Archive for the ‘Vendors’ Category

Sunday, January 5th: A New Year Brings News & Returning Vendors!

January 4, 2014
Fresh-pressed organic cranberry juice from Starvation Alley Farms. Photo courtesy Starvation Alley Farms.

Fresh-pressed organic cranberry juice from Starvation Alley Farms. Photo courtesy Starvation Alley Farms.

Happy New Year, good people of Ballard! It is January, 2014, and while most farmers markets are deep in their winter slumber, your Ballard Farmers Market is actually adding farmers and food artisans. Booyah! We start with the introduction of a new organic cranberry farm, Starvation Alley Farms, an old-school wet bog harvest operation based out in Long Beach, Washington. While other farms out there in Washington’s cranberry belt have made their beds with anti-GMO labeling Ocean Spray, these folks went the other direction and got themselves certified organic just this past October. They offer flash-frozen cranberries, as well as cranberry juice that is freshly pressed and great as is or in your favorite cocktail.

Aged-sheep's milk cheese from Glendale Shepherd. Photo courtesy Glendale Shepherd.

Aged-sheep’s milk cheese from Glendale Shepherd. Photo courtesy Glendale Shepherd.

Oh, and this just makes me giddy! Glendale Shepherd, from up on Whidbey Island, makes… wait for it… farmstead sheep’s milk cheeses! Boom! These are beautiful, aged cheeses with amazing flavors… and that’s just this time of year. Once lambing season commences in a couple of months, they’ll also have fresh cheeses and sheep’s milk yogurt! Oh, and did I mention they’ll got wool, too? (Admit it. You’re a bit giddy now, too.)

Albacore tuna loin portion from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Albacore tuna loin portion from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fishing Vessel St. Jude makes its monthly visit to your Ballard Farmers Market today, and what better way is there to welcome the new year but with albacore tunaliciousness direct for the folks who caught it?

Braising mix from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Braising mix from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alm Hill Gardens returns today from its brief holiday break, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, which quite frankly is not entirely a look JT pulls off. But hey, at least he feeds us, right? And we’re all itching for some nice, tasty greens right about now, which means braising mix!

Saffron tagliatelle from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Saffron tagliatelle from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

On the other hand, Sam and Sara from Pasteria Lucchese spent their holiday hiatus nursing colds. Doh! But never fear. They are back today, and they’re nationwide. (That’s a ZZ Top reference, kids.) Just in time for you get some of this saffron tagliatelle to enjoy as your long-life New Year’s noodles. It is made with saffron grown by our buddy Jimmy from Phocas Farms, over in Port Angeles!

Winter squash from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter squash from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Colinwood Farms also makes its post-holidaze comeback today. Look for these lovely winter squashbraising and salad mixesspudsonions and other deliciousness!

D'Anjou pears from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

D’Anjou pears from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Still lotsa apples and pears to be had from Martin Family Orchards at your Ballard Farmers Market, including these tasty D’anjou pears. And they’ve also got fresh apple cider, as well. Woohoo!

Local granola from Marge Granola. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Local granola from Marge Granola. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Welcome yet another new vendor for 2014 to your Ballard Farmers Market: Marge Granola. They make several varieties of freshly-blended granolas flavored with many local ingredients. It’s great for breakfast, on the trail, an afternoon snack, or over ice cream!

Dinosaur kale from Children's Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dinosaur kale from Children’s Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Children’s Gardens is back today, as well, with lots of tasty greens, like this dinosaur kale, as well as their gorgeous flower arrangements. So you’ve got no excuse not to eat your veggies this week, or to not bring Ma Kettle a nice bouquet.

Parsnips from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Parsnips from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

January is a great time of year to get your roots on, and Nash’s Organic Produce is ready to assist you in that pursuit. Besides these gorgeous parsnips, they are full-up with sunchokesbeetsturnipscarrotsspuds and more, as well as grains, flours and dried legumes, and even some more Brussels sprouts.

