Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Friday, 3 August 2012

Travellers' Salad: Seattle Farmers' Market

Some of the salad on offer in Seattle last year - we know Arugula (on the right) as rocket

I've found the best way to get an insight into real life whilst on holiday is to do what the locals do, especially if it involves visiting the local market. So when we went on the Seattle Fling last year, I was pleased to see a trip to a farmers' market was on the itinerary.

It proved to be a great way to spend a Sunday morning and I was struck at the time by the huge amounts of fresh salads on offer, with many of them sporting flowers, as shown in the picture above. In fact, Nasturtiums were picked out on the 'season's best' blackboard at the market's entrance. Would that happen here? Probably not.

The pictured leaves were already bagged up for sale, but elsewhere another stall had a huge queue of people waiting to buy salad by weight from enormous bags of pre-mixed leaves. The mixes on offer were very imaginative, often including herbs and flowers and with much more variety than the standard three or four different leaves we usually see in the supermarket.

Farmers' markets promote local producers and food. In the UK, there's often a rule about the maximum distance the produce can travel for sale (e.g. 50 miles). A neat touch at the Seattle market was a map showing exactly where each producer was located (click to enlarge if interested). Much of the food was organic too. The market there (and often in the UK) also ensures there's a variety of stalls so that customers can choose from a wide variety of produce rather than it becoming solely the province of baked goods or sausage makers.

A blog I've been enjoying immensely this year (a fantastic 52 Week Salad Challenge discovery) is PopcornHomestead which gives an insight into the farmers' markets in Japan. It's made me even more determined to visit this intriguing country.

Do you have a Farmers' Market near you? Does it have salad for sale and if it does what's it like? Which markets have you visited on your travels? How do they differ to the one(s) at home?

7 comments:

  1. I do have a market near me. Every Wednesday from April through October we have a farmer's market about 1 mile away. Most neighborhoods in Seattle have a seasonal farmer's market and any time of the year we have the awesome Pike Place Market (which I'm guessing is the one you visited).

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  2. Hi Kath - it was the West Seattle Farmers' Market. I forgot to mention the Master Gardeners' stall, where folks could go and ask questions or get a plant ID. A great idea - shame we don't have something similar over here, though I have done something similar at Corsham's food festival the past 2 years.

    I LOVED Pike Place market - took loads of photos :)

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  3. Love the Seattle Market. I used to visit when my brother lived there.

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  4. Donna - writing this post has brought back memories of such a wonderful trip we had to the States last year :)

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  5. Those salad mixes looks most appealing VP. My favourite markets have been those we have visited in France - great quality as well as range of choice when it comes to fruit and veg. Nearer to home I've noticed nasturtiums and calendula creeping into some salads at M&S.

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  6. Hey, Michelle, this post makes me want to go back to Seattle! Our farmers' markets here usually close down in the summer ... too danged hot to have any worthwhile produce OR to be outside shopping for it. They should start back up in September.

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  7. Anna - ooo I didn't know that :)

    Cindy! It made we want to go back to Seattle too. We had such fun and meeting you at last was a real highlight :)

    Apologies for the delay in replying to you both - I've been away/working for a looooooong time and working backwards all the time through my inbox when I've had the chance

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