Please pardon my absence last week. Jeremy and I were in Washington visiting family so I had pretty much checked out from the blogging realm. We had a great time staying up nights and talking and playing cards. We cooked, we ate way too much, and just generally soaked up our time with the people we miss the rest of the year.
One of my favorite things to do while in Washington is to visit Pike Place Market. We try to go every time that we are in town. It’s similar to the Reading Terminal Market in Philly, but much bigger and much colder (in the winter).
Pike Place Market is open air and full of fresh flowers, fruits, vegetables, and seafood. You can also find a horde of local crafts, photography, health products, jewelry, leather: the list goes on. Full of bright colors, ever-changing smells, the sounds of street performers, and the masses of people pushing past you–Pike Place assaults your senses.
For some people the market is new and exciting; for others, it is just part of the daily grind. If you people watch it’s easy to differentiate.
My main gripe about the market is their bathrooms. The stall doors are seriously ridiculous. Confession: I have a shy bladder. I have a VERY shy bladder. Would it have been too much to ask for a full door? When you stand up, literally from your mid-torso up is exposed to the people washing their hands. No need to peek under the door to see if a stall is occupied. Oh no, you can just look right on over the door. For someone such as me, peeing is impossible. It would have been far too tacky for me to take a picture of this, just trust me.. It ain’t right.
Anyhow, rant over. The history behind Pike Place is pretty cool, I think. Between 1890 and 1900 the population of Seattle grew very rapidly, almost doubling, in fact. Local farmers would come by horse drawn wagon or ferry to sell their goods to wholesalers. This left the farmers with very little to no profit. Between 1906 and 1907 the cost of produce sky-rocketed; the farmers weren’t making money and the consumer was getting very little for their money. No one was winning except the wholesalers.
The City Councilman of Seattle, Mr. Thomas Revelle, came up with the genius idea that farmers should sell their goods directly to the consumer. On August 17, 1907, the first day of the public market, the farmers sold out within minutes. From that time on farmers showed up daily on the stretch of wooden roadway between First Street and Western Avenue to sell their goods. Hence, Pike Place Market was born.
It’s so easy to forget just how spoiled we are. Pike Place Market was built to cover the backs of working men who were trying to bring home an income for their family. It was and still is a place for people to share their hard work and their craft and make a little something for the work they do. There really is something to be said about shopping local. If you live near Pike Place, don’t take it for granted. If you get the chance to visit Pike Place, stop in and check out what the Seattle locals can do.