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Sunday, February 23rd: Spinach, Cabbage, Daffodils, Fermented Vegetables & Hot Cider! Winter Collides With Spring!

February 22, 2014
Bouquets with fresh daffodils from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bouquets with fresh daffodils from Children’s Garden. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

No, I don’t care what the forecast is for today. Those are daffodils. Local daffodils. From Children’s Garden. They are blooming right now, bringing with them the promise of a spring that is not far off. So let Ma Nature get a little more gloppy lowland snow out of her system today. Matters not to me. I’ll have a bundle of spring on my kitchen table! Will you?

Over-winterd Savoy cabbages from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Over-winterd Savoy cabbages from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oh, yeah, baby! Gotta love those over-wintered Savoy cabbages from Nash’s Organic Produce. Having survived not one, but two week-long hard freezes, they are sweet and nutrient dense, and what makes them strong makes us strong! How about some nice braised cabbage? Maybe sauté some. And how about doing a test-run of corned beef and cabbage in advance of St. Paddy’s Day? It’s just three weeks off, you know.

Baby spinach from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Baby spinach from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Boom! Yup, that’s baby spinach from Colinwood Farms. They just started harvesting a new crop from their greenhouses last week. Talk about a hint of spring. But wait! There’s more! Yes, they also now have salad mix again. Indeed, Colinwood has become famous for its amazing winter salad mix, which is full of hearty greens and tender, spicy mustards. I live off of this stuff this time of year.

Olsen Farms pork belly bacon (left) and jowl bacon (right). Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Olsen Farms pork belly bacon (left) and jowl bacon (right). Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beautiful bacon from Olsen Farms. That’s traditional pork belly bacon on the left, and pork jowl bacon on the right. Jowl bacon, you ask? Yes, it’s bacon made using the jowl of the pig, and it is amazing. It has a unique, delicious flavor, and it is well suited to many dishes. Hmm. Maybe I’ll sauté some Olsen bacon with some of that cabbage from Nash’s tonight, and finish it off with…

Britt's Curry Kraut. Photo courtesy Britt's Pickles.

Britt’s Curry Kraut. Photo courtesy Britt’s Pickles.

Curry Kraut from Britt’s Pickles. This naturally-fermented kraut is not only uncommon, it is uncommonly good. And it is even certified Kosher! I know what you’re thinking. If it’s Kosher, why am I going to add it to my cabbage and bacon. Look, just because it’s Kosher does not mean you are required to keep Kosher to eat it, but if your do keep Kosher, it’s nice to know you can get a great local product like this, eh? Britt’s joined us last week with their kimchis, krauts and pickles. Stop by and try some samples today!

Over-wintered carrots from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Over-wintered carrots from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The over-wintered carrots at Alm Hill Gardens are amazing right now. Mind you, after the last big freeze, they are a little funny looking. Some have even needed to be trimmed a bit. But remember, sugar is natures anti-freeze, and when it got really cold two weeks back, these bad boys got really, really sweet. They may not be beautiful, but they taste incredible.

Organic apple donut dippers and hot apple cider from Tiny's Organic Produce.. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic apple donut dippers and hot apple cider from Tiny’s Organic Produce.. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tiny’s Organic Produce is mixing it up a bit lately with their organic appliciousness. They have begun to offer hot apple cider and apple donut dippers at your Ballard Farmers Market. The dippers are battered, deep-fried wedges of their apples — a little winter decadence that will still keep the doctor away. And the hot cider comes traditional and spiced, and it will warm you up on this cold, late-winter’s day. Enjoy!

Fresh, local Rockfish from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh, local Rockfish from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Last, but certainly not least today, I present you with fresh rockfish from Wilson Fish. They are catching rockfish, true cod and ling cod this time of year off the Washington Coast when the weather permits. Gotta love some blackened rockfish, eh? But remember, supplies are limited, and this stuff always sells out fast. The early bird get the, um, err, fish.

There is plenty more 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.

Please remember bring your own bags every Sunday, as Seattle’s single-use plastic bag ban is now in effect. Also, please take note of our new green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Ballard Farmers Market, and please make an effort to use them correctly. Each container has what’s okay to put in it pictured right on the lid. Please do not put the wrong materials in, because that drives up the cost of recycling and composting, and it can result in the entire container being sent instead to a landfill. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.

Sunday, August 18th: Pears, Peaches, Peppers, Politicians & P-other Stuff!