Farm-fresh eggs from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Farm-fresh eggs from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It may be January, but the girls out at Growing Things Farm are still laying amazing eggs. In fact, the jumbos (right) are even more jumbo than usual. These are eggs laid by happy chickens that get to run around the yard and hang out with roosters, which stand guard and show them where all the best food is. What gentlemen!

Red Sunchokes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red Sunchokes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of sunchokes, Stoney Plains Organic Farm is swimming in them right now. These native-to-North America tubers are a member of the sunflower family. They make a great substitute for potatoes in soups, root roasts, home fries and more. Of course, they’ve got lots of other goodness fresh from the farm for you, too!

White wines from Lopez Island Vineyards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

White wines from Lopez Island Vineyards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And this just in late today from Brent Charnley of Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery: “We just learned that our Siegerrebe was awarded a Double Platinum in the ‘Best of the Best’ Wine Competition, held by Wine Press Northwest Magazine. We will taste this wine on Sunday at the Market!”

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, November 10th: Giant Heirloom Pears, Rovery Rutabagas, Terrific Turnips, Suh-weeh Potatoes & Purdy Pickles!

November 9, 2013
Concorde pears from Jerzy Boyz Farm. Photo courtesy Jerzy Boyz Farm.

Concorde pears from Jerzy Boyz Farm. Photo courtesy Jerzy Boyz Farm.

Wow. We’ve blown right past Halloween, Daylight Savings Time and one testy election and rolled right into the Holiday season. Yes, that’s right. It is time to start planning that Eat Local For Thanksgiving feast with which you will be impressing your loved ones come November 28th, or thereabouts. See, everything you need for the perfect feast is right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Starting with these ginormous heirloom Concorde Pears from Jerzy Boyz Farm. Now, here’s a fun fact! An artist went to Jerzy Boyz Farm to look at their Concorde pears to get a model for a statue they wished to make for the pear’s namesake city of Concord, MA, and here is a photo of that statue!

Rutabagas from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rutabagas from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I heart rutabagas. They seem foreign to many folks, but I grew up with them. Guess my Irish ancestors never forgot them, even after over 300 years in the New World. In Ireland, they call them “turnips” or “Swedes”. Viking Norseman may have brought them to the Emerald Isle over 1,000 years ago. I enjoy rutabagas anytime, but I must have them on two different holidays: St. Patrick’s Day (which needs no explanation now), and Thanksgiving, perhaps because my ancestors incorporated them into their tradition after coming over to Upstate New York in the  1690s. At Thanksgiving, I just to simply steam them and mash them with a good butter, like from Golden Glen Creamery. Oh, and these beautiful rutabagas are from Boistfort Valley Farm.

Hard ciders from Eaglemount Wine & Cider. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hard ciders from Eaglemount Wine & Cider. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is a tasting day for Eaglemount Wine & Cider, and today is a great day to identify your favorite hard cider, and then stock up for Thanksgiving. Eaglemount makes a wonderful variety of ciders from pears, apples, quince and more. Stop by their stall, sample their ciders, and find the flavor (or flavors) you enjoy most.

Red Delicious apples from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red Delicious apples from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I talk a lot about heirloom apples with all kinds of funky names and intriguing stories, but there is one apple that is sort of iconic — the poster child, as it were, for apples, or at least it used to be. That is the Red Delicious apple. It dates back to 1880 in Iowa, and it has been commercially developed for looks and shelf life over the years, but you can still find some good ones out there. For starters, the good ones are a lighter red and more round, like these from Martin Family Orchards. See, some have been developed to the point of being almost black and very elongated. Avoid those at the Big Box stores. Instead, try one of these from Martin today. Reacquaint yourself with an old friend!

Japanese Wax turnips from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Japanese Wax turnips from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One Leaf Farm has a new harvest of these lovely Japanese Wax turnips this week at your Ballard Farmers Market. They have been even more amazing than usual lately, which a rich, sweet flavor and a nicely radishy bite. In fact, I like them best simply sliced like a radish and tossed into a nice salad. But you can also sauté them, again like a radish. Cut the greens off, cut the turnips in half, and then cook them in some butter. As they get tender and a little browned, you can even add the greens back into the pan with them just to wilt them, and then serve them together as a beautifully delicious side dish.

