Driving through a quiet neighborhood of mid-century homes along the crest of Beacon Hill, a low, flat structure appears at a triangular lot in the fork of the road. Approaching its floodlights on a cool, dark April evening, an open-air mosaic of brightly colored fruit and vegetables and hand-illustrated, boldly lettered signs comes into view. This modest yet celebratory attraction, a frequent and year-round destination for South Seattle households, is MacPherson’s Fruit & Produce.
Although it is near closing time on a Sunday night, the friendly, familiar staff hurriedly restocks the rows of wood-framed bins with melons, pineapples, avocados and bok choy while cashiers ring up the huddle of remaining customers. Over the PA system, Engelbert Humperdinck belts out the chorus to “Man Without Love” from 1968. You could mistake the scene as one from 1968, long before the revival of urban farmer’s markets in Seattle and other cities. The prices, too, seem like a throwback to another era. Forty-dollars-worth of fresh produce proves a heavy lift back to my car, especially when compared to a recent, regrettable trip to Whole Foods.
Quality and selection were, on this visit as with others, exceptional. Whether you are seeking ingredients for side dishes, salads or stews, you will find what you are looking for here at a very reasonable price. Although spring may not offer the varied and eccentric local bounty of summer or fall, there was much exciting fruit from which to choose. Over the last few months, I have fought the winter blues with delicious citrus purchased here, including Pomelos, Cara-Caras, Minneolas, Gold Nuggets, Meyer Lemons and the trusty Washington Navel. In addition to produce, you will find a wide range of Latin American and Asian specialty products lining the back shelves throughout the year.
Those who argue that Seattle is losing its character and affordability will find solace and satisfaction roaming the cramped, busy aisles of MacPherson’s.
MacPherson’s Fruit & Produce
4500 15th Ave. S, 206-762-0115
6am to 9pm, daily