Market Walk

Dine your way through downtown


What: Downtown Market Walk

When: 10 am Sat., Sep. 16

Where: Downtown Bellingham

Cost: Free


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

I’ve always felt incredibly lucky to live within walking and biking distance of downtown Bellingham. It’s where I head when I go to work, bank, shake my booty, listen to array of music, check out original art, see live theater, shop for groceries, dine out and meet friends for cocktails or craft beer, and my life is richer because of it.

But even if the urban core of the City of Subdued Excitement wasn’t within view of my York neighborhood abode, I’d still make it a point to visit often. In fact, at the inaugural Downtown Market Walk taking place from 10am-2pm Sat., Sept. 16, I’m planning to approach the event as if I were a neophyte who wasn’t already aware of all the city center has to offer.

Because the seasonal stroll is tied in with Sustainable Connections’ Eat Local Month, the focus will most definitely be on food. At the free, self-guided tour, attendees will be able to explore Bellingham’s sustenance scene via samples, presentations, entertainment, education and beyond at grocers, markets and specialty food shops.

Those who begin their journey at the Community Food Co-op (1220 N. Forest St.) can expect a plethora of action both inside the store and out. In addition to samples from the likes of Ferndale Farmstead Cheese and Maniac Coffee Roasters, there will be live music on the loading dock by the Sweet Goodbyes and the JP Falcon Band, and a meet-and-greet with farmers from the Puget Sound Food Hub Cooperative—along with fresh-from-the-farm produce samples from the likes of Hopewell Farm, Cedarville Farm, Hedlin Farms, Boldly Grown Farm, and Bow Hill Blueberries.

But that’s far from all. The Co-op will also host WSU Master Gardeners and reps from Community First Gardens, who will be on hand to answer questions and share information about everything from composting to recycling. Kids can get in on the fun via face painting and a hands-on worm compost demo, and entertainment from members of the Bellingham Circus Guild, Clay Mazing the Vaudeville Cowboy, Harmony Lyrics Hula Hooping, and the one-man cabaret known as Strangely will spill into the sidewalks and continue at other participating locales.

The next logical stop for the traveling minstrels will likely be the Bellingham Farmers Market, which takes place every weekend from the beginning of April through late December at the Depot Market Square (1100 Railroad Ave.). If learning about local agriculture and celebrating community are of interest, don’t miss the chance to stock up on Whatcom and Skagit County-grown produce and chat with the land-lovers who rise before dawn every Saturday to help the masses with their meal plans.

From there, your choices are many. Perhaps you’d like to learn more about how the preservative- and additive-free orbs are produced at the Bagelry (1319 Railroad Ave.), where you can snack on samples and find out about the longtime eatery’s traditional New York-style methods. At Great Harvest Bread Co. (305 E. Magnolia St.), delicious bites of whole grain breads like Honey Whole Wheat and Dakota Seed will help you understand why the locally owned bakery has been stone-milling grain and scratch baking bread and sweets for 38 years.

After carb-loading, help the Black Drop Coffeehouse (300 W. Champion St.) celebrate 15 years of serving locally roasted specialty coffee, or pick up a fresh cup of joe at Handshake Coffee (on Railroad Trail, near the Hub Bike Shop), a mobile coffee enterprise with a mission to improve the social environment wherever it is.

Beverages that go above and beyond can also be found at stops at Culture Cafe at Kombucha Town (210 Chestnut St.), Saku Tea Bar (833 N. State St.), Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants (19 Prospect St.), Opera Pastry & Coffee Shop (1206 Cornwall Ave.), and Woods Coffee (1135 Railroad Ave., and 10 Prospect St.).

At Old World Deli (1228 N. State St.), visitors can catch their breath and peruse the award-winning eatery and shop’s house-cured meats, house-made sausages, specialty foods like pastas, olive oils, salts, drinking vinegars, and a selection of wines.

Because the Downtown Market Walk is an egalitarian event, you might want to end your tasty travels with a visit to another grocery store: Terra Organic & Natural, which can be found inside the Bellingham Public Market (1530 Cornwall Ave.). While tasting the organic wonders they have to offer, feel free to visit the other local businesses contained within the expansive space, such as Electric Beet Juice Co, Ambo Ethiopian Cuisine, Makizushi, Wild Whisper Café, Living Earth Herbs, Film is Truth, and Mt. Baker Books.

It’s one-stop shopping at its best, and is worth a layover—whether you’re a longtime local or a first-time visitor.

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