Archive for the ‘What’d I miss?’ Category

Sunday, May 16th: Mothers, Crowds, Eagles & The Return Of An Empire!

May 16, 2010

Mother's Day 2010. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For the second consecutive year, Mother’s Day was a record-breaking attendance day for your Ballard Farmers Market. But if you were here last week, you already know this. It seems that everyone and their mother (sorry, couldn’t resist) loves the Ballard Farmers Market. If you weren’t with mom at the Market, you were there getting something for mom. The only logical conclusion from this is that mom’s love Ballard Farmers Market, and you know it. So your gift to her on her special day had to either be bringing her to the Market, or bringing her something from the Market. And since we all know that mom knows best, you should listen to your mother and come to Ballard Farmers Market more often! (If you don’t, you will feel guilty.)

A long line for flowers at Alm Hill Gardens on Mother's Day 2010. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The lines at each of the flower vendors last week were extraordinary, even by Mother’s Day standards. Just look at this line in front of Alm Hill Gardens. At one point, I saw a line at Mee Garden that was at least 15 people deep. Thank you for remembering that while moms love flowers, they love them even more when they are local, without having to be flown in from all of the world, thus creating more demand for oil.

Flower bouquet making mayhem at Mee Garden. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I love this image of all hands on deck at Mee Garden, making beautiful bouquets as fast as they can, with customers stacked up like cord wood in the background. And from the looks of all the empty farm tables by the end of the day last week, you all fed mom pretty well, too.

A pair of bald eagles circles over Ballard Farmers Market on Mother's Day. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

But perhaps my favorite image from Mother’s Day 2010 was Ma & Pa bald eagle circling high above Ballard Farmers Market midday. I’m not sure whether they were simply enjoying the beautiful day like the rest of us, or if they were eyeballing some of those cute little dogs so many of you bring each week, thinking to themselves, “Hey, let’s pick up something for dinner at Ballard Farmers Market.” Whatever the case, this wonderful pair of eagles clearly seems to enjoy the Market as much as we all do.

A happy child at Whidbey Island Ice Cream. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The arrival of warm weather means ice cream. Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company had long lines itself at times last week, as moms and kids alike enjoyed a cool treat while walking the market. And speaking of ice cream, Empire Ice Cream returns to Ballard Farmers Market today for the first time in 2010. Empire is known for making gourmet ice cream using fresh, local ingredients, many of which come from Market farmers. Empire even sources its sugar somewhat locally — from Idaho.

Micah from Colinwood Farms holding big, beautiful heads of lettuce. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Believe it or not, you can already find lovely, large heads of lettuce in the Market. Check out the lettuce, above, from Colinwood Farms. And these aren’t even the biggest ones! And Summer Run already has big heads of lettuce, too.

Cape Cleare, from Port Townsend, is back! Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cape Cleare is back today with its superb flash-frozen at sea Alaskan salmon. They actually come to Ballard Farmers Market from their homeport of Port Townsend by bicycle each week, pulling their fish coolers to Market on their custom trailers.

Molasses-ginger caramels by Jonboy Caramels. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget to pick up some delicious caramels from Jonboy Caramels during your Market visit today. These guys use all local dairy from family farmers to make their incredible treats.

And remember, your Ballard Farmers Market is chock full of all sorts of goodness for  your kitchen, from meat, seafood, poultry, cheese, to all sorts of fruits and veggies, baked goods, sauces, confections, fresh-cut flowers and fresh milled flours, plants for the garden, wild mushrooms, and on and on. For a fuller accounting of what you’ll find at the Market today, go to “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner.

Sunday, January 3rd: Happy New Year!!!

January 3, 2010

One of Seattle's newest fire trucks, at only six weeks of age, sprouts Ballard Farmers Market flags on May 31st. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Happy 2010 all y’all! Since I don’t have any photos of your Ballard Farmers Market with fireworks going off, I thought I’d recycle this photo of the Market with a fire truck, instead. Kinda festive, don’t you think? Ooh, and look at those lovely, green spring leaves on the trees. Soon, people. Soon. But this photo kinds reminds me of all the fun we had at the Market in 2009. Sure, I could be like so many folks I’ve heard lately droning on about what a terrible year 2009 was, but you can get that from every other blog, talk show and newscast right now without me adding to it. Frankly, there was quite a lot I liked about 2009, and much of it I encountered right here in beautiful historic Ballard at your Ballard Farmers Market.

