Summer is still a few weeks away, but one of our favorite warm-weather pastimes has already returned, and we couldn’t be happier. The Bellevue Farmers Market opened May 12, and we stopped by to soak up the sun, sample the goods and meet some of the hardworking local folks who toil in the soil so we can eat fresh all season long.
We heartily recommend you visit every single stall, but if you’re short on time, you might want to move these six sociable vendors to the top of your shopping list.
This time of year, most of our favorite recipes feature asparagus, so we scooped up generous bunches of the vitamin-packed shoots—both thick and thin varieties were available—as well as onions and spring garlic from this family-owned farm based in Mabton, east of the Cascades.
How could you not love beer inspired by the Big Easy? The New Orleans-themed craft brewers from right here in Bellevue hooked us up with a lovely malty, melon-y IPA named Treme, and invited us to stop by their family-friendly taproom at 12031 Northup Way, Suite 203.
The Ballard-based artisan confectionary showed off three varieties of their small-batch caramels, and while we appreciated the Fleur de Sel and Absinthe with Black Salt candies, our favorites were the Key Lime with Sea Salt caramels, which perfectly balanced citrus and sweet.
We were showing off and chose a sample of the spicy chipotle salsa made by Darren Donahue’s family-owned Maple Valley condiment company, and boy, did we pay for it! Fortunately, there are a handful of less-fiery but just as addicting salsa varieties to choose from.
We were tickled to find pickles at the market, and thrilled to learn that this local company also produces a stellar Bloody Mary mix and relish, plus pickled asparagus, green beans and beets. If you can’t make it to the market, you can find their fine-brined goods in Bellevue at Pasta & Co.
It’s kind of genius to infuse popsicles with seasonal, local and organic ingredients, and positively brilliant to sell those fresh, refreshing frozen treats at the farmers market on a sunny day. Choose fruity or creamy varieties, in flavors from strawberry to coconut to chocolate banana.
The Bellevue Farmers Market is open Thursdays 3-7 p.m., through October 27, in the parking lot of Bellevue Presbyterian Church, 1717 Bellevue Way NE. You’ll find free and plentiful parking, and food trucks slinging cross-cultural cuisine. Bring shopping bags and cash, or buy a token with your debit card ($2 service charge) if you forget to stop by the ATM.
Written by – Monica Fischer
Photo Credits – Top to Bottom: Bellevue Farmers Market photos courtesy of Monica Fischer