On June 21, Pike Place Market’s annual farmers market opens on Pike Place, continuing a tradition begun in August 1907, when farmers gathered in the newly founded public marketplace to sell fresh produce to Seattle citizens from the back of their wagons. Today, Washington farmers continue to sell at the Market year-round, 362 days a year.
During the bountiful growing season, the Market operates a designated farmers market on the street of Pike Place, Friday-Sunday, though farmers are also at the Market both inside the Main Arcade and outside on Pike Place on other days of the week.
In addition to the farmers market on Pike Place, the Market also operates three weekly Express farmers markets at City Hall Plaza, in South Lake Union at 410 Terry Ave North, and new this year, Occidental Park in Pioneer Square.
“The farmers participating in the Market’s year-round farm program and summer farmers markets play an essential role in the health of the Market community and the greater Downtown neighborhood,” said Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority Executive Director Ben Franz-Knight. “These farmers provide Seattle residents the option to buy fresh, abundant and in-season produce in a variety of locations, days and hours, helping to build healthier lives.”
“We are excited for the Express Market to come to Pioneer Square,” said Leslie Smith, Executive Director of the Alliance for Pioneer Square. “The option to buy fresh, local produce and flowers over the summer is a perfect complement to all of the exciting changes taking place in the neighborhood.”
Some Market farmers, like Bill and Mary Kay Razey of Naches in eastern Washington, belong to a farming tradition that dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. Bill’s great-grandfather bought 160 acres in 1902. Bill’s father, Dan, and his brother, Glen, continued to farm the land, converting it to fruit orchards in the 1930s. Bill and his wife, Mary Kay, began selling at Pike Place Market in 1982 and continue to grow the organic cherries the farm is known for as well as apples, peaches, plums, grapes and tomatoes. This year, shoppers can find the Razeys’ cherries at the Pike Place and Pioneer Square farmers markets.
Other farmers have begun new family traditions, such as the Lee family of Lee’s Fresh Produce. Lue and Pha Lee planted their first vegetables in the family garden. Soon, what began as a hobby grew into a business, and in 2003, Pha began selling her produce at the Market. In five years, Lee’s Fresh Produce grew from five to nearly 40 acres. Pha and Lue’s children, Christy and Xiong, now run the successful family business, which sells produce to farmers markets and grocery stores throughout Seattle. Their growing philosophy is dedicated to traditional farming methods that sustain the soil and create delicious vegetables of high nutritional quality and vibrant color that are prized by local cooks and chefs.
These and many other Market farmers will bring their seasonal produce to Pike Place Market and its Express markets this summer. Market shoppers can learn new tips on preparing the season’s bounty at Chefs on the Cobblestones cooking demonstrations on Sundays at the intersection of Pike Place and Stewart St. Chef Jack Speiss of the Market’s own celebrated French restaurant, Le Pichet, will kick off the demos on Sunday, June 23 at 12 pm.
Pike Place Market Farmers Market Schedule
Farmers Market on Pike Place
June 21 – September 29
Friday-Sunday, 9 am – 5 pm
Beginning June 21, farmers sell their produce on the street of Pike Place. On Sundays, certain blocks of Pike Place are closed to vehicle traffic, creating a pedestrian thoroughfare for farmers market shoppers.
City Hall Plaza
June 18-October 29
Tuesdays, 10 am-2 pm
600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
Occidental Park, Pioneer Square
June 19-October 30
Wednesdays, 10 am-2 pm
S Main St & Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
South Lake Union
June 20-October 31
Thursdays, 10 am-2 pm
410 Terry Ave. North, Seattle, WA 98109