Fresh cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm. Photo courtesy Bloom Creek.

Fresh cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm. Photo courtesy Bloom Creek.

It is week three of the return of fresh cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm, and that usually means that they are about done for the year. Don’t be that person who waits too long, and then ends up missing out on them altogether. Make this the year that you ditch that gelatinous canned “cranberry sauce” and make your own!

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another mainstay of any Thanksgiving feast is sweet potatoes, and there is only one place you will find locally-grown sweet potatoes around here — from Lyall Farms right here at your Ballard Farmers Market! They are amazing, and naturally sweet, so there is no need to candy them or smother them in marshmallows. They are perfect on their own, though I do like roasting them with some parsnips. Mmm.

Spicy pickled garlic and Northwest Country vinegar from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spicy pickled garlic and Northwest Country vinegar from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know, there is no such thing as too much garlic. And pickles make every holiday feast special. So spicy pickled garlic from Purdy Pickle would seem to be the ultimate, would it not? They also have some wonderful cider vinegar they call Northwest Country Vinegar that is made with local, organic apples. You can now add that, too, to your list of things you’ll be getting from now on at your Ballard Farmers Market, instead of the heavily refined stuff from who knows where at the Big Box stores.

Yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Few things feel more like fall than wild yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Sure, they have many amazing varieties of wild mushrooms right now, but there is just something about these babies that is just so comforting, so soul-warming, so… so fall! Simply sauté them in butter, perhaps with a little garlic, and then serve them over a steak or tossed with pasta. Incorporate them into your favorite stuffing mix. Add them to a nice fall chowder or bisque. You really can’t go wrong with them.

Parsnips from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Parsnips from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah, I did mention parsnips, didn’t I? Besides roasting them with sweet potatoes, or any other root roast for that matter, you can also puree them with celery root and potatoes for soup, or mash the three together for a delicious spin on mashed potatoes. Parsnips are wonderfully sweet, and they cook quickly, so be careful not to overcook them. If you are roasting other roots, like rutabagas, which are very dense and slow-cooking, either add the parsnips after cooking the others for a while or be sure to cut the bagas into smaller pieces than the parsnips, so the bagas will cook quicker, and the parsnips slower. These lovely parsnips are from Nash’s Organic Produce.

Artisan bread loaves from Grateful Bread Bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Artisan bread loaves from Grateful Bread Baking. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish off this week’s epistle with some gorgeous loaves of artisan breads from Grateful Bread Baking from up in Wedgewood. These loaves are the perfect compliment to any holiday feast, and, of course, they also make many special holiday breads and cookies this time of year, too, as well as bags of croutons perfect for making stuffing.

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 4th: It’s National Farmers Market Week! Tomatillos, Eggplant, Cherry Plums & All Manner Of August Localiciousness!

August 3, 2013
Farm-fresh honey from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Farm-fresh honey from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! It’s National Farmers Market Week! Yes, a special week proclaimed by dignitaries, elected officials and bureaucrats that actually celebrates something that matters to us. Go figure. But hey, sooner or later, it had to happen, right? So come celebrate with us today. Now, I won’t bore you with lots of proclamations from the governor, the county executive and the mayor — and trust me, they’ve all issued them — no let’s celebrate with all the amazing local products and people who bring us our precious Ballard Farmers Market week in and week out, year-round, in rain, sleet, snow, sun, wind, hot and cold. We are more reliable, after all, than the postal service. And let’s start this party by honoring perhaps the most important beings in our local, and global for that matter, food system: honey bees. Without them, we would all starve. Really. And yet we silly humans are creating environmental conditions that are killing honey bees by the millions. What can you do? Eat organic. Stop using pesticides. Raise your own honey bees. Pay attention. You wonder why we have less honey in our farmers markets today than we did five years ago? That’s why.

