Pike Place Market Farmers Market Opens June 21 on Pike Place!

June 17, 2013

Braiden Rex-Johnson signing the "Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook"

It’s a place that, for the past 23 years, has been near and dear to my heart, so much so I’ve written half a dozen books on the subject: the Pike Place Market.

Pike Place Market Summer Sundays

And on June 21, Pike Place Market’s annual farmers market opens on Pike Place, continuing a tradition begun in August 1907, when farmers gathered in the newly founded public marketplace to sell fresh produce to Seattle citizens from the back of their wagons. Today, Washington farmers continue to sell at the Market year-round, 362 days a year.

During the bountiful growing season, the Market operates a designated farmers market on the street of Pike Place, Friday through Sunday, though farmers are also at the Market both inside the Main Arcade and outside on Pike Place on other days of the week.

In addition to the farmers market on Pike Place, the Market also operates three weekly Express farmers markets at City Hall Plaza, in South Lake Union at 410 Terry Ave North, and (new this year), Occidental Park in Pioneer Square.

“The farmers participating in the Market’s year-round farm program and summer farmers markets play an essential role in the health of the Market community and the greater Downtown neighborhood,” said Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority Executive Director Ben Franz-Knight. “These farmers provide Seattle residents the option to buy fresh, abundant and in-season produce in a variety of locations, days and hours, helping to build healthier lives.”

“We are excited for the Express Market to come to Pioneer Square,” said Leslie Smith, Executive Director of the Alliance for Pioneer Square. “The option to buy fresh, local produce and flowers over the summer is a perfect complement to all of the exciting changes taking place in the neighborhood.”

Pike Place Market Farmers Market Schedule

Farmers Market on Pike Place

June 21 – September 29

Friday-Sunday, 9 am – 5 pm

Beginning June 21, farmers sell their produce on the street of Pike Place. On Sundays, certain blocks of Pike Place are closed to vehicle traffic, creating a pedestrian thoroughfare for farmers market shoppers.

Express Markets

City Hall Plaza

June 18-October 29

Tuesdays, 10 am-2 pm

600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

Occidental Park, Pioneer Square

June 19-October 30

Wednesdays, 10 am-2 pm

S Main St & Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

South Lake Union

June 20-October 31

Thursdays, 10 am-2 pm

410 Terry Ave. North, Seattle, WA 98109

Chef Demos at the Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market Chefs on the Cobblestones Schedule

Starting June 23

Sundays, 12 pm & 2 pm, at the intersection of Pike Place and Stewart St.

Here is the complete schedule.

Cruising into Seattle

May 27, 2013

Space needle seattle city skyline photo

We’ve long been a proponent of cruising, and are especially devoted fans of Seattle-based Holland America Line and Seabourn Cruise Line.

I’ve even written about our Alaska cruise experience for both Wine Press Northwest magazine and on this website in my Northwest Notes blog.

The Seattle cruise industry’s season runs from May through September, with boats leaving from Bell Street Pier (Pier 66) and Smith Cove (Pier 91) cruise terminals.

According to The Seattle Times, the first cruise ship of the 2013 season–Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Symphony, arrived on May 1. During the 2013 season, the Port of Seattle estimates that more than 175 cruises will sail through Seattle with eight different cruise lines represented. They include Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Holland American Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, and Royal Caribbean.

Seattle’s cruise industry is best known for its seven-day journey to Alaska. During pre- and post-stays in Seattle, passengers can visit the iconic Space Needle, Seattle Art Museum, Pike Place Market, and Seattle Aquarium. For more information about cruise schedules, and to book packages, visit the Port of Seattle website.

And to learn more about the venerable Pike Place Market, please pick up a copy of my “Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook,” available in both print and e-editions.

Photo credit: Braiden Rex-Johnson



Pike Place Market Arcade Lights

April 1, 2013

Pike place market sunset shot

Please save the date for the Pike Place Market’s Arcade Lights, a semiannual celebration of artisan foods, craft beers, and wine on April 19 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (6:30 p.m. for advance ticket holders). Dedicated to promoting independent producers, Pike Place Market has invited 60 purveyors of finely crafted sweet and savory foods, local breweries, and regional wineries to participate in this delectable after-hours festival.

