Friday, February 1, 2013

Farmers Markets and CSA's


Living in the Pacific Northwest has its many advantages and one of those is the wealth of farmers markets and CSA (community supported agriculture) we have in the Seattle area and around the state.  Many farmers markets are seasonal and only occur for a limited amount of months, however, some markets are open year-round.  The same is true for farms offering CSA memberships; some offer them for a limited amount of months during peak season times and a limited winter season and others offer CSA membership year round.

These are in no order of preference, but offer some ideas of where you can find alternative market spaces around Washington state.

Oxbow Farm - Oxbow's mission is to EDUCATE people on the importance of environmental stewardship and healthy food, to RECONNECT us to the land and our local sustainable food supply, and to INSPIRE us to take action in our daily lives and in our communities (retrieved from

There are about a million things I love about Oxbow Farm, but one of my favorite things is how they are committed to a complete circle of giving back to the land, offering learning opportunities to kids and adults and they know their land - and the farmers! - need a break during the winter, so their CSA is seasonally offered from June through October with a short winter season from November to December.

Jubilee Farm is a biodynamic farm run by Erick and Wendy Haakenson, with the help of Erick's son David. They also have a very circular view of farming, especially using the biodynamic methodology. They graze their cattle in varying cycles around the farm to supply manure, create a healthy grass cycle and for beef production. They also offer a CSA program consisting of a fall session, winter session, early spring session and late spring session which covers nearly the entire year with a brief respite during January.
One really great thing about Jubilee's CSA is they offer a work share program where you can work for the food you obtain from the farm.

Dog Mountain Farm is owned and run by David and Cindy Krepky and focuses more on meat and dairy production while partnering with local farms to add veggies and fruit to their CSA offering. This farm is beautifully situated at the top of a mountain outside of Carnation and it is wonderful to see all of the animals! David and Cindy also offer their own processing facility. This is a great CSA if you are interested in more of protein based program while growing your own veggies or purchasing from other local markets.


A great website to find local farms and CSA's in your area is Local Harvest. They offer wonderful education tips and lots of search options for finding farms, CSA's, restaurants, grocery co-ops and more! There are many, many farms and CSA opportunities all around Washington state and the country. My husband and I prefer to join a CSA that is strictly local, produces almost all of their own CSA box offerings and has a model which incorporates education and stewardship to the land. We also prefer to follow the CSA seasonally (i.e. summer/fall) versus participating year round. These are our preferences, but there are many farms offering lots of different ways to join their CSA membership.

My favorite grocery shopping spots where I live:
  Central Market - focuses on local as much as possible and is willing to order in something you really would like to have. Sadly, there are only two of them in the area and it is probably the thing I miss the most since we moved. 

  Redmond PCC - works to preserve local land for farming, committed to being as GMO free as possible and supplies produce from many local farms and businesses in the area. PCC is a co-op owned grocery store and membership includes discounts, their wonderful newsletter and other great perks.

Washington state is filled with farmers market locations, but I will focus primarily on the Redmond/Seattle area where I live. Farmer's markets offer much more than being able to support your local economy; they are a way to discover what the seasons in your area offer during the year, you become acquainted with the farmers and really know where and how your food is produced.

Redmond Farmers Market (seasonal May to Oct.) - the Eastside's oldest farmers market is filled with approximately 80 vendors offering organic choices in produce, fruits, berries, cheese, eggs and meats. Find great selections of plants, herbs, flowers, breads, jams, honey, fish, specialty sauces and nuts. Enjoy crepes, tamales, pizza, Italian food, shave ice, ice cream, popcorn and pastries for lunch. Listen to our live bands every Saturday. Find one-of-a-kind gifts made by our local artisans. Chef Demos, Zucchini Races, Story Time, Cowboys, Hula Dancers, Kids Day, and Pet Parades.

Carnation Farmers Market (seasonal May to Nov.) - You will find local food from family farms and small producers including: vegetables and fruits, mushrooms, flower bouquets, nursery plants, raw honey, butter, farmstead cheeses, eggs, wood-fired breads, fine pastries, seafood, and crafts from the farm or wildcrafted, prepared foods. Weekly music on the grass, chalk art, children’s booth and playground, “Taste the Market” food samples and special events. 
Ballard Farmers Market (Year round!) - located in historic Ballard, the market is held year-round and features many regular vendors as well as new faces. The site is a lot of fun as it is surrounded by little coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants and art galleries. You can make a whole day of it! While it does tend to slow down a bit in the winter with less vendors, there are still plenty of options for fruit, veggies, mushrooms and other treats. 

University District Farmers Market (Year round!) - Seattle's oldest and largest farmers/food-only neighborhood market. Founded in 1993, this Saturday market is nationally recognized as one of the best farmers markets in the U.S. The U-District market offers a place for more than 50 Washington State farmers to sell their fresh produce and quality products each week. The market is open year-round, with a great selection of fall and winter produce, eggs, meats, poultry, seafood, baked goods, preserves and more throughout the holiday season and chilly winter days. 

There are so many ways to participate in local markets from small local grocery stores to food co-ops to farmers markets and CSA's. I hope you'll find a fit that is perfect for you!

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