Ras Peynado has a long history at Pike Place Market. His mother started working at a bakery in the market when she was 18, later busking, selling T-shirts, and eventually becoming involved with the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority.
"I was at the market behind the table as a baby when she was selling shirts and later when she was in the office I'd come down and see the market behind the scenes," Peynado says. "It was always the place I was supposed to end up."
Peynado's mother recently retired, around the same time he was opening his own business. Now, Peynado sells herbs, sauces, rubs, vinegars, and seasonings through his Herbn’ Farm NW business, located in the North Arcade seven days a week. "She retired right as I came down so it was a passing of the torch."
Gradually, the herb farm took over. Peynado ripped out shrubs and grass, replacing them with edible plants. And the rooms of the house, one by one, became used for the business. Now the entire property is licensed by the Department of Agriculture for an urban farm. Peynado has added chickens and rabbits in an attempt to make the farm self-sustaining, with the animals providing fertilizer and pest-control.
Among Peynado's many unique products is his original jerk rub, his twist on a Jamaican jerk with Scotch Bonnet peppers, ginger, allspice, parsley, and chives. He also makes a jerk vinegar and his own sea salt from the Pacific Ocean. This summer, look for Peynado's herbed iced tea.
"Coming to the market was like coming home for me," Peynado says. "IT was like I was always meant to be here."
For more information on Ras Peynado's Herbn' Farm NW, visit his website here.