Held in the Market’s historic North Arcade, attendees will have the opportunity to sample and pair favorite artisan foods and beverages while discovering the season’s newest flavors. They’ll meet and chat with emerging purveyors as well as get to know the vendors of their favorite brews and bites.

Arcade Lights offers an opportunity to experience the ambiance and views of Pike Place Market at night while sipping handcrafted ales, Washington wines, ciders and nonalcoholic beverages.

Among the event’s participants? Savory tastes will be provided by Firefly Kitchens, Mt. Townsend Creamery, Pampeana Empanadas, Uli’s Sausage, Roving Pizzaioli, and Zaccagni’s, among others. The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co., Six Strawberries, Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company, Mighty-O Donuts, and others will tempt the sweet tooth. Gluten-free baked goods will come from Coffee and A Specialty Bakery.

Local participating breweries include Elysian Brewing Company, Odin Brewing Company, Pike Brewing Company, Fremont Brewing and Reuben’s Brews among others. Wine enthusiasts will delight in a sparkling wine from Masquerade Wine, while cider fans will enjoy tasting cider from The Methow Valley Ciderhouse and Eaglemount Wine and Cider.

Tickets: $28 advance purchase / $35 day of the event. Tickets include 10 tokens to be redeemed for food and beverages and a keepsake glass. Additional tokens may be purchased at the event for $2.50 each.

Arcade Lights benefits the Market Foundation, a not-for-profit organization supporting human-service agencies at the Pike Place Market: Pike Market Child Care and Preschool, Pike Market Medical Clinic, Pike Market Senior Center and Downtown Food Bank.




Smoky Clam Chowder

January 31, 2013

Smoky Clam Chowder

Wine Varietal: Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris

Serves 4

The addition of salmon jerky gives this rendition of clam chowder a hearty flavor and a real Northwest flair. Salmon jerky is available at the four fish stands in the Pike Place Market, although I am especially fond of the version made by Pure Food Fish.

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups 1/2-inch cubes boiling potatoes

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion

1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice

2 cups milk

Pinch dried thyme, crumbled

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

2 (6.5-ounce) cans chopped clams, with juice

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 to 3 tablespoons diced salmon jerky

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the potatoes, celery, and onion. Cook until vegetables are tender-crisp, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

2. Add the clam juice, milk, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.

3. Add the clams, whipping cream, and smoked salmon, and stir well. Cook several minutes more, or until the mixture is warmed through. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

4. To serve, ladle the clam chowder into soup bowls and serve right away.

Cook’s Hint: For informal croutons, lightly butter Saltine crackers, place them in the bottom of the soup bowls, and pour over the chowder.

Recipe reprinted from “Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook,” by Braiden Rex-Johnson.


Arcade Lights at Pike Place Market

October 9, 2012

The Pike Place Market’s semiannual celebration of local artisanal food and beverages–Arcade Lights–takes place again on Friday, October 12, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Located in the Market’s North Arcade, the event brings together all the right elements for a hearty fall harvest celebration including robust drink, savory and sweet treats, eclectic entertainment, and a cozy venue with a sunset view.

To create this unique banquet of handcrafted tastes and small plates, event organizers curated more than 60 breweries, wineries, and small-scale food businesses to participate in this evening event for guests 21 and over.

A short list of participating breweries includes: Iron Horse Brewery (Ellensburg); Odin Brewing Co., Fremont Brewing, Naked City Brewery, Pike Place Brewing Company (Seattle); Fish Brewing Co. (Olympia); Diamond Knot Craft Brewing (Mukilteo); Northwest Brewing Company (Pacific); and 7 Seas Brewing (Gig Harbor).

Washington wineries providing tastes of their seasonal best include: Piccola Cellars, EFESTE (Woodinville); Bunchgrass Winery (Walla Walla); Naches Heights Vineyard (Yakima); Finnriver Cidery (Chimacum); and Vortex Cellars (Redmond).

