Bartell's sells Chia Fremont Troll

Sculpture marks quirky local landmark's 21st anniversary

SEATTLE — For 21 years, a great troll has resided beneath the Aurora Bridge in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood.

No, seriously: Underneath the bridge is a giant concrete sculpture of a troll grabbing an actual Volkswagen Beatle, built by local artists. The neighborhood has long been known as a counterculture and arts center.

After 21 years, and in time for the neighborhood's annual "Trolloween" event on Oct. 31, local retail pharmacy chain Bartell Drugs is selling a "Chia Fremont Troll" for $24.99. The sculpture consists of a terra-cotta planter with a beard and hair made from patented Chia plant material.

"We're always looking at products that reflect the personalities of the communities we serve," Bartell's VP marketing Theron Andrews said. "This may be the most unusual, and the positive response has extended far beyond Fremont, otherwise known as the 'Center of the Universe.'"

The Chia Fremont Troll is the result of a collaboration between Bartell's, the Fremont Arts Council and the original artist behind the troll, Steve Badanes.

The Chia-ization of a local landmark isn't the first example of Bartell's catering to local tastes. The chain recently opened a store in Seattle's Roosevelt neighborhood with an updated store format that includes a special section devoted to locally produced products. The Pacific Northwest — particularly Seattle — has become known for its locavorism and provenance-centric consumption patterns in recent years, with profiles in The New York Times and other national publications of restaurants that specialize in local foods.

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