-income benefits through government-funded assistance programs, such as WIC, SNAP EBT, and Senior FMNP. By accepting these forms of payment, these markets provide healthy food options for all families.