Last Monday it felt as if someone had finally turned on the air conditioner in Seattle. Happily, none of us will have to foot the bill.
The weather has been lovely since I returned (how I missed Seattle cool temps in warm and humid Paris!) and walking around the city is a real treat any time of day or night.
On Tuesday, for example, after the Neil Diamond concert (it was fantastic, in case you are wondering), instead of taking a cab home the four of us walked from the Key Arena and down first avenue all the way to our building--all the while laughing, talking and cracking jokes--a block away from Pacific Place.
It was delightful. And even while still wearing my summer linens and with no shawl in sight, it was cool and comfortable. Just wonderful.
By Wednesday however, it started to get breezy and a bit chilly. Browsing the market stalls at Columbia City I notice some of the farmers wearing sweaters and rubbing their hands together, crossing their arms to warm up a bit. Some others, around 6:45, were reaching for pullovers to finish the day.
After ordering a lemonade to go wash down the grilled veggies and greens and tamale, I was actually hankering for a cup of hot chocolate instead. My hands were a bit cold too.
And that's when it hit me: autumn has officially arrived in Seattle! And, even though I happen to love the fall wind, the falling leaves and the fall color, it also makes me a bit sad to know that for most of the Puget Sound Neighborhood farmers markets the last week of September (and October, November and December) will be the last hurrah of the season, until next spring.
I'm not suggesting we all capitulate to cold weather, overcast skies and drizzle and give up on fresh, local produce. Or that we immure ourselves in the aisles of Metropolitan Market, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or Larry's Market.
On the contrary, I propose that we rejoice in the fact that at least for a couple more months we can still walk or drive our merry way to our neighborhood farmers markets and shop to our local produce loving heart's content.
Because while we downtowners have Pike Place Market available year round (and Ballard and the Madison/Capitol Hill markets) it is the neighborhood markets that bring the local color to the rest of the Seattle/Puget Sound area.
So get out there, visit these markets and shop while you still can. Wear your fleece if you must, pack a pashmina or that funky poncho or scarf you knitted and stay for dinner while listening to the musicians.
Take home some eggs, butter, cheese, organic/pastured meats, smoked salmon, amazing shellfish and troll caught albacore tuna, jams and jellies, cider, berries and root vegetables, greens and herbs and apples and pears.
Tell your favorite farmer how much you have appreciated his hard work and dedication. How every time you prepare a dish using an ingredient purchased from him or her you remember all the effort that went into planting, cultivating, harvesting and then packing and schlepping--sometimes, half a day's drive--to a Seattle area market stand. How you honor in your cooking his commitment to good eating and living.
Then...start thinking of all those pot pies, stews, curries and fricassees, of all the soups and porridges and hot chocolate to come, of hearty pasta dishes, roasted turkeys and duck.
And in our wine loving state, the harvest and the crush and all the wonderful wine that will be coming our way soon.
So what if the weather is turning? Let's warm up our slightly enfeebled bones and let the bacchanalia begin!
A few of my favorite markets, dates and times:
- Broadway – Sundays, 11am-3pm, May 15 - Nov 20, 2005
- Columbia City – Wednesdays, 3-7pm, May 11 - Oct 26, 2005
- Lake City – Thursdays, 3-7pm, May 19 through Oct 21, 2005
- Magnolia - Saturdays, 10-2pm, June 4 though Sept 24, 2005
- University District – Saturdays, 9am-2pm, May 7 through Dec 17, 2005
- West Seattle – Sundays, 10am-2pm, May 8 through Dec 18, 2005
- Bellevue- Thursdays, 3pm - 7pm
May 19 through October 13