Green City Garden Girl: Floating Farmer's Market in Seattle

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KyLynn Hull is a stay-at-home mom and dabbles in many things including writing, urban farming and raising backyard chickens. She writes regularly for garden and food blog, Green City Garden Girl – Bound by the Seasons.

Seattle is a funny place and continues to amaze me with its elite status of all things unique, including: recycling programs, the number of bike commuters, community-supported agriculture programs, backyard gardens, urban chickens, farmer’s markets and, now, a floating farmer’s market.

Yes, you heard me right; Puget Sound is host to a new concept surrounding a floating farmer’s market aboard the Historic Virginia V, which delivers fresh produce each Thursday to a Lake Union dock. The concept is simple: allow local island farms, along with familiar Seattle farm vendors, to reach waterfront communities and provide consumers with sustainable produce. It also revitalizes and gives new life to old boats who normally wouldn’t be in use. Repurposed at its finest! FarmBoat launched the first boat with visions of eventually operating three vessels on a regular route as far north as the San Juan Islands, all the way down to Olympia, Washington.

Farm Boat facilitates the delivery of locally grown produce and artisan crafts to Northwest seaport communities. Photo By KyLynn Hull.

This floating farmer’s market interested me enough to grab my little family and head off toward the new South Lake Union Park to find out for myself just what this place was all about.

It was a cold, but pleasant enough day when we arrived to board the Virginia V farmers’ market. A “mate” happily escorted us on the boat into the arms of Full Circle Farms, where they happily displayed their winter crop selection. We wandered around the first floor while my almost-three-year-old took off looking out every window. The old boat smelled as it should–saltwater wrestling with a hint of fuel–a smell I’ve come to appreciate. I took a deep breath and continued on, climbing up the shiny, wooden stairs to the second story where more vendors waited. We were happy to see our favorite bread company, Tall Grass Bakery, and quickly snagged a classic baguette and molasses cookie. They had their popular pumpernickel and multi-grain breads for sale along with seasonal “Stollen” bread, traditional German Christmas bread made of fruit and covered with sugar, but an expensive option at $20 a loaf.

We visited our favorite bread company, Tall Grass Bakery, on the Farm Boat. Photo By KyLynn Hull.

Tall Grass Bakery was selling “Stollen” German Christmas bread made of fruit and covered in sugar. Photo By KyLynn Hull.

We made our way to Pete’s Perfect Toffee, a handmade toffee recipe carried down from the vendor’s grandmother, and picked up a small pack to nibble on while we wrapped up our shopping. We checked out a few other items until we concluded our market visit by buying apples, pears and carrots for next to nothing: apples two for $1, carrots eight for $1, and a large pear for two bucks.

The experience was cool–although small with limited produce–but very unique. I think it will only gain momentum as it grows. It’s a fabulous place to take out-of-town guests or for just a little outing with the family.

Farm Boat provides cool produce boxes. Photo By KyLynn Hull.

The regular run will continue at the South Lake Union Park every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in March. (December 23 was the last winter run). Support the new concept by checking it out for yourself. For more information and to sign up for the “Fresh News” mailing list visit the Farm Boat’s website

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