U-District Famers Market / by Kevin Swantek

One of the things I look forward to on Saturdays in Seattle is the U-District Farmers Market. Seattle actually has two farmers market associations, as well as a couple of independently run neighborhood farmers markets. The Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance (NFMA) includes: U-District, West Seattle, Capital Hill, Columbia City, Phinney Ridge, Lake City and Magnolia. The Seattle Farmers Market Association (SFMA) includes: Ballard, Madrona, and Wallingford. Other farmers markets include: Queen Anne, and Pike Place.

I am generally either heading out from my apartment around 11 a.m. (after morning coffee at Revolutions Espresso and Bakery) and walking about 2 miles (roundtrip) to the farmers market, or I am walking the 2.5 miles home from the University of Washington's IMA (Intramural Activity building), and stopping at the farmers market in between. During the beautiful Seattle summers, these walks are quite enjoyable. During the wet Seattle autumns, winters, and springs it can sometimes feel a little more like a chore.

I tend to restock up on the things I love from specific vendors, but I also try to try new vendors each time as well. My regular vendors include Samish Bay Cheese, Stokesberry Sustainable Farm, and Skagit River Ranch.

If you're not lactose intolerant, I highly recommend Samish Bay Cheese. I really enjoy their fresh mozzarella. It's pretty much my favorite thing they make. The last time I stopped by their booth I also purchased a small container of their European-style kefir. It's much more enjoyable than my experience buying store-bought kefir from major brands, but also not something I would buy every week. I also like how great Samish is about offering samples of their cheeses. They have an herb cheese that I've sampled in the past, that is really very good.

I generally buy a half dozen large organic chicken eggs, and a half dozen duck eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. The weekends I can't make it to the farmers market are very disappointing, because I'm left to buy my eggs from the grocery store. The duck eggs started out as an experiment. I saw the sign, and was curious, but also a little intimidated. For anybody who has never tried duck eggs, they are have a bigger yoke, and have a creamier taste. I will often saute yellow onions and spinach, and then scramble up a couple of duck eggs to go with. I encourage everyone to try duck eggs once. The Stokesberry booth is operated by Jerry and Janelle Stokesberry, and both come across as the two nicest people in the world.

My last must-have is bacon from Skagit River Ranch. Skagit River sells humanely raised, chemical free, organic meat. I've found it to far surpass any store bought bacon brand that I've tasted. 

 Pickled Oysters

Pickled Oysters

A few of my experimental purchases have included pickled oysters from Hama Hama Shellfish, and Hard apple cider from Rockridge Orchards & Cidery. Both purchases were a little on the spendier side, though both are really good products. I've found myself continuously harassing the woman that works the Hama Hama stand about when she'll have more pickled oysters. On my last visit this weekend, she told me they probably wouldn't have more until September. That made me a little sad.

 Outside the Box

Outside the Box

Back in June, there was a food truck called Outside the Box, that serves paleo food. It was the first time that I had seen this food truck at the U-District Farmers Market, so I tried their pork belly. I found myself satisfied by the food, but I unfortunately haven't seen this food truck back since then. Since then, I continually hope that I will see Out of the Box again. They had a brisket on the menu that I'm now desperate to taste.

 The Wobbly Stringband

The Wobbly Stringband

The Farmers Market is a great place to people watch, and to see and experience things that you might not otherwise get to in your everyday life. Buskers play music, families wander up and down the street, and a young man has even started showing up with a typewriter to sell poetry he creates on the spot for his costumers.

I've found my weekly trips to the farmers market an enjoyable way to get some walking in.