As Bellingham more fully reopened after COVID lockdowns, its downtown core brought back old favorites and introduced new — and very tasty — options for those who want healthy options but don’t want to sacrifice taste or ambiance.
Bellingham Farmers Market
Celebrating its 30th year in 2022, the Bellingham Farmers Market offers fresh farm-harvested foods to customers and has also donated 6,000 pounds of fresh produce to hunger relief agencies. Nonprofits set up shop alongside artisans and musical guests.
The flagship Saturday Market offers 100 stalls and draws crowds made up of both locals and tourists. Open year round at Depot Market Square downtown (the third Saturday of the month in January, February, and March, and then every Saturday from April through December), its hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Wednesday Market takes place down at the waterfront on Wednesdays, June through August, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Vendors typically come from local restaurants, craftspeople, and farmers such as Amelia’s Farm, BeachCastle Sweets, Carnal, Funky’s Hot Sauce Factory, Hawthorn Kitchen, Holly’s Meat Pies, Rufous Bakery, Sonder Farmstead, Ten Fold Farm, and many more.
To check out vendor schedules for either market, please visit the website.
Community Food Co-op
The Community Food Co-op, which celebrated its 50th year in 2020, has two locations in Bellingham: the downtown store and deli and the Cordata store and deli. It started in 1970 in Fairhaven as a food buying club, with dedicated volunteers driving to Seattle to pick up bulk goods that were then shared with buying club members.
Originally, it only offered eight items: cornmeal, bread, honey, flour, rolled wheat, rice, wheat germ, and granola. Now, of course, a visit to either location is a full shopping experience. For those into healthy eating, the co-op has delicious deli items, a salad bar, and a bulk section that carries more than 900 items, including organic, local, fair trade, and gluten-free products.
The Co-op’s deli always attracts a lunch crowd. All items are made from scratch on-site using the highest-quality ingredients with salads, entrees, charcuterie, sliced deli meats and cheeses, and made-to-order sandwiches. Choices are available that include wheat-free, gluten-free, vegan, paleo, low carb, and other options. Customers can take out or dine on-site.
Downtown store: 1220 N. Forest Street
Cordata store: 315 Westerly Road
Quantum Leaf & SconeGrown
One hundred percent vegan and gluten-free — and non-alcoholic — Quantum Leaf options also oil-free, soy-free, and allium-free items. This is the newest of the lot and brought to you by the owners of SconeGrown, Kyla Graham and Xander Terrell, who describe the eatery as “an elevated contemporary casual eatery.”
Chef Kyla has Crohn’s disease and understands the importance of offering food that won’t trigger a flare for her or others. “We know our focus on healthful foods may scare some people away,” Kyla says, “but we know how truly important it is for our customers and for us and we promise you won’t be missing out on flavor and texture.”
They have signed a three-year lease in the historic Bellingham Herald building and anticipate being around for awhile. The summer menu includes brunch items of yogurt bowl, rainbow rolls (rice paper rolls with fresh fruit, mint, and rose agave), miso oatmeal, mochi waffle, lox bowl, and jackfruit avocado toast. The dinner menu has another version of rolls, containing veggies, pickled ginger, mango, and herbs with a coconut almond butter sauce, as well as sushi selections and main items incorporating lentil, tofu “fish” filet, hummus, and poke.
Kyla and Xander’s other restaurant, SconeGrown, is 100% vegan using local, organic flour and organic ingredients free of dietary cholesterol and animal proteins. Found in the Granary Building at 1211 Granary Avenue, its menu is a series of scones around the $5 price point, gluten-free sweets such as banana bread, seasonal chia pudding parfait, and a monthly cheesecake and savory fare of spicy tofu nuggets, red pesto quinoa bowl, and zesty quinoa salad.
Sage Against the Machine
The all-vegan food truck recently added a brick-and-mortar restaurant downtown. The menu includes a jackfruit Reuben sandwich that apparently does taste like meat — without the meat. The jackfruit has been house seasoned and marinated with a homemade dressing along with locally fermented garlic dill sauerkraut from Pangea Ferments on dark rye bread. The jackfruit is also put to use in a BBQ sandwich.
Other menu items include a cilantro lime crunch burrito, a buffalo chickpea Caesar pita wrap, southwest chipotle veggie wrap, and quinoa curry wrap, mac with no cheese, salads and bowls, and additional (delicious!) small plates and sides.
The physical location has not displaced the food truck, which parks on Thursdays at Stones Throw Brewery from noon to 8 p.m., Fridays at Menace Brewing from noon to 8 p.m., Saturdays at Stones Throw Brewery from noon to 8 p.m., and Sundays at Kulshan Brewery on James Street from noon to 7 p.m.
1213 Cornwall Avenue
Featured photo of Quantum Leaf’s mochi waffle courtesy of Quantum Leaf