West Seattle Produce to open tomorrow; sneak peek today

We stopped by West Seattle Produce at 4755 Fauntleroy to check out a WSB’er’s e-mail report that they were planning to soft-open tomorrow. Not only did we confirm that’s true, we also got a tour from co-owner Mike Cairns, working hard to put the finishing touches on the new business. Some changes since we brought you first word of their plans a month ago – at the time, they were going to use the name Pike Place Produce, but now it’s West Seattle Produce. Read on for the newest details about what they’re planning, and a look at some of the antique touches they’re using to add “fun” to the operation:

From left, “our first employee” Maria dropped by with new, locally painted signs – she’s talking with Josh and Mike. While they’re soft-opening tomorrow, the grand opening won’t be for another month, and Mike asks for “patience” as employees get up to speed. He showed us a catalog with 160 products they’ll all have to learn, for starters.

Learning and teaching is part of the plan, he adds: They’ll show you how to cut a pineapple, or maybe offer a recipe. They plan to have some organics, as they can get it; they’re offering a 10 percent discount to seniors and police/fire personnel. (Might be good news to the folks at Station 32, a stone’s throw across Fauntleroy/Alaska.)

Some of the other brands they’ve settled on, in addition to what we reported a month ago – Vashon Island coffee, Remlinger Farms preserved and frozen fruit, Pappardelle’s pasta.

They’re also setting up a nursery area on the south side of the building (above) – which sits atop what was once one of the Huling Brothers car lots – and say it’ll be stocked shortly by Rich’s Landscaping. Besides plants, they expect to have Christmas trees during the holiday season. On the north side of the lot, they’re still going ahead with their previously mentioned plan to offer space to local artists/craftspeople – that’ll happen on Saturdays and Sundays starting in June (and you’re welcome to contact them to find out more). Another funky antique touch:

That donated boat will hold produce bins – as will an old fish cart:

Mike and Josh also beam about the work they’ve done with rough-sawn, reclaimed lumber: And there’s high-tech elements in the works too. The website isn’t finished yet but within a few weeks they expect to take orders by e-mail and fax. For now, here’s the plan: Tomorrow (Friday 4/30) they will open a 20 x 10 tent out front, 8 am till about 8 pm, with “some special buys, giving people a taste of what we’ll have,” Mike explains. Then they’ll gradually finish and fully move into the main building over the ensuing few days. The official grand opening is set for June 5-6.

53 Replies to "West Seattle Produce to open tomorrow; sneak peek today"

  • Meghan April 29, 2010 (11:20 am)

    Wow! What a great addition to West Seattle!

  • HelperMonkey April 29, 2010 (11:59 am)

    seriously. this is awesome!

  • miws April 29, 2010 (12:10 pm)

    Kudos to these guys, not only for bringing what I’m sure will be a popular, local, business to West Seattle, but for their decision on having antique touches, as well as “funky”. Re-using the boat and fishcart, is true recycling!

    The Seattle area has lost so much of it’s character in the last couple of decades, what with long time, local, businesses, and beautiful older, buidings going away, only to be replaced with national chains, and bland, homogenized, look-alike buildings. This brings back some of that lost character.


    Look forward to visiting!



  • Peaches April 29, 2010 (12:14 pm)

    This is great. Hopefully the same type of produce store can open in North Delridge would be nice to have a produce store to walk to.

  • NGKL April 29, 2010 (12:19 pm)

    I agree, Peaches. Delridge needs fresh produce and grocery stores you can walk to!

  • CurlyQ April 29, 2010 (12:27 pm)

    O happy, happy, joy, joy!!!

  • Kari Kopnick April 29, 2010 (12:30 pm)

    Hey, how fabulous to have fresh produce and more in the old Huling space!! I will stop by tomorrow while I’m at office hours. (Westside UU Congregation is rocking on getting our new building ready, but until our offices move to the new space, we can just walk over here from the Masonic Temple.)

    Thanks for letting us know!

