Short Foray Away: Redmond Saturday Market, Redmond, Wa

Directions to get there.

Three Hours Away (leaving/returning from Seattle via 520 Floating Bridge, if you avoid traffic!)

Background: The Redmond Saturday Market, first of May to end of October, brags that it is “the Cadillac of Farmer’s Markets celebrating its 40th year with over 70 vendors.” And, it is! Here is its rather amazing history of many moves and making it. It runs from the first of May until the end of October and has a wonderful schedule of varied events for each week: from crafts for the kids, animal appearances to special arts and craft sales…this day it was Kid Made Crafts for sale in the grassy area behind the Market grounds. There is lots of good quality seasonal produce, interesting artisanal food products and artists. Added bonus: Cars and Coffee or the Exotics at Redmond Square “the largest informal weekly gathering of cars and car enthusiasts…”

We headed out of Seattle to the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge (Governor Albert D. Rossellini or 520 Bridge which is an engineering feat itself with a new floating bridge being built beside it) which has a toll, we paid $4.20 each way which is billed by license plate and mailed to you and is closest way to the Market. There was little traffic at 12:30. Real time check on traffic, accidents and closures for the Bridge is helpful to do before you go! We were there (and, parked in the parking provided for the Market, there is a lot right next to the Market grounds) in 25 minutes.

This is a large, interesting and busy Market with tons of local in-season produce. There are many flower stands, interesting artisans, and food options. There were 2 music venues and the main staging area is The Gazebo where you can sit and eat and enjoy the show. The Lost River String Band was doing Roy Orbison and other country songs and it was fun listening.

We always do a complete walk around to see what is for sale and what the going prices are. This week it is peppers: bins of many kinds, fresh roasting on site for one of the vendors; and, fresh sweet corn running from 3 for $2 to 75 cents an ear depending on variety and size. We settled on Honey Treat corn a variety we had never tasted. It was the more expensive corn but the ears were full and big. I like the stands that allow you to pick your own ears. I always pull back the stalk to see if the ears are fully developed and the kernels plump. One sign of a juicy ear of corn is to pierce a kernel with your finger nail and see if juice squirts…if the milky liquid is tasty and sweet – it is a good corn.

We watched an Italian sandwich vendor making Italian sausage and pepper heros – using a fresh baguette from Le Panier an excellent French bakery at the Pike Place Market. He slices 8 inches and pokes a whole in the center with a little wooden tool, puts foil around the end and stuffs it full of his imported Chicago Italian sausage made to his specs adds spices, sweet onions and red peppers. There was a line up. I tried to talk to him and in the end he was kinda rude so we moved on; but, these are popular sandwiches. We will be making them at home!

We opted for fire roasted pizza at Veraci, which bills itself as a traveling pizza company with mobile ovens in Seattle, Oregon and Idaho. They have a Seattle storefront. Their specialty is fresh hand-made Neapolitan style pizza. $5 a slice, about a quarter of a pizza, very thin crusted with a smokey-char. It was enjoyable not amazing. Interesting to watch the process.

I was struck by the art of a young artist Stephanie K. Johnson who was selling at the Market, has been since she was 13, when she sold her first original painting there! Colorful work in oils with brush and pallet knife, impressionistic and beautiful. She has many scenes of Italy landscapes. Her rooster was beautiful. She is soft-spoken, very young for such mature art and classically trained at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle.

There was a Master Gardner’s booth. They provide advice and consultations on the spot for plant and lawn care. If you have a problem bring in a sample in a plastic bag. They will look at it and diagnose the problems and suggest solutions. This is a wonderful service out of Washington State University’s Extension Program which provides the Master Gardeners training to interested folks of King County.

We bought a nice bunch of richly colored maroon dahlias for $6 as we exited.

The Final Word: With no traffic, a sunny day, a spur of the moment adventure with lots to see, nice fresh corn, lunch and a bouquet of fresh flowers for $23.50 + gas
a great foray away!

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