Holy holiday hams, Batman! Yup, Olsen Farms has a slew of freshly smoked hams for your holiday table. Be it for Solstice, Christmas, Festivus, Zappadan, Kwanzaa, or Chanukah… okay, maybe not Chanukah… but these beauties are awesome, and you can tell your guests it came straight from the farm! Yeah, they took a little longer to get here this year, but that’s okay, right? I mean, you know why it takes so long to smoke a ham, don’t you? Cuz it’s hard to keep them lit! (Can I get a rimshot?)
We know you are scrambling to get all your holiday shopping done now, and there is no place better than your Ballard Farmers Market for that. Lotsa local loveliness and deliciousness to be had. Like these fragrant candles from Ascents Candles. They are made using the finest essential oils and oils that do not produce toxic smoke in your home. Of course, you can also get beautiful odorless candles, too, for your table during your holiday feasts, so the scent doesn’t interfere with your ability to taste everything. And Julianna has got some gift boxes of votives and some cool new sizes of candles this year.
Hey kids, it’s that holiday favorite, mistlefaux, from Alm Hill Gardens. Since the real stuff doesn’t grow around here, we’ve got the next best thing! BTW, now’s as good a time as any to remind you that we will be taking a holiday break for the next two weeks, since both Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Sundays this year. The staff and vendors of your Ballard Farmers Market will be spending those days with friends and family, or eating Chinese and going to the movies, but we’ll be right back here on Sunday, January 8th. So remember to stock up on food stuffs from your favorite farmers today!
How about some sweet holiday breads from Tall Grass Bakery? Some almond bread and stollen will brighten up any holiday feast. Of course, they’ll have their full line of baked deliciousness today, too, so stock up for the holiday break. It freezes great!
Everyone is getting in the holiday marketing spirit around your Ballard Farmers Market. Even those crazy cats at Collins Family Orchards. They’ve rolled out several different gift boxes, like this one full of pears. If you’re gonna give someone a box of fruit, shouldn’t you at least make it truly special by including the name of the farm that grew it? Otherwise, it is just another box of fruit!
It was kind of an off year for the bees this year, since the snow level was so low so late into spring. We got to learn from Tahuya River Apiaries this year that honey, too, is seasonal. But one flower in abundance for the bees to pollinate in the Olympic Mountains was Japanese knotweed, and the result is this beautiful, dark wild Japanese knotweed honey from Tahuya. Now, wouldn’t that be a sweet stocking stuffer! Think of the charoset! And hey, it’ll boost your immune system, too!
You know why it takes so long to smoke a salmon? Wait, have you heard this one before? Well, in any case, Wilson Fish has smoked whole sides of king salmon they caught off the coast of Washington this past summer. Blow the roof off of your New Year’s Eve party when you bring a platter covered with one of these!
For several years now, we’ve all had the pleasure of working with Lizzie from Lyall Farms. She has kept us in apples and sweet potatoes and then some, always with a blinding smile on her face. But alas, while Lyall Farms will be back with us come January 8th, Lizzie will not. She is heading out on a major life adventure to a great city that straddles two continents, half a world away. For our sake, we hope to see her return someday off in the future, but for now, we wish Lizzie happy, safe journeys fertile with years of grand stories. Stop by Lyall Farms today, load up on sweet potatoes for the holidays, and wish Lizzie well. Hey Lizzie, send us a post card, eh?
We also bid a fond adieu to Terry Whetham and Quilceda Farm. Terry has been bringing us delicious goat meat for years, teaching us of its nutritional value, giving us recipes, and helping us to understand why it is the most commonly eaten meat on earth. Well, Terry has decided to pack it in. No kidding. (Uh, sorry.) Yes, Terry is retiring. He’s heading off to greener pastures. (Again, my apologies.) Actually, I think he’d expect nothing less than a good razzing sendoff from me. Perhaps what I will miss about Terry the most is how much good-humored grief he would give me every week. Just ask any of the vendors around him. They will testify to the back-and-forth we had. So stop by with a gold watch for Terry, and make one last purchase from him. After all, he’s got your goat!
Another of the true characters of the farmers market world is Jerry Pipitone of Pipitone Farms, a.k.a., the Rock Island Brand. For more than 30 years, Jerry has cranked out some of the finest apricots, peaches and Italian prunes, as well as garlic, shallots, jams, dried herbs, heirloom Italian tomatoes and more. He has been a great leader in both the farmers market and organic farming communities, and he has been quite simply a hoot to have around, always with a bad joke or a crusty story. Well, Jerry, too, is retiring. I had the pleasure of visiting him at his farm on Rock Island, just down river from Wenatchee, this past spring, where I captured this photo of him out standing in his field. I look forward to visiting him again out there, in retirement, and maybe taking in a game of bocce ball with him.
And as we honor these wonderful folks as they leave us for their next stages of life, let us take a moment to remember two lovely ladies who graced us with their musical talents many times over the years here at your Ballard Farmers Market — Arwen and Teresa Morgan. Arwen and Teresa (Arwen’s mother) played together in their family’s band, The Cutters, but they also individually busked at the Ballard Farmers Market, Arwen playing fiddle, and Teresa playing hammer dulcimer. Sadly, we lost both of these lovely, talented women in 2011 — Arwen in July and Teresa in late November. You can learn more about both women, and share your own thoughts via this Facebook page, which includes information on a memorial service being held this evening for Teresa in Magnolia.
Finally, let us look back with fondness on what has been, perhaps remarkably, a remarkable year here at your Ballard Farmers Market, and for Ballard in general. As the Market keeps getting bigger and better, Ballard itself continues to grow in international prominence as a food mecca, and just generally a cool place to be. Your Ballard Farmers Market won “Best Farmers Market” again from both the Seattle Weekly and Seattle Magazine, and we came in a respectable #8 in the America’s Favorite Farmers Market contest, garnering the most votes of any market on the West Coast. And we got to watch our influence continue to spread over Ballard with the opening of seemingly countless new eateries, bars and food related businesses. Remember 10 years ago, when we first moved the Market to Ballard Avenue? There were tumbleweeds blowing down the street on Sundays. Now, during the worst economy in 80 years, Ballard is booming, and all the celebrated chefs of Seattle want to open up shop here. National and international magazines cannot mention Seattle without mentioning Ballard. And the beauty of it is that we’ve built a robust local economy here in Ballard around small, local businesses. Heck, our friends and neighbors at Bastille built their restaurant around the Market, and they built their menu around its farmers. Thank you, Ballard, for being so kind to us, for supporting our vendors, and for embracing the spirit of local upon which this Market stands. And here’s to a great 2012!
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.