Ballard Farmers Market is Washington State’s biggest and busiest farmers market. It is filled with history, characters, stories, surprise products and lots of localicious. Join farmers market expert Zachary Lyons guided, behind-the-scene tours of this bustling 5-hours-per-week market and learn why he is in love with it, and while you will be, too.
Located on historic Ballard Avenue in Seattle’s old maritime community, Ballard Farmers Market is a beautiful, vibrant and storied community gathering place to which locals flock every Sunday, year-round, to stock their pantries and fridges with the finest locally-produced foods, beverages and crafts available. It is also one of the top tourist destinations in Seattle, a true, workaday neighborhood farmers market located within a stunning historic preservation district that is filled with excellent eateries and shops also featuring the best of our region.
Most people enjoy farmers markets for their wonderful offerings of fresh, local food, but many are unaware of all the many things that happen out of their sight in order to bring their favorite farmers market to them. If you are curious to learn more, this tour is for you! What can you find here that you won’t find in any grocery store? When is the best time to shop to find eggs or the best deals? How does the market change with the season? How was it founded, and why? How has Ballard evolved around this market, and how have farmers markets evolved in general, in Seattle and throughout Washington State?
Zachary Lyons has the answers to these questions and more. After spending seven years as the first executive director of the Washington State Farmers Market Association, he literally wrote the book on farmers markets — the Washington State Farmers Market Manual, published by Washington State University in 2008. He then spent eight years on the management team for Ballard Farmers Market. Indeed, this market is his neighborhood farmers market, his home away from home, and its vendors and staff are like his extended family, which comes through in his tours.
Zach also served as a founding board member of Seattle Chefs Collaborate (a.k.a., FORKS) from 1999-2015, serving as its president for the last five of those years, so he is well-connected within both the local farm and restaurant communities. He helped drafted legislation that has changed the course of farmers market and local food in Washington State forever, and he has campaigned for vital funding and programs. Zach is Seattle’s ultimate farmers market and local food insider, and he is eager to share with you his intimate relationship with, and deep knowledge of, Ballard Farmers Market.