In a city where every neighborhood boasts its own farmers market, Seattle's University District Farmers Market is the magnet, the market that pulls people from all over town. Numerous publications have dubbed it one of America's best farmers markets (Travel and Leisure, Boston Globe, SheKnows, Forbes, US News, Daily Greens), but it hasn't changed the feel of this craft-free, food- and farmers-only market, held Saturdays (9am-2pm) year-round. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer, the U-District market distinguishes itself with an enormous selection of goods, from traditional crock-fermented kim chi and the highly regarded Rainier cherry, to fresh, whole salmon and a bounty of bivalves.
Seattle is always a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to produce; despite temperatures hovering in the '80s, tables at the market still overflow with the bounty of spring. Pencil-thin stalks of asparagus rest in tubs of water, while curlicues of garlic scapes beg for their moment on the grill. And while peppers and tomatoes have yet to hit their stride, mild-weather-loving Seattleites seem content to cherish the last crops of baby artichokes and zucchini blossoms before the summer begins in earnest.
Berries, on the other hand, received the hot-weather memo and are out in droves. Though the final dregs of strawberry season fade with a late-season variety called Puget Crimson, myriad cherry varieties step in to take their place. A parade of seductive deep reds, the selection of fruits runs the gamut, from the blackberry-raspberry hybrid known as the tayberry to the wild Saskatoon berry.
About the author: Naomi Bishop is a Seattle based food and travel writer. Find her wandering through words and worlds on her blog, TheGastroGnome, where she claims that being a GastroGnome is not about sitting idly on the front lawn of culinary cottages. Follow her explorations of cooking and culture around the world at @GastroGnome. Get restaurant suggestions and locate local eats in the Northwest from her app, Unique Eats of the Northwest.