As if raising their crops was not tough enough for Seattle-area farmers, the selling part was even more involved. Farmers typically took their loads to The Lots, on Sixth Avenue and King Street, where they would be sold wholesale to commercial product houses. Alternatively, commercial houses bought food on consignment, paying a percentage the sales to consumers. Sometimes the prices set gave the farmers a decent profit; just as often, the farmers ended up losing money on the sale. Meanwhile the price of produce sold by the houses to consumers mysteriously grew by leaps and bounds. A better way was needed.
On this day, August 17, in 1907, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by City Council President Charles Hiram Burnett Jr., the Pike Place Market, the first farmer’s market in the U.S. opened.
Eight farmers’ wagons pulled up to Pike Place that day. Despite the overcast sky and damp roads from the previous days’ rain, fifty people were already gathered awaiting H. O. Blanchard, the first to arrive. Blanchard quickly sold through through everything he had, as did the ones following him. Eight was not a large number, but just a week after, the more than seventy farmers showed up to Pike Place.