Morels, Asparagus & Saffron, Oh, My!


 

Washington's first morel mushrooms for 2009, picked by Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Washington's first morel mushrooms for 2009, picked by Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

What?!? You missed the market on April 19th? What were you thinking? There was no holiday, no rain, no wind, no cold… and there was asparagus!

 

First of the season asparagus from Alvarez Organic Farms in Mabton. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

First of the season asparagus from Alvarez Organic Farms in Mabton. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yes, both Alvarez Organic Farms and Ayala are back for 2009, bringing their first-of-the-season Yakima Valley asparagus with them. And what goes perfectly with asparagus? Wild morel mushrooms, harvested in Washington’s forests by Foraged & Found Edibles. Heck, they even had a morel look-alike (though not taste alike) mushroom called verpa on Sunday.

 

This morel look-alike is actually the verpa mushroom, which taste quite different. Foraged & Found Edibles has them for a very short time. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This morel look-alike is actually the verpa mushroom, which tastes quite different. Foraged & Found Edibles has them for a very short time. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You also missed… wait for it… saffron! “Saffron?” you ask? Yep. Washington-grown saffron from Phocas Farms in Port Angeles. Talk about shrinking your carbon footprint — most saffron comes from Iran. But Phocas Farms is one of a growing number of small-scale saffron producers on the North Olympic Peninsula, which is also the U.S. capitol of lavender production, growing saffron for us to enjoy with our Taylor mussels or Stokesberry chicken.

 

Washington-grown saffron from Phocas Farms in Port Angeles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Washington-grown saffron from Phocas Farms in Port Angeles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know what else you missed this past Sunday? Lettuce. Not itty-bitty little lettuce leaves as part of a salad mix, but whole heads of lettuce, straight from those wonderful guys with the greenhouses in the Port Townsend Banana Belt, Colinwood Farms.

 

Colinwood Farms in Port Townsend has the first head lettuce of the season. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Colinwood Farms in Port Townsend has the first head lettuce of the season. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

So I ask you, are you going to brave missing the market this coming Sunday? I think not. Oh, and did I mention the peanuts? You’ll find them at Alvarez, too.

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3 Responses to “Morels, Asparagus & Saffron, Oh, My!”

  1. Saffron Picking in Washington State | Leite's Culinaria Says:

    [...] a nose, a braided grey beard, and a pair of wrap-around sunglasses, the man I approached at my farmers’ market looked something like a modern-day executioner. I knew there was no rational reason for me to be [...]

  2. mitch willmann Says:

    I’m 47 yrs old and have 2 kids still home, love it Anyway years ago my dad took my family out for morels in eastern Washington, Spokane. I really want to do this with my family, the problem is what time of year do morels pop? And if you have any ideas where to go that would be great. I have been looking on the web for information about Eastern Washington and can’t seem to find anything. I know at one time Spokane had a morel club, but can’t find any thing about that. I’m lost please please help.

  3. Amelia Says:

    Oohhh that all looks fantastic!! I had no idea you could get saffron locally (well, not local to me – I used to live in Olympia but now I live in Washington DC). You could really make a fantastic risotto with asparagus, morels, and saffron.

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