After 15 years, Veraci Pizza says goodbye to Ballard Farmers Market

For the past 15 years, Veraci Pizza has been a staple at the Ballard Farmers Market.

Every Sunday, a near-constant line of people would be waiting for a slice of woodfired pizza from the local vendor. But now, the market organizers have decided not to renew their tenancy — yesterday was their last day at the market.

“It was not our choice to leave,” Veraci co-owner Errin Byrd tells My Ballard. Veraci is the epitome of homegrown — they started with a small stand at the Ballard Farmers Market in 2004. Since then, they’ve expanded into several brick-and-mortar restaurants across Seattle and Washington state.

Byrd says the Ballard market management told them two things: that they wanted to support smaller businesses and be an incubator for new vendors, and that they wanted Veraci to source ingredients from the market vendors.

“We source many of our ingredients locally but need the food to be prepped out of a commercial kitchen,” Byrd said. “So I could not see how we could buy food that day and prepare it in a commercial kitchen before we opened at the market.”

Doug Farr, Ballard Farmers Market manager, told My Ballard that first and foremost, the market is about farmers. “Our core is to help out farmers. They are the ones struggling in today’s world of mass retailers and big grocery stores.

“As part of the Washington Farmers Market Association, we ask that all of our vendors support Washington farmers — food that is grown in our state,” Farr said.

“When you go to a market, you are of the belief you’re supporting local economy and local farmers. Veraci is of course part of our local economy, and I’ve been grateful to see them grow to where they are today. But with that being the case, they now have a number of stores, and they’re sourcing on a larger scale.”

Farr said that going forward, they are working on strict sourcing guidelines for their prepared food vendors: at least 18 percent of all ingredients must be sourced locally. He said he’s spoken to all the other market vendors — the market management will be verifying each vendor’s sourcing.

When Veraci first started, the market served as a perfect place for their business to grow, according to Farr. Now, he said it’s time to offer someone else the same opportunity. A new woodfired pizza vendor has signed on who plans to have a soft opening next Sunday.

“Right now we are giving another person a chance to fulfill a dream,” Farr said, emphasizing that the new owner is a Ballard resident.

Veraci operates at several other farmer’s markets, but Ballard was their only year-round market. “Losing this income in our off-season is a big hit to the mobile part of our business,” Byrd said.

“We love the market and wish them well. We are sad to be asked to leave.”

 

 


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Boring Opinions
Member
Boring Opinions

They have 25 stands all selling parsnips and chard right now, why not two pizza vendors?

AP
Member
AP

Gotta make more room for the jewelry vendors. Thanks, Farmer’s Market, for shoving Veraci out.

VeganBiker
Member
VeganBiker

Anyone know who the “Ballard resident” is that they are “giving another person a chance to fulfill a dream”?

luthier65
Member
luthier65

Yes, and he already is a vendor at the market. His pizza is excellent.
Veraci has multiple retail outlets. The Farmers Market did it’s job as an incubator for them, now it is time to gracefully allow someone else the same opportunity.

VeganBiker
Member
VeganBiker

luthier65- does he sell pasta and other Italian products at the market? Only asking because I live around the corner from a guy that does and he has a portable pizza oven and if he is the one then I am REALLY happy for him.

luthier65
Member
luthier65

VeganBiker, Yes, and I am happy for him as well.

Cate
Member
Cate

I would argue that Veraci did its job as an incubator for the Farmer’s Market. 15 years ago the market wasn’t what it is today. Veraci was there every week as one of the biggest draws. The market needed them every bit as much as Verci needed the market.

luthier65
Member
luthier65

Cate,
The market was there before Veraci and both entities would have grown regardless. I’ve been going to the market nearly every Sunday since before Veraci and I’ll still be going after they are gone.
Do I care for many of the decisions that the owners of the market have made over the years? Nope. I don’t actually care for the owners or how they operate, but if you look around town and think about the vendors who have been at the market for a while and then have the opportunity to open a brick and mortar retail space, you will see that the concept does work for some.
Regardless, after you have 4 or 5 brick and mortar businesses it is time to let someone else take your spot if they want/need it. I know that fairness and civility doesn’t mean much on this board, but they aren’t bad concepts to consider following…

Cate
Member
Cate

In reading this article, a reply to an email sent to me by the Ballard Farmer’s Market Staff and facebook postings by the owners of Veraci I realized three things that disturbed me about this situation. First, Veraci, after 15 years at the Market, was only given 2 weeks notice. In doing so they deprived Veraci of the opportunity to develop other business plans for their outdoor oven. That is a very disrespectful way to treat a business associate of 15 years. If they wanted the best for Veraci as they state they would have given them sufficient time to put other plans into place. The second thing I noticed was that the replacement pizza company was selected before Veraci’s was even informed of this change. They were not given an opportunity to attempt to comply with the requirements of the 2019 Vendors manual. (With the many Washington Wheat farms it would seem easy for them to meet the 18% requirement). Again, this is a business associate of 18 years that they replaced without discussion. This article when it quotes the Market staff makes it seem as if they and the Market played a role in Veraci’s growing to three… Read more »

Andrew Daisuke
Member
Andrew Daisuke

Doesn’t make much sense to kick out the only business at the market that was consistently busy. Dumb decision.

Uncle Buck
Guest
Uncle Buck

Respectfully, give me a short list of GOOD decisions made around here. I’ll wait.

Beaver
Member
Beaver

Their pizza is great! Besides, the Ballard Farmers Market is not that exciting. How many vegetable stands do you need? You can’t have more than one pizza place represented?

Uncle Buck
Guest
Uncle Buck

Great pizza. Oh well, another BONEHEAD move by Ballard Inc. Maybe we can get the junkies a safe injection stall or a panhandler stall for lunatics to scream at residents. Inclusivity, amirite?

fluggermutation
Member
fluggermutation

Troll

gk
Member
gk

Oh jeez.

Southeasterner
Member
Southeasterner

You would think after the bizarre debacle at SeaTac where they kicked out Ivar’s for not being local enough you wouldn’t see other local organizations making similar ridiculous moves.

Something tells me this has absolutely nothing to do with sourcing locally and everything to do with a certain local business owner transitioning his restaurant to a pizza place (Vera’s) early this year. The short notice to both employees at Vera’s and Veraci’s seems a bit to coincidental? Not to mention Ballard Farmers market is looking to preserve their extension on the block of 22nd between Ballard Ave. and Market where Vera’s is the only restaurant.

The hot dog, raclette, and tandoori stands are probably much less local than Veraci’s yet Veraci’s was singled out for not being local enough?

trinitynzxt
Member
trinitynzxt

If this is the case and the “New Pizza Vendor being given this wonderful chance / opportunity to succeed” is indeed Vera’s I say boycott the hell out of that place.

El Grunion
Member
El Grunion

interesting theory…

Gordito
Member
Gordito

Breathtakingly naive move….is every component and ingredient at the market consistent with this? I think not. Veraci helped make make the market what it is today….that is called roots.This will not stand.

Ballard By Boat
Member
Ballard By Boat

So, that hot dog cart is locally sourced meats, mostly from within the confines of the farmer’s market?

Toad (of Toad Hall)
Member
Toad (of Toad Hall)

Maybe. There’s lots of mutts running around that may or may not have some attachment to the unhoused cardboard cowboys that infest good ol’ Buh-lard.
…and happy new year to you all from the cozy confines of Toad Hall!