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Sunday, June 29th: Independence Day Deliciousness: Your Ballard Farmers Market Chants, “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”

June 28, 2014
Smoked salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Smoked salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Next Friday is Independence Day, July 4th, the birthday of our nation and it’s grand experiment with democracy. It’s the day John Adams and Thomas Jefferson predicted would be celebrated for generations to come with fireworks and revelry, and it is the day they both left this world. And as much as many of us disagree openly with the various courses taken in the name of our homeland, and even the bastardization of the term “homeland” itself, July 4th is still the day we all take pause and celebrate the very fact that we can disagree with each other openly. And to do so, you’ll need plenty of goodies from the local farmers, fishers, ranchers and food artisans here at your Ballard Farmers Market, a place that celebrates freedom every Sunday! You’ll need some of this freshly smoked Washington king salmon from Wilson Fish, for instance. It is easy to take camping with you, or to Gasworks Park or Lake Washington to watch fireworks, without even having to worry about making a fire, and it is amazing!

Hey kids, while you plan to celebrate America this week, please take a moment and recognize our 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. It’s easy. You already do it at home every day. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.

Red, white and blue new potatoes from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red, white and blue new potatoes from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And just in time for getting your potato salad on for the 4th, Colinwood Farm has these lovely red, white & blue new potatoes freshly dug from their Port Townsend fields. Just think how we can wow everyone at the barbecue this week with our red, white and blue potato salad! New potatoes should be eaten quickly, and at this size, they are also great wrapped in foil with some butter and herbs and tossed on the barby.

Sugar Time peaches from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sugar Time peaches from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look kids! Peaches! Yes, these are Sugar Time peaches from Collins Family Orchards. They are the earliest peach to ripen in their orchards. Sweet and juicy, you must give them a try this week. And let me explain why. See, there are many, many varieties of peaches, and this time of year, our orchardists begin to bring in a different variety every week. Works the same way for strawberries, but it is harder for you to notice the difference. But with peaches, they vary dramatically in shape, size, color, sweetness and whether or not they release easily from their stones (“free stone”), which makes them a lot easier to cook with. In other words, enjoy the Sugar Time peaches from Collins now, because who knows if they’ll be around next time, right? But hey, at least you know you’ll be able to look forward to trying an entirely new peach then.

Fresh basil from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh basil from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know what goes great with peaches? Basil! I kid you not. Just give the basil a nice chiffonade, sprinkle it over some slices or wedges of peach, and drizzle with a simple syrup, or even some balsamic vinegar, for a simple, yet elegant dessert or starter. You can get fresh, organic basilThai basil, lemon basil and purple basil today from Alvarez Organic Farms. And here is a vital storage tip: never refrigerate basil. Instead, place dry basil leaves (not damp) into a plastic produce bag, inflate the bag like a balloon, and tie it shut. Your basil will stay fresh right on your kitchen counter, at room temperature, for up to a week!

Tomcot apricots from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomcot apricots from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Also new this week are these gorgeous, juicy and flavorful Tomcot apricots from our friends at Lyall Farms. Grown in the warm sunshine of their orchards in the Columbia River Gorge, just south of the I-90 bridge at Vantage, these apricots are an all too short-lived joy of summer, so enjoy them while you can!

English shelling peas from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

English shelling peas from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah, English shelling peas, from Alm Hill Gardens. This time of year, I get lots and lots of them, shuck them, then freeze them for use in the winter. No blanching required. Just sturdy one-pint freezer bags, which I then put inside a larger one-gallon freezer bag, for extra protection. Of course, I do need to get extras, so I can enjoy them now. I like to sit on my deck in my Adirondack chair with a bag of them, eating them right out of the pod. But one of my favorite ways to enjoy them is to toss them with some pappardelle from Pasteria Lucchese and some smoked salmon, garnished with just a bit of freshly-grated cheese. The trick is to drop the peas in the pot with the pasta about 30 seconds before it is done, then drain both, and then toss them with the smoked salmon and some olive oil in a warm skillet. As Samuelle Lucchese would say, “Done!”

Montmorency pie cherries from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Montmorency pie cherries from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for pie cherries? Well, their short window of availability is now open. These are organic Montmorency pie cherries from ACMA Mission Orchards. Pie cherries are sour, lending themselves well to the addition of sugar in pies, for canning, or for curing for use in cocktails. If you are looking for pie cherries, and you know who you are, now’s the time! You’ve got maybe another week or two. Maybe.