Jim Robinson of Phocas Farms shows how his saffron crocuses have multiplied over the winter. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jim Robinson of Phocas Farms shows how his saffron crocuses have multiplied over the winter. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Your Ballard Farmers Market is loaded with lots of characters who, out of a labor of love, a love of creating delicious food and quality goods, and a love of community, come here every week at 0-dark-30 from all over Washington to set up their tents and tables while you are still asleep, just so you will be able to stock up on their seasonal goodness every Sunday. One such character is Jim Robinson from Phocas Farms in Port Angeles. Jim may be best known around the Market for his hundreds of varieties of succulents and his wild appearance, but he is best known by Western Washington’s finest chefs for the incredible saffron he grows.

Saffron? Yes. It is so prized by local chefs that his entire crop is pre-sold every year before it is even harvested. And yet Jimmy is quite tall — not the best physical characteristic for raising a crop that demands one to be hunched over down low most of the time. Plus, he and the sun don’t get along all that well. You may have noticed that he is always covered head-to-toe at the Market, save for his face, which is a ghostly white. That white is industrial strength sunscreen, because Jim has light-sensitive lupus. And yet, he busts his hump year-round raising beautiful plants and spectacular saffron, then stands under his tent — outdoors in the daylight — every Sunday with nary a whimper, but instead a laugh, a smile, a flirtatious expression and a firm embrace. Why? Cuz he loves what he does and where he does it — right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Kinda makes it hard not to love the guy, or this place. Oh, hey, speaking of saffron, Jimmy has saffron corms for you this week, and for the next few. The chefs in town may not have left any of his saffron for you, but you can still plant and grow your own. Get them in the ground this month, and you will have your very own saffron later this fall!

Japanese eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Japanese eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alvarez Organic Farms has their first Japanese eggplant today, along with about a half dozen other kinds of eggplant. They have also just begun harvesting tomatoes, okra and tomatillos, too. You know, it’s kinda funny, but some folks have been thinking that eggplant is late in arriving this year. In reality, it is right on schedule, and just everything else is early, making its arrival appear late by comparison. Go figure. I love grilling these beauties. I slice them down the middle and salt them about half an hour before I grill them to pull some of the bitterness out. And make sure to coat them well with olive oil. Mmm.

Janelle Stokesberry holding a chicken and a dozen eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Janelle Stokesberry holding a chicken and a dozen eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You ever wonder why the Seahawks are so much better lately than any of the other professional sports teams in Seattle? Is it maybe because they eat Stokesberry chickens, perhaps? It’s as good a theory as any, I suppose. Janelle & Jerry Stokesberry raise organic chicken, turkey and duckeggs, beefpork and lamb on their Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia. I can’t wait until they have stewing hens, because I love to make chicken soup with them. And their chickens and ducks, as well as their eggs, can be found on the menus of many of the best restaurants in Seattle. Have you tried the sausages made from their pork by Link Lab Artisan Meats? They are great. And I’ve personally visited their pigs happily slopping through the mud in the spring, little piglets chasing each other around all over the place. Hilarious. If you want your meat and poultry raised well by farmers who care about their animals, and that tastes good, too, they’ve got you covered.

Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. They are a domesticated wild huckleberry from the East Coast. The berries are small and full of flavor, and they remind me of the wild blueberries we used to pick while hiking up Cadillac Mountain in Maine’s Acadia National Park. I remember I used to eat my weight in them.

George Vojkovich out standing in his field... with a bunch of cattle. Photo copyright 2007 by Zachary D. Lyons.

George Vojkovich out standing in his field… with a bunch of cattle. Photo copyright 2007 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look! It’s Farmer George Vojokovich of Skagit River Ranch, out standing in his field. That’s him in the upper-lefthand side of the photo. And he is that. Outstanding in his field. His pasture alone in this photo can testify to that. It is lush and green and up to the shoulders of his cattle. And this photo was taken in August! He lets them eat it down to about 6″, and then he moves them to the next pasture. The idea is that the cattle will eat a diversity of forage, not just their favorite ones, and the pasture will recover faster and be healthier. That keeps them healthy, and tasty. And that’s what makes George a dirt farmer more so than a rancher.

