Farmers market afloat aboard historic ship
Sketched June 21 and 28, 2012
I'm sampling sweet potato pie at a farmers market and watching floatplanes land and sailboats cruise by. Can you guess where I am?
The FarmBoat Floating Market, held every Thursday aboard the historic Virginia V steamship at Lake Union Park, is billed as the only floating farmers market in the country. That sounded like a marketing gimmick to me at first. But farm boats are part of the Puget Sound history, says FarmBoat founder David Petrich.
"The Virginia V was used to transport farm produce from Vashon Island back in the 1920s," said Petrich, whose goal is to bring sustainable food and artisan crafts to Puget Sound ports using restored boats - he's already turned a Monterey clipper into a Taco Boat and is restoring a 1911 schooner.
Pie maker Richard Tynes said he wanted to be part of this unique market. "Look at the view, man, you can't beat that."
Sweet new beginnings: Tynes launched his business, Ms. Margies's Sweet Potato Pies, after he got laid off from his construction job in 2009. He said his mother, who passed away in 1991, would love to see what he's doing with her recipe. "It tastes like Christmas and Thanksgiving wrapped in one," said Tynes, 54, before handing me a sample.
Ten years in the baking: Kaili McIntyre, 48, started Wheatless in Seattle a decade ago, but this was her first time at a farmers market. All her baked products are gluten-free, including
mint brownies, lemon bars, chocolate croissants and blueberry muffins.
Native plants: Alan Hensley, 42, operates Pipers Creek Nursery, where he sells native plants out of an old English double-decker bus. He said coming to the FarmBoat helps him promote his business up north. His best-selling plants of the day were huckleberries and wild blueberries.
Coffee lover: A trip to a coffee farm in Hawaii inspired former Starbucks barista Matt Ehresman to start his own business, Hart Coffee. "It's a nerdy passion," said Ehreshman, 24, as he prepared a tasty cup of Rwanda-Gitesi coffee for me.
Straight from the farm: A farmers market wouldn't be the same without fruit-and-vegetable stands. This one was attended by Amanda Slepko, a cool 25-year-old who seemed to be having a lot of fun selling curly kale, cauliflower and carrots. "I get to hang out in the sun and sell veggies. It's wonderful."
Historic landmark: A bonus of coming to the FarmBoat Floating Market is getting a free tour of the Virginia V, a national historic landmark. Volunteers are eager to show you around and explain how the steamship works. Alan Graves, a boat engineer, said I should join one of their regular sailings to see the hundred-year-old engine at work. Watching all the moving parts is "very hypnotic," he said.
You can browse a gallery of sketches and purchase prints.