Green beans from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Green beans from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yay! Green beans! Seriously, can you remember a year when we had so many different crops come in so early? We were asking this very question this time last year, and yet this year’s crops are arriving even earlier! These green beans are from Magana Farms.

Golden raspberries from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Salmon raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How about some organic salmon raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm? They are delicious as they are beautiful, and they’re a nice compliment to Gaia’s amazing organic strawberries and red raspberries. And have you tried one of their chocolate-covered strawberries yet? Yummers!

Sprouting broccoli from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sprouting broccoli from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This lovely sprouting broccoli from One Leaf Farm is wonderful on the grill, alongside some of their tender, young fava beans and whatever else you plan to grill. Just oil it down, grill until just tender, and hit it with a nice finishing salt and some freshly ground pepper. One Leaf also has some spectacular carrots this week — sweet and crunchy. You’ll need twice what you think you’ll need, cuz you’ll be eating them on the way home from the Market!

Fresh organic chickens from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh organic chickens from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nothing says Independence Day like a certified organic fresh chicken from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm on the barby with a can of beer up its bum. Or, butterfly it, marinate it, then grill it flat with a brick on top to make quick, delicious work of it.

Blueberries from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Blueberries from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Our friends at Sidhu Farms tell us they will have lots and lots of these wonderful blueberries today at your Ballard Farmers Market. See, they couldn’t pick them on Friday due to rain, so that means all to more for us today! Get a flat for blueberry cobbler, another for blueberry pancakes for camping, or for Saturday brunch after the 4th or for mixing with your oatmeal, and a third to freeze for winter. Freezing them is easy. Give them a quick wash, dry them thoroughly by dumping them on top of paper towels in a baking dish and rolling them around for a while, and then remove the paper towel and slide the baking dish into the freezer with the berries in a single layer. They’ll be frozen in 30-60 minutes. When they are, loosen them from the dish and pour them into a one-gallon freezer bag, then start the process over again with the next batch.

Sesame loaf (left) and whole grain sandwich bread from d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sesame loaf (left) and whole grain sandwich bread from nuflours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for great sandwich bread, but you are allergic to gluten? Never fear! nuflours gluten-free bakery has you covered! This stuff is moist, chewing, slices well, and it is delicious. It will make you fall in love with bread all over again.

Pork chops from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pork chops from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

With July 4th just next Friday, whether you will be firing up the barby and watching the fireworks from your rooftop deck, or fleeing the big city in favor of camping in some peaceful forest, you’ll want some of these incredible pork chops from Olsen Farms for the grill. These are likely the best pork chops you have ever tasted — beautifully marbled and full of flavor. In fact, they are featured on the menus of restaurants all over town, like Le Petit Cochon on Fremont Avenue. Of course, they’ve got beef steakssausageshamburger meat and other goodies for the grill, too.

The Pete behind Pete's Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The Pete behind Pete’s Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Why is this guy smiling? Because this is Pete… the “Pete” behind Pete’s Perfect Toffee. He’s got a pretty sweet job, making toffeebrittle and fudge for all of us here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Stop by, try a sample or three, and then load up on the sweetness for this big holiday week!

Dylan Knutsen of Loki Fish doing quality control. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dylan Knutson of Loki Fish doing quality control. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t get too close to Loki Fish‘s Dylan Knutson while he’s doing “quality control” one of their new entrees, or you might lose a finger. The good folks at Loki tell us, “We’ll be debuting a new entree this Sunday at the Ballard Farmers Market: The Loki Special, featuring a fresh sockeye fillet, cucumber, mint and emmer salad, shallot vinaigrette dressing, and fennel yogurt sauce. Supplies will be limited, don’t sleep in!” (Hey Dylan, what that last bit a jab at me?!) Oh, and Loki has lots of fresh Alaskan KingCoho and Sockeye salmon right now, too!

Refillable bottles (left) from Wilridge Winery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Refillable bottles (left) from Wilridge Winery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget to get a couple of bottles of wine from your friendly Madrona neighborhood winery, Wilridge Winery, for those parties next week. They offer great table wines in an economical 1.5 liter bottle, and best of all, they are refillable! Just bring the empties back next time and swap them for full ones.

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.

Sunday, June 22nd: Happy Summer Solstice! We Bring You Alaskan Salmon, Blueberries, Shunkyo Radishes, 8 Kinds of Summer Squash, A New Bakery & So Much More!