Farmer George is also nothing short of a scientist — you really have to be in this business — and he tests his animals to make sure they are getting all the nutrients and minerals they need. After all, the Skagit River Valley is low in a number of key minerals. So, based on the reports he gets, he actually adds minerals either to the pastureland, so it is taken up by the forage, or he puts out self-service stations where the cattle can actually stock up on what they need. They’re a bit smarter than us when it comes to that. The result of all this is some of the best beef you can find around here, and certainly better than anything you’ll find in the big box stores. Better, and better for you and the cattle.

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

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

One Leaf Farm is really cranking out the heirloom tomatoes now in a whole host of varieties (see the photo spread on our Facebook page). Just take a gander at these gorgeous copia tomatoes for instance. They are a rainbow of colors and the big ones are all kinda weird looking, but hey, they taste absolutely incredible. To quote Chef Gordon Ramsay, “they are the most amazing, stunning tomatoes ever.” Okay, he didn’t really say that, but those seem to be the only two adjectives he knows, and I’ve been wanting to give him a hard time about it for a long time. Chef, get thee a thesaurus, for the love of Mike! You’re welcome. But do beeline it to One Leaf for tomatoliciousness right now.

Roberto Guerrero from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Nicole Reed.

Roberto Guerrero from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Nicole Reed.

Meet Roberto Guerrero of ACMA Mission Orchards in Quincy. He and his family grow a stunning variety of tree fruit, from apples to peaches to cherries to nectarines, on their beautiful farm just north of the Gorge Amphitheater. And just in the last two years, they secured organic certification for all of their acreage. How can you tell an orchard is organic? Simple. Look at the undergrowth under the trees. Do you see all that grass and brush? That’s the sign of an organic orchard. Seriously. They are overgrown under the trees, and most go through and mow and grind up brush just a few times each year. Then, they leave the debris right there to decompose, returning nutrients to the soil and keeping out undesirable weeds that conventional farms would have to sprayed. Plus, it helps keep the ground moist and cool when it’s really hot over there. You may see a jungle in this photo. I see a healthy orchard producing delicious fruit!

Honey Smoked Albacore from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Honey Smoked Albacore from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fishing Vessel St. Jude makes its monthly visit to your Ballard Farmers Market today. Woohoo! I often feel like Bubba Gump when I start to list off all the delectable forms in which you can acquire St. Jude’s albacore tuna. They have it cannedfresh-frozen, jerkied, and even honey-smoked (above). The canned comes in a myriad of wonderful flavors, too, and the frozen is sashimi grade. Stock up today. We won’t see them again until Labor Day Weekend!

Cardamom Zucchini Sweet Bread from NuFlours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cardamom Zucchini Sweet Bread from NuFlours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Name change alert! d:floured gluten-free bakery (my favorite saucy name for a bakery, mind you) has changed its name to nuflours. Apparently, someone else had their grubby paws all over their old name. So, many lawyers and much research later, they now have a new, not-so-saucy but equally functionally name, with the same logo and same great gluten-free products. Like this cardamom zucchini sweet bread that features zucchini from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. The point is, regardless of the name, you can still have your cake and your gluten-free diet, too.

Dragon's Tongue beans from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dragon’s Tongue beans from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things Farm is deep in the fresh beans right now. They have six different varieties, ranging from green to yellow wax to purple runner to these Dragon’s Tongue beans, above. And did you know that Dragon’s Tongue beans will eventually grown about to be shelling beans, too? Pretty cool, huh? And delicious! Oh, and they want to thank you for supporting their successful Kick Starter campaign, too.

Green bell peppers from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Green bell peppers from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s pepper season, and over the coming weeks, we will see an ever-increasing variety of peppers arriving at your Ballard Farmers Market. We start off with these humble green bell peppers from Lyall Farms, and we are already seeing some of the over 200 varieties of peppers grown by Alvarez Organic Farms starting to appear this week. 2013 is on pace to be an epic year for peppers!