Sweet and savory handmade small bites will provide a perfect complement to the brews, wines, and ciders. On the sweet side, treats such as mini ice cream sandwiches, Liege waffles (a type of Belgian waffle), cupcakes, gluten-free cakes and tarts, marshmallows, dark chocolate brownies and Ice-pops will be provided by: Trophy Cupcakes and Party, Sweet Iron Waffles, Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, Six Strawberries, Dolce Lou, Sweet Coconut Bakery, Alaska Silk Pie Co., and others.

On the salty side, CRUST from Port Townsend will be on deck with quince chicken hand pies, and Seattle’s Salumi will serve up salami slices. Uli’s Famous Sausage will roll out meat treats from their shop located in the Market, while Roving Pizzaioli from Normandy Park dishes out delicious slices fresh from the oven.

In addition to all the fun you’ll have, Arcade Lights also benefits the Market Foundation and the human service agencies at the Pike Place Market: Pike Market Child Care and Preschool, Pike Market Medical Clinic, Pike Market Senior Center, and Downtown Food Bank.



Arcade Lights Event Info


Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 at the door.


Online Purchase: http://arcadelights.brownpapertickets.com/


Treats included: 10 tokens to be redeemed for food and beverages and keepsake glass. Additional tokens may be purchased at the event for $2.50 each.


Time: 7 pm -10 pm. Tickets may be picked up at will call or purchased at the door at 6:30 pm.


More info: visit http://www.pikeplacemarket.org/news_events/arcadelights for a complete updated list of participating vendors.




The Pike Place Market is one of the oldest continuously operating public markets in the U.S. It is a Historic District with 250 commercial businesses, 100 farmers, 225 craftspeople, 300 street performers, and 500 residents. In addition, there are social services to help downtown’s low-income residents. It is often called the “Soul of Seattle.”


The Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority (PDA) is a not-for-profit, public corporation chartered by the City of Seattle in 1973 to manage the properties in the nine-acre Market Historic District. The PDA is required to preserve, rehabilitate and protect the Market’s buildings, increase opportunities for farm and food retailing in the Market, incubate and support small and marginal businesses, and provide services for low-income people. www.pikeplacemarket.org



Outstanding Chef Demos at Pike Place Market

July 27, 2012

The Pike Place Market’s Sunday chef’s demo line-up is one of the strongest I’ve seen in recent years, with such Seattle icons as Ethan Stowell (Staple & Fancy Mercantile), Melissa Nyfeller (Dinette), and Nathan Lockwood (Altura) all cookin’ along the cobblestones Sunday at noon or 2 p.m. during the months of August and September.

On Sundays, Pike Place is closed to car traffic from Stewart to Virginia to create a lively pedestrian plaza of shoppers, farmers, and chefs. It’s a fun time for both locals and tourists to get a real “taste” of the granddaddy of all farmers’ markets.

Open up your calendar and mark the following dates for an unforgettable way to meet the chefs and pick up helpful shopping, cooking, and plating techniques.

Here’s the complete chef-demo line-up through the end of September: 


Aug. 5 Anthony Polizzi – Steelhead Diner Noon

Aug. 5 Nathan Lockwood – Altura 2 p.m.

Aug. 12 TBA* Noon

Aug. 12 David Sanford – Belle Clementine 2 p.m.

Aug. 19 Brent Harding – Le Pichet Noon

Aug. 19 Melissa Nyffeler – Dinette 2 p.m.

Aug. 26 Ethan Stowell – Staple & Fancy Mercantile Noon

Aug. 26 Jacob Wiegner – Blackboard Bistro 2 p.m.


Sept. 9 Pranee Kruasanit Halvorsen – I Love Thai Cooking Noon

Sept. 9 Seth Caswell – emmer & rye 2 p.m.

Sept. 23 Simon Zatyrka – Cutter’s Crabhouse Noon

Sept. 23 Jeff Maxfield & Ivan Szilak, Collections Café 2 p.m.