  • ellen April 29, 2010 (12:55 pm)

    I am so excited!!! For some reason you folks remind me of the people who fed me as a kid with their abundance of produce piled up high upon their pushcarts in Haymarket Square in Boston….please be as good and as fun as they were! I love getting fresh veggies and fruits daily!!! And as much Organic as you can do would be most appreciated!
    Good Luck…I’ll see you soon!:)

  • Jeff April 29, 2010 (12:56 pm)

    I can’t wait!!!

  • stb April 29, 2010 (1:23 pm)

    Yay for the 8am opening time. I will stop by after I drop off the kids.

  • dlp April 29, 2010 (1:24 pm)

    I very much look forward to patronizing this business…at the same time, I am concerned about the viability of the Sunday farmers market. Would hate to see the market negatively affected.

  • Bianca April 29, 2010 (1:31 pm)

    Pappardelle’s! Sweet :)

  • JanS April 29, 2010 (1:36 pm)

    I think that the Sunday farmer’s market will be just fine. They are really quite different, if you think about it. There are more varied things offered at the farmer’s market that West Seattle Produce probably won’t duplicate. There is definitely room for both :)

  • Krystal April 29, 2010 (1:55 pm)

    So excited! I think this will be a nice complement to the Sunday Market. I am lucky to live very close to both! I will be by on Saturday to check it out.

  • Sage April 29, 2010 (2:01 pm)

    I want to be excited, but I don’t get the value of a produce shop that doesn’t focus on organics and isn’t farm specific. This sounds not much different from a safeway produce aisle, but with “funkier” decorations. Not a bad thing, but not much of a contribution either. What am I missing?

    • WSB April 29, 2010 (2:06 pm)

      FWIW, they are not focused on organics but say they will carry some. Also, they will be buying from local concerns such as Remlinger and others in the region – I’m sorry I don’t have lots of specific names – we hadn’t intended this to be a full in-depth piece; we stopped by unannounced thinking we would ask about the opening date, and wound up getting a little tour. I forgot to mention they will have flowers available starting tomorrow as well.

  • HelperMonkey April 29, 2010 (2:09 pm)

    @ Sage: I would assume the difference between this and the Safeway produce aisle is that this won’t be disgusting.

  • carterbiosea April 29, 2010 (2:25 pm)

    I am THERE. Exciting! Best of luck.

  • bsmomma April 29, 2010 (2:32 pm)

    I’m excited! I had a produce store at the corner of the street I lived on in MI. I LOVED going there and I believe that’s where my facination with “pressing buttons” developed. :) They had these cool scales above the register with a key pad with big buttons and it always amazed me how fast they punched in those numbers. Oh ya and they had great produce! I can’t wait to take my daughter there!

  • dale April 29, 2010 (4:57 pm)

    Monkey Helper why the RIP on Safeway? Can’t you find anything positive to say?

    I supposed we all need to know why you feel that way and who we should be shopping with instead?

  • CurlyQ April 29, 2010 (6:00 pm)

    Hurray! So glad I can walk to this, 7 days/week. I agree that there’s room for this and the Farmer’s Market. I see it as adding to the Sunday morning vitality you feel in the Junction–this will just spread the good vibe around more.

  • Silly Goose April 29, 2010 (6:42 pm)

    This is fantastic news, I look forward to shopping here, love the look and attitude of the owners. WOO HOO and there will be ample parking always a plus.

  • Tim April 29, 2010 (7:21 pm)

    Good luck to West Seattle Produce!

    It’s my understanding that the term “farmers market” generally refers to a group of individual farmers selling directly to the public produce that they’ve grown. That is the model for the West Seattle Farmers Market and the many other markets in the network of non-profit farmers markets across the city…Columbia City, Broadway, Ballard, Wallingford, Lake City, City Hall, South Lake Union, etc. I hate to see the grass roots qualities of community supported markets and local farmers co-opted by for- profit businesses who ride the successful coat tails of this movement and use the phrase “farmers market” for their own profits and bottom line.

