THE ANSWER IS… ONIONS!
In 1906-1907, the price of produce—onions namely—soared, leaving the farmers none the richer and the citizens angry over the price gouging. The uproar led one local official to try to find a solution. In the summer of 1907, Seattle City Councilman Thomas Revelle proposed the city create a public market place where farmers and consumers could meet directly to sell and buy goods and thereby sidelining the wholesalers.
On the public market’s first day, August 17, 1907, crowds of shoppers seeking fresh produce and bargains descended upon the new marketplace. The first farmer sold out of produce within minutes. Within a week, 70 wagons were gathering daily to sell along the newly named Pike Place, a wooden roadway that connected First St. to Western Ave. Councilman Revelle’s words of dedication ring true more than a century later:
“The Market is yours. I dedicate it to you and may it prove of benefit to you and your children. It is for you to protect, defend, and uphold and it is for you to see that those who occupy it treat you fairly. … This is one of the greatest days in the history of Seattle.”
Locally grown fresh produce is the reason Pike Place Market began, and it continues to be an important part of what makes this community the place that it is today.
The Pike Place Market Foundation strives is to support the health of our neighbors by providing increased access to the abundance of healthy food in Pike Place Market. Through our Food Access Program, we administer a variety of reduced price shopping programs, to encourage neighbors on fixed incomes to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from Market farmers and produce vendors. Thousands of our neighbors also rely on weekly shopping trips to the Pike Market Food Bank and free hot meals at the Pike Market Senior Center to meet their daily nutritional needs.
Did you guess right? You’re a Market buff already!