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Pike Place Market Blog



On August 17, 1907, a handful of farmers made their way down to a new market they heard of called "Pike Place Market". Born out of the frustration of farmers and consumers who suffered from inflated prices and unfair wages at the hands of commission houses, Pike Place Market would bring the two together without the need for a middleman. Enjoy the photos below as we progress from through they years!


The first farmer to arrive at Pike Place Market's opening day on August 17, 1907, was H.O. Blanchard. Traveling by horse and wagon, imagine how long it took him to travel from Renton to Seattle! This photo is one of the first taken of the Market - note the waterfront from the west side of Pike Place (if you look close enough, you can see the masts of the ships at the dock!).


During the 1930s, more than half of the Market's 600 farmers were Japanese. Their hand-painted paper bags showing prices and descriptions, depicted in the Sumi-e style of Japanese calligraphy, brought a touch of art to the Market. With America's entry into WWII, and the resulting incarceration of Japanese-Americans, the absence of these farmers deeply affected the Market’s business community and shopping opportunities. 


While awaiting reconstruction and renovation, thanks to the 1971 public vote to save the Market from demolition, the Market community remained a vibrant crossroads of cultures. Here you see busker Artis the Spoonman and a none-too-pleased shopper during the Market's spring street festival!


In 2001, over 200 artist-decorated versions of Rachel the Piggybank and Billie the Piggybank were displayed throughout downtown Seattle and in surrounding neighborhoods. It was a true community arts event, with the talents of many local artists and art groups participating in this fundraiser for the Pike Place Market Foundation.


Open since summer 2017, the MarketFront is a campus constructed on the site of the former Municipal Market building that burned in 1974. A brewery, biscuit bakery, chocolate maker, parking garage, senior housing, artist live/work spaces and a community resource center all call the MarketFront home. This summer the lower plaza hosts free concerts at 4 p.m. Wednesdays, continuing through August 29. 

Meet Our Fabulous Farm Program Team

Posted August 9, 2018

As we wrap up National Farmers Market Week, we wanted to spotlight our amazing Farm Program team, who work tirelessly every day to ensure that our farm program and farmers markets run smoothly day after day, and season after season. From supporting farmers on their fields (including the occasional work party) assisting with finding grant dollars, to setting up tents and packing Pike Box CSAs every week—and everything in between—our Farm Team is one of the best around!

We asked each of them to give you their best farmers market tips, as well as their pick for fresh produce this week, to help you experience and enjoy our markets even more:

Zack Cook, Farm Program Manager 

Favorite farmers market find this season: Pluots (a hybrid of plum and apricot)

Tip: “If you’re really particular about the type of produce you’re eating, talk to the farmers about their growing practices; just because something is organic doesn’t mean that it’s pesticide-free, and some produce might not be certified organic but it is not sprayed with any pesticides.”

Sidra Schkerke, Farm Program Coordinator

Favorite farmers market find this season: Lemon cucumbers

Tip: “Shopping at farmers markets gives you the opportunity to try produce that you can’t always find in a grocery store, whether it’s a specialty item or something available only for a super short season.”

Leigh Newman-Bell, Farm Development Coordinator

Favorite farmers market find this season: Easter egg radishes

Tip: “Indulge in seasonal standbys, whether it’s juicy peaches or fresh asparagus and then scout out something new from the market. I tried pink oyster mushrooms for the very first time and they are absolutely delicious!”

Carter Grant, Farm Program Assistant

Favorite farmers market find this season: “Fruit salad … yesterday, I ate four lemon cucumbers, four nectarines and two containers of berries!”

Tip: “Shopping at farmers markets is much more engaging than shopping at a grocery store.”

Jake Conklin, Farm Program Assistant

Favorite farmers market find this season: Cantaloupe

Tip: “Support local farmers; it’s helps our local economy instead of the bigger industries.”

Nora Landri, Farm Program Assistant

Favorite farmers market find this season: White nectarines

Tip: “Ride your bike to the farmers market and get a $2 Pike Buck biker benefit to use at our markets.”

