Pike Street Market, Part 1

This little bird’s brother pooped on my camera lens, while I was taking the photograph. I reached up to twist the lens back down and bloort! sticky fingers. My mom laughed.

If you care about that sort of messiness, don’t go to Pike Street Market, hereinafter referred to as The Market. It’s like Mount Rainier being “The Mountain.” There’s only one Mountain, and there’s only one Market, (at least to Seattle-ites.)

I visit whenever I’m in town, with a must-stop at the Market Tea Company for some Market Spice Tea; a maybe-stop at Starbucks if the line isn’t out the door is also on my list. I love to ogle the dead fish or the octopus lying there on the ice glistening with slime at the Fish Company and I’m hopeful someone is buying so I can watch the fish-tossing-chanting routine.

“Three tasty cod!” yells the vendor waiting on the customer. “Three tasty cod!” reply the rest of the crew behind the counter. “Cod one, in the air!” Toss goes the cod over the counter and into the waiting hands, holding the thick fish paper, ready to wrap.  “Cod one, in the air!” all shout. “Cod two, coming through!” “Cod Two coming through!” And on it goes until all the ordered fish have been thrown and wrapped and the sale has been rung.

The last time we visited the guy behind the counter threw a fish at my sister and nailed her on the head with it. She screamed. We laughed – it was a stuffed perch, or maybe a halibut.

If that sort of silliness bothers you, don’t go to The Market.

“Appleanche Danger, Do Not Touch.” The apples are piled beautifully and apparently delicately, tasty looking under the lights but don’t touch! Do, however, pay strict attention to what’s being put in your bag if you buy any produce – some of the vendors will take advantage of your inattention to put the less-than-appealing fruit in your bag. Most won’t, or at least won’t put more than one or two defective ones in the bag, but you have to watch out. And they’ll laugh at you for asking to see what’s being put in there, but they’ll show you all the same. Always turn the container over to see underneath the bright red fruit to the moldy rotten ones hidden on the bottom.

If you don’t want to take an active role in your purchase, don’t buy anything at The Market.

BUT, if you love messy, and silly, and argumentative, get yourself a hot cup of espresso at Starbucks, get a sweetie at one of the many bakeries, and have at it! Why? Because it’s fun, and more than any place else in my home state of Washington, Pike Street Market is a mirror into the Northwest Soul.


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