Sept. 30 Phyllis Rosen – Catering by Phyllis Noon

Sept. 30 TBA*


Richard’s Copper River Salmon Croquettes

May 31, 2012


Richard’s Copper River Salmon Croquettes

Wine Varietal: Pinot Noir

Serves 4

During the glorious summer months, when the Copper River salmon are running, my favorite fishmonger at Pure Food Fish in the Pike Place Market, Richard Hoage, saves some of the meaty bones as a special treat. I take them home and scrape away the succulent nubbins of flesh, then use Richard’s recipe to make salmon croquettes. Sometimes I add my own flourishes, such as diced red or green peppers or fresh corn kernels, depending on what’s handy in the vegetable compartment and what strikes my fancy. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche, best-quality mayonnaise, or your favorite barbecue sauce or salsa verde.

1 large egg

Pinch of salt

Pinch of freshly ground black or white pepper

1/2 white or yellow medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley, or 1 tablespoon minced cilantro, plus additional sprigs for garnish

1 pound scraped Copper River salmon meat or 1 pound wild Alaskan salmon fillet, skin and bones removed, minced by hand or food processor

1 to 1 1/2 cups unseasoned soft bread crumbs (See Cook’s Hint, below)

1 tablespoon olive oil or 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter

Lemon wedges, for garnish

1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the egg, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and the minced parsley. Add the salmon and gently stir until the egg mixture is well incorporated. Add 1 cup of the bread crumbs and stir again. If the salmon mixture is too sticky to handle, add the remaining bread crumbs and stir again. Divide the salmon into 4 portions and form into patties. Do not handle or pat the salmon any more than is absolutely necessary.

2. Over medium heat, place a nonstick skillet large enough to hold the patties without crowding. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the patties and cook 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Turn and cook 3 to 5 minutes more, or until the patties just turn opaque in the middle. Alternately, the patties can be baked on a lightly greased baking sheet in a 400°F oven for 6 to 8 minutes on each side. or until the patties are lightly browned. Or broil the patties 4 to 6 inches from the heat source for 4 to 5 minutes on each side.

3. Transfer the croquettes to individual plates, garnish with the parsley sprigs and lemon wedges, and serve.

Cook’s Hint: To make unseasoned soft (fresh) bread crumbs, tear slices of white or whole-wheat bread into chunks and place them in a food processor. Process until crumbs of the desired size form. Fresh bread crumbs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week; in the freezer, tightly wrapped, they keep for about six months.

Recipe reprinted from the “Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook, Gift Edition and e-Edition,” copyright 2005 and 2012, by Braiden Rex-Johnson.
Photograph Courtesy of Spencer Johnson.  

Save the Date: Pike Place Market Flower Festival May 12-13

May 1, 2012

You know Spring has sprung when it’s time for the Pike Place Market Flower Festival AND Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 13).

This year marks the fourth annual flower fest, which begins on Saturday, May 12, as the Market’s 40 flower farmers pull out all the stops, selling outside on Pike Place as well as inside the arcades.

Very simply, with the extra elbow room to bloom, the Market becomes Seattle’s largest flower marketplace.

Get bouquets of beautiful flowers in time for every special mom in your life. After all, May 13 is Mother’s Day!

Plus, watching the farmers engage in the art form that is bouquet making is fun in itself.

In addition to buying flowers, the public is invited to create free Mother’s Day cards in the Card Making Booth.

Make it a special day and shop from Market craftspeople for flower-themed handcrafted gift items, too.

Cap the day with a delicious meal from any of the Market’s restaurants. There are dozens of dining options, such as some of our favorites including Steelhead Diner, Cafe Campagne, and Place Pigalle.

Food (and Wine and Sweet Peas) as Restorer

October 7, 2011

As mentioned in my October 1 post, I am taking a little time off from my Northwest Notes blog this month and reprinting a few of our favorite posts from the past.

This is the reprint of a post that first appeared in July 2007. Hope you enjoy it!

On July Fourth, my husband Spencer and I celebrated in our usual way—out to dinner and with a good bottle of wine. You’ll be reading about that amazing evening at Steelhead Diner in a future post.

