A salmon flies through the air in a slippery glide toward the outstretched arms of a fishmonger behind a mountain of ice and splayed flesh. One cold, lifeless fish eye catches mine before it lands with a slap and a spray of ice. It’s a show for the tourists as they shout and snap selfies with their iPhones. Yet this exuberant spectacle still has a certain allure for me after a quarter-century of Seattle living. The chill of the ice, the acrid tinge of brine and dayold fish, the cacophony of laughter and haggling; this is the heart of Seattle’s beloved market, the oldest continually operating farmers’ market in the United States (Figure 1.1). But the market is also the showy color of flowers in early spring, the halo of Christmas carols in December, the musky patchouli oils, the warmth of a deep fryer turning out fresh donuts, the taste of clam chowder, the aroma of baked bread, the harmony of two buskers strumming guitar and mandolin, the stink of piss in dark corners and the antiseptic pine-scented cleanser floating above it, the tinge

of curry, the jostle of crowds spilling out into the warmth of sunlight or the chilly drizzle of a light rain. Carry it in your heart or avoid it like the plague, this is Seattle’s Pike Place Market, as it has been for the past 100 years, in all its sensuous, tawdry glory, in all its seasons. Attracting tourists and locals alike, it

is just this delight of the senses that makes the market an event in itself, elevating this old warehouse space into a memorable place.