During my tenure here at your Ballard Farmers Market, it has been my pleasure to work with some of the best people anywhere. For my second to last post, I want to share with you some of my favorite images of them. This is by no means any more than a small fraction of my favorites. After all, I produced over 10,000 edited images for our markets in just the last four years alone.
One of my favorite things to do, ever, is to drive over to Eastern Washington to visit Alvarez Organic Farms, and more specifically, to visit Don Hilario Alvarez. A self-made man by any use of the term, Hilario embodies hard work, skill and pride. Last summer, I got to spend an afternoon with him while I did a photo shoot for the Washington State Department of Agriculture. We toured the pepper, tomato and eggplant fields, watched his crew stringing pepper wreaths, and watched as other crews rolled in with truckloads of produce ready to deliver to the farmers markets of Seattle. But I think of all the hundreds of photos I took that day, I like this one the best -- Hilario holding up freshly dug peanuts. Yes, he does grow them. He's proud of that. He should be.
Back in 2010, I travelled with my old Olympus camera over to Port Townsend for my first visit to Colinwood Farm. At the time, Colinwood was a relative newcomer to your Ballard Farmers Market, and so it needed an official farm visit. What I found there was an extraordinary farm stuck smack in the middle of a bunch of houses and a golf course right in town -- a farm with some of the deepest, richest, blackest soil I have ever seen, and with a system of greenhouses that, when coupled with the farm's handy location in the "Banana Belt," or the Olympic Rainshadow, was able to produce salad mix all winter long, and gave us squash blossoms in March. But it was this image of Jessie Hopkins on the farm's antique, horse-drawn potato planter that has always stuck with me.
Saying these are two of my favorite market ladies seems to land me in that same trap of knowing how wonderful all of them are at the Market. But my friendships with Nash's Kia Armstrong and Jerzy Boyz's Wynne Weinreb predates the start of my employ here back in June 2007, so I think I'm okay here. These two huge personalities helped make the Market the place I long to be every Sunday. And I miss them, what with Kia raising her kids in Port Angeles these days, and Wynne over in Chelan fighting a prolonged illness that kept Jerzy Boyz away from Ballard this past fall. But this image does bring a smile to my face, and it reminds us that we are one big family here. (Get well, Wynne!)
My buddy, Clayton Burrows, of Growing Washington in Everson, doesn't get to visit us too much these days, either, but at least I get to see him when I visit my folks up in Bellingham. Clayton is not only a great farmer, he is a brilliant writer and speaker, and as such, he is a powerful advocate for our community. And that is why I love this image of him chatting up U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell two years ago at your Ballard Farmers Market.
This is one of the first blog photos I ever published. See, the blog for your Ballard Farmers Market formally launched back in March 2009, though it really didn't get cooking until that May, when this photo was taken. It captures two of our Market's funniest characters -- Pete Brogi of Pete's Perfect Toffee and David Panida of Wilson Fish -- despondent over the fact that Wilson Fish sold out of fresh king salmon from the Washington Coast by 11:30 a.m.
I didn't realize how effectively camera shy Anselmo's Arlene Dabrusca was with me until I tried to find a file photo of her amongst the thousands I've taken at Ballard Farmers Market over the years. And while you can't actually see her face in this one, it is representative of what she stood for at Ballard Farmers Market. Here, Arlene has her face buried in the chest of her daughter, Marie, on a very cold November day in 2005, back when the Market still used to retreat into that little lot off Ballard Avenue, before we were on the street year-round. (Moshi Moshi now sits where that lot used to be.) You see, Arlene showed up every Sunday that Ballard Farmers Market existed, regardless of the weather, from the time the Market left Fremont to move to Ballard in 2000 until shortly before she passed in April 2010. So while she may have been hiding from the camera, or protecting herself from the cold, still she was there, always. Thank you, Arlene, for being our founding farmer. We still miss you!
George Page from Sea Breeze Farm knows his meat. He is intimate with it. He is proud of his sausage. He is... well, he is nuts! And while that might concern some folks who would see him handling this long, sharp knife, never fear. George's madness is hyper-focused on bringing back old world quality to meat and dairy. And that's why I love this image. It captures him in all his passionately-crazed glory. (Just don't lock stares with him for too long.)
It has been my pleasure to work with this wonderful bunch of young ruffians for so many years. These guys have been doing a lot of the heavy lifting around the Market for years, and the Market wouldn't exist without them. I captured this image of the Market Boyz several years ago at the end of a long day. Always been kinda fond of it, though I think it still haunts Skylar a little.
Alice VanderHaak, or Oxbow Alice, as most think of her, actually partnered up with Rand Rasheed during this winter to run One Leaf Farm this coming market season, but for years, she's been a fixture at Oxbow Farm. I've always liked this image of her, not only because she's just beaming in it, but because of the magnificent colors from the Oxbow banner that frame her.
Gil Youenes is Market Master Judy Kirkhuff's son. I have had the honor of watching him grow up into a really cool young man who now manages all of our markets. Two years ago, I got to take him out on his first series of farm visits. I captured this image of him at Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia. It was fun to watch this tough city boy get charmed by these adorable little ducklings.
Your Ballard Farmers Market attracts a broad diversity of people from all over Ballard, Seattle, Washington and the world. And it is our customers and visitors that give the Market as much of its character and identity as anything else. Like Brian, a friend of Soda Jerk's Cory Clark, who donned one of Cory's classic paper soda jerk hats a couple of years ago for this memorable shot.
And how can you not love this image of little Marina devouring a head of broccoli from Oxbow Farm back in 2012? Wanna teach your kids to love vegetables? Feeding them vegetables is a good start. Sharing with them the magic of your Ballard Farmers Market helps, too.
And then there's Jim, who I captured with this gigantic sweet onion from Nash's Organic Farm one summer's day. Seriously, that sucker is as big as his head!
At your Ballard Farmers Market, we loves us some dogs. As I see it, spending Sundays with them here means I don't have to be responsible for them at my house. (I guess that's why I like being an uncle instead of dad, too.) We do appreciate, of course, that you do your best to keep Fido well-behaved and on a short leash, as we are selling food here, and there are those amongst us not quite as fond of Rover as we are. That said, my favorite dog image at Ballard Farmers Market is this one of Jack the Bat Dog. I mean, seriously, was there ever any question?
And then there are our street performers, or buskers. We don't pay them. You do with your tips. And they appreciate that. Your Ballard Farmers Market is the second biggest regular draw for street performers after Pike Place Market. Perhaps the most memorable of all of our many, many street performers over the years was Mirror Man. (Hey Mirror Man. Come visit us again sometime soon!)
And I'm just throwing in this photo of MoZo because for me, any photo of Mozo is one of my favorite photos. These global troubadours call Ballard home, and we've been enjoying them here for years, when they are in town. (Hey, where are you gals?)
I finish off this tour de peeps with this photo of Gil and Market Master Judy proudly displaying two of the many, many awards won by your Ballard Farmers Market over the years. Just the years' worth of awards from Seattle Weekly alone are enough to cover an entire wall of our office. Thank you Seattle, and beyond, for all your support, thank you, Judy, for giving me this opportunity to wax poetic and photographic for all these years, and thank you, faithful readers and viewers for making the blog for your Ballard Farmers Market one of the most trafficked farmers market blogs around!