After dinner, we found a special spot to watch the Fourth of Jul-Ivar’s firework display along the Waterfront. When we got back to our condo, we noticed water coming in around our washer/dryer and figured the washer hose had sprung a leak. After mopping up the mess, we went to bed.

The next morning, our elderly next-door neighbor called to say he had left the plug in his kitchen sink, turned the water on to do the dishes, forgotten about the water, and gone to see the fireworks display.

Two hours of gushing water later, the damage was done to our condo, his condo, and two other condos below us. The Servpro reclamation team (experts in water damage who did a lot of work during Hurricane Katrina) arrived early Saturday morning to assess the damage and put up their equipment–huge wind blowers and a dehumidifier that now dominate our bathroom and bedroom. Spencer left Saturday afternoon for a week in the Middle East, and so for the past several days I’ve been living with the blowers and dehumidifier to try to dry out and save our maple floors and drywall.

I have been alternatively angry and depressed by this total turning upside down of my life, especially since I not only live here, but work out of my home office.

Yesterday, I just had to escape from the (very nice and concerned) workers and from the fans for a few hours, so I went to work out at the gym and run a few downtown errands, then took a stroll through the Pike Place Market. Living the bachelorette life for the past four days, I had let my larder grow empty, about as empty as my drooping spirits.

And, for once in my life, I didn’t even really want to go to my beloved Market.

But once I got there and picked out my fresh produce (including Oh My God! peaches), and shared my saga with produce monger and food-and-wine photographer Mark at Sosio’s Produce, I began to feel better. Side note, and please don’t tell his boss, Susie Manzo: Mark, dear man that he is, gave me a box of local strawberries—my favorite fruit—for free, he felt so sorry for my plight.

After I bought a loaf of Grand Central Campagnolo Bread—still my favorite artisan loaf about town—at Three Girls Bakery from the happy guy who looks like Groucho Marx, treated myself to some Plugra European Butter at The Creamery, and chatted it up with Walt and the boys at Pure Food Fish, I realized yet again that this little slice of heaven, our very own farmers’ market in the heart of downtown Seattle, is a special place not only for the fine fish, produce, dairy products and cheese, specialty-food shops, and plethora of interesting restos, but for the very special people who work along the cobblestones.

For my solo dinner last night I steamed thick asparagus and slathered it with low-fat mayo, chopped a yellow heirloom tomato and sprinkled it with Australian Sea Salt, and sautéed a quartet of fist-sized, super-succulent sea scallops seasoned with nothing more than Al’aea Hawaiian Pink Sea Salt and Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese Seven Spice) to soothe my senses. For dessert? Some of those baby strawberries with whipped cream and brown sugar, of course.

My simple summer supper made me smile, filled my belly, and sent my spirits soaring. A coupla glasses of winemaker extraordinaire Virginie Bourgue’s SBS–Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon from Cadaretta, a brand-new winery in Walla Walla, helped dull some of the pain.

The pretty bouquet of pristine white sweet peas I purchased from my favorite flower farmer in the Market, Carlita (Lita) Mendez, of John & Lita’s Produce & Flowers, sent me off to sweetly scented dreams on the living-room couch.

And I awoke early this morning, refreshed and restored, ready and eager to face a new day.

Wine Tasting in the Pike Place Market

September 2, 2011

I was recently interviewed by Big Bob Woehler, a friend and long-time wine writer for the Tri-Cities Herald and a magazine I’ve been writing for for the past 11 years, Wine Press Northwest.

Bob and I chatted during one of his weekly Bobcasts (audio podcasts) about a column I’d written for the magazine’s Spring issue on wine-tasting opportunities in and around my beloved Pike Place Market.

I’ve lived in the Market neighborhood for 21 years and seen its ups, downs, and all arounds. Glad to report it’s been very much on an upswing lately.

And nothing points to that as much as the almost dozen or so places to sip wine in the ‘hood.

Listen to my favorites here, and here’s hoping you’ll be able to journey to the Market soon for your very own bit of wine tasting.

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