Would a Beacon Hill farmers’ market be one too many?

Will we ever see this on Beacon Hill? Photo by Jeremy Keith via Creative Commons.
Are there too many farmers’ markets in Seattle? Apparently some folks think so, according to an article in Seattle magazine. In the article, Chris Curtis of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance says that the organization has chosen not to sponsor markets in neighborhoods such as Beacon Hill or Genesee because the organization is in “a holding pattern,” and they don’t think there are enough farmers or customers to justify opening a market there.

Others seem to disagree, however, including Zachary Lyons of the Seattle Farmers Market Association, which will operate six markets this year including the new one in Georgetown, which will combine the farmers’ market with an antiques and crafts market. “To suggest we’ve somehow reached a saturation point is, to me, just absurd,” says Lyons.

There are 18 neighborhood markets in Seattle this year, but still none on Beacon Hill. Our nearest markets are in Columbia City, and now, Georgetown. And while it’s not a “neighborhood farmers’ market,” we have MacPherson’s — and they are open every day.

Should Beacon Hill have a farmers’ market? Do you think the Seattle area is oversaturated with farmers’ markets?

22 thoughts on “Would a Beacon Hill farmers’ market be one too many?”

  1. Aren’t they just one day a week anyhow? What’s wrong with one on Beacon Hill, then, or other places too? The more, the merrier.

  2. I would like to see more businesses – even in the form of a Farmer’s Market – open up here in Beacon Hill. Having said that, however, I’m not sure how viable one would be here since, as the article mentions, we already have a perfectly good venue for obtaining FFNV in MacPhersons, and CC and Georgetown really aren’t that far away. I live on South Beacon Hill, and it actually takes me less time to drive to Columbia City and Georgetown than it does for me to drive to North Beacon Hill.

  3. There are never too many Farmer’s Market’s. Not only do you get to meet the producer, you build communities. It’s a great way to mix cultures and age groups…which we lack in this country. Corporate shopping is less appealing more and more, as people feel far removed from how food is grown… or that their item is made in China…. they simply want to have a pleasant interaction with the person who made their product.
    How great is is to have a nice pastry, buy some tomatoes and listen to little live music…all in the same venue!

  4. I would *love* a weekly farmers market on Beacon Hill. Things like that do a lot towards building a sense of community in the neighborhood — something Beacon Hill could really use. Not to mention the fact that Beacon Hill seems to get the short end of every stick (besides the light rail stick!): no farmers market, few restaurants, horrible internet, less than idea grocery store, etc. Yay for a farmers market!!!

  5. I’m sort of ambivalent since even when I lived in a neighborhood with a farmer’s market, I didn’t use it that much. I am a home gardener so I never had a need for much extra produce. That said, some additional commercial presence in our neighborhood would be welcome. Perhaps in the meantime, someone could see if MacPherson’s and the Red Apple would carry produce from some local farms (I believe they both do already but could perhaps expand their selection). This might be a nice compromise that gets the neighborhood local and fresh veggies and let’s the farmers find a presence here.

  6. Given that Beacon Hill has a number of home gardeners and easy access to MacPherson’s and other weekly farmers markets… what about some other kind of bi-weekly or montly market? I like the idea of a multi-cultural craft and food fair.

  7. I would love to have a weekly, or even less frequent, farmers market on Beacon Hill. With the newish rules on selling meat and dairy products, as well as local wine and beer, it isn’t about duplication of what might be available at McPhersons or Red Apple. Those places don’t compare to buying a high quality fresh and local product direct from the grower.

  8. I think some kind of open-air market near the station would thrive. Combo farmer’s market/flea market/food cart…maybe once/month, with music? Offer local vendors the opportunity to sell things–why not invite Alleycat Acres and/or McPherson’s?We might not be able to support a weekly produce-heavy market, but we are ripe for community-building events.

  9. I am originally from S. Alabama and there you will routinely see farmers backed up off the side of the road with produce in the bed and their talegate down. In towns and even Mobile you will see this in parking lots, often multiple trucks/stands all clumped together.

    Maybe organizing this kind of small, informal ‘farmers market’ in the short term could be the seed to getting a more formal permanent market down the road?

  10. I’d say we need a farmer’s market on Beacon Hill and a lot of other places in the south end. Most of the farmer’s markets in Seattle north of downtown – there are just three to the south: Columbia City, West Seattle and now Georgetown. I did a search for Seattle farmer’s markets on the Washington State Farmer’s Market Association site and I think the image says it all: https://docs.google.com/drawings/edit?id=1rZYSYZECmh1v02CGf2-rOkYHAaOheLyHZM6RhTXmOs8&hl=en. The north end of Seattle may be saturated, but south Seattle certainly is not.

    There are few markets along Light Rail as well – Pike Place and Columbia City markets are blocks away. That could be a long walk for those carrying heavy bags full of produce and other goodies home. A market right next to a Light Rail station on the Lander Festival Street could have a lot of appeal and help increase ridership. If we want people to use Light Rail, we should give them places to get to on Light Rail rather than parking lots (but that’s a different post).

  11. What the article told me is that we can have a farmers’ market up here — we just shouldn’t go through the NFMA to do it. They’re not interested in Beacon Hill.

    Ideally I would want one that is not just farmers — I have no problem with including crafts and such too. Last night a couple of us were talking after the NBHC meeting about having it feature a lot of booksellers. That would be neat! Books and food. You don’t need much more. :)

  12. Nah, no Beacon Hill Farmers Market. I’ve been to at least 9 farmers markets in the city and yes, everything is organic, fresh and pretty, but the prices are OUTRAGEOUS (2 bucks for an apricot) I can go to the Red Apple Market, McPherson’s, Seward Park PCC and get better deals on my dollar.

