I got back to DC late on Sunday, which meant I didn’t get to make my usual trip to the Dupont Circle farmers market. But I did get my market fix back home in Olympia. The Olympia Farmers Market is one of the defining cultural institutions of my hometown, and probably explains a lot of my obsession with local food. This is no collection of tents that show up for a few hours once a week. Dozens of vendors sell their wares under a soaring wooden roof Thursday through Sunday, 10am to 3pm.
With the exception of two stands that bring fruit from east of the Cascades, everything in the market is from Thurston County. That means that every bunch of beets, every basket of strawberries, every wedge of cheese, and every cut of meat comes from within about 25 miles of the market itself.
The prices are reasonable and the quality is impeccable. When I was growing up, I never realized how special it was that my town of 40,000 would have this enormous, four-days-a-week super-local produce market. Of course, it made me a little spoiled. By comparison, the produce at the Dupont Circle market is more expensive, less local, and only available one day per week (but, on the plus side, it’s open even in the winter).
I only started buying local consciously within the last couple years, but the Olympia Farmers Market no doubt put the idea into my subconscious brain long ago.