Walking through Pike Place Market early one recent hot summer morning, I ran into local musician Amy Blaschke. The songbird—whose pipes take center stage with her own Night Canopy and amply supplement the stoner rock of Whalebones—was setting up boxes overflowing with ripe, colorful fruit at one of the outdoor stands—Tiny's Organics, her most recent road to making ends meet. Tiny's is a Wenatchee-based organic fruit farm that specializes in "stone" fruit. Stone fruit, you ask? Blaschke enlightens, "We're talkin' peaches, plums, nectarines, pluots, apriums, apricots, cherries, and apples, which have many little stones called seeds. Apriums and pluots are hybrids of plum and apricot."
After feeling the frustration of being cooped up in an office (Blaschke has worked intermittently over the last few years for local jewelry company Something Silver, as well as band merch outlet/label Luckyhorse Industries), she was ready to spend the summer outside, doing something more physical. The ambitious lady got what she was looking for: The 4–7 hour shifts are no day at the office, or beach for that matter. Each one is different, depending on which market she's stationed at of the 30 or so where Tiny's sells in the Puget Sound. Pike Place has its own cold storage, and there the fruit is already on-site when she arrives. But at the rest of the markets, she picks up the fruit that day (or the day before) and transports it herself—in the Whalebones tour van—then sets up a 50-pound tent, posts signage, and displays the fruit with optimum appeal. Once everything is in order, the rest of the day is jam-packed with hawking samples, selling, bagging, and restocking. With all the bustling action, fresh air, and free fruit, Blaschke's summer job is proving to be pretty sweet.
After all, she says, "It's hard to be grumpy when you're smiling and calling out for people to buy local organic fruit."
Day Job is a look at how musicians pay the rent.