The days when longshoremen and lumberjacks ruled Everett’s waterfront aren’t that long ago. The machine shops, boat builders and taverns are still around, occupying crumbling brick buildings and storefronts along Marine View Drive, Grand Avenue and Everett’s west downtown, just blocks from the water.
Talking about Everett to outsiders, that hardscrabble past is the first thing they mention. It’s a cliche, but Everett is still thought of as gritty compared to Seattle and the eastside.
Slowly, that image is changing. In the mind of those building the city’s future, it’s becoming something different: a place to stroll, relax and venture. Downtown shops and restaurants focusing on bespoke and craft culture are helping Everett shed that old label. Craft breweries and bottleshops, organic delis and upscale restaurants give the city a new vibe.
The newest entrant to that collective is Farms & Market, an innovative market and restaurant concept along Grand Avenue that connects local farmers directly with consumers. Forget gritty. It hopes to make Everett synonymous with different “G” words: green, growing, gourmet.
“Farms & Market is seen as a place for community members and visitors to come and experience the bounty of our region,” Farms & Market general manager Alicia Moreno said. “It’s what’s growing right here, right now, and highlights the best produce our farmers have to offer.”
Set among the squat historical buildings along Grand Avenue that house auto mechanics and metal fabricators, Farms & Market makes its home on the bottom floor of a shiny new condominium, as part of the Grand Avenue Marketplace. Wide sidewalks funnel visitors into a small courtyard dotted with benches, chairs and tables. One can envision relaxing with a coffee or light breakfast, people-watching and enjoying the sunrise over the downtown buildings to the east. Or kicking back in the evening with a bite of dessert as the sun sets over the Navy ships to the west.
“I’m hearing from people all the time that they’re so glad we’re here,” said Moreno, who has been working on bringing Farms & Market to life for the past three years. “They say it’s nice to see the city coming back to life, to see these neighborhoods with folks out walking again.”
Just down the street from Everett’s longtime organic and bohemian grocer Sno-Isle Co-op, Farms & Market fits a similar mold, working in tandem with the co-op and the spring and summer Everett Farmers Market on the waterfront. Year-round as opposed to the waterfront farmers market, it provides more of a leisurely shopping experience than the hustle and bustle of the co-op.
The concept of Farms & Market is based on the simple premise of directing regionally grown food to a central hub for purchase, enjoyed either on-site or at home. The relationship is symbiotic: Farmers help the market provide quality, homegrown products to an urban clientele, while the market gives the farmers a centralized, seven-day-a-week farmstand to sell from.
Farmstands within the market are available for farmers to lease, giving them a dedicated showcase for their produce, flowers, plants and more. The cafe on site also fills its menu using as much produce from regional farms as possible.
Nine farms are leasing space at the market, Moreno said, with more to come:
Golden Glen Creamery, Bow: All-natural cheese, butter and dairy products from this family-owned dairy farm and its legion of hard workers: a faithful herd of Holstein, Guernsey and Jersey cows.
Puget Sound Shellfish, Samish Bay: Kumamoto, Olympia, Virginica. Grab a bag of fresh oysters to go with that bottle of champagne.
Carleton Farm, Lake Stevens: This family-owned farm offers its housemade pickles in dill and spicy dill.
Goebel Hill Farm, Granite Falls: An assortment of fresh-cut flower bouquets that change with the season: anemone, ranunculus, sweet peas, dahlias and sunflowers.
Timberline Bees, Granite Falls: Honeybees on this farm visit berry blooms and native wildflowers to create a selection of raw honey, creamed honey and honey sticks, as well as dehydrated pollen and bricks of beeswax.
Schmidt Blueberry Farm, Marysville: Five varieties of blueberries from this family-owned farm with 4,000 blueberry plants that ripen at different times throughout the season.
Hima Nursery & Farm, Snohomish: Outdoor plants, brown, white and blue eggs, and organic strawberries, rasperries and figs.
Leslie Jane Naturals, Stanwood: All-natural household and personal care products meant to promote a healthier home.
Deviant Chocolate, Snohomish: Craving chocolate? Pick up a bag of bean to bite-size artisan chocolates. This family-owned company’s signature flavor is cream chocolate with a touch of burnt sugar.
There are two main components of Farms & Market: a collection of farmstands full of produce, cheeses and other items reminiscent of an open-air farmers market, and a restaurant, kitchen and deli counter that sell housemade foods along with a shelf of ready-to-go items.
Along with fresh produce, dairy products and bunches of carefully wrapped flowers, the market area is full of small wonders. Chocolate bars from Alma Chocolate and sweet treats from Quin Candy, bottles of locally made craft beer and cider, whimsical votives and pots holding a variety of succulents and air plants. It’s a great place to search out something special for that hard-to-buy-for loved one.
Chef Kate Johnson, who was at Langley’s The Tipsy Gourmet prior to Farms & Market, oversees the ever-changing menu. It has a good mix of light and flavorful as well as hearty meat- and vegetable-focused dishes. Order the crispy roast chicken with roasted carrots and potatoes or the nourish bowl with edamame, tofu and vegetables on rice noodles — and don’t forget the pickled egg.
It’s a versatile dining experience. Treat it like a deli counter and take a lunch to go; or sit down, order off the menu and relax with a glass of wine from the restaurant. A wall of ready-made salads, sandwiches, dips, and more offers quick snacks.
All of it is made with the season and region in mind. Johnson, a Northwest native, uses seasonal fruits and vegetables to craft the menu; squashes and pears in the fall and winter, berries and snap peas in the spring and summer. Just as the items each farmer brings to market will change based on what is in season, so will the restaurant’s menu.
If you go
What: Farms & Market
Where: 2900 Grand Ave., Everett
When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Washington North Coast Magazine
This article is featured in the summer issue of Washington North Coast Magazine, a supplement of The Daily Herald. Explore Snohomish and Island counties with each quarterly magazine. Each issue is $3.99. Subscribe to receive all four editions for $14 per year. Call 425-339-3200 or go to www.washingtonnorthcoast.com for more information.