My Perfect Sunday - by J.T. Erickson

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J.T. Erickson lived in Seattle and was a Seattle Coffee Works regular, until he moved to California. Now he’s a “virtual regular,” ordering coffee online and savoring fond memories of Sundays in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood.

On my perfect Sunday, I get up and brew a pot of coffee, so that I can enjoy my first cup on the back deck and admire the fruit trees and grape vines slowly come into focus as the sun creeps up. It’s late spring and there is a Seattle feel to the air as the sun slowly, then all at once, comes out and triggers the birdsong that envelopes me as I sip my coffee (Seattle Coffee Works, of course!). Once I’ve finished my own, I go inside and fix my wife a cup just the way she likes it, and bring it to her. It’s going to be a good day!

Ballard Farmers Market produce array
A colorful array of fresh produce. Photos courtesy of Seattle Farmers Market Association.

The Ballard Farmer’s Market beckons, always a favorite Sunday pastime. Along the way down to the Market, as the farmers are still finishing setting up their dazzling arrays of produce and vendors arrange freshly baked loaves of bread and towers of stunning pastries, I stop into Ballard Coffee Works. The warm buzz of community mingles with the smells of freshly ground beans and I chat with the baristas, deciding to try what they have going on the Slow Bar. It’s a waiting thing – Slow Bar coffees are for when you’re not in a rush and can just enjoy being there, talking, watching the customers filter in and choose from the extensive menu. Will it be aeropress, single origin, a blend, or pour over today? It’s fun to see what they pick. I should know – I’ve tried them all!

Once in awhile, one of my buddies might be in line. Or my wife’s friend, with her Chocolate Lab (and even if you’re not a dog person, that’s a dog you can’t help wanting to pet). Once we’ve gotten our second coffees of the day, we stroll on down to the Market, getting into full swing by now. First stop: flowers. We grab a $5 bouquet, so beautiful and colorful, and a fresh bag of mini donuts from the donut guy. You know the one, with the machine that cranks them out and then, while they’re still piping hot, shakes them in cinnamon or powdered sugar, and hands them too you still steaming in their little bag. Dipped in coffee: heaven! (We like the cinnamon ones.)

Cherry blossom carpet
Cherry blossoms in Ballard

My favorite time to visit the Sunday Market is when the cherry blossoms bloom in Ballard. There’s always that time, somewhere in the Spring, when all of a sudden they pop, and the streets are full of pale pink snow – cherry blossoms. They drift in eddies, filling the air with their sweet faint smell. There’s music in the air too, mingling with the cherry blossoms, from the busker over on the side of the street, next to the guy with an old-fashioned typewriter, composing poetry.

Dogs. Kids. A sensory kaleidoscope of smells and sounds. Indian food, garlic naan, wood-fired pizza – so much to choose from; so much to see! Eating outside, wandering, shopping, chatting, and fantasizing about what meals we will make with our market finds as we haul our vegetables and flowers slowly back up Ballard Avenue towards Market Street and home

At home, I trim the flowers, set them out in a pretty glass vase that catches and refracts the sun, now high in the sky. It’s only 10:30, but already I’ve had an adventure, shared my space with strangers (no longer strangers, though, now that we’ve met and chatted over which leafy greens are super-fresh) strolled slowly through the market, hand in hand with my wife, sipping still-warm coffees as we take in the sights and sounds and smells of the quintessential “Perfect Sunday” at the Ballard Farmers Market in Seattle.

I don’t live in Seattle anymore, but the memories of my time there are always with me. Now I enjoy coffee once a week with my parents, and I always make sure my beans are from Seattle Coffee Works. I no longer wander down to the Market on a Sunday, (even those of you who are still in Seattle can’t do that right now, with COVID keeping us all close to home these days), and despite everything that has changed since that sunny perfect Sunday in Seattle, I can recapture a bit of that magic when I share coffee in another state far from Washington with my parents, who have also come to love Seattle Coffee Works.