    The State of Washington is attempting to define what constitutes a real Farmers Market and as great as West Seattle Produce is, it won’t make the cut!

  • foy boy April 29, 2010 (8:16 pm)

    Shop at the sam way in white center. thay beat all these over priced yuppie marts anyday. Just like tony’s market , it will be over priced. Shop smart shop samway mart.

  • David April 29, 2010 (8:32 pm)

    The thing that will set this apart from Safeway and even Thriftway, and the thing that will matter most to me, is the planned product demo’s and education. I fancy myself a food explorer but honestly don’t know what to make of many of the lesser known veggies appearing in the produce section each season. Not even Whole Foods, for example, which does do a commendable job of having knowledgeable and helpful staff on hand in meat, fish and cheese dept’s, has enough orientation to the full spectrum of produce. I’m looking forward to seeing what WSP can pull off here. Good luck!

  • Maggie Sudduth April 29, 2010 (9:22 pm)

    Sounds like a win-win, looking forward to swinging in soon. And Vashon Island coffee, yay! But I wonder which roasterie.

    • WSB April 29, 2010 (9:38 pm)

      Vashon Island is the brand, if that helps. I have a photo in the iphone somewhere … will check.

  • Mary April 29, 2010 (10:15 pm)

    @Dale: I don’t really like Safeway either, although it does depend upon the individual Safeway somewhat. Keep in mind my father used to work there for many years and I have had family loyalty for quite some time. But their produce quality is often pretty poor. QFC is better in quality. And Metropolitan Market rocks for quality. But honestly I miss the Wegman’s grocery store chain from my visit to Buffalo, NY last summer. I didn’t know what we were missing!

  • Heinz57Mom April 29, 2010 (11:05 pm)

    I’m with Sage. I’m not making an extra stop with kids in tow if it’s just another pile of conventional produce. I vote with my dollars and my dollars go to sustainability.

    Provide a good selection of locally produced organic produce (not just some) and I’ll be all over it!

  • CeeBee April 29, 2010 (11:17 pm)

    I hope they’ll take suggestion for seasonal items to hunt down. I was looking for baby artichokes to try out in a recipe. Saw some at the new QFC and had a heart attack at the price – $4.99 EACH. I asked the produce guy if they meant $4.99 a pound, and he said no, that someone had wanted them bad enough that they made a special order, and that’s what it was costing them to unload the rest of the box the person didn’t buy. Holy cow! So if WSP can find some good sources for seasonal items like that, it would be much appreciated!

  • Mike April 30, 2010 (5:30 am)

    No Worries. We love suggestions, and if you want an item we will do our best to get it for you. The Sunday Farmer’s Market is for profit. The farmers aren’t there just for fun. We fully support the market and will help if we can, but it is imposssible to sustain a families needs shopping a limited selection four hours on a Sunday. Sunday is an event for the community and West Seattle Produce fully supports the market. We will carry as many organic products as are available. Everything depends on the season. Fear not Sage and Heinz57mom we will carry over 160 items of produce of the best quality at very competitive prices. We are committed to West Seattle, and a great shopping experience.

    As our Kiwi partner would say…….Cheers!

  • yacman April 30, 2010 (6:52 am)

    The best produce stand in the city that I know about is MacPherson’s in Beacon Hill near the VA. Kinda far away, but worth it if you’re going in that general direction every couple weeks. I once thanked the manager for providing good, inexpensive, produce for low-income folks like me. Second best that I know about is Samways in White center, which is closer. Tony’s produce is overpriced, which is surprising since they should have low overhead supporting only a tent structure, but their prices seem comparable to Safeway. I was once in Tony’s and, for convenience, bought a single zucchini that I needed for a recipe. The proprietor, with a smile, said, “I’m never going to retire with that small of a purchase.” I felt like responding “at a dollar ninety nine a pound for zucchini neither of us will,” but I held my tongue. He seemed like a nice guy, but I’m eating the produce not inviting him over for dinner. I’m not really interested in organic produce. I’m unconvinced that there is any scientific evidence that shows that the cost justifies the alleged health benefits–if any. I look forward to checking out the new place.