June 21, 2014
Fresh pink salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh pink salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Happy Solstice everyone! Yes, today is the first full day of summer! Woohoo! The sun will be up for 16 hours today, with an additional hour of daylight tacked on either side. It’s these spectacular long days that keep us going all winter long, so let’s celebrate. And to get summer started, Loki Fish began catching wild Alaskan salmon this past week, and they will have lots of fresh salmon today at your Ballard Farmers Market! We expect them to have SockeyeCohoPink and Keta today, and possibly even some King. They’ll have fillets and whole fish for you, ready for the grill or smoker.

Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries & strawberries from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries & strawberries from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Holy Berry Cobbler, Batman! Sidhu Farms has raspberriesblueberriesblackberries and strawberries already, and it is still June! All I can say is, wow. This year continues to amaze. So while we begin our slow, steady, six-month long descent into darkness today, let us remember to enjoy all that these long, sunny, warm days have to offer. And heck… start freezing these berries today! You and yours will enjoy them all winter long!

Collard greens from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Collard greens from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Take a gander at these gorgeous collard greens from Growing Things Farm. Do you eat collard greens? No? Why not? Do you associate them with the kind that is cooked to death with ham hocks in the South? Mind you, I enjoy those as much as the next person, but that ain’t how we roll here in the Northwet. Our collards are so sweet and tender, they are best simply sautéed with some garlic, bacon and a little salt and pepper until just wilted. Toss the stems in first, so they get tender. They make a great side dish to a nice grilled steak, or they can be the centerpiece of your meal. And collard greens are one of the most nutrient dense vegetables you’ll find around here!

Pomodoro bread from Snohomish Bakery. Photo courtesy Snohomish Bakery.

Pomodoro bread from Snohomish Bakery. Photo courtesy Snohomish Bakery.

As you may have noticed, we’ve been one bakery down since the end of May. Well, not anymore! Please welcome Snohomish Bakery, from — you guessed it — Snohomish. They offer a large variety of great artisan breads, including this Pomodoro loaf, which they describe thusly: “A finishing salt takes the flavor of this already-packed savory bread to a whole other level. Ideal for sun-dried tomato and  rosemary lovers!” They also offer a number of other fun savory baked goods and croissants. We are excited to add them to our vendor lineup!

Organic strawberries from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic strawberries from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Stoney Plains Organic Farm has great organic strawberries for you this week. And that’s especially good to know, since we’re experiencing a little bit of a dip in our strawberry supply this week. They also have lots and lots of greens available right now.

Fresh spearmint from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh spearmint from Children’s Garden. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summertime means that you need mint! Lots of mint. For desserts, cocktails, salads, proteins… pretty much everything, really. Children’s Gardens grows some beautiful mint, including chocolate mint, and this spearmint. Me? I just like crunching up some of the leaves and putting it in my water glass.

Saskatoon berries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Saskatoon berries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look, kids! Even the wild berries are early this year! These are wild Saskatoon berries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Native to the Pacific Northwest, Western Canada, the Rockies and the North Central U.S., they are nutrient-dense and mighty tasty. Oh, and Foraged & Found has lots of grey morel mushrooms today, too!

Fennel from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fennel from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fennel has arrived at Alm Hill Gardens. This sweet, licorice-y, bulbous weed is so versatile. Use the leafy fronds in salads or on fish. Grill the bulbs, sauté them or pickle them… even eat them raw. Use it to add flavor to other things, or let it be the star. I hear people telling me, “oh, but I’ve got that growing wild in my backyard.” No, what you have in your backyard is a wild cousin. The cultivated form has been bred for its tender bulbs and its sweet flavor. Enjoy!

Beef steaks from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beef steaks from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We are full-on into the grilling season now, folks. The kiddies are out of school, the evenings are long and warm, and so much summer produce is great grilled. Plus, you keep your kitchen cool and your cleanup minimal. And with Independence Day just around the corner, you’ll want to stock up on some of these beef steaks from Skagit River Ranch. Their beef is grass-fed and finished on gorgeous pasture up in Sedro-Woolley, and it is tender and delicious. And can’t you just imagine the smell of them wafting through your house as they sizzle over those hot coals?

