It’s been a tough week for our community. The entire city of Seattle could use a hug right about now. We at your Ballard Farmers Market will endeavor to do just that, in the form of our weekly local food, arts and music community happening on Old Ballard Avenue. We welcome you to come and mix and mingle, get some nourishment for your body and your soul, and share some love with each other here in the People’s Republic of Ballard. Let’s get the love started flowing with some spectabulous strawberries from Billy’s Gardens in Tonasket. Billy’s returned to your Ballard Farmers Market for the 2012 season just last week. They’ve also got some amazing wild arugula, fresh cut herbs and other goodies.
It’s sugar snap peas season! Woohoo!!! Now, if that doesn’t put a smile on your face… These beauties are from Magana Farms from over in Sunnyside. They are crisp, sweet and delicious, and you will want to get twice as many as you think you’ll need. Why? Because you are going to eat so many of them before you even get home!
Say what?!? Cherries? Yuppers! These are burlat cherries from Lyall Farms. Burlats are the first cherries to come into season each year, and where Lyall grows them in Prosser, they get a 10-14 day jump on the rest of the state with their harvest. That’s why Lyall always has them first. And don’t think because they are early or an unusual variety that they aren’t good. Burlats rock!
Chopping broccoli… Oh, yeah, baby! Broccoli from Oxbow Farm. It’s like love in a vegetable! You know, I love Oxbow’s amazing tomato plants — few offer better — but I live for Oxbow’s veggies. And it’s not just broccoli they’ve got now. Their collard greens are also absurdly good. If you’ve never tried them, you must. They are sweet, delicious and tender, and they are loaded with nutrients. I love just sauteing them with a little green garlic, which they also have now, and some nice, smoky bacon from Sea Breeze, Olsen or Skagit River. Now, that’s living!
Wild morel mushroom season finally arrived, about a month late, but hey, it’s here now, right? And Foraged & Found Edibles has ‘em. Lots of ‘em! There are endless ways to enjoy morels, but my favorite this time of year is to cut them into rings and toss them with asparagus, green sweet onions and green garlic from Alvarez Organic Farms, some olive oil, salt and pepper in a big baking dish and roast the lot in a 425 degree oven until the asparagus is just tender. You get the sweetness of the asparagus and the onions, the mild garlicky flavor of its immature form, and the earthiness of the morels. Serve it as a side to some fresh king salmon or halibut from Wilson Fish, and some fresh artisan bread from Tall Grass Bakery, and you’ve got a simple, serious meal!
Did you know that our own Patty Pan Grill recently introduced tamales made especially for kids? They’re half the size of their adult counterparts, and one variety has just cheese, while the other has a very simple, mild bean filling. They are available hot and ready to eat at the Market and in convenient packs to take home. “Just the thing for those parents on the verge, desperate to come up with an easy meal that isn’t full of processed garbage,” says Devra. Oh, and they are also offering a free small serving of their market-fresh vegetables along with any kids’ menu item.
Stoney Plains Organic Farm down in Tenino always seems to be the first with many crops each year, and they are now with this purple kohlrabi. It can be steamed, sautéed, eaten raw with some onion dip, or find the nearest Eastern European to give you some stellar recipes! Oh, and they’ve also got lamb’s quarter, epazote and a late resurgence of miner’s lettuce right now, too. Try to find any of these on any other tables in the Market!
No, Jon from Summer Run Farm does not have a tiny head. It’s just that Summer Run grows ginormous heads of red leaf lettuce. Seriously. Just look at these suckers. They are easily twice the size of his head. Indeed, it is these magnificent specimens of leafy deliciousness for which Summer Run is famous. But you might need to bring a trailer with you today to get one of them home with you!
Bluebird Grain Farm’s cracked farro makes for some amazing porridge. Or use it as a polenta. Heck, all their heirloom grain products are fantastic and nutrient dense. They mill their flours, cereals and mixes fresh before each Market, so they are at their peak of flavor and goodness when you get them, unlike so many bags of denuded flours in the Big Box Store that have been sitting in warehouses for months and have turned rancid. Bluebird makes its monthly visit to your Ballard Farmers Market today, so stock up!
Also making its monthly visit to the Market today is Fishing Vessel St. Jude with its incomparable albacore tuna products. They catch their tuna off the coast of Washington as the adolescent albacore swim south from their spawning grounds in the cold waters of the North Pacific to enjoy a leisurely adulthood in warm tropical waters. Because of their youth, this tuna is very low in heavy metals. Because they’ve been living in cold water, this tuna is very high in beneficial omega-fatty acids. Oh, and it is the best tuna you’ll ever taste, too! They’ve got it canned, frozen fresh, smoked, jerkied, loxed and a few other ways, just to mix it up.
Hey, there is plenty of local deliciousness waiting for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Just check What’s Fresh Now! for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now.