MoZo rockin' the Market on May 24th. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We are blessed at Ballard Farmers Market with a wealth of artistic talent in the form of our many buskers who perform here every Sunday. The Market has become second only to Pike Place Market for street performers, and I recall several Sundays in 2009 when we easily hosted more buskers than Pike Place every would. It is part of the many facets that make Ballard Farmers Market so special. And I love the fact that during several weeks during 2009, MoZo, the lovely and entertaining ladies pictured above, actually were in the top five search terms that brought people from around the interweb to this very blog. Just goes to show you that the Market is about much more than just the great vendors selling stuff. It is about our entire community.

Brunching on the Garden Patio at Bastille. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We also watched Ballard Avenue grow along with the Market in 2009, with the addition of several new businesses, like Bastille (above), Moshi Moshi and Fresh Flours, and with many more of our neighboring businesses opening up on Sundays to serve the many Market faithful who would fill the neighborhood.

July 19th was another busy Sunday at Ballard Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of loyal Ballard Farmers Market fans filling the street, 2009 set new records for Market attendance at a time when so many big box retailers were fretting over sluggish foot traffic in their malls. What those big box boys and girls don’t seem to understand, or are incapable of grasping, is that Ballard Farmers Market faithful value quality, relationships and supporting their neighbors and their local economy more than they do buying cheap, mass-produced garbage from China. Our Market community understands that when they invest their dollars in purchasing delicious and beautiful locally-made goods straight from the producer, they are helping to ensure the future of their own jobs, because they are supporting living wage jobs and keeping their dollars recirculating in the local economy. It’s no wonder so many Market shoppers spend as much at our neighbors storefront businesses here on Ballard Avenue each Sunday as they do in the Market itself.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We must celebrate some of the amazing new stuff at the Market in 2009, like these sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. You know, when Alan Scott first pointed out to me the rows of young sweet potato seedlings on their farm in Sunnyside back in June, I was very excited. I had never seen sweet potatoes brought to a farmers market in Western Washington in my almost 20 years of working with markets, and I had only seen them a couple of times in Eastern Washington. The thought that we could have local sweet potatoes are our Market later in the year was wonderful to me, and we know based on how many sweet potatoes Lyall Farms, as well as Alm Hill Gardens, sold in the fall of 2009 that many of you Market faithful were thrilled to get your hands on them, too.

Soft white wheat flour from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s Organic Produce introduced us first to locally-grown whole grains from the Olympic Peninsula in early 2009, and then they brought us freshly milled flourshard red and soft white wheat flours — by the time the holidays came around. 10 years ago, when I was Executive Director of the Washington State Farmers Market Association, I scheduled our board retreat to be held in Waterville, Washington, a small, historic city on US-2, just east of the Columbia River, that is literally surrounded by wheat fields. I wanted the WSFMA board to be fully conscious of their mission — to serve all the farmers of Washington state — so that someday in the future we would have local grain products at our farmers markets. To see farms like Nash’s and Bluebird bringing grain products to Ballard Farmers Market in 2009 is very rewarding to me indeed.

Kumumoto oysters from Taylor Shellfish Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And I know many of you missed your shellfish fix for New Year’s Eve this past week, and while I am not so much waxing poetic about 2009 and Taylor Shellfish Farms right now, I do want to assure you that Oyster Bill is back today to satisfy all your slimy mollusk needs. So come on down and celebrate the new year with some oysters and clams… and the rest of us. Just don’t get hung up trashing 2009. We can make 2010 better than 2009 without the need to knock 2009 so far down as to make it impossible for 2010 not to be better. Let’s set our expectations high, eh?