Shunkyo radishes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Shunkyo radishes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are Shunkyo radishes, a Japanese variety that is my favorite radish. They are long, bright pinkish-red, and right now, they carry a good, spicy kick, which, for my money, every radish should. Stop by One Leaf Farm today, pick some up, and punch up your salad tonight, or simply dip it in some nice butter and maybe some truffle salt for a great pre-dinner snack.

Beef-porcini cappelletti from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo courtesy Pasteria Lucchese.

Beef-porcini cappelletti from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo courtesy Pasteria Lucchese.

Look! It’s a bunch of little hats! No, seriously, this is beef-porcini cappelletti from Pasteria Lucchese, and cappelletti means “little hat” in Italian. So these are a bunch of little hats. Delicious little hats. I am just imagining eating some in a nice broth right now. Mmm. Ask them for ideas for preparing them, or any of his many other awesome handmade artisan pastas, today!

Summer squash from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer squash from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Say what? Yes, this is summer squash from Alvarez Organic Farms. In fact, they already are harvesting at least eight varieties of summer squash over in Mabton… and summer just started! I like to slice them in half, lengthwise, and oil them up, then grill them. How you do like to prepare them? Post your ideas on our Facebook page, or click the comment button, below.

Early bing cherries from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Early bing cherries from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Martin Family Orchards is the most northern of all of the orchardists here at your Ballard Farmers Market. That means they are usually the last to start harvesting cherries. Well, folks. This is the week! They’ll have these lovely Bing cherries, as well as some nice Rainier cherries today. Now, we get to wait on pins and needles for apricots and peaches!

Salad mix from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Salad mix from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Colinwood Farm blesses us with their wonderful salad mix all year round. But this time of year is when it truly shines. Loaded with many kinds of lettuces, hearty and spicy greens and edible flowers, it is a summer delight!

Patty Pan Grill's market-fresh veggie quesadillas were never sexier. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Patty Pan Grill’s market-fresh veggie quesadillas were never sexier. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Da Boyz of Summer are ready to sling you up some serious deliciousness at Patty Pan Grill. Patty Pan embodies farmers market prepared food, being the first to build their menu around what is fresh and local at the market. Their veggies for their quesadillas are all sourced every week from our market farmers, and their tamales are filled with veggies, meats and cheeses from them, as well. And Patty Pan is even a worker-owned cooperative. How cool is that? Enjoy!

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, June 15th: Happy Father’s Day, Dad! For You: Fava Beans, King Salmon, Raspberries, Sausages, Olive Fougasse, Local Beer & A New Shaving Kit!

June 14, 2014
My dad at the Bryant House in Weston, Vermont in 2006. Photo copyright 2006 by Zachary D. Lyons.

My dad enjoying chicken pie at the Bryant House in Weston, Vermont in 2006. Photo copyright 2006 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Back in 2006, my dad and I took a little road trip around Vermont from my parents’s home base in the Adirondack Mountains. We visited cheese makers, farmers markets, old general stores, and all those kinds of things that make Vermont a special place, including the Bryant House Restaurant at the Vermont Country Store in Weston. Being the food geek that I am (shocking, I know), I had read that the Bryant House offered a menu built around classic New England dishes of old, like open-faced hot turkey sandwicheschicken pie and crackers and milk. I had read on RoadFood.com that:

“…crackers and milk on the menu: a bowl full of common crackers (the kind that used to fill the cracker barrel in general stores) and chunks of Vermont cheddar along with a cold glass of whole milk. Pour the milk into the bowl, crumble in some of the crackers and let them soak until they begin to soften. Then spoon it up. It’s cool, simple, and utterly old-fashioned!”

As I began to explain to my father how we were supposed to eat our crackers and milk when it arrived, sided with lovely chunks of Vermont cheddars, he had already begun to crumble up the silver dollar-sized crackers into the bowl and was already pouring the milk over them. I looked at him and asked, “have you eaten this before?” He said, “yes, we ate this all the time when I was a boy. Sometimes it is all that we had.”

I bring this up on this Father’s Day 2014 not only to honor my own father, but to encourage you to try to make the best of today, and any day with your dad, because you probably don’t know him as well as you think you do.

Fresh, Washington coastal red king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh, Washington coastal red king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know what any dad would love on Father’s Day? A nice piece of Washington king salmon from Wilson Fish on the grill, that’s what! Throw a few fava beans on with it (see below), get some good bread and berries, maybe a nice salad, and you are good to go!

