A relatively temperate winter and an unusually long, cool, and wet spring have been good for many crops, especially vegetables and fruit grown in the foothills of the Cascades, and the bounty will be reaching Seattle's patchwork of neighborhood farmers markets in the coming weeks. An ideal urban-agricultural excursion for folks whose summer plans don't include out-of-town travel.
There are two local umbrella organizations for farmers markets. The oldest is the Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets Alliance, founded by Chris Curtis in 1993, which today operates the longstanding University District and Magnolia markets on Saturdays and the Fremont and Broadway markets on Sundays. Details on all the markets, including "fresh sheets" at www.seattlefarmersmarkets.org.
The newer player is the Seattle Farmers Market Association, which operates markets in Ballard (Sundays), Wallingford (Wednesdays), Madrona (Fridays), Georgetown (Saturdays) — and, for nine Thursdays beginning July 15, in Belltown at the Olympic Sculpture Park. These are all dog-friendly markets (short leash, though). Umbrella site for this group is www.fremontmarket.com, and many of the individual markets have their own blogs.
There are also a few independently run neighborhood markets, like Queen Anne and Cascade (both on Thursdays) that include a farmer component as well as numerous vendors of prepared food (pizza, ice cream, tacos). Dogs of all sizes, on leashes and mostly muzzled, compete for right of passage with baby strollers and their pushers, resulting in amiable, well-fed gridlock.