Every Saturday morning, the usually mundane street corner of 50th and University Way is transformed into a bustling community market. An amalgam of ages, classes and ethnicities congregate in the freshly erected tent-city to interact directly with the merchants by inspecting crops, buying product and swapping stories with Washington's small farmers.
And the weekly scene is no longer limited to the U-District. Over the past two years, farmers markets have opened in West Seattle and Columbia City on Rainier Avenue, with another market set to open next summer in Ballard.
"The vision was to have a system of neighborhood farmers markets where the consumer gets to meet the farmers face to face," said Chris Curtis, founder and coordinator of the farmers markets in the Seattle area. "The market has become so successful since its inception in the U-District, we have had a wait list of farmers (wanting to sell there)."
Curtis first envisioned a market devoted exclusively to Washington's farmers in 1992. A year later, her dream was realized when the market was provided a home in the U-District, and fundraisers provided enough money for weekly maintenance.