Speckled Amish lettuce from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speckled Amish lettuce from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Here is yet another of the gorgeous, and delicious, varieties of heirloom lettuce grown by One Leaf Farm. This is Speckled Amish lettuce. If you grew up on boring iceberg lettuce from Arizona, you might think all lettuce is boring. It is not. There are countless kinds of lettuces, suited to many different applications. They run the gamut from sweet to earthy, from delicate to sturdy, from huge to tiny… all just in the varieties One Leaf Farm offers. They make for great salads, lettuce wraps, sandwiches. Some are awesome grilled. Pick Rand’s brains about the different kinds they have from week to week, and experiment to find out which ones you like best!

Organic raspberries from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I remember picking raspberries right off the vine in our backyard as a kid. My dad, the farm boy, always had a garden. In fact, he still does in pots on his deck in Bellingham. But since I can’t get up there today to visit with him, I’ll call him, and then I will live vicariously by enjoying some of these amazing organic raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. These beauties are incredible!

Fresh fava beans from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh fava beans from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have I mentioned lately how much I not only love this time of year, but how much I am loving this year? So many crops are coming in early! Like these fava beans from Alvarez Organic Farms. The first harvest is so tender, your dad will love to eat them simply grilled with a nice finishing salt. Pick out the pods that are the softest, with a bit of a peach fuzz feel to them. Then rub them in some oil, fire up the grill and toss them on. You can eat the whole pod. When they’re tender, pull them off and hit them with the salt. Just remove the seam strings and eat the rest! (I must credit Rand from One Leaf Farm for this recipe.)

Apriums from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Apriums from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tiny’s Organic Produce has its first harvest of cherries and apriums this week your Ballard Farmers Market. The cherries are Bings and Rainiers, and the apriums are a hybrid of apricots and plums, genetically 70% apricot and 30% plum. They favor apricots in appearance and flavor, though they are sturdier, making them good for hikes and lunch boxes, and they are the first large stone fruit of the season.

Rainbow chard from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rainbow chard from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Make sure pa gets his greens today. Stop by Oxbow Farm for some collard greens, some dino kale or some of this beautiful rainbow chard. Because a dad full of deliciousness, vitamins and ruffage is a happy dad!

Fresh sausages from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh sausages from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Or… perhaps dad would like some nice sausages on the grill, like these from Sea Breeze Farm. They have something like 13, 527 kinds of sausages, or nine. Something like that. But whatever the number, you will find at least one that will make dad smile.

Fougasse from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fougasse from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A nice loaf of olive fougasse from Tall Grass Bakery will make dad grin today! Or any of their other breads and baked goodies. I love this bread so much, I can eat an entire loaf in a single sitting! Heck, hand dad some fougasse, a cold one, and a bowl of sugar snap peas, and direct him to the nearest lawn chair. Happy dad, indeed!

Strawberries from Jessie's Berries. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Strawberries from Jessie’s Berries. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

My folks are harvesting the first of their strawberries from their deck garden this weekend, and so is Jessie’s Berries! In fact, Jessie’s will be joining us here at your Ballard Farmers Market for the first time this season. It’s time to eat ourselves silly on some Fir Island sweetness!

Vanilla rice pudding from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Vanilla rice pudding from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I never understood why my dad was so crazy about rice pudding. Chocolate pudding I understood. But rice? I thought rice was for frying with shrimp at the Kingston Tea Garden. Alas, in my adult years, as my taste buds matured (yes, one part of me did), I began to develop a taste for rice pudding myself. Then I met Sam & Sara Lucchese of Pasteria Lucchese, and I tasted their vanilla rice pudding. Yes, this is the food of the gods, and now, I share yet one more thing with my dad: a madness for this stuff!

Belgian-style ales from Propolis Brewing. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Belgian-style ales from Propolis Brewing. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ballard is Beer Central here in Seattle, but did you know that your Ballard Farmers Market is host to the first ever brewery at a farmers market in Seattle? Yup. Propolis Brewing makes wonderful, bottle-aged, Belgian-style ales in Port Townsend from lots of local ingredients, and they offer them to you right here. Their flavors change with the season, like everything else around here. Stop by and pick some up for dad!

Shaving kit from Brown Butterfly. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Shaving kit from Brown Butterfly. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

If you’re going to get dad a shaving kit for Father’s Day tomorrow, get him one of these from Brown Butterfly at your Ballard Farmers Market! It’ll keep Dad’s face smooth and soft, it treads lightly on the environment, and it will be a gift that comes with a face and a story behind it.