  • Tim April 30, 2010 (7:24 am)

    Hey folks…try to buy direct from local farmers at a farmers market when you can. This purchase ensures you will buying the most “local”and best quality produce directly from the people who grow and produce it.
    Talk about accountability!!!
    It also ensures that local farmers can stay farming and that our local farm economy can stay viable so that our precious local farmlands can stay intact for generations to come.
    Besides, farmers markets not only provide local farmers and local produce but also a wide variety of locally produced farm foods including cheeses, pasture raised meats, wild mushrooms, salmon, shellfish, honey, cider and local baked
    The network of great farmers markets that are operating across our fair city are run by non-profit organizations and rely on public and private grants and volunteer hours to survive. They’ve been organized to help local small sustainable farms keep farming.
    Value is a relative term. There is good value at Farmers Markets because of the many public benefits they provide: fresh, local food brought to market by the people who actually grow it and a chance to meet the farmers face to face. This is the most local and freshest harvest of farm foods you can get. Your purchase keeps our local farm economy healthy and sustainable. Farmers Markets provide access to all this good local food at competitive prices and provide access to all our citizens by redeeming SNAP/EBT, WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program coupons. Farmers Market farmers are generous and donate thousands of pounds of fresh produce to the West Seattle food bank every season. And every week the Farmers Market provides space to local non-profit groups, sponsors cooking demos, kid’s activities, shoppin’ and strollin’ music and a wonderful opportunity to slow down, greet your neighbors and take the time to stop and smell the basil together.

  • KBear April 30, 2010 (9:33 am)

    That’s great, Tim, and I do shop the Farmer’s Market regularly. But if I need a lemon (know any local growers?), or if I can’t get to the Farmer’s Market during the few hours it’s open, or I run out of locally-grown spinach in the middle of the week, or it’s not summer and I want something besides roots and greens, I will be glad to have West Seattle Produce within walking distance.

  • Sue April 30, 2010 (10:18 am)

    I am very excited about this market opening. Yes, I still intend to shop the farmers market – I’m there most weekends, and I buy far more than produce there. But I can’t buy enough variety or quantity there that will last me the entire week. With WS Produce, I can get off the bus on the way home from work just one stop early, and walk the 2-1/2 blocks home.

  • CurlyQ April 30, 2010 (11:01 am)

    Yacman, we go to church in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, so I always stop by MacPherson’s on the way home. The other delightful thing about shopping there (in addition to ridiculously low prices, like Pink Lady Apples @ 79-cents/lb and organic lemons 2/$1), is that it’s like visiting the UN. Every language, skin color, religion and global region is represented. Not to mention the fresh roasted corn stand and the lovely older gentleman selling tamales out of a cooler, probably made by him and his wife. I LOVE it!!!
    I’ll still shop at the new WS Produce, but the environment on Beacon Hill is hard to beat.

  • JumboJim April 30, 2010 (11:04 am)

    Cracks me up that people think the only reason some of us eat (and even grow our own) organic produce is for purported health benefits. How about buying organic to support agricluture that doesn’t use petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides that end up causing havoc in the environment? Seems to me those are very good reasons to buy organic when you can.

  • Jenn April 30, 2010 (3:43 pm)

    I was super excited to drive by and see the big “Farmers Market” and “Fresh Local Organic” signs out front. When I pulled up, though, and saw big bins of bananas and pineapple that had traveled thousands of miles to get here, well, my heart sunk a bit. I do buy local produce (direct through a CSA) and I do supplement that by buying some things at the grocery store (though I try not to let it get out of hand), so I certainly am not slamming West Seattle Produce for offering a great small, local business alternative to Safeway or QFC. What concerns me more, though, is the watering down of the message of Farmers Markets and the Local Food Movement. There are plenty of good reasons to buy local meat, dairy, and produce (health, economy, environment, food safety). Just as there are plenty of good arguments about whether or not this is actually doable 100% of the time for families. The problem comes when people end up assuming they are getting local, organic food because the big sign out front says so. I dunno. They are doing a good thing. Don’t get me wrong. But my “cashing in on a trend” meter went off a bit. I hope to be proven wrong, and I will likely still shop there for the small business aspect, but, I dunno, I guess I am just a little disappointed.

