Your Village at the Phinney Farmers Market

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We’ll have an informational table at the Phinney Farmers Market tomorrow (Phinney Center Parking lot – 6532 Phinney Ave N), so please drop by to say hello!

Also, if you would like to help out with our table we have 2 shifts available: 3:30 – 5:30 PM and 5:30 – 7:30 PM. (If you can’t commit to a whole shift, no problem…we’d love to have you there just part of the time.) This is an awesome chance to talk to people who might not know about our wonderful village.

We will be there on the 3rd Friday of every month, so if you’re not available tomorrow but would like to help on another day, please let Rebecca know: call 206.789.1217 or email

Hope to see you this Friday!

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Peppers or chiles, we eat them like apples…

Alvarez Organic stall

By Dick Gillett

Are you hankering for some organically grown chiles or peppers to light up your taste buds? How about being able to check out dozens of varieties —from sweet to spicy—in one place?

Then the Alvarez Organic Farms stall at the Friday Phinney Farmer’s Market is the place to go. I chatted briefly with Erin, who was hovering over a huge assortment. “The peppers are so good,” she enthused. “We eat them like apples at my house.”

courtesy Alvarez Organic FarmsThe 90-acre organically sustainable farm at Mabton in the Yakima Valley also grows a huge variety of vegetables. Squash, beans, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant and corn were on display along with several varieties of potatoes at the crowded August 5 Friday market. “We have three or four harvests in just one year”, said Steve Alvarez, the farm’s wholesale manager as he waited on customers.

Steve and his brother Eddie are the two farmer sons of owner Helario Alvarez, who farmed in the state of Michoacán, Mexico before coming to the Yakima Valley in 1980. “My dad farms the way my ancestors farmed in Mexico a hundred years ago, before the chemicals,” said Steve proudly. “And you know what? Now people are realizing that’s the best way.”

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Editor’s note: Alvarez Organic Farms was featured in “Good Food”, a northwest film production by Bullfrog Films, focused on sustainable northwest farming. You may watch that clip here:

Please support your local Farmers Market! This Friday at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, 3:30-7:30 pm.

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Behind the Scenes at Tonnemaker Hill Farm


By Dick Gillett

Business was brisk last Friday at the Phinney Farmers Market, with Rainier cherries piled high on the table at the Tonnemaker Farm stall. Serving the customers were Kayci and Alana, both from Seattle but both deeply familiar with operations at the 128-acre farm in eastern Washington. The Tonnemaker farm is big on fruit (including several varieties of cherries, with apricots and peaches coming in early to mid-July) and has 60 acres of orchards. A few of the cherry trees are three generations old and still producing. Speaking of generations: four generations of Tonnemaker farmers have farmed in eastern Washington.

Tonnemaker 2Fruit isn’t the only product you can find at their booth. In season are veggies from most of the rest of their acreage, including summer squash, tomatoes, rhubarb, zucchini and cucumbers. Last Friday, one table featured a variety of packaged organic peppers. “Our crops are rotated annually for soil preservation and also keep pests to a minimum,” says Kayci.

But who actually picks the cherries off the trees and the peppers from the plants? Writes a member of the farm team: “Our current harvest crew consists of 2 generations of Tonnemakers, a couple of local long time year-round employees, local high school and college students on summer break, Japanese Agricultural Exchange Trainees and a seasonally variable number of members of 3 Hispanic families, several of which have helped with the short but intense cherry harvest for more than 20 years. Everyone here from the top down is a picker of one crop or another. Hand harvesting crops is hard work and everyone here participates – even 80 year old Gene Tonnemaker insisted on donning a picking bag and pitching in.”


Happily for us customers of Phinney Farmers Market, “Life is just a bowl of cherries.”

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Please support your local Farmers Market! Today at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, 3:30-7:30 pm.

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Cheese, Goats, and Kids at the Phinney Farmer’s Market

By Richard Gillett

Cheese, Goats and Kids!

This goat farm is a family enterprise: Collin Medeiros, his wife Rebecca, and four children staffed the booth on opening day!

Attendance at the June 3 opening of the Phinney Farmer’s Market broke records in both revenue for the farmers ($23,729) and attendance (1975 people)!  Among the new vendors this year is Burton Hill Farms, a Grade A certified goat dairy farm on Vashon Island. The farm has 50 goats; 14 are currently milking.

Goat cheese is a specialty at Burton Hill, with naturally aged Feta Cheese and also a special blue cheese. But there’s also goat milk for lactose intolerant people, goat soap, and other products. Last Friday (June 10) was popular at the booth—I bought the last 4 oz. block of Feta fairly early on in the session (Market hours: 3:30-7:30).

Collin Medeiros told me that his 13 year old son George would be milking goats that evening. His five-year old, Peter, has a favorite goat—Mississippi.

So it seems that kids go together with kids!

Phinney Market

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Phinney Farmers Market Friday

Farmers Market

The sun is out and summer is here!

…Thinking of visiting our local Phinney Farmers Market today? It’s open from  3 – 7 pm in the upper lot of the PNA. Here’s a quick list of what’s “ripe and ready” for you this week:

Cherries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Apricots – more and more varieties coming in!

Beets – Forno (cylindrical), Red, Chioggia, Golden
Chickweed (Satin Weed)
Cucumbers – Japanese
Dried Shell Beans – Cranberry, Black, Cannellini
Fava beans
Fiddlehead Ferns
Garlic – Green Garlic Bulbs, Garlic Scapes
GREENS – Komatsuna, Red Mizuna, Mizuna, Shungiku (chrysanthemum greens), Pac Choi, Nira (Chinese Chives), Gobo (Burdock Root),Turnip, French Sorrel, Red Vine Sorrel, Arugula, Bok Choy, Collards, Spinach
Wild and Spicy Salad Mixes
Mixed Braising Greens
Kale – Dinosaur and Russian Red
Herbs – Lemon Balm, Lemon Sorrel, Bay, Tarragon, Lovage, Chives, Mint, Sage, Parsley, Thyme, Rosemary
Lettuce – French Crisp, Green Romaine, Red Butter, Green Butter, Red and Green Oakleaf
Onions – Yellow boiling
Pea Shoots
Peas – Sugar Snap, Snow Peas
Potatoes –Yukon Gold, Purple Majesty, Red Lasoda, All Red, Maris Piper, Mountain Rose, German Butterball, Bintje, Viking Purple, Rio Grande Russet, Yellow Finn, Cal White, All Blue, Desiree
Summer Squash – Zucchini, Patty Pan, blossoms, baby squash
Tomatoes – hothouse heirlooms

For a complete “ripe and ready” list (including garden starts, honey, fresh eggs, cheeses and other delights, click You can also sign up to receive weekly reports via email.

The Phinney Farmers Market awaits you from 3 – 7 pm every Friday from June 7 to October 4. The Market is located in the upper parking lot of the Phinney Neighborhood Center (67th and Phinney Ave N). For directions and other information click here:

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