It was a miserably cool, long, neverending, agonizing spring. We've all recovered; those few weeks of 80 degrees were especially appreciated by kids and sprinklers alike, not to mention those of us itching to jump into Lake Washington some time in 2011.
But for farmers, the slow start meant that peaches, tomatoes, eggplants and all the other high-heat-loving summer fruits and veggies were really late in ripening this year. Some--including assorted melons, grapes, plums, all sorts of berries, plus every sort of tomato, cucumbers, hot and sweet peppers, lettuces of every stripe, and corn! yes, somehow, corn!--have finally reached maturity and are at their peak...right now, in mid-September.
So to help the farmers, many of whom make the vast bulk of their annual living during our short summer season, the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance has extended the Phinney Ridge, Magnolia and Lake City markets schedules for 2 weeks. Lake City will run until 10/20, Phinney will run until 10/21, and Magnolia's last day will be 10/22.
If you don't live in those areas, worry not: other markets continue into October and beyond, too:
The Queen Anne market runs Thursdays until 10/6; Columbia City farmers market runs Wednesdays (3-7 p.m.) through 10/19; and the Broadway market (Sun., 11 a.m.-3 p.m.) runs all the way until December 18th. Bainbridge Island's market (Sat., 9 a.m.-1 p.m.) runs into October and the Vashon Island market (Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.) continues until mid-November. Wallingford and Madrona say goodbye to their markets at the end of September.
Of course, the year-round West Seattle (Sun., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.), University District (Sat., 9 a.m.-2 p.m.) and Ballard (Sun., 10 a.m.-3 p.m.) markets remain open through fall, winter and early spring.
Get out there and get your fill of summer fruits and veggies; it's not too late (even if it does feel a little like fall already).
For info on chef demonstrations and exact locations go to seattlefarmersmarkets.org/, www.fremontmarket.com, qafma.org/, http://georgetownfarmersmarket.wordpress.com/about/, www.gorenton.com/farmersmarket.htm or http://www.discoverburien.com/events/index.php#BurienFarmersMarket.