  • Roxanne April 30, 2010 (5:38 pm)

    Thank you for the head’s up, West Seattle Blog!

    I dropped in today for the soft opening and found so many friendly and helpful people working. I scored asparagus, a lush organic mango, lime, lemon, and the most delicious heirloom navel orange.

    I think this is an excellent development for West Seattle that’s strategically located on a major thoroughfare. I believe that successful locally-owned businesses breed further investments, which is what’s needed on the Fauntleroy corridor. I also think choice is a great thing to have!!

    Can’t wait to see their full-blown inventory.

  • Mike May 1, 2010 (5:50 am)

    For the organically concerned. We are waiting for the delivery of our coolers to bring in our inventory. Everything available local will be available. I’m sorry that pineapples primarly come from Hawaii and that banana’s grow down south, but Washington’s weather isn’t hospitable to a lot of products. If you enjoy the experience, the products, and the prices, come visit us, if not, there are lots of places to shop.

    Thanks for the many great comments, and we will deliver on our promise to be the best.

  • Jenn May 1, 2010 (1:45 pm)

    Hey Mike! It’s great that you are participating in this discussion! I look forward to more local produce from your shop and as I mentioned, I will more than likely be a customer (even though your reply did seem a tad defensive, though I guess I can understand that if you felt you were being unfairly criticized). I definitely didn’t mean to imply that we should boycott pineapples or bananas. Those things are delicious! And a good source of vitamins! Yay to healthy fruit and veggies! I am also completely aware that running a 100% locally sourced business isn’t all that feasible and that you are probably doing the very best you can (which is probably better than most!). It might not even be your business model or passion. Which is also totally cool. It was mostly the big Farmers Market sign out front (which I could see from the street) that threw me off and, to be honest, seemed misleading. There is a difference between a partially locally sourced market like yours (which is a good thing!) and the Farmers Markets where 100% of the offerings are from nearby farms. I hope you don’t take offense at that point. I’m just very concerned about where our food comes from and I think not enough folks are educated about it yet. So until folks are more educated, I am a little protective of the language of the local food movement. Thankfully, the message *is* spreading and things are starting to change. In the meantime, I hope your store can be a part of the solution through education. Best, Jenn.

  • kj May 1, 2010 (1:50 pm)


    If you will look again at their sign on the building. it says West Seattle PRODUCE, nothing about Farmers Market.

    • WSB May 1, 2010 (2:14 pm)

      There is a wooden sign now hanging from the south side of the facade that says Farmers’ Market. It wasn’t up when we shot the building on Thursday morning.

  • Jenn May 1, 2010 (2:55 pm)

    Sigh. Aw, folks, I’m seriously not trying to be a big grump about this. Just trying for healthy conversation about what, to me, is a really important topic. As I mentioned, I have faith that WSP will do their very best to source the best products they can find, local and sometimes not so local when they need to. I just think that until more folks are educated on where our food comes from (and why it can help the economy, environment, and health & safety of their family to buy as local as possible), I feel like we have to be really careful with the language we use, again, so as not to water down the message the Local Food Movement is trying to spread. Healthy, fresh, vitamin packed, *as local as possible* produce? Yes! It’s a very good thing! And I bet WSP will do a good job helping to spread this message. Farmers Market? Eh, I dunno. Sure, I know someone could argue that if some of the stuff comes from farms and they are a market, well, farms + market = farmers market. I think it’s something different, though, personally. And I think it *is* a big deal to Local Food Advocates (and maybe to farmers? I dunno) to make sure their message isn’t mixed up. It’s cool if it’s not a big deal to you or if you disagree. See you all at West Seattle Produce sometime, Safeway, QFC, & Thiftway other times, and certainly at the Sunday West Seattle Farmers Market! Cheers, Jenn.