And remember, your Ballard Farmers Market is chock full of all sorts of goodness for your kitchen. For a fuller accounting of what you’ll find at the Market today, go to “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner.

Seafood Fest & Colorful Food

August 2, 2009
A beautiful, and busy, day at Ballard Farmers Market on July 26th. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A beautiful, and busy, day at Ballard Farmers Market on July 26th. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sunday, July 26th brought another spectacular, sunny day to the Ballard Farmers Market… and the Ballard Seafood Festival. So I thought it appropriate to capture this image of the throngs of Market faithful from a perch atop one of Wilson Fish’s coolers. Seafood Fest certainly filled the neighborhood and parking, and it clogged Ballard streets. It was fun, but it did make it challenging for some to visit the Market, so we will excuse you if you missed the Market on July 26th. Besides, it gave us an opportunity to introduce the Market to many new folks. And we look forward to seeing you back next time.

A gorgeous display by Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A gorgeous display by Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For those who braved the Seafood Fest crowds, you were rewarded by some of the most spectacularly colorful displays of food of the year. Just take a look at this display of bountiful deliciousness from Nash’s.

A rainbow of labels on cans of St. Jude tuna. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A rainbow of labels on cans of St. Jude tuna. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And Fishing Vessel St. Jude’s display of their canned tuna looks like a rainbow. St. Jude catches juvenile albacore as it swims south along the Washington coast, when it is still full of omega-fatty acids that protected it in cold North Pacific waters, and while it is still young and with little mercury, unlike its tropical adult elders. St. Jude comes to the Market every other week, so look for them next on August 9th.

Fresh, brilliant and fragrant lavender from Floating Leaves Lavender Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh, brilliant and fragrant lavender from Floating Leaves Lavender Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Floating Leaves Lavender Farm returned to Ballard Farmers Market for the 2009 season. The fresh lavender harvest is now at its peak on the North Olympic Peninsula, around Sequim, the lavender capitol of North America. With the 2009 Lavender Festival last week behind them, lavender farms like Floating Leaves and Moosedreams are back at the Market in all their glory. Enjoy this special Northwest harvest while you can.

Growing Things cheddar cauliflower. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things cheddar cauliflower. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Check out this aptly named cheddar cauliflower from Growing Things. Growing Things grows several varieties of cauliflower, including graffiti, which is purple, and this lovely stuff, which is probably really good with, um, cheese. (Sorry. I just couldn’t help being cheesy here.)

This magnificent display comes to us courtesy of Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This magnificent display comes to us courtesy of Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When I am coaching new vendors about how to improve their displays, the first place I send them is to Boistfort Valley Farm’s stall to study how they do it. This little snapshot of Boistfort’s display on the 26th accounts for maybe 15% of their total display, tops. It sings beauty, freshness, quality, variety, abundance and choice, just what we all are looking for at the Market.

Sunflowers from The Old Gardener. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sunflowers from The Old Gardener. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers. They are just so large and in charge. Well, it is sunflower season, and many farms have them now, like these from The Old Gardener, mid-market, near Wilson Fish.

A colorful mix of berries from Jessie's Berries. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A colorful mix of berries from Jessie's Berries. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Berries continue to brighten up the Market, like these mixed berry flats from Jessie’s Berries. For folks who want a potpourri of berries, this is definitely the way to go.

Chinese spinach from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chinese spinach from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Chinese spinach may in fact be the most beautiful vegetable on earth. Just look at this Chinese spinach from Children’s Garden. It’s incredible.

Lovely and edible garlic flowers from Red Barn. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Lovely and edible garlic flowers from Red Barn. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish our little journey down colorful lane with these wonderful garlic flowers from Red Barn Farm. If you have never seen garlic in the field when it goes into bloom, this is what its flowers look like. Picture, if you will, chives when they flower, then picture them a lot bigger, and you can imagine garlic flowers. Or, you can just go to Red Barn and see them… and eat them, too.

Seafood Fest is gone for another year. It is safe for you to return to Downtown Ballard. We’ll see you next time at the Market.

