A market-goer purchases purple radishes from Kirsop Farm on opening day of the Columbia City Farmers Market.

PHOTO ESSAY: Columbia City Farmers Market Opens for the 2021 Season

by Susan Fried

The weather was perfect, sunny and around 70 degrees, on May 12, opening day of the Columbia City Farmers Market. Although the crowds were probably a little smaller than they were pre-pandemic, a lot of people showed up to support the dozens of small farmers and local businesses selling everything from fresh produce and baked goods, to ice cream and wine.  

Despite some COVID-19 restrictions, people were happy to see the market back in business. Last year, during the height of the pandemic, the Columbia City Market opened a month later than usual and limited the number of shoppers. But as the pandemic restrictions have been lifted this year, more people are able to shop at a time.  

The market still requires masks, and foot traffic through the market is controlled by having one entrance on Southwest Edmunds Street and 35th Avenue South. The market layout allows the vendors to be at least 6 feet from each other and also makes it easier for people to move around.

Carol, who said she’d been coming to the Columbia City Market for years, was glad to see the market open with less restrictions. Although she’d made a point to get there early to avoid the long lines she encountered last year, the opening line this year moved swiftly, and she was able to check out all the vendors and buy a few things including some gorgeous purple radishes from Kirsop Farm.

The Columbia City Farmers Market and the other Seattle Farmers Markets operate multiple food access programs. The markets, which include locations in the University District, West Seattle, Capital Hill, Lake City, Phinney, and Magnolia can double EBT dollars, as well as accept City of Seattle Fresh Bucks. August Franzen, seasonal markets manager, said they are always looking to expand these programs and reach more people.

Franzen said there were 29 vendors on opening day in Columbia City and that there will be even more as fruit season begins in a few weeks. “It was a fantastic opening day, with lots of positive energy, smooth operations, and almost 2,000 shoppers visiting over four hours.”

Susan Fried is a 40-year veteran photographer. Her early career included weddings, portraits, and commercial work — plus, shes been The Skanner News’ Seattle photographer for 25 years. Her images have appeared in the University of Washingtons The Daily, The Seattle Globalist, Crosscut, and many more. She’s been an Emerald contributor since 2015. Follow her on Instagram @fried.susan.

📸 Featured Image: A market-goer purchases purple radishes from Kirsop Farm on opening day of the Columbia City Farmers Market in May 2021. (Photo: Susan Fried)

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