Jeanne Currie, AmeriCorps VISTA

Favorite farmers market find this season: Lemon cucumbers

Tip: “Talk to the farmers to learn what they’re excited about and what is freshest on their table that day.”


Erica McCalla, Fresh Bucks Outreach Intern

Favorite farmers market find this season: Garlic

Tip: “Salt any vegetables that are water-heavy (eggplant, zucchini, potato, etc.,), let it sit for 30 minutes and squeeze the water out with cheesecloth; it makes baking or frying the vegetables much quicker.”


Lexie Holden, Sustainability Intern

Favorite farmers market find this season: Triple crown blackberries

Tip: “Bring your own storage containers, whether that’s mason jars or reusable bags; that way, farmers can keep their packaging materials and use them again.”

Next time you visit Pike Place Market or one of our four remote Pike Place Farmers Markets around downtown Seattle, we encourage you to try something new, talk to our farmers (and our Farm Program team), and support local agriculture and small businesses. 

National Farmers Market Week

Posted August 6, 2018

It’s National Farmers Market Week! While we run Seattle’s oldest farmers market—and one of the longest continuously operating markets in the country—every day, this is a fun opportunity to celebrate our farmers. We love our farmers and are so appreciative of the hard work they do every day to bring you the best and freshest fruits, veggies, flowers, edibles and other farm-based products.

In celebration of this week, here are some fun stats about Pike Place Farmers Markets:

Did you know that this season, there are 82 produce and flower farmers who sell at Pike Place Market and at our remote Pike Place Farmers Markets around downtown Seattle? From dahlias and sunflowers to berries and beets, you can taste the season’s best right from our farmers’ tables.

Additionally, we have 14 farm-based food producers who harvest or make edibles including saffron, honey, nuts, jams and relishes, breads and pastries, and more. These producers can be found both in the arcade and outside on Pike Place, as well as at our remote Pike Place Farmers Markets.

We operate four Pike Place Farmers Markets around downtown Seattle. These remote markets are offered every summer, from the end of May to the end of October. Perfect for downtown residents or workers who can’t make it to Pike Place Market during the day, these markets are open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (see details for locations here). This is the first full season at our Regrade Farmers Market and the 10th season at our City Hall Farmers Market!

Pike Place Market has a wonderful Farm Program Staff that do everything from helping farmers apply for grants, identifying opportunities for farmers to increase sales channels, making site visits to ensure the farmers grow what they sell, setting up our farmers markets during the summer, managing our Pike Box CSA program, and more. Our four full-time staff are assisted by wonderful seasonal staff, interns and AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers, who jump in to help in every way they can. You will often see members of our farm team around Pike Place Market, as well as at our remote markets at the info tents.

We hope that you will stop by our farmers markets this week. If you do, take a minute to introduce yourself to our many farmers, and thank them for the hard work they do to grow, harvest and sell some of the best seasonal goodies around town! When you visit, take a picture and tag us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the #pikeplace hashtag for a chance to be featured on our profile.

Instead of shopping gift registries, try browsing the craft tables in the north end of Pike Place Market for unique handcrafted gifts that are decorative, functional or both. If you’re shopping for those who love to cook, wine and dine, you can’t go wrong with these: 

Raven Mountain Woodworks

Terry Graves produces cutting boards of durable woods. Choose a pig, a fish, or a pear—each has a food-safe finish. Check out their website here.


Fine Grind

Brett Knutson creates pepper and salt mills made from exotic and domestic woods. Each features gourmet components and a lifetime warranty. They come in a variety of sizes, 6 to 24 inches. Brett also sells bottle stoppers.


Ballard Vine Works

Ballard Vine Works takes wine barrels and repurposes them into bottle racks, wine butlers, flight glass holders, cheese boards and more, even small tables! Find them online here.