August 17, 2013
Sen. Ed Murray and Councilperson Richard Conlin enjoying Soda Jerk Soda at Wallingford Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sen. Ed Murray and Councilperson Richard Conlin enjoying Soda Jerk Soda at Wallingford Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

State Senator Ed Murray and Seattle City Councilperson Richard Conlin joined us at our sister Wallingford Farmers Market recently to celebrate not only National Farmers Market Week, but also the fact that Wallingford Farmers Market is the reigning Washington Farmers Market of the Year, according to the Washington State Farmers Market Association. In addition to lovely proclamations, presentations, tours and speechifying, they also enjoyed some Lime Cilantro Jalapeño fresh soda from Soda Jerk Soda (above). Of course, being the marketing machine that we are, we couldn’t help but use this image to promote Soda Jerk. (You’re welcome, Corey!)

Rosa Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchard. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rosa Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchard. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rosa Hale peaches are those big, juicy, sweet peaches that dreams are made of. They come on midway through peach season, along with many cousins of similar name. These are the peaches for which Washington is famous. But they are only around for a few short weeks. Try them today atMartin Family Orchards at your Ballard Farmers Market.

Goat yogurt in the incubator at Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Goat yogurt in the incubator at Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This is goat yogurt in the incubator at Twin Oaks Creamery in Chehalis. See, in order for yogurt to become, well, yogurt, it needs to be inoculated first. It starts out as goat milk. Then, after quick pasteurization, they add those beneficial and delicious bacteria that are so good for us. They need to take root in the milk, though, to make it yogurt, and that requires a higher temp than a refrigerator for a little while. The result is wonderful goat yogurt that will keep your immune system and digestive tract happy.

Cauliflower from Growing Things Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cauliflower from Growing Things Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is cauliflower season at Growing Things Farm, and for them, that means a rainbow of cauliflower, from white to green to yellow to purple, and that wonderful, fractalized variety known as romanesco. Steam it, then top it with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Sauté it with bacon, cayenne pepper flakes and some bread crumbs. Toss it with pasta, or into a salad. Dip it raw into cocktail sauce or hummus. Roast it in the oven with olive oil. Make cheesy cauliflower soup with it. Heck, throw it on the grill. You are only limited by your own imagination!

Purple Sensation pears from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Purple Sensation pears from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is also pear season already, a full week earlier than we’ve ever seen them here before! Wow. This beauties are called Purple Sensation pears, and they are from the certified organic orchards of ACMA Mission Orchards. ACMA also has the early Gale Gala apples today, and a dizzying variety of stone fruit, including peachesnectarinespluots, plums and Italian prunes. In fact, no other orchard has the variety of tree fruit that ACMA does now at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Jim holds a gigantic sweet onion from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jim holds a gigantic sweet onion from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Meet Jim. Jim was shopping at your Ballard Farmers Market last Sunday, and he really wanted a sweet onion. What he found was a sweet onion that was the size of his head from our buddies at Nash’s Organic Farm. Seriously. There is no photographic trickery going on here. And the fact is, most of their sweet onions are this big. Must be all the clean living and the rich organic soil over there in Clallam County or something.

Hot chile peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hot chile peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alvarez Organic Farms grows over 200 different kinds of chile peppers, from the most mild bell peppers to the infamously hot ghost chile. And they are all coming into season right now. August and September is peak pepper season, and at the absolute peak, the pepper fields of the Alvarez family are awash in almost every color in the rainbow, much like the tulip fields of Skagit Valley in April. So enjoy a veritable tsunami of these tasty nightshades while you can, as they will go away again soon.

Treviso radicchio from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Treviso radicchio from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One of my favorite vegetables, and really, one of the most stunningly beautiful, is this treviso radicchio from Oxbow Farm. Unlike many radicchios, treviso grows tall instead of round. A member of the chicory family, it is naturally bitter, but grill it or sauté it with a nice slighty sweet, smoky bacon, and it sweetens up a bit. It likes salt and a good dose of olive oil (on the grill) or the rendered fat from the bacon, but not much else. It likes to stand alone, and it kinda clashes with garlic. Of course, if you like it a little sweeter, try drizzling a little balsamic vinegar on it when you serve it.

Berries from Hayton Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Berries from Hayton Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of gorgeous, just look at this array of fresh berries from Hayton Berry Farms. We’ve got blackberriesblueberriesraspberries and the elusive golden raspberries. Sounds like the golden ones will be available in a somewhat greater quantity this year, but supplies will still be limited, so get here early!

