Eastside Farmers Markets - A Close to Home ‘Taste of Europe’

Market Days in small towns throughout Europe bring each community together as producers and purchasers transform a mundane street into a colorful out-door shopping mall. On that one day each week the traveling meat, cheese and fish vendors transform their vans into display racks; joining local farmers and orchardists who offer their mounds of produce on an array of tables or simply from the back of pickup trucks.

The next day the setup and shopping ritual takes place in a neighboring village.

These Market Days are highpoints of European travel for us.  They are great places to experience a part of community life, watching neighbors and friends gather and greet.  Children romping while music plays.

Markets are a source of great inexpensive souvenirs – a lavender sachet or package of spice fit well into any size travel bag.  We stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, cheeses and breads – the fixings for in-room breakfast and lunches – a real boost to the travel budget. Market Day is a great reason for an impromptu picnic: a baguette, some cheese, olives, perhaps a dessert (or two!) and we are off to the nearest park.

While Market days around here don’t offer hardware, house wear and every day clothing as European markets do, they do offer the same wonderful sights, sounds, smells, tastes (and souvenirs). So this summer we plan to get a ‘Taste of Europe’ and not go any further than a few miles from home:

*Kirkland Wednesday Market, 2 p.m. – 7 p.m. at Marina Park in downtown Kirkland through Oct. 13, www.kirklandwednesdaymarket.org

* Juanita Beach Friday Night Market, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., 9703 N.E. Juanita Drive, near the ball fields through Oct. 8, www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/fridaynightmarket .

And just down the road:

* Bellevue Farmers Market, Thursdays, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. through Oct. 14 , First Presbyterian Church, 1717 Bellevue Way N.E. and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. through Nov. 20 at Washington Square, 10610 NE 8th St., www.bellevuefarmersmarket.org

*Redmond Saturday Market, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. through Oct. 30th, 7730 Leary Way, N.E., www.redmondsaturdaymarket.homestead.com

*Renton Farmers Market, Tuesdays, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. through Sept. 28, in the downtown Piazza at Burnett Ave. S. and S. 3rd St., www.rentonfarmersmarket.com

*Woodinville Farmers Market, Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., through Oct. 9 on 133rd Ave, south of Carol Edwards Center, www.woodinvillefarmersmarket.com

*Issaquah Farmers Market, Saturdays, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., through Oct. 9, Pickering Barn 1730 10th Ave. N.W., www.ci.issaquah.wa.us/Page.asp?NavID=541

Jackie Smith, a Kirkland-based freelance writer shares a passion for travel with her husband, Joel.  Joel is the researcher for and Jackie the writer of a travel blog, www.travelnwrite.com in which they share travel tips and tales of their adventures. They are believers of adding  'a touch of travel' to close to home outings such as that described in the above article.