To Market, To Market

Jeanine Matthews

Six days a week, the northwest corner of Seattle’s University Ave. & NE 50th intersection functions as a parking lot for the many activities and businesses residing in the University Heights Center for the Community. But each Saturday, the space is transformed into the University Farmers’ Market. This paved area, bordered with a chain link fence, becomes an inviting, engaging neighborhood public space. Established in 1993, the University Farmers’ Market provides a year-round opportunity for Washington farmers to sell locally, and for shoppers to access fresh produce and other foods. A venue for over 50 Washington farmers to sell their goods, the Saturday market offers a wide-variety of local produce, baked goods, cheeses, meats, seafood, eggs, flowers, preserves, honey, and soaps, as well as ready-to-eat selections. Approachable on foot, via convenient public transportation or nearby parking, this regular neighborhood attraction fills a niche in the community—reminiscent of a town square. The market sometimes spills over onto the sidewalks; live music shared to passersby, a painter at an easel greets visitors. Engaging in the simple arrangement of canopies and tables, a farmers’ market and neighborhood destination emerges
from the parking lot for a short while each week in this micro-urban site.

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