The University District Farmers Market has always been a mouthwatering place to plan what meals you might cook with heaps of local fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats and seafood. These days, the Saturday market is not all delayed gratification: You can dine on-site on fried farmstand eggs, sizzling sausage patties made from pastured pigs, gillnet-caught wild salmon and other delicacies.
All the goodies are prepared, per Market rules, with a majority of local ingredients. That’s easy enough when cooking with fruits and vegetables, said Chris Curtis, director of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance, but an impressive recent twist is the number of vendors using locally grown and milled flours.
University Avenue is closed off during the Market, and you could nibble on handmade empanadas or tandoor-fired naan while you wander, but a few tables and chairs are also set up to devour the dishes with the attention they deserve.
If you’re inspired after eating, buy the raw ingredients and try to repeat the successes at home.
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Plan of attack: Browse up and down the two blocks of market tents to see what looks best before committing your money and stomach space. (The same advice, incidentally, holds for picking out the freshest greens or choicest cuts of meat to take home.)
Don’t miss: Breakfast sandwiches ($10) made to order from Carnation-based Nature’s Last Stand deserve a place on any brunch Top 10 list. Farmer John Huschle fries eggs from local farmers and cooks sausage made from his own hogs, piling them on Tall Grass Bakery buns with Samish Bay cheese and optional Woodring Farms habanero jelly. (It shouldn’t really be an option; definitely try it.). Get your fish on by ordering salmon sliders ($6) or hash ($12) from Loki Fish Co. or a towering, crunchy-fried Hama Hama oyster slider topped with Iggy’s sauerkraut ($6).
Old Faithful: Patty Pan Grill, cooking up veggie-filled quesadillas ($8) and tamales ($3.50-$4.50), is the oldest concession stand at Seattle Farmers Markets, celebrating its 20th year.
Potatoes with a purpose: Crisp, fresh-from-the-fryer “Freedom Fries” ($5) made by Chris Petry of Oh Yeah! Farms in Leavenworth are served with dipping vinegar from Rockridge Farms. A portion of sales goes to the ACLU.
What to skip: While Ellenos Greek Yogurt is good under any circumstances, it’s available at enough supermarkets now that we don’t feel a need to buy it here.
Worth every calorie: Pastries from Standard Bakery, which briefly operated a brick and mortar store in South Lake Union. No, we don’t know why anyone would name these gorgeous, flaky pocket pies ($5) and seasonal fruit Danishes “Standard.” We’d call them “Perfection.”