I’ve not been to downtown Renton in years. I used to work where the School District is headquartered now when it was Pacific Northwest Bell. It later because Qwest, with a name change or two in between. That was years ago and although I live just 7 miles away, the downtown area has changed over the years and it’s just not a place I visit. I changed that today by attending the opening day of the Farmer’s Market It’s been going on for years in the new transit hub area, but until today I hadn’t thought about visiting.
Finding it is easy, it’s smack dab in the middle of downtown. For you old-timers (like me) it’s where the JC Penney’s store used to be (well across the street). The plaza area is beautiful, planted with tons of flowers, and there’s a free parking garage (under 2 hours) right next door.
I parked on one of the upper floors of the parking garage, on a floor where I was the sole vehicle. Probably not the safest, but I drive a 7-passenger van and spaces for vans are limited. Those available on the first few floors were taken up by the vendors. I was pleased to see that the stairway (there is an elevator at the other end) was transparent and there were plenty of people on the street should I need help. I walked down the 3 or 4 flights of stairs only to find out that I needed to know the stall number I was parked in for the parking meters. I’m sure there was a sign on my floor, but I missed it. Rather than walk back up, I guessed at my spot number. I was close 🙂
The market is just across the street and a few steps from the parking garage. On a day that threatened to rain, it was overcast and cool, but the rain held off while I was there. For me that’s perfect market weather. There was a moderate crowd milling about, a main stage that had nothing happening at the moment, but lots of people who appeared to be waiting for something to start, and random music being played over the loudspeakers (not live as far as I could tell).
There were a handful of vendors selling a small amount of organic fruit and produce, sadly more expensive than PCC Market and not as good looking, so I passed on it. There were tons of flower vendors. It’s doubtful any of them are farm grown. It appeared they all went to the same floral market that morning, but they were beautiful nonetheless. Prices ranged from $5 to $10 for hand-created bouquets – I picked up two. There were several food vendors, bread and pastry vendors, and a few craft vendors across another street. I missed them until I drove by on my drive home.
I did manage to spend $40+ on Walla Walla sweet onions, asparagus, snow peas, cilantro, kettle corn, candied pecans, chocolate (turns out Nutella) stuffed puffed pastry, and raspberry strudel. I shouldn’t have gone there hungry! The youngest kid and I enjoyed the pastries. I don’t remember where they’re from, but a Danish or Norwegian shop possibly. They were $3 each and delicious! The Kettle Corn was $5.
I’d like to say my trip to the market was enjoyable, but it was a little unnerving. The amount of police officers cruising the area, both in vehicles and on foot, probably should have made me feel safe, but it was quite the opposite. I kept wondering why they needed so many. I would have sworn I’d walked into the middle of a crime scene.
Will I go back? Probably. I loved the flowers and perhaps next time they’ll be more in season that I’m looking for. I hope they up their organic choices as well. I was in and out in about 10 minutes. Next time I’ll take my camera. I don’t have photos of the market, but I do of the market goodies.