Kitchen Basics

For the cook who has everything, try building your own “gizmo and gadgets” basket chock-full of unusual kitchen items. Kitchen Basics, located in the Sanitary Market, carries unusual items like a coconut tool, a lemon press, a banana slicer, a pineapple slicer and even a watermelon slicer! Arguably the most popular tool is the 3-in-1 avocado slicer, it slices, removes the pit, AND neatly cuts the silky green flesh into slices. Find them online here.

Since 1907, Pike Place Market has been the soul of Seattle and the source of some of the best locally grown produce, fresh seafood, specialty food, handmade gifts and independently owned shops and boutiques.

From our humble beginnings, when farmers sold fruits and vegetables from horse-drawn carriages on the cobblestones; to today, as we welcome more than 15 million visitors annually, Pike Place Market has a rich history that is difficult—if not impossible—to replicate. Yet, many wonder how Pike Place has operated for so many years and are curious about the challenges that we face, especially with in the era of a booming society and digital age. 

This year, we are incredibly honored to be part of a new alliance of internationally renowned public markets from around the world. While we're approaching our 111th anniversary and are one of the oldest continutally operating markets in the U.S., Pike Place Market is the youngest public marketand the only public market in the Western Hemisphereto be included in the group of founding alliance members.

The new “Magnificent Seven” is an alliance, spearheaded by Borough Market in London. We’re in great company with six other public markets: La Boqueria in Barcelona; Markthalle Neun in Berlin; Central Market Hall in Budapest; Sydney Fish Market in Sydney; and Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne.

Collectively, these markets bring thousands of years of history and more than 74.5 million annual visitors. The alliance is a partnership focusing on forward-thinking and sharing of knowledge, expertise and history pertaining to public market operations, including championing quality, sustainability and environmental approaches to food and its production. Additionally, leaders from the markets will collaborate in skill sharing, community development and innovative uses of the historic spaces and locations each market is in.

Next time you visit Pike Place Market, we invite you to stop and take in the history from the past 111 years, but also participate in the history that is being made now, as we continue to operate Seattle’s oldest farmers market, and one of the country’s longest continuously operating public markets.

Read more about Pike Place Market’s history at


Look beyond the scrumptious bounty of foods and neon signs around the Pike Place Market and you’ll discover an assortment of specialty services. They’re among the unexpected pleasures of exploring the Market’s nine acres.

Need a downtown dentist?  No problem! Go upstairs in the Economy Market building to Pike Place Dental. Happy to report Dr. de Vigne is a “gentle dentist.”

Downstairs on Level 3, get a glimpse into your past, present and/or future at Christopher’s Lamp. Clairvoyant and spiritual counselor Darlene Christopher has called Pike Place Market her work home since 1993. Look into the crystal ball at her desk.

Another means of aligning your yin and yang is the myriad services available at Ageless Acupuncture located on First Avenue in Sanitary Market building. Oriental medicine practitioners offer herbal consultations, acupuncture, as well as auricular, cosmetic and traditional Japanese and Chinese styles.

Barbershops have been fixtures in the Market since the early days—the first record of barbers in the Market dates back to 1908. The Market even housed a barber school in the 1960s. Today, customers can get their hair cut at Sergio’s Barber Shop in the First and Pine building. There's more than one barber here at the Market so be sure to explore and find Balcony Barber on one of the Lower Levels!

At Market Optical in Stewart House, you can get an eye exam as well as purchase a stylish set of eyewear. Dr. Cynthia Ruggeiro offers comprehensive eye exams to keep your eyes healthy.

One of Seattle’s best-known tattoo artists is Vyvyn Lazonga, an icon of the local tattoo scene since 1972. She was among the first female tattoo artists ever to own a tattoo business. Vyvyn and her associates create body art inspired by the natural world, cultural motifs, spirituality and more. You’ll find her shop, Madame Lazonga’s Tattoo, on Western Avenue.

Over the years, the Market has been home to so many services, large and small. Seafair Parade floats were built in the Champion building, and there was—really—a matchmaker on the top level of the Corner Market building.