Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Carfree Day at the Missoula Farmers Market

Saturday saw a wide variety of weather role through Missoula, but that didn't keep people from the ritual of spending a day wondering among produce and hand made jewelry vendors. Missoula's weekend markets have become ever bigger and better attended in the last several years; to the point that it is often hard to walk through the crowd because baby strollers block the way.

Missoula is home to three separate and often very different markets. The original farmers market is held near the old train station at the end of Missoula's main drag, Higgins Ave. It is home to vendors selling a wide variety of produce, flowers, baked goods, and native plants. My mornings at the market, when I'm not trying to sell my photos, begins here and often the first stop is the Black Cat Bakery stand werethey sell an amazing huckleberry scone.
And of course one of people's favorite ways to get to the farmers market is by bicycle. They are parked all over the place.

Here is Said who is a Missoula resident and merchant at the People's Market. His wife was watching their table while he took care of their daughter. He makes hand made baby shoes.

Produce at the Missoula Farmers Market

Flowers at the Missoula Farmers Market

A few blocks down from the farmers market is the Missoula People's Market which is an eclectic mix of hand made crafts. There are plenty of vendors selling hand made jewelry, plenty of photographers, and lots of women's clothing and accessories.

As interesting as the markets are to walk through, it is often just as fun to people watch as the crowds wonder between the three markets. And even though Higgins Ave and Broadway are two of the less accommodating streets in downtown Missoula of bicycles, on Saturdays cyclists make up a good portion of the traffic. The women in the photo below is something one doesn't usually see on Broadway; a woman taking the lane, unafraid of vehicle traffic, calmly waiting for the light to turn so she can take a left.

The third and usually final market I hit up is the Clark Fork Market, so named because of its proximity to the Clark Fork River. This is my favorite of the three markets, having a wide variety of pastries and snacks. This is also the only market where one can purchase organic and locally raised beef and bison, and let me tell you its of the highest quality; the bison makes great sloppy joes!

The Clark Fork Market with the historic Wilma Theater in the background

Of course, after all this walking around, I have to make my way back to my bike, which parked all the way at the other end of downtown. Not really a big deal, since it provides me a great opportunity to practice getting some more photos of people. I've been using Saturdays in downtown Missoula to practice my panning technique.

I was surprised to see this women without a helmet, especially if she is, as the baby seat would suggest, a mother.

Two guys enjoying a bit of sun for the short amount of time it was out that morning.

This was my favorite photo of the day, simply for the gang of cycling gardeners that it captures. Saturdays in downtown really show that a community can come together and enjoy a day of leisure without the need to ever turn a key in an ignition.


Mark Kirschner said...

Three farmer's markets in one day! That's pretty awesome.

My wife and really enjoy doing farmer's markets and you're right, bike is a great way to get there. When we were in Olympia, WA, we'd ride our bikes to the farmer's market pretty regularly. Since moving back to Seattle, we've only done so once (but my wife has plans for Cascade Farmer's Market today--without me!

I really like the shot of the gardeners riding down the road. It reminds me of this one we took when we got home from the market one day last spring.

Daniel said...

Awesome pictures. These really highlight what a great place Missoula is.

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