Local’s Guide to the Pike Place Market: Vendor’s Market

A brief guide to the people who sell the freshest food in Pike Place.

By Jessica Voelker May 20, 2011

A Man and His Fish
Pure Food’s Harry Calvo has worked the Arcade stall since 1970.

Image: Young Lee

Tell them your name! These purveyors hawk only the best fruits, veggies, dairy products, and seafood, and save the best of the best for their loyal regulars.

Frank Genzale Jr.,
Frank’s Quality Produce
“Frankie” (to his friends) is a fourth—generation market vendor. In the 1920s, his great—grandmother, just emigrated from Italy, sold vegetables in the arcade, battling daily with another Italian woman for the choicest spaces. Genzale worked the stand with his dad back when many Seattleites used the market as their grocery store. These days things are different. “A guy on a cruise ship isn’t going to buy a bunch of beets,” says Genzale, who earns more and more of his income selling wholesale to restaurants like Canlis.

Nancy Nipples,
Pike Place Market Creamery
This longtime vendor (she opened shop in 1978) had her name legally changed to Nancy Nipples the Milkmaid, so devoted is she to her occupation. Nipples sells organic dairy products—from local farms whenever possible—along with soy products, duck eggs (sub them into baking recipes that call for chicken eggs for richer results), and more than 20 types of butter.

Green Giant
Sosio’s Mike Osborn is on a first-name basis with most local locavores.

Image: Young Lee

Dan Manzo Jr., Alan Stott, and Mike Osborn
Sosio’s Produce
“My regulars have ownership of my stand,” says Mike Obsorn, part owner of Sosio’s Produce. “They’ll say, ‘This is my produce stand. This is my produce guy.’ ” Named for Sosio Manzo, who opened back in the 1940s, Sosio’s is most famous for its Oh My God peaches, a term its owners trademarked. Originally these supersweet peaches all grew in Eastern Washington, now Osborn says he’s got a guy in Northern California, too. That means we get perfect peaches from June until—OMG—the end of September.

Sol Amon,
Pure Food Fish
Market folk call Amon, whose father founded Pure Food Fish in 1911, the “cod father,” and his business is widely considered Pike Place’s premier source for scallops, king crab, Columbia River salmon, oysters, and so on. We haven’t tried every smoked fish on the planet, but Pure Food’s alder-wood-smoked, garlic-pepper version, cured for 24 days in a dry brine, has got to be a contender for world’s best.

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