There's more to the best farmers' markets, fruit stands and U-pick places in Washington than who has the crispest apples, the sweetest Rainier cherries and the plumpest potatoes. Indeed, the state’s most iconic spots to purchase produce boast the kind of sense of place, attitude and showmanship that keep people coming back for more, regardless of the season.
Ballard Farmers Market
A weekly market held every Sunday in Seattle’s famed Norwegian neighborhood, this is one of the few Seattle farmers' markets to be open year-round.
Olympia Farmers Market
All products here must be grown or made within a four-county area. That, and the daily entertainment Thursday through Sunday from April through October, is music to the ears of most.
Thorp Fruit and Antique Mall
Its location on I-90 between Seattle and Ellensburg may attract drivers looking to stretch, but its odd mix of local crops, gourmet food, wine and antiques brings people back.
Nicholson’s Orchard Fresh
Unless you pick them yourself, it’s hard to get apples much fresher than from a stand beside the orchard. This third-generation farm near Wenatchee sells organic apples and preserves.
A roadside stand on steroids, Smallwood's has a petting farm, egg factory, cow train and maze, plus a sales space featuring fruit, specialty foods, soaps and lotions.
What started in 1996 as a small Pasco fruit stand has grown into a destination, complete with a chocolate factory, specialty foods and corn maze, though the focus remains on produce.