Farm Table Report – University Market May 26

New garlic and rhubarb at the U-District Farmers Market

9am Saturday at the University Farmers Market
Memorial Day Weekend and the weather feels almost like summer.  Even at 9am, the air is warm, no breeze, few clouds.

I took the old number 43 bus to the University Farmer’s Market this morning, not sure exactly what to expect.  Given the holiday weekend, it is possible that the number of farms represented (not to mention the number of shoppers) could be pretty small.  Nice weather on a holiday never helps business.

My fears are premature, though;  lots of farmers are already set up and selling at 9am and the crowd, though not large, is respectable.  The season has finally begun in earnest and the cold, dark days of winter when only hardy souls make it to the Market, are (nearly) forgotten.

Market Highlights:
The first local strawberries of the season!  A landmark even if I decided to wait a week to buy…they looked a bit small and green, not the sun-drenched beauties that I expect in June.
Flowers
, including peonies and lupine.
Lettuces really coming on strong, especially beautiful oak leaf at Let Us Farm.
Radishes, red, French breakfast and purple.
Bunched carrots as big as my little finger Willies Greens.
Rhubarb still going strong (I think the rain helps)
Asparagus ($5-6 a pound?  Ouch).
A really good bran and seed muffin at Tall Grass stand
Spring garlic.
English peas

Note these bunched greens at a flower stand...nice price.

Old-timey fish stop
One of the great advantages of the U-district Farmer’s Market is that, if you don’t find any meat or fish that grabs you, you can always stop by University Seafood on the way home.  University Seafood and Poultry, located on 47th between University Way and Brooklyn Avenue, is a longtime pillar of the neighborhood.  It was there when I was a student at the UW in the early 80’s (!!) and is still to my mind one of Seattle’s most dependable seafood vendors.  In addition to a well chosen selection of fish, the shop also features tanks for live oysters, clams, mussels and lobsters as well as one of the most divers selection of poultry in the city (where else to you go if you need quail, pidgen, rabbit and guinea hen?).  Although they dont feature as many little fishes (sardines, smelts, mackerel, etc) as Uwajimaya , they still manage to surprise me with something new every once in a while (the Ono a couple weeks ago was really tasty).

Going to University Seafood is a bit of a journey into the past,  to the days when butchers and fish mongers were opinionated, honest and thoroughly professional.      Along with Don and Joe’s Meats in the Pike Place Market, Better Meats in Greenwood, A&J Meats on Queen Anne and Mutual Fish on Rainier, University Seafood is part of a disappearing breed of stores staffed by honest to goodness craftsmen.  In a certain sense, shopping at these stores reminds me of the time I spent in Paris, a city where fierce loyalty to ones preferred bakery, butcher, fish monger and cheese seller is a way of life.

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2 Responses to Farm Table Report – University Market May 26

  1. Jean says:

    Subtle blow to the non-union up and comers……….was that intentional? Or, do you see a real difference in the way they run their shops?

    • Jim says:

      No disrespect at all to newcomers like Rainshadow Meats. et al. On the contrary, young, energetic newcomers are the hope for the future of food sales as an artisan craft. Please go out and support them right away. However, one cannot in a year or even several years replace the (often) generations of experience and knowledge engendered by a shop like University Seafood.

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