Saturday Market has its own flare

By John Owen | Aug 11, 2011

We have fresh-picked berries, they have berries, picked by the very same lady.  

They have classic fresh or frozen raviolis, we have  raviolis, peddled by the same gentleman who describes them in what sounds like a Neapolitan accent.

At the Edmonds Saturday market you'll usually spot two teenage boys, strumming close harmonies on their guitars.  At the Ballard Sunday market you might guess that the  musicians in an energetic, down-home string quartet have seen a combined  300 summers.

That's an entertaining way to spend a weekend, visiting the Edmonds Market on Saturday, the Ballard Market the following day, a study in contrasts.

There are wide thoroughfares on both Fifth Avenue and on Bell Street in Edmonds.  By contrast Ballard Avenue is constricted, jammed with food merchants and customers while the craft merchants share a small vacant lot.

There is more finger food offered by Edmonds vendors.  

The opportunities for a walking lunch are fewer in Ballard, but there are more restaurants, taverns and coffee shops lining the avenue.

There are more ethnically diverse growers  hawking their produce in Edmonds and prices are generally lower than in Ballard, where most of the bewhiskered young farmers  and their wives seem to represent a back-to-the-earth generation.

On one sunny Sunday in Ballard we heard background tunes provided by what I would estimate to be almost 30 musicians, including old time bluegrass groups as well as a classical music ensemble consisting of six teen-to-thirties cellists.

Give Edmonds an edge, on overall values and produce selection.

Give Ballard the edge in musical talent.

But one thing was obvious.  There are probably four times as many canines at the Edmonds market, rubbing up against the produce stands, sniffing at fresh baked pastries, growling at each other and creating a moving obstacle course for elderly shoppers.

Possibly we can make a trade.  I'd be willing to give up two Edmonds' beagles, a bichon, three miniature poodles and a Lhasa Apso for a Ballard bluegrass banjo picker, two fiddlers  one cellist and a mixed quartet of close-harmony singers.

Oh, yeah, I think the Edmonds' market has 'way more kids than you'll find roaming Ballard Avenue.

My guess is that our kids -- like those in Lake Woebegon -- are all above average.  

And the dogs are smart enough to sniff their way to the free samples at the puppy biscuit booth.

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