Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mercer Island Farmers Market: The Video

It's finally here!  I was out of town during last week's opening day, but the first thing I did upon arriving back was to head over to Mercerdale park (across from the post office) to check out the new Mercer Island Farmers Market.  The Mercer Island blog, Surrounded By Water, wrote a nice description of it last weekend, so I was already prepared to be impressed but it was even better than I'd hoped.

Main thing I liked?  Variety.  The organizers focused on variety in vendors, not just quantity, so you can find a little bit of everything, from  River Valley Cheese to soup to Humingbird Hill sodas to Pure Passion Desserts to Wild Alaska salmon from Two If By Seafood.  Even the produce wasn't just the same-old-same-old:  Kittitas Valley Greenhouse must have been selling a dozen different varieties of tomatoes (I bought the Amish ones: very very tasty!)

By the way, it's the taste and variety that make the prices reasonable to me. Sure, you can buy cardboard-tasting, pesticide-soaked vegetables on sale at the supermarket for much less money, and there is a dollar menu at the fine McDonalds just down the street.  But this is America and you deserve to eat well, not just cheap.

Of course the other nice thing is just getting out into the community and bumping into friends.  I was too busy talking and didn't film as much as I'd hoped, but here's a 2-minute video of what I saw:


Anonymous said...

Last week it was really crowded and places ran out. Did this happen again this week? I didn't make it there...

Richard Sprague said...

If you were there last week, look at the video and tell me what you think. People told me it was less crowded this week, and that the vendors generally brought more stuff so they wouldn't run out.

Anonymous said...

Excellent video and thanks, Richard.
Two Sunday markets down and eight more to go. We are grateful for the community involvement and city support and the hard work of dozens of volunteers brought this forward. We have excellent vendors participating. In addition to the availability of great food and organic produce the market brings people on the Island together to meet, to talk, to renew acquaintances and to make new friends. All-in-all a very worthwhile endeavor for our community.

Elaine said...

I love the farmer's market! Great Sunday activity to go to on my bike or walk. Have to remember to always bring my own bags though.

I think the prices are a bit high though, and I wonder if we're being charged a 'Mercer Island Tax'. The first day the market opened, a woman told me she was leaving because the food was "too expensive". She was on a fixed income and couldn't afford to shop there.

The quality has been very good as far as I can tell. How do other's feel about the prices being charged? I'd be interested to hear what other people think.

Anonymous said...

I think the market is wonderful. I hope it lasts.

The quality looks good, but I think the prices are high. For instance $5.99/lb for fruit.

The first weekend someone told me they were leaving because they couldn't afford to buy there. I know there are better prices elsewhere even for organic produce but then you have to drive off island.

I know I'll be shopping very selectively because we need to save money. I'm interested in hearing what other's think about the prices.

Richard Sprague said...

I've heard many people say the prices are too high but I say "compared to what?" I think you have to consider the quality and uniqueness. You can't buy Amish tomatoes anywhere else at any price.

I wonder what would happen if they invited, say, QFC to set up a non-organic booth. Would current market-goers end up buying QFC instead? My guess is you'd just end up with overall more shoppers and everyone would win.

Anonymous said...

Went there today. Prices fine given quality and ability to speak with the folks who know everything about the offerings. The strudel was AMAZING. Wow. I will try to make every Sunday from now on...filled to bags (yes, the cloth kind) of fruits, vegetables and, yes sweets.

Anonymous said...

This is definitely the place to buy things usually reserved for fine restaurants and die hard gourmets. Is it going to cost a little more than your local supermarket, probably, but a lot of the things available at Farmer's Markets are NEVER found in conventional stores. Take the wild alaska salmon from Two If By Seafoods, for example. Where else would you get the opportunity to buy unparalleled quality salmon directly from the person who caught, cleaned, and has personally overseen every step of the process that brought this outstanding product directly to your dinner table? Having the complete history of what you're going to eat is a great rarity, and learning all the interesting stories that go with the salmon only enhances your enjoyment of the food. I have never found better salmon anywhere, including menus of extremely expensive restaurants. Never have a few extra pennies been better spent.