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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

One Quick Critique: The 6th Ave. Farmer's Market!

I've been attending our Tacoma (and surrounding areas) farmer's markets for years. I love 'em! I love the colors of the produce and the flowers, the smell of the city mixed with the farm, people watching and community spirit. And as with my farmer's market visiting traditions, I love to write little reviews of my market experiences each year. I am kicking it off with the Tacoma 6th Ave. Farmer's Market that take place on late Tuesday afternoons at 6th Ave. and Pine Street. I've been to this market three times so far this season. I've been to Proctor's market once (want to go again on Saturday before I review it), haven't been downtown at all (Thursdays are rough days for me) and missed the grand opening of the South Tacoma market (due to the high drama of a dead rat, Father's Day visits, and pouring rain--long stories). So, 6th Ave. has become my market haunt thus far and it's a winner.

Honestly, the reason I love this market so much is I just love going to the 6th Ave. neighborhood PERIOD. I love this business district that houses some pretty cool stuff to see and do and some of the best restaurants in the city hands down. I also like the diversity of the market patrons: your eclectic beat to your own drummers, eco-lovers, families, couples, urban hipsters, young, old, dog walkers, artsy folk, and foodies. And everyone and everyone! It's all good.

And what else is good is that you have your usual farmer's market style (which I think has grown a bit in vendors this year): produce, plants, meats, seafood, dairy, baked goods, flowers, beverages, honey/spices, treats, info booths, arts and crafts. Personally, I go right for the food and stay with that. I am armed with my list and my insulated large tote. My goal is to get an entire meal, for a family of four (with perhaps an appetizer thrown in or a dessert treat now and again). I always succeed. Fresh, delicious organic foods, plus eating generous samples, and chatting it up with the vendors is a treat. I walk away feeling like I've learned something each time. While some things are a little more expensive, I've noticed that a lot of things are pretty darn close or the same as the grocery store. Even though 6th Ave. to me, seems like a small to medium sized market, I feel plenty of variety of vendors to boot to compare and learn about.

And speaking of vendors, here are some of my faves (not in any special order): Gageby Farms, Blue Rose Dairy, Terries Berries, Tahoma Farms, Willapa Hills Farmstead Cheese, and For The Love of Spice (for more info on these vendors and many others, check out the 6th Ave. Market website from the link above!). My eight year old daughter that comes with me likes these vendors too. In fact she LOVES the market. As of today, I thought she was really getting into the local food movement, organic food, and all the great concepts of being part of the community farmer's market.

Nah. She totally digs one vendor: Donut Junkie. Go figure!

And go marketing South Sound!


Stephanie Frieze said...

Thanks, Kim! I've never been to the 6th Street Market, but agree with you about the area.

Kim Thompson said...

You should give it a go Stephanie. It's fun. Tomorrow I head downtown for that market adventure.

Kurt said...

Nice, if you don't have a job or a long lunch hour but worthless for the rest of Tacoma

Kim Thompson said...

Kurt, you have a point. I happen to have a very weird schedule so I can do this daytime thing. And I noticed when I went today, it was three kinds of folk: families with small kids, downtown workers on a lunch break, and retirees. Saw some teens just of high school age. I think the other markets will be able to generate the after work crowds (6th Ave). or take advantage of weekend time (Proctor, Puyallup, S.Tacoma).