Best Of 2014

Best Farmers Market 

click to enlarge Santé Chef and Owner Jeremy Hansen (this year's winner of Best Chef) shops at the South Perry Farmers Market. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Santé Chef and Owner Jeremy Hansen (this year's winner of Best Chef) shops at the South Perry Farmers Market.

Best Farmers Market

PERRY STREET FARMERS MARKET

Every Thursday during the summer, something strange happens up on South Perry. A crowd gathers. Spokanites get out of their cars. They meander, carrying fresh greens, pushing strollers, sipping microbrews on a nearby patio. It's active and communal and hip.

Go see for yourself and your first reaction may be that it doesn't feel like Spokane at all. But ask the people behind the Perry Street Farmers Market and they'll tell you this is exactly what Spokane feels like. They've built a social experience, complete with food, crafts, kids' activities and music, that's small enough for people to get to know each other.

"It's more interactive [than other markets], which is why people come to the market instead of the grocery store," says Mika Maloney, who sells her goods from Batch Bakeshop at the market and sits on its board. "You see people every week and you build a relationship."

From mid-May through October, the market sprawls across the parking lot in front of the Shop with a healthy mix of local food growers and craftspeople, plus Veraci's portable wood-fired pizza oven. The Shop conveniently offers $2 beers on Thursdays. In the colder months (except January and February) the market moves indoors to the Buddhio Yoga Studio across the street.

In the eight years since its start, the Perry market has grown in popularity to the point where organizers are wondering if they've outgrown the space. They've considered a potential move within the neighborhood in the long term, but for now they're focused on perfecting the market where it is. Key to that success is a good mix of vendors to bring different types of people to the market for different needs, says board president Brian Estes.

"We've really nailed the social experience of the market," he says, "and now we want to see what we can do to hone in on the practical experience of shopping at the market."

2nd PLACE: Spokane Farmers Market; 3rd PLACE: Liberty Lake Farmers Market. NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Kootenai County Farmers Market

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(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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