  13. FYI, there are local farmers who sell their fruits and veg in the Jefferson and VA Hospital parking lots along Beacon Ave.

  14. I love the farmers market…local produce and organic love it but I have gotten more into growing my own these days. Though I will go to the farmers market to try local cheeses or bread etc or things I may not have time to make or not tried to make. I think they should try it it personally I like the Georgetown location opening it is closer to me :). I also feel that if their is a demand why not and if the farmers have time and there is a a need for people on the North end why not.

    Also, I want to to say to those that don’t like to pay the high prices..think of the bigger picture..the trickle down effect..what’s cheap doesn’t mean it is good for your body or good for society look at labor cost, material to produce, transportation cost of goods. You still can support local farmers and grow your own garden…but I would give my money to local farmers before the giants like PCC (though I love PCC too), Whole Foods (love whole foods they have a selection to die for) and lastly McPherson( sorry this places doesn’t rate I live for organic last time I went didn’t see anything organic what I feed my kids and eat is important to me. The same people that complain about organic costs will go out and spend their money on something else less important then your health or your child’s health.

    Sorry please post this one instead was trying to type with my son distracting me thanks.

  15. When thinking about access to food in a whole systems, big picture approach, a farmers market should be held in every neighborhood.. It provides a means to increase access to healthy food within communities.. Which opens the door to numerous other conversations that should be talking place: food security, human and environmental health, transportation, land use, community…

    Saying that Georgetown or CC is close by car and quick to get to dismisses those who rely solely on public transit or other means of transit. Food shouldn’t have to be something one needs a car to purchase.

    What I would truely like to see is this large population of home gardners pool resources and create their own, hyperlocal, farmers market. With current city code being reviewed to allow for such activity, we can perhaps one day soon see something of the sorts. Power to the people, by the people. Change only happens from the ground up, so why not do it ourselves?

    For now, Alleycat Acres donates our produce to the Beacon Ave Food Bank and shares it with anyone who pitches in to help with the farm. So far, we’ve pulled up 254 lbs. Of fresh, healhy produce to give back to the Beacon Hil community and look forward to watching that number increase this season.

    For great articles on food security and to see how Beacon Hill and other neighborhoods rank, Check out http://www.b-sustainable.org

  16. I’m in agreement with Sean. I think farmers markets are hopefully a step to something even more sustainable for urban areas, such as more significant urban gardening/farming. Because of my schedule I haven’t been able to participate with Alleycat, but more initiatives like this will lead to greater urban sustainability and health for people locally.

    I don’t see Farmers markets being phased out however, because rural farmers need to make money too and there may be things that cannot be produced in the neighborhood. Farmers markets will be a way to supplement and support locally grown food systems. Thus, the point in the article is right in the sense that there needs to be the right amount of farmers to make it work and limiting the number of markets is a good way to regulate that issue.

  17. The Red Apple doesn’t always have cheap produce. I picked up a smallish prepackaged bag of cherries there a week ago and was dumbfounded that the price came to $26.49. I asked if there was a mistake and the cashier said no. I said I weighed it and I calculated the price to be much less, and he suggested I may have mistaken metric for English on the scale. And the funny thing was, they weren’t even organic.

    I’d prefer to see an expanded Georgetown market before an additional one, but I could also see a Sunday thing as a nice complement to the Wednesday CC one and Saturday G-town one.

  18. I am a Beacon Hill gardener too, but I would go to a Farmer’s Market on Beacon Hill if it were on a different day that the Wednesday, Columbia City and the new Saturday Georgetown farmer’s markets.

  19. Since we have so many local gardeners and farmers on the hill – I think we need a Farmers Market. This will be a great way to build community! To encourage even more gardeners we can have a produce swap market. If I grew a few too many tomatoes, I can trade them for some radishes my neighbors grew. Good-old bartering!

  20. In today’s Seattle Times:

    In Seattle, anyone can grow and sell food on site or at a farmers market as long as no plot exceeds 4,000 square feet, said Bryan Stevens of the city’s Department of Planning and Development. The seller requires a business license if the food is turned into a product — for example, syrups or prepared salads.

    Proposed legislation would create more opportunities for farmers markets, urban gardens and farms; it also would raise the per-lot limit on urban chickens to eight rather than three.

    complete article here:
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012049158_urbanfarms07m.html

    I like Sergey’s swap market idea. Someone needs to pick a regular time and a place (Sundays, Lander St anyone?) , then folks show up and swap or sell. Check out Saturday’s Beacon Bazaar at BH International School for a similar experience.

  21. Power to a Beacon Hill Farmers Market! I am SO there. I love MacPherson’s, but their selection of organic produce is lacking severely, though it seems to have increased over time a bit. I live and work on Beacon Hill and rarely leave the area other than for social or the random work obligations or errands for things I can’t do on the hill, like purchase affordable, locally grown organic produce. Seriously, this is one major reason I get in my car and drive to other neighborhoods.

    I’d really like to see a weekend market. I never seem to be able to get to the Farmers markets that take place during the week. And I’m in total agreement that our market should represent more than just our local gardeners/farmers. I’m all about a crafts fair, flea market, food vending market. What better way to promote our sense of community, and support our local businesses? I’m all over it.

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