Middlefield Farm

Middlefield by Akira Ohiso

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Snow continues to fall.  Schools are closed.  We walk to St. Alphonsus Church to play in the snow.  Behind Ballard Market, I notice, for the first time, a protuding structure that looks like it once had windows or was open like a porch.  Green wood panels seem to be added to change the purpose of the structure.  Structural posts hold up horizontal beams in front of the wood panels and seem to have no architectural relationship.  

According to the Ballard Market website, the store used to be a Lucky’s Discount Supermarket and officially became Ballard Market in 1986.  A supermarket message board online reports that Mayfair Supermarkets sold the property to Lucky’s in the seventies.  

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The Ballard Market website states:

In 2003, a renovation project doubled the size of the produce department once again – and created a new entry to maximize natural light. The giant awning came down, replaced by the equally imposing series of four-foot-tall letters spelling out Ballard Market. In 2017, the market underwent another major remodel.

I moved to Seattle in 2016 and witnessed the 2017 renovation that expanded the beer, wine and spirits section on the south side of the building.  Could the 2003 renovation have adapted the back structure for indoor use?  I will have to ask around at the market.

As a second generation Japanese American, I was fascinated to learn that Ballard Market was founded by a Japanese family.  The Nakata family originally lived on Bainbridge Island prior to World War II and opened the Eagle Harbor Market.  When the war began, the Nakata family was moved to a Japanese internment camp.  They returned after the war and eventually started Town & Country Supermarkets in 1957 with friend Ed Loverich.   

The Island Getaway Blog has a photo of the “old Nakata building on Winslow Way.”  This structure was once used as as a laundry and bathhouse.  

Photo: Island Getaway Blog. 

Photo: Island Getaway Blog. 

In 1924, The Nakata family purchased a strawberry farm on 7363 Weaver Ave. NW and built a farmhouse.   The farmhouse expanded to grow produce and raise pigs, which were sold in the butcher shop of the supermarket.  John Nakata, owner of Town & Country Markets tore down the farmhouse and built a new house on the land.  Today, the Nakata Farm is called Middlefield Farm; “naka” means “middle” and “ta” means “field.”  

A online search shows the current house at 7363 Weaver Ave. NW.  Middlefield Farm is on the corner of Wyatt and Weaver just down the street from this house.  

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