If you follow me on Instagram (*cough cough* ErinEph *cough cough*), you know that I recently discovered the Woodland Park Rose Garden. I came upon it by accident when I tried to find a way across Aurora. I eventually found one inside the park, but not before I walked through the rose garden and took a couple dozen photos of the roses and their names (Apertif, Julia Child, Livin’ Easy). I’m not a rose person, I guess, but my great-grandfather used to grow roses and submitted some of his to the Missouri Botanical Garden, where they supposedly still grow today. So while I’m not really a rose person, I like rose gardens, okay?
I’m not usually a flower person, either. I mean, I like flowers and everything, but keeping fresh flowers in the house seems futile most of the time. Unless you get something super hardy either by breed or by grocery store (because those things never die), your bouquet will wilt and shrivel in short time, leaving dead little flower droppings all over your furniture.
Still, just as I love rose gardens instead of regular roses, this didn’t stop me from picking up a kale flower bouquet at the farmers market yesterday, or from being thrilled that Courtney brought some flowers over for family dinner.
First, the farmer’s market. The Internet says that there are only 3 full-time farmer’s markets in Seattle, meaning that everything else is seasonal only and because this is the Pacific Northwest, the “season” in question is limited to June through September. One of the full-time markets is Pike Place, which is fine to experience occasionally (as a tourist, or if you’re looking for something super specific and know your vendor, and in either case you should still visit Piroshky Piroshky because otherwise you’ve wasted everyone’s time) but mostly it’s just crowded and you’ll have to haul your purchases home on the bus. The other markets are in our own neighborhood (though I hear that it’s more like a swap meet sort of market) and in the neighborhood just up the road (where we went).
We arrived at the Ballard Farmers Market at 8:30am, thinking we were late. However, since we got a spot so close to the stalls and didn’t see anyone actually shopping, I looked it up on my phone and discovered that we were actually an hour and a half early, because by some way of lazy hippie witchcraft, this market didn’t open until 10am. Yeah. 10AM. Which is the middle of the afternoon for farmers, and also I was in Ballard with nothing to do for an hour and a half. Except get coffee, I mean, but WAIT. Only two places were even open at 8:30am on a Sunday, and one of them was Starbucks. Hey, coffee people in Seattle, know why people end up going to Starbucks when so many other independent places exist? Because you dumb hipsters can’t get out of fucking bed at a reasonable hour, that’s why. Get your asses up and get to work like the rest of the world. Once we found a place that sold coffee and the market finally opened, we asked a vendor why they couldn’t sell before 10am. She said it was “market policy” and encouraged fairness, because it gave time for everyone to set up and didn’t give anyone an advantage for getting there early.
What the what? Getting an early advantage is the point of farmers markets. In my experience, if you can’t compete with the 70-year-old Vietnamese women who get up at 5am every day to buy food for their restaurants, then game over. You lose. Go home. I’ve been unapologetically elbowed in the groin by these women and still got the grocery shopping done, I can handle the farmers market.
Once we could actually buy stuff, though, it wasn’t a terrible market. Not as big as we’d been told (although maybe our expectations were just different), but as far as produce is concerned, it was strictly seasonal and all vendors were local. Which is pretty great.
Second, family dinner. We had this one to thank the people who made our move here possible. Courtney and Luke for both convincing us to move and helping to unload the truck, Mike for also unloading the truck (seriously can you tell how important it is to have people unload the truck), and Crossley for giving Graham a job (even though he could not unload the truck because allegedly he had to work). Despite debacles with the market and organic Brussels sprouts which you should never buy because they’re always riddled with bugs and worms, causing Graham to go to the regular grocery story to get me something that wasn’t infested, I kind of owned the prep work yesterday and turned out of the best dinner parties of my career. And by career, I mean “times I’ve made my friends come over to get drunk and eat food with me.” Graham helped, of course, not only with the Brussels sprouts but also because he makes the best smoke-grilled pork tenderloin in the world, and if you can’t make friends with pork, then those aren’t the kind of friends worth having.