FISH and the Market

I took my daughter to Pike’s Market today to see a real farmers market rather than what she sees in Salt Lake. Great fun!

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Pike Place Market is a public market that is overlooking Elliott Bay’s waterfront in Seattle, WA. I was just thrilled the first time I walked through there, and this was no different. The fresh fruit, the fresh flowers, the samples of cheeses and other delightful items. Pike’s is one of the oldest continually operated public farmers’ markets in the United States. So when looking for fresh what better place to go when in Seattle. Local farmers and craftspeople sell year-round in the arcades from tables they rent from the Market on a daily basis, in accordance with the Market’s mission and founding goal: allowing consumers to “Meet the Producer.”

Pike Place Market’s official hours are Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Individual hours do vary, with many food businesses and restaurants open earlier and fine dining restaurants open later. Sunday is an optional day for commercial businesses, but many are open. Across the street from the Market is the original (yes it is!) Starbuck’s Coffee… most days it’s one busy store. Everyone wants to enjoy the mothership’s starter location. I prefer to walk about a block away to the Tully’s – another local coffee house. Still easy and commercial, but I love the staff. And the Matcha Green Tea Latte is to die for.

I also love the FISH! Pike’s Fish Market is just as world famous as the market itself. People come from all over the world to see this crew of fishmongers throwing fish and having fun with customers. They also come to buy some of the best seafood available anywhere in the world and have it shipped home. In 1998, the Pike Place Fish Market was the subject of a documentary film and accompanying book, FISH! Philosophy… and if you know me you know I love FISH. My favorite of the FISH series is the FISH! For Life. Explore it. My daughter did not get the excitement of the fish throwing, but one day she will.

SO go to the market. Its nine acres and more than a century of operation encompass thousands of fascinating stories — tales of immigration, internment, renovation and urban renewal — all that help explain why Pike Place Market is called “The Soul of Seattle.”  On the very first day the market was open, a total of eight farmers brought their wagons to the corner of First Avenue and Pike Street—and were quickly overwhelmed by an estimated 10,000 eager shoppers. By 11:00 am, they were sold out. Thousands of would-be customers went home empty-handed, but the chaos held promise. By the end of 1907, the first Market building opened, with every space filled.

This farmer’s market is home to more than 200 year-round commercial businesses; 190 craftspeople and approximately 100 farmers who rent table space by the day; 240 street performers and musicians; and more than 300 apartment units, most of which provide housing for low-income elderly people. “The Market,” as the locals affectionately say, attracts 10 million visitors a year, making it one of Washington state’s most frequently visited destinations. So the next time you visit Seattle, make sure you take the time to visit the world famous Pike’s Place Market.


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