Cherry plums from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherry plums from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

From the pages of the confused fruit handbook come these cherry plums from Tiny’s Organic Farm. But unlike so many other stone fruits that have been hybridized to create things like apriums, pluots, nectarcots, peachcots and more, cherry plums are actually a true plum, not a cross betwixt cherry and plum. They get their name from their small, cherry-like size and their color. But they have the flavor and texture of a plum. So mix it up this week and try yourself something new… or actually old, in this case.

Tropea onions from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tropea onions from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah. The lovely and divine tropea onion. I love these beauties. And I do recall hearing the lovely and divine Alice of Oxbow Farm (the growers of these onions) say that they are, in fact, her favorite onion. Named for the town of Tropea on the toe of Italy’s boot, these sweet onions are so popular in Italy that they are synonymous with “red onion” there, though that would be confusing here in the states, with the many red varieties we have. But if everyone just tried one of these, in salads, on the grill, sautéed or cooked down to make an awesome sauce or garnish, perhaps they would become synonymous with red onions here, too, because they may indeed be the best of the reds.

Chocolate-Coconut Fudge from Pete's Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chocolate-Coconut Fudge With Almonds from Pete’s Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pete’s Perfect Toffee has introduced yet another flavor of fudge, because after all, there is no such thing as too much fudge. The new flavor, pictured above, is chocolate-coconut fudge with toasted almonds. Oh, stop it, Pete! You’re killing me… with sweet deliciousness!

Hand-forged blue steele pans from Blu Skillet. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hand-forged blue steele pans from Blu Skillet Ironware. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Carbon steel pans are great for searing and caramelizing – and they make fantastic over-easy eggs! They are similar to cast iron, but forged rather than cast. This makes the pans lighter and easier to handle, as well as less porous and quicker to season.  They can take high temperatures, and they can go from stove top, to oven, to table – where they make a beautiful addition!” Sometimes, it is just easier to quote the vendor’s website, you know? Especially when it is as well-written as is the site for Blu Skillet Ironware. Patrick Maher and Caryn Badgett make these gorgeous pans right here in Ballard.

I do most of my cooking on stainless steel pans from Revere Ware. When they were first introduced in 1938, Revere Copper & Brass made a point of referring to them as exhibiting the best of both form and function, and that was important after the Great Depression. After all, if you were going to spend money on cookware, you want it to last, you want it to work, and you want something you can show off to your dinner guests. And today, as we limp our way out of the Great Recession (because even though it was, in fact, a depression, apparently it is not cool anymore to actually call it that), things are no different. We want quality, form and function. Blu Skillet gives us just that. I have been putting one of their 10″ pans through its paces for a week now, cooking everything from halibut to corned beef hash in it, and it works great. It is getting more seasoned with ever use. It browns and sears great. It cleans easily. And best of all, it is made right here. Yup, one more thing you don’t need Corporate America to do for you anymore! Booyah!

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, September 5th: Awarding Winning Market & Vendors! Of Firsts, Seconds, Thirds & Fourths!!!

September 5, 2010

A busy Ballard Farmers Market basks in golden smoky sunlight on August 1, 2010. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

According to the USDA, there are 6,132 farmers markets at present in the United States. And in the American Farmland Trust’s national 2010 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest, your Ballard Farmers Market finished #4 in the large market category. Not too shabby. Thank you, good folk of the People’s Republic of Ballard, Seattle and Washington state for voting for Ballard. And to those who didn’t vote for Ballard out of fear it would draw even more people to Ballard Avenue every Sunday, you can rest assured that those crowds are headed to Rochester, NY now. And if you believe that, I have some condos in Belltown I’d like to sell you!

Anthony Estrella of Estrella Family Creamery holds three ribbons from 2010 Amercian Cheese Society competition. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of contests, the 2010 American Cheese Society Convention & Competition was held here in Seattle just last week, and three Washington cheese makers that sell right here at your Ballard Farmers Market won awards. Estrella Family Creamery, out of Montesano, won three ribbons, including First in Class (smoked Italian styles category) for their Weebles cheese, First in Class (sheep or mixed milks category) for their Caldwell Crick Chevrette, and a Second Place Award was given to their Jalapeño Buttery in the Flavored, Peppers category.

