Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Pike Place Market

image from pinterest.com

Pike Place Market

“When farming begins, the arts follow. So the
farmers are the founders of civilization.”
--Daniel Webster.

In the early 50’s,
when I was a kid,
there were no real supermarkets.
We shopped in small
Mom and Pop neighborhood markets.
There was no fast food.
You had to buy a hamburger
in a diner or a fountain lunch counter.

My mother struggled
with a meager budget.
So she always searched
for savings and bargains
in fruit, vegetables and meat.
( Have you ever eaten horse meat?
It used to be cheaper than beef.)

On Saturday afternoons,
we kids would go with Mom
on a drive into Seattle
to shop at the
Pike Place Public Market. 

It sprawls out
over four blocks,
from Pike St. to Virginia St.
It has been there since 1907,
when ten farmers sold produce
out of their wagons; making it
one of the oldest continuously operated
public farmer’s markets in America.

It is built on the edge of a steep hill
overlooking busy Elliott Bay, churning
with freighters, ferries, sailboats and cruise ships.
There are two lower levels below
the produce arcade stalls,
where orchidists, butchers, fish mongers,
and vegetable farmers hawk their wares, 
a noisy cacophony of voices
with Irish, Asian, Greek and Middle
European accents add to the din.
The lower levels contain book stores, 
craft stalls, clothing, antiques and
several exotic restaurants. 

This Market averages
more than ten million visitors annually,
making it the 33rd most visited
tourist attraction in the world.

65 years ago,
all the produce sold was locally grown,
and all the crafts were hand-made
by the sellers--but presently
China, Japan, Mexico, Central and
South America show up on the labels.

For me, Pike Place Market has become
more interested in Marketing than 
Fortunately, I live in the suburbs,
and I can frequent local genuine farmers 
markets; which pleases me immensely.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub


lillianthehomepoet.wordpress.com said...

Nobody throws a fish like those guys at Pike Place Market! :)

And you've reminded me of my Uncle Howie's small grocery store that we always went to for bread and milk. My mother thought it wasn't the cleanest of places so we bought our other groceries elsewhere....but familial ties kept her stopping by Uncle Howie's for years and years. Those were the days of big gallon glass milk jugs and long Buick cars that had "holes" in the side of the hoods so they were the only cars I ever recognized as a kid.

Jade Li said...

Glenn, I love your descriptive skills. The idea that marketing a tourist attraction has tainted the localness of The Market makes me more than a little disappointed, as it appears to be the way of so many cherished landmarks and locations. Like when they tried to re-do Woodstock and monetized it. Our local market is small and most everything is locally grown, but there are "truck farmers" who bring in things that aren't and can't be grown here.

Grace said...

What an interesting market! I specially love the cacophony of noises from the hawkers and lots of stuff to browse around. I look forward to seeing the local farmers market here during summer too Glenn!

Sabio Lantz said...

I'll be at Pike Place Market in about 4 days. Fun memories. Nice write.

Truedessa said...

Glenn, that is quite the market place. I have to admit I would like to stroll through there and see what type of bargains might be found.

robkistner said...

Great subject dude! You laid it out beautifully, and you presented some fascinating facts - things I didn’t know. It is a shame tgat the authenticity of the “local” flavor is fading - but being genuine in today’s world seems to be growing passé. How sad. Hell, I’m surprised the Millennials even leave home to buy anything, and they are the growing % of consumers. A decade from now the concept of “local” may become absolutely meaningless. Amazon may come to rule the world...

Victoria Stuart said...

I love all the details so lavish in this poem. The travel through time, and the way the market has changed. All the sights and sounds, both of the market and the landscape, really place me in the market (and conjure lovely memories of a place I haven't seen in many years.) Beautifully written.

brudberg said...

I think I have been there, but it was a long time ago... in the 90s probably. I have never had horse meat, but food was more expensive when I was a kid so once a week we had black pudding (made from pig's blood)... fried with lingonberry jam.

lynn__ said...

I like your opening quote and the interesting visit to Pike Place public market...too bad it's not genuinely "local" any longer.

Kim M. Russell said...

That’s some market, Glenn! I love how you went back to the fifties and gave us some background history. Your mother’s struggle with a meagre budget reminds me of life at my grand parents’ house in the fifties and early sixties, with my nan searching for bargains at local markets in South London – no farmers’ markets there. I also enjoyed the description of the market’s location, with the view of the bay and all the boats, as well as the ‘cacophony of voices’ you captured so well.

purplepeninportland.com said...

Wonderful description of this market, Glenn. I like that you gave a little background from childhood. I remember a grocery store we shopped at, where items where added up on the paper bag in black marker, and if you were a kid, you always told them to put the change in the bag.