Jubilee tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jubilee tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids, it’s time for the One Leaf Farm tomato of the week! And by my count, they are now up to harvesting 10 different kinds of maters. (See them all in our Facebook photo album.) These are Jubilee tomatoes. There seems to be debate amongst the seed companies on the Intertubes about the origins of this tomato, but it has been around since at least the early 1940s, and maybe as long ago as the 1890s. A golden to orange tomato, they are lower in acid, and thus a possible alternative for folks who have issues with high-acid tomatoes.

Fresh, local Rockfish from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh, local Rockfish from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish off with some fresh Washington rockfish from Wilson Fish. Rockfish is that fish that is misnamed “red snapper” by many folks, and it wasn’t until the feds cracked down of labeling practices of fish over the last decade that we finally realized we’d been eating rockfish this whole time. (Then again, most so-called “grouper” on menus still is, in fact, another species.) Rockfish kinda looks like a champion boxer that had to go the distance in order to win — not the prettiest of fish. But it is delicious. I love it coated with a nice blackening rub or jerk seasoning and pan-fried. Yummers. Of course, if you are reading this at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon, you may be out of luck. This stuff tends to sell out very fast at your Ballard Farmers Market, so get here early!

There is plenty more 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.

Please remember bring your own bags every Sunday, as Seattle’s single-use plastic bag ban is now in effect. Also, please take note of our new green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Ballard Farmers Market, and please make an effort to use them correctly. Each container has what’s okay to put in it pictured right on the lid. Please do not put the wrong materials in, because that drives up the cost of recycling and composting, and it can result in the entire container being sent instead to a landfill. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.

Sunday, January 2nd: Happy New Year! 2011 – Can You Believe It?!?

January 2, 2011

Calf's head and organs from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Whether this image intrigues you or disturbs you, there is no questioning that it is real — authentic. This is our food, direct from the farmers who raised it, in its raw, natural, unadulterated state. This calf’s head and assorted organs in the refer case of Sea Breeze Farm is considered waste by most Americans, but for the people of the rest of the world who cannot imagine wasting perfectly good food, and to a goodly number of foodies and immigrants here in Ballard, these are delicacies. And let’s face it: can you really argue the validity of the argument some make that you should be able to look an animal in the eyes before you eat it? Hey, I like a nice hunk of flesh on my plate as much as the next guy, but in this country, we have so sanitized everything about our food that we no longer even recognize it… unless, that is, you shop at a farmers market.

Parsnips from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A big thank you to those of you who shook off your holiday hangover and braved the sideways rain and violent winds last Sunday to shop at your Ballard Farmers Market. The vendors and management of your Market appreciate all of you for your hearty loyalty, especially those of you who assisted us in holding down canopies and rounding up flying merchandise. Today is forecast to be much nicer — sunny and calm winds, though a stitch on the chilly side, so layer up. Oh, and hey, all of the vendors who took a long holiday weekend last week are back today, like Colinwood Farms with some lovely parsnips. The holidaze are over, and the grind returns tomorrow. Enter the new year with good, local, safe and nutritious food!

Samish Bay Cheese makes a variety of delicious farmstead cheeses. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Samish Bay Cheese is here today with their award-winning cheeses. You know, they were the most award winning Washington cheese maker at the 2010 American Cheese Society competition held in Seattle this past August. And they also have yogurt, beef and pork, too!

Sunchokes, a.k.a., Jerusalem artichokes, from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Stoney Plains returns after its holiday hiatus to continue to mesmerize us with how much they seem to be able to harvest this time of year, in spite of the weather. Of course, they wisely balance out the greens they grow in greenhouses and hoop houses with a nice selection of dried beans, spuds, roots and these lovely red sunchokes.

Sauerkraut & Rötkruat from Firefly Kitchens. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you gotten your sauerkraut on lately? We’re talking living food here, people, loaded with all kinds of goodness your body craves. Firefly Kitchens makes their Classic Sauerkraut & Rudy Red Sauerkraut from local cabbage — I think that’s Nash’s in those jars right now — and trust me, this is some of the best darned kraut you’ve ever tasted! And it’ll dress up you dogs and brats very well, too.

Smoked salmon & salmon lox from Cape Cleare Fishery. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hopefully, the good folks from Cape Cleare won’t freeze to death on their way to Market today. But really, if anyone is gonna be a hearty soul, it’s going to be a fisherman, right? So look for them and their bicycle trailers stocked with magnificent, frozen-at-sea salmon and smoked salmon. In fact, I had some of their salmon for lunch at TASTE Restaurant before seeing the Picasso exhibit at SAM on Friday. Seriously, that’s some good eatin’!