Roger Wechsler of Samish Bay Cheese. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Samish Bay Cheese, out of Bow, won four ribbons, including: First in Class for their Ladysmith cheese in Fresh Unripened Cow’s Milk Cheeses category; Second Place for their Aged Ladysmith in the Farmstead Cheeses up to 60 days category; Third Place fro their Ladysmith with Chives in Farmstead Cheeses with Flavoring category; and Third Place for their Yogurt Cheese (Labneh) in Cultured Products from Cow’s Milk category.

Cheese maker Matthew Day from Mt. Townsend Creamery in one of his four cheese caves in Port Townsend. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And Mt Townsend Creamery, from Port Townsend, won First in Class for their Seastack cheese in the Soft Ripened category. Congratulations to all the great cheese makers of Washington, who have so impressed the rest of the world over the last 5-10 years that they drew this major national cheese event to Seattle this year. And don’t forget that three more of those great Washington cheese makers — Golden Glen Creamery, Port Madison and Sea Breeze — also sell great cheese at your Ballard Farmers Market. Blessed are the cheese makers, indeed!

Fresh Frasier River Sockeye from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The boats of Loki Fish have returned to Washington waters from Alaska after a long summer fishing up north. Now, they are harvesting Frasier River sockeye salmon just south of the Canadian border, and you can get some of this amazing fish fresh today.

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

Though we may be bemoaning the summer that never completely arrived this year, as we rapidly descend into fall, one thing we can celebrate is an early and vibrant fall wild mushroom season. Just look at these spectacular lobster mushrooms Foraged & Found Edibles has right now. And if you still don’t know why they are called lobster mushrooms after seeing this photo, you need to either adjust the color on your monitor, or you need to look up what a lobster looks like after it’s been steamed.

Cippolini onions from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cippolini onions are another of those wonderful heirloom Italian crops that so many farmers around here enjoy growing. Cippolini onions, like these from Oxbow Farm, are kinda squat in appearance, more disc-like than bulbous. They caramelize magnificently. Just imagine them on some crostini, or over a nice steak.

San Marzano tomatoes from Pipitone Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another great Italian crop is San Marzano tomatoes, like these from Pipitone Farms. These are the tomatoes of Naples, growing in the rich volcanic soil of Mt. Vecuvius. They are prized for their rich, thick, meaty flesh that produces what many consider the finest tomato sauce on earth.

Colorful spices from Seattle Spice. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for spices and rubs? Check out Seattle Spice. They offer a huge selection of spices, blends and rubs to accent the Market fresh goodness you’ll take home tonight. Stop by and just enjoy the aroma of the sample tins.

Caroline raspberries from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sidhu has a fresh wave of raspberries coming on from their fields in Orting. Above are their big, juicy and tangy Caroline raspberries. They also have ever-bearing raspberries now. And they still have plenty of blueberries and blackberries, too.

Many beans from Growing Things. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just look at all these beans from Growing Things Farm! Green beans. Dragon Tongue beans. Yellow wax beans. Purple beans. I’m thinking pickles. Or casseroles. Maybe sauteed with bacon and pearl onions. How about a nice stir fry with pork or shrimp. Or perhaps a bean salad. Ah, beans!

Ailsa Craig onions from Prana Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ailsa Craig onions are not only one of my favorite onions to eat, they are also one of my favorites to say — Ailsa Craig! (Say it with your inner Scot.) These beautiful heirloom onions hail from Scotland originally. These are a sweet onion with a wonderful flavor, great sauteed, caramelized, roasted, grilled and raw. Prana Farms grows them for us here, along with many other heirloom crops.

Hot chilis in every color from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alvarez Organic Farms grows more than 150 varieties of peppers, some of which are varieties they have developed themselves. Above is just a small sampling of the many hot chili peppers they grow, in all their colorful glory. Peppers vary widely in flavor and heat, so experiment with them to find which ones you like the best.

And 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!


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