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Market Fresh - A How To Guide

By, Erin Peterson

Featured in Spokane Coeur d' Alene Living Magazine


When you live in the Inland Northwest, summer just isn’t summer without a market tote filled to the brim with goodies and an armful of fresh flowers. The best part about living here, though, is that there is a market open almost every day of the week throughout the summer. That means more time to chat with your neighbors (or find new friends), take home foraged and farmed ingredients to grace your table, and enjoy freshly baked goods without having to heat up your kitchen.


These little gems are a foodie’s dream come true. Each one is filled with some of the area’s top purveyors. From salmon freshly caught in Alaska by Thunder’s Catch to a dizzying assortment of flowers, and grass-fed beef from several craft farmers - these markets have it all. Feeling hungry? Grab a crepe, freshly pressed juice, wood fire oven pizza, a chickpea burger or a handmade avocado chocolate popsicle as you browse. Once you’ve loaded up on honey, bread and produce, you can peruse the stands of a variety of local artisans.

Now that there is a market in nearly every corner of our region, it can be like the wild west out there sometimes. There are no designated lines, it’s outdoors and stock is limited. That means we have to be a little more resourceful and respectful to make the experience the relaxing and happy one that it is meant to be. I have a few tips to make your trek worthwhile for you and for your friendly neighborhood farmers.


1. Are you new to the market you’re attending? Don’t buy anything until you’ve walked a lap around the place. You may find another booth with better selection for the items you’re hunting for, and you’ll kick yourself later for it. Do your research and talk to the farmers and vendors, too. They know their stuff and are happy to help answer any questions you may have (and often beam with pride when you do).

2. It’s going to be a little more expensive than grocery store produce. Don’t panic. These are small family farms, and that lack of large scale means higher labor costs, but it’s worthwhile. You can definitely taste the difference. Please don’t haggle with the farmers, and honestly, if you’re happy with your products, it doesn’t hurt to throw in a tip.


3. With each trip that you make, I’d recommend buying one ingredient you’ve never had before. Ramps, parsnips, seabeans… the sky's the limit. It will not only make you a better cook, but a more well-rounded consumer as well. You never know, you may find a new favorite.

4. Think like a trained chef and go as soon as the market bell rings for the best selection. With every hour that passes, the products become more and more picked over. Nothing is sadder than going to your favorite vendor who has a “sold out” sign on their booth when you were really counting on those morels or that perfect center cut bacon. It can often be crowded, so be patient and enjoy the experience no matter what time of day you pop by. A smile can go an awfully long way when you accidentally bump into someone.


5. Come prepared. Bring your own market bag (or bags). You’ll keep your treasures safe and be mindful of the environment as well. Do you shop in bulk? Bring a granny cart with a liner. You can find lots of choices online and won’t have to schlep your goods on your shoulder if you’re a vegetable addict like me. If you really want to make friends with the farmers, you’ll want to bring cash, especially small bills. They’ll be trying to break 20’s all day long, so being courteous of their limited resources will really help win the day.

Now that you have the insider scoop, do you need help finding a market near you that’s a sure thing? Here are all of my top picks for a lovely outing and the days of the weeks that they are available.


Tuesday

Spokane Public Market

Parkade Plaza

112 N. Howard St

Spokane, WA

Tuesdays: 4 to 7 pm

spokanepublicmarket.net

Fairwood Farmers' Market

319 W. Hastings Rd

Spokane, WA 99218

Tuesday: 3 pm - 7 pm

(June - October)


Wednesday

Kendall Yards Night Market

4 - 8 pm

(Open mid-May to mid-October)

Music, 40 local farmers and vendors

kendallnightmarket.org

Kootenai County Farmer’s Market

4 pm - 6:30 pm

May 15th through September 25th

Sherman Ave. & Fifth St.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Kootenaifarmersmarkets.org

Spokane Farmers Market

8 am - 1 pm

20 W. 5th Avenue

Spokane, WA

(between Division and Browne)

(509) 995-0182

(May through October)

spokanefarmersmarket.org


Thursday

South Perry Farmers’ Market

3pm - 7 pm

924 South Perry Street

Spokane, WA

( May - October 1)

thursdaymarket.org


Saturday

Liberty Lake Farmers Market

1421 N. Meadowwood Lane

Liberty Lake, WA 99019

Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm

(May - October)

llfarmersmarket.com

Kootenai County Farmer’s Market

9 am - 1:30 pm

(May through October)

SE Corner Hwy 95 & Prairie Ave.

Hayden, Idaho

kootenaifarmersmarkets.org

Spokane Farmers Market

8 am - 1 pm

20 W. 5th Avenue

Spokane, WA

(between Division and Browne)

(509) 995-0182

(May through October)

spokanefarmersmarket.org

Need more flexible hours to find your favorites? There is still a market for you to find local products - in the form of locally-owned grocery stores. Main Market, Huckleberry’s, and My Fresh Basket are all located in Spokane, and Pilgrim’s Market in Coeur d’Alene are there to stand in the gap when you can’t make it to one of the daily markets, and they do a great job of showcasing great local wares all year-round.

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