14 May Bellingham Farmers’ Market

This market is one of the largest in Washington and one of Sunset Magazine’s Top Ten Farmers’ Markets in the whole of the West.  Opened in the heart of Bellingham in 1993 the market supports over 100 vendors.
bellingham_market_aisle

My priorities at any farmers’ markets line up like this:
First: How many actual farmers are present?
I want to see a good variety of farmers not only for lots of  food options but also because many of these small farms need the support of their local communities if they are going to be able to continue. This is part of the bargain we as consumers have to embrace. Bellingham, you will quickly agree, has a large contingency of farmers on their roster. Yes, there are loads of other vendors too for those who are hungry for a food truck meal or a  pastry with their coffee, or who are interested in the wares of local jewelry, pottery and wood-carving crafts people.
rhubarb

Second: Is produce organic or at least using organic practices?
I don’t like pesticides in my food. That is non-negotiable for me. I also don’t support any type of confined animal production. Bellingham has a good selection of organic produce, fruits and meat that is either raised on grass or organic feed and without antibiotics and/or growth hormones. You can find pastured pork,  beef and poultry and seasonally available organic strawberries and blueberries which are particularly bountiful in this region and, allowed to ripen on the bush, seriously delicious.
lillies

Third: Location.
This market is situated in the center of downtown Bellingham on city-leased space in a handsome contemporary building with parking nearby. It’s festive, clean, and safe; street musicians and performers, many of them very good, attract happy audiences. Part of the market’s popularity comes from the fact that it is a great place to wander around and browse and engage with the vendors or fellow visitors. Need something to eat? This place has you covered: wood-fired pizza, fresh bread, pastries, Thai food, Mexican and the ever popular chow dogs. Something for every taste bud.
bellingham_fm

On a sunny morning you will find the place packed. Farmers markets have taken over the space that was once the public square, so besides everything else that happens here you also have a place where people come together face to face with their community, something that rarely seems to happen in this fast food, big box world we live in.  Another good reason to make the trek.
bellingham_fm2

Depot Market Square, downtown Bellingham on Railroad Avenue between Chestnut and Maple Streets.
Open from April through Christmas, 10 AM to 3PM.
Bellingham Farmers Market