Apples & pears from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This winter, I have been practicing the old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” And Collins Family Orchards has been doing an admirable job of keeping me well supplied with apples for the task. They’ve got Fujis, Pink Ladies, Braeburns and a few others right now, along with Asian pears and some other goodies.

Wild hedgehog mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I’ve gotta say, I just love checking out Foraged & Found Edibles each week to see what wild mushrooms and other foraged foods have been offered them by Mother Nature for our dining pleasure. Take these wild hedgehog mushrooms, for instance. I love these just sauteed with some butter, but you can use them lots of ways. They’ve got yellowfoot chanterelles and black truffles currently, too.

Dried herbs and spices from Pipitone Farms in Cashmere, Washington. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pipitone Farms was one of the first farms around these parts to do a really effective job of season extension through value-added products. “Huh?”, you ask? What I mean is, they take what they grow in the summer, and they dried it, jam it, pickle it, and so on, so they can continue to sell it in the winter, even when their farm in Cashmere is blanketed by snow. I love using their dried herbs and cayenne peppers, above, for all manner of cooking I do. This stuff is way fresher than the stuff at the Big Box Stores, and it’s organic, local and delicious. Oh, and did you know that many dried herbs and spices are irradiated these days? Well, these aren’t!

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check the What’s Fresh Now! listings in the upper right-hand corner of this page for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now. But please note that due to our recent cold weather, some crops may not be available as anticipated.

Sunday, October 4th: Save Energy! Heat You Home By Cooking!

October 3, 2009
A busy day at Ballard Farmers Market in September. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A busy day at Ballard Farmers Market in September. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, maybe shirt-sleeve and shorts weather is gone, but every week at your Ballard Farmers Market is beautiful, isn’t it? So put on an extra layer or three and come avail yourself of the local bounty.

While you visit the Market today, take time to thank your favorite vendors for their hard work producing great, fresh, delicious and nutritious local food for you. In fact, take your thank you a step further. Buy a ticket for a Market vendor to attend a thank you party for them on November 1st, hosted by Ray’s Boathouse and presented by the Seattle Farmers Market Association. Tickets are $35 each, and whatever funds are not used to cover the cost of the event (we figure about $10 per ticket) will be donated in SFMA Market Tokens to local food banks for their clients to use at our farmers markets. And for each ticket purchased, the purchaser will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win two spots at the party with the vendors, SMFA staff, local chefs and Market buskers. Tickets are available at the Market Information table.

Julianna from Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Julianna from Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And when you get home, you can heat up your home by cooking wonderful meals in your kitchen. Of course, if you want to heat things up a little more, try a romantic candlelight dinner for two. But don’t fill your home with toxic fumes from imported candles made with dubious ingredients, especially when your home is buttoned up tight against chilly air. Instead, visit Julianna at Ascents Candles. One of Ballard Farmers Market’s longest selling vendors, Julianna handcrafts her candles using natural ingredients that will not pollute your lungs, and with essential oils that will invigorate your soul. Plus, they last about 10 times as long as those “cheap” candles at the big box store, meaning in the long run, you’ll actually save money with Ascents Candles, while saving your breath, too.

Just some of the many spices and rubs from the Seattle Spice Company. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just some of the many spices and rubs from the Seattle Spice Company. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spice up your food, too, with spices and rubs from Seattle Spice Company. Just look at these brilliant offerings they have.

Fudge from Pete's Perfect Butter Toffee. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fudge from Pete's Perfect Butter Toffee. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pete’s Perfect Butter Toffee now has fudge. Oh, yeah. That’s what I’m talking about. Followup that spicy with this sweet.

Hazelnuts from Alm Hill. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hazelnuts from Alm Hill. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

If you’re nuts about nuts, visit Alm Hill for some of their certified organic hazelnuts. You won’t even have to fight the squirrels for them, like you do in your backyard.

Chiogga beets from Boistfort Valley. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chiogga beets from Boistfort Valley. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Under the heading of “ooh, pretty” or “cool” are these chiogga beets from Boistfort Valley Farm. Chiogga beets have these gorgeous red and white rings inside them when you slice them up. They are also one of the best tasting beets there is, and you can eat the greens, too, meaning you get two dishes for the price of one.

Okay, I’m going to keep this one short and sweet (and spicy, apparently), as I am off to St. Louis for Farm Aid this week. I hope you all can enjoy your Ballard Farmers Market without me treading under your feet with my camera all day. I’ll be back to doing that next week. In the meantime, if you want a full accounting of what you’ll find today at the Market, click on “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner.


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