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Hidden ‘Ties’ of the U District Farmers Market & Stories of Sustainability

Hidden ‘Ties’ of the U District Farmers Market & Stories of Sustainability

Friday, February 2, 2024 community experience

By Nova Berger

The U District Farmers market is the staple of a sleepy Saturday morning for many locals and students alike. There is nothing quite like a strolling through the colorful booths to buskers tunes, accompanied by the bright early sunlight (or recently, a *refreshing* winter rain). Each stand provides a different, fresh product to the community and as such, they all have a story to tell. It truly feels like a family, with as many characters and personalities as a dynamic sitcom would have.

Yoka Miso

I got the opportunity to talk to a brand new stand on the market, Yoka Miso. They are the first and only Seattle based Miso company, traditionally made and locally produced. Bringing recipes from rural communities in Japan, owner Anna hopes to replicate her own love of gathering around the meal with the UW community.

Vashon Garlic

A couple booths down from Yoka Miso sits Vashon Garlic. If Yoka Miso is the spring chicken of the market, Vashon Garlic is its wise owl counterpart. In 1983, the farm purchased its stock from their neighbor Mandy, a Croatian immigrant who moved here due to an arranged marriage. One of her few possessions from home was this stock, and Vashon Garlic began to sell in the Pike Place Market, making sure to highlight her meaningful story. 

Both stands are women run and pride themselves in the ideals of sustainability, which Vashon Garlic does through hand harvesting all their products and Yoka Miso exemplifies by commitment to sustainable providers.


Just as families are interconnected by individual relationships, the stands have distinct relationships with each other, and other stores on The Ave. Morsel, the Seattle Eater-ranked breakfast spot delivers coffee to each of the booths every market morning. Nature’s Last Stand, dubbed a neighborhood favorite for their fresh sausage breakfast sandwiches, offers Morsel lunch in return. I glimpsed Foothill Farms employees munching on some delicate croissants from the French Guys Bakery and there’s lore of some good old fashioned eggs for wool trade at Left Foot Farm.

I leave the readers of this article a challenge: Next Saturday, try to find a new connection in the market. Use your inquisitive nature to deduct those relationships, and I’m sure you’ll leave the market with a story (and a potential unexpected urge to marathon-watch the Brady Bunch).