  • kj May 1, 2010 (3:08 pm)

    Maybe we can just cut them some slack and assume some of their produce could qualify for a farmers market and some would be good for a “produce” stand.

    I visited today and am excited about what they have so far, and they say new things will be happening more and more. I, for one, am thrilled they are there. Sure beats a used car lot.

  • Jenn May 1, 2010 (3:36 pm)

    Agreed, KJ. Slack is now being cut. Apologies to WSP and WSB for hijacking this thread about what really is a great new addition to the neighborhood and does seem to have their priorities in place. My only last suggestion actually stems from KJ’s last comment about it being a little of both. Perhaps making this clear by using language like, “Visit Our Fresh from the Farm Section,” would be the best of both worlds. Though maybe that’s too many words for a sign! Ha.

  • foy boy May 3, 2010 (5:17 pm)

    just as I thought. Over priced yuppie mart. I found the same stuff cheaper at qfc. And it was organic. It is hard to believe that they don’t pay heating bill or electrical bill or any large over head they would still charge to much. They must think were all stupid. Money is tight now days. It would be nice to shop organic but with money tight, more for the buck is better. After all how did we survie this long with out it.

  • Tim May 4, 2010 (7:48 am)

    Thanks be to Jenn – for understanding that a private retail venture that brokers produce should not be confusing the public by calling itself a Farmer’s Market. Farmers Markets are wonderful community gathering places all over our fair city and they truly are supporting local farmers with their best opportunity to stay viable and in farming. There are over 5,000 Farmers Markets in the US (determined by USDA statistics) that meet the common definition of a group of farmers who sell directly to the public local products that they have grown and produced themselves. Let’s try and keep the message about supporting local food and local farmers by buying direct from farmers at a farmers market separate from
    our trip to the grocery store or corner green grocer.

  • mike May 4, 2010 (2:41 pm)

    Jenn & Tim,
    Look at our new signage this weekend. Maybe it will put a smile on your face. If you really want to understand what we are doing at West Seattle Produce stop by and we wil be more than happy to explain our business to both of you.

    We do support the Sunday Farmer’s Market. It is a great event that we have all visited. There is a significant difference in four hours a week and a business that operates seven days a week serving the community with fresh, local, organic produce and much more. So watch for our new signage.


    Mike, Bruce, & Bob
    West Seattle Produce

  • chris May 4, 2010 (7:24 pm)

    Tim & Jenn
    What a bunch of garbage. You must be Farmer’s Market employees and don’t really give a crap about those of us who really want a produce stand. Call it Farmer’s Market or not…..who cares. If the produce is fresh, local, and they are open 12 months a year stop your bithin. It seems they are trying to work with the Farmer’s Market, but envy is ugly. Get off your high horses and suport another employer that brings buisness in this ugly economy to West Seattle.

  • mike May 8, 2010 (8:16 am)

    Mother Day Special’s…….Market Place Flowers @ $16 per bouquet. Artichoke’s, big and beautiful @ 3 for $5.oo, and super sweet white and yellow corn. We are now fully open or your enjoyment.

    Come visit: Mike, Bob, & Bruce

  • Alice May 8, 2010 (12:11 pm)

    Way to go West Seattle Produce! It is so nice to see you guys finally move in! I read some of the above posts from the Farmers Market. I hope ignore the obvious jealous employees. Keep up the great work and the great look. It is just awesome. I am already a loyal customer!

  • Sherry May 10, 2010 (6:41 pm)

    Shopped there today…beautiful and shiny large roma tomatoes looked yummy. But I picked up something new to try: broccoli rabe-rapini. I’m reaching for the roasted garlic and and the anchovy paste now! The sweet potato artisan pasta ribbons also jumped into my shopping bag. Wishing this new West Seattle addition the best of luck!

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