Farmers’ Markets spring up all over the West during the growing season, Spring to Fall. No doubt they’re found year ‘round, all over the world, but I just visit a few local ones along the NW coast. In Seattle our neighborhood Columbia City Market draws crowds on Wednesdays, 3 to 7 pm, from mid-April through mid-October. Most years I will catch the final few days, but I’ll think longingly of what I’m missing in town while we cruise north. There is always a diverse crowd of patrons, a wide variety of interesting food choices, amazing produce from local small farms and eye-popping displays of colorful flowers. La Medusa, a Columbia City restaurant located less than a block away from the market, offers a 3-course Wednesday Market Menu featuring seasonal dishes from the best of the day's products. I've occasionally been inspired to do the same.
Campbell River's Pier Street Market, another favorite of mine, has just begun its ninth season. It operates 9 am to 2 pm on Sundays from May to September. Pier Street has a unique setting, located at the edge of the business district along the Island Highway and adjacent to a city marina and fishing pier, some open beachfront, a maritime museum and a glass-blowing studio. Rain or shine it’s a lively place with tempting food and unusual products, live music on a portable stage, street musicians, artists and artisans of all types. Like most farmers' markets, this one offers a lot more than vegies. Where else could you find fresh eggs, B.C. buffalo meat and sausage, hand-spun wool, fresh seafood, ceramics, jewelry, local Indian arrowheads, baked goods, and decorative henna hand tattooing side by side? I could go on and on, and still not capture the charm and positive energy of this market.
I forced RL to leave his engine room project and join me on a recent visit to Pier Street. I knew he wouldn't want to miss the experience: street musicians, craftspeople, unique products and food vendors aplenty... no surprise I mention the food, right? We began with beef donair wraps, savoring the taste while we listened to old bluegrass tunes from a 3-man band. Then we toured the market, visiting with vendors we knew from previous visits and meeting a few new ones.
Our market visits have been...
...and always seem much too brief.