Though produce remains front and center, Seattle's farmers markets are becoming an increasingly popular option for would-be chefs looking to reach a client base. Here’s a sampling of the new prepared foods at Seattle’s markets this year, all of which are set to open by mid-June. (Psst, you'll still get a karmic boost: All these markets prioritize vendors who source their raw ingredients locally.)
University District Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9am–2pm. Open year-round.
The oldest and largest of the Farmers Market Alliance markets will be expanding another 150 feet or so north, according to director Chris Curtis—and it’s filling that space with food trucks. Paleo food truck Outside the Box, which often parks outside Crossfit studios, is scheduled to be at the market on May 31 and possibly after. Southern-inspired, Whatcom County-sourced Kiss My Grits will bring its popular salmon and grits to the Ave. It’ll trade off with the can’t-miss-it sea green Poke to the Max truck, where chef Sam Choy will sell his bowls of poke yakitori and island-inspired sandwich wraps. And carb addicts can’t miss two new stationary additions: savory hand pies from Fremont-based Yippie-Pie-Yay or the herbal sourdough from Southpaw Bakery.
Broadway Farmers Market
Sundays, 11am–3pm. Open year-round.
Asian and North African street foods dominate the culinary scene at this year-round market outside Seattle Central Community College. Though it had a successful brick-and-mortar debut back in January 2013, Malaysian restaurant Kedai Makan will return to its market roots this summer with appearances at the Capitol Hill market at Seattle Central (pro tip: the nasi goreng is phenomenal when properly baptized with runny egg yolk). Meloui’s sweet and savory Moroccan semolina flatbreads have been at the market since February, and Indian street food from the Chai Place will join the lineup soon. If you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, be sure to check out cooking demonstrations from Seattle Central’s culinary academy every Sunday in June.
Wednesdays, 3pm–7pm. Opens May 7.
The Columbia City market has always offered a wide array of prepared foods. There aren’t too many new additions this year—Meloui and Southpaw are both expected to make an appearance, and Poke to the Max might too. And of course, classics like Patty Pan Grill and Little Prague bakery will be there like clockwork.
Lake City Farmers Market
Thursdays, 3pm–7pm. Opens June 12.
Fish and chips truck Fish Basket will bring its cod burger and crispy calamari to this northernmost market (and in other news, Ethan Stowell might be psychic). There’s also talk of a new stand called Tribal Tastes, which will feature Afghan food—a Middle Eastern cuisine still relatively unexplored even in the midst of Seattle’s collective obsession. Research tells us it could be grain-heavy.
Magnolia Farmers Market
Saturdays, 10am–2pm. Opens June 7.
Marrowstone Island-based Mystery Bay Seafood will be bringing its local salmon and clam chowders to this summertime market. Georgetown's 314PIE will be there too, with their Australian-style pies available to-go or on site. Most are savory, but their cinnamon sugar pie fries are not to be missed.
Phinney Farmers Market
Fridays, 3pm–7pm. Opens June 6.
The husband-and-wife duo behind My Sweet Lil' Cakes food truck will be coming to Phinney this summer, selling waffles on a stick in flavors like red velvet buttermilk and free range chicken and waffles. Nature's Last Stand Farm in Carnation will offer pork sliders, barbecue sandwiches, and breakfast sandwiches made from their humanely-raised pork.
Queen Anne Farmers Market
Thursdays, 3pm–7:30pm. Opens June 5.
This community-owned market will welcome a bevy of newcomers this year, including Fish Basket, H&H Juice, Kiss My Grits, My Sweet Lil Cakes, and Poke to the Max. Longtime market favorites like El Chito, How Pickle Got Out of a Jam, and Ellenos Yogurt will start making appearances in Queen Anne as well.
Pike Place Express Markets
FIRST HILL, CITY HALL PLAZA, PIONEER SQUARE, SOUTH LAKE UNION, REDMOND
Various Days, 10am–2pm.
Two new locations have been added to the Pike Place Express lineup this year: one on First Hill at Virigina Mason Medical Center, and another in Redmond at the Microsoft Commons. In addition to the usual suspects (Ellenos Yogurt, Britt’s Pickles), shoppers will see a few newcomers bouncing from market to market this summer. Small-batch Whidbey Island Ice Cream will be available in flavors from blackberry lavender to Mexican espresso bean, John D. Crose (the eponymous guy behind Seattle Salsa Guy) will be selling his red and green salsas, and word has it that market standby Honest Biscuits will be there this year. The markets all run 10–2 and begin mid-June—check out the Pike Place Express website for details.The Ballard, Wallingford, and Madrona markets apparently really want to keep the focus on the farmers—according to Seattle Farmers Market Association liaison Zachary Lyons, those markets won't have any new prepared foods this year. Neither will the West Seattle market, which primarily carries produce.