Dragon’s Tongues, Chinese Spinach, Blooming Succulents & Bread-Loving Butterflies

July 12, 2009
Dragon's Tongue beans from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dragon's Tongue beans from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These cool looking, not to mention tasty, Dragon’s Tongue beans from Oxbow Farm were among the many interesting, new arrivals at Ballard Farmers Market on Sunday, July 5th, but if you were holed up at home, trying to stop the ringing in your ears from the prior night’s fireworks and celebrating, you missed them.

Chinese spinach from Mee Gardens. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chinese spinach from Mee Garden. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another new arrival, and for my money, one of the most beautiful greens on earth, is this Chinese spinach from Mee Garden. As far as I know, only Mee Garden and Children’s Garden grow it locally for the Market. If you are looking for an Asian green that Asians eat, here it is.

New harvest shallots from Anselmo. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

New harvest shallots from Anselmo. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Right behind Mee Garden, on the 22nd Avenue end of the Market, is Anselmo Farms. They are well known for growing many amazing varieties of onions, garlic and shallots, like these gorgeous, freshly-harvested specimens.

Mt. St. Helens cheese from Port Madison. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Mt. St. Helens cheese from Port Madison. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

In honor of the volcano that coated everything in the state in ash in 1980 is this volcano-looking, ash-covered cheese from Port Madison that is just (oh, doesn’t it hurt so much when you absolutely know what’s coming next, and you are helpless to stop it?) erupting with flavor. (Uh, sorry. Well, not really.)

Flowering succulents at Phocas Farms in Port Angeles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Flowering succulents at Phocas Farms in Port Angeles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

If you haven’t yet checked out Phocas Farms’ spectacular collection of succulents — those fascinating and beautiful critters of the plant kingdom that will grow just about anywhere outdoors you stick them, and will tolerate a dry summer like this without breaking a sweat — then you must do so soon. They grow literally hundreds of varieties of them, and many of them are in full-bloom now. But Phocas could be bumped out until fall in favor of more incoming produce any week, so you definitely should not let another week go by without walking up to their booth to say, “Hey Jimmy!” And he has local saffron, too! (Oh, and he’s next to Mee Garden. Guess I’m kinda favoring that end of the Market here, aren’t I?  Okay, to the other end…)

A butterfly with great taste in bread. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A butterfly with great taste in bread. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Check out this lovely little butterfly that paid a visit to Tall Grass Bakery on July 5th. At the Ballard Farmers Market, we welcome butterflies and ladybugs. It reminds us that if they are here, then the food ain’t gonna kill us, either. A comforting thought, don’t you think?

Wilson Fish king salmon two ways. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wilson Fish king salmon two ways. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wilson Fish had whole sides of Washington king salmon on the 5th, both fresh and smoked. And Loki Fish also had fresh Alaskan salmon, as well as freshly-smoked salmon. Just take a look at these lovely pieces of fish…

Freshly-smoked Alaskan king salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Freshly-smoked Alaskan king salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of fish, did you know that Shiku Sushi is now open during Market hours every Sunday? They are right in the middle of the block of the Market.

Shiku Sushi is open for brunch during Market hours every Sunday. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Shiku Sushi is open for brunch during Market hours every Sunday. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And yet another eatery for Sunday brunch has opened on the Market’s block of Ballard Avenue. Bastille opened for business on June 29th, with their first Parisian Sunday brunch served on July 5th during the Market. In fact, diners can brunch al fresco while enjoying a front-row seat to the show that is Ballard Farmers Market every week.

Brunching on the Garden Patio at Bastille. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Brunching on the Garden Patio at Bastille. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And when you’re done with brunch, pickup one of these Flying Apron muffins for later. I mean, just look at them. How can you resist?

Look at all the lovely muffins from Flying Apron. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look at all the lovely muffins from Flying Apron. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

So don’t you dare miss another week of the Ballard Farmers Market, and I will do my best not to disparage anyone else in our local print media, no matter how outlandish their claims about the local food movement. (Indie rock fans, you just gotta get some of that Chinese spinach.)


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