Paella and casserole pans from BluSkillet. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Paella and casserole pans from BluSkillet. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And for the dad who has everything, I bet he doesn’t have a hand-forged steel pan from Blu Skillet Ironware. If your dad cooks at all, he will adore one of these pans. I use my 10-inch skillet for about 70% of my cooking these days. It dispenses uniform heat, remains perfectly seasoned for gorgeous browning and no sticking, cleans up easily, costs no more than one of those highly-rated pans in those whoopdeedoo cooking magazines (and probably less), and it is made right here in Ballard!!! Now, that is a gift that means something.

Camelina oil from Ole World Oils. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Camelina oil from Ole World Oils. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And I finish off this week’s Father’s Day edition of most things Ballard Farmers Market with camelina oil from Ole World Oils, grown and pressed just over in Ritzville, Washington. This is our local oil, folks. Camelina is an ancient member of the mustard family, and it’s seeds have been pressed for cooking oil for centuries. It is non-GMO, has a higher smoke point (475 degrees) than grape seed oil, is loaded with Vitamin E, making it both shelf stable and nutritious, is high in omega-fatty acids, with a perfect 2:1 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6, has a great flavor and a gorgeous viscosity, is good for high-heat cooking and as a finishing oil, and it is priced competitively with the average olive oil from far away. And I have found that it is the perfect seasoning oil for my Blu Skillet pan. I rub a little into my pan each time after cleaning it.

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, May 11th: Happy Mother’s Day! Say “I Love You, Mom!” With Localiciousness From Your Ballard Farmers Market!

May 10, 2014
KaYing, a.k.a., The Old Farmer. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

KaYing, a.k.a., The Old Farmer. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

While most of us working at your Ballard Farmers Market think of our Market Master Judy Kirkhuff as our Market Mom, she thinks of KaYing from The Old Farmer that way. But heck, let’s just celebrate them both today, along with all the other moms in Ballard and beyond. It is interesting to note that Mothers Day has its origins in a holiday known as Mother’s Day For Peace that dates back to 1872, in response to mothers having to bury too many of their sons from endless wars. Frankly, I still like this idea. After all, can you imagine a better Mother’s Day gift than world peace?

Until that day, you can take care of your mom with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers from KaYing, or one of our other flower farmers, today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Or better yet, you could give your mom, our Market moms, and a lot of moms of lesser means a huge gift by buying a ticket to the Farmers Market Dinner & Auction to Support Fresh Bucks coming up this Tuesday at Hotel Ballard. We’ll be on the rooftop in glorious sunshine, eating deliciousness from your Ballard Farmers Market, prepared by Chef Jason Stoneburner, THE Stoneburner behind Stoneburner Restaurant. A limited number of paper tickets to this event will be available for sale at the Market Information Desk during today’s market!

Fresh red king salmon from Wilson Fish.Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh red king salmon from Wilson Fish.Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You could take your mom out to dinner today and fight the masses all doing the same. But on such a spectacular Mother’s Day Sunday as this, why don’t you make her dinner? Dinner from your Ballard Farmers Market, with fresh, Washington troll-caught king salmon from Wilson Fish, no less! Few things say, “I love you, mom,” quite like cooking her an amazing dinner. In fact, we’ll be eating some of this salmon Tuesday night at the Farmers Market Dinner & Auction!

Brilliant tulips from Ia's Garden. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Brilliant tulips from Ia’s Garden. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Of course, fresh flowers are right up there, too. These beautiful blooms are from Ia’s Garden, glowing in spring sun much like today’s. We have seven flower farms at your Ballard Farmers Market today, but lines will be long. Come early, pack some patience, and maybe work in teams. You know, one of you gets in line for flowers while the rest of you get your groceries, and maybe a quesadilla, some tacos or salmon sliders.

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.

Just in time for Mom’s Day, how about some of these beautiful Japanese wax turnips from One Leaf Farm. Rand and Paul can attest that I have been like an annoying little kid for the last few weeks, endlessly asking them, “are there going to be turnips this week?” over and over, again and again, in a repetitive and redundant fashion. And today, they are finally here! I love slicing the roots up and tossing them in salads like radishes, but they are also lovely sautéed whole or halved in a little butter, and then served atop a lovely bed of their wilted greens, which you had better eat, too, as they are awesome. It’s like getting two veggies for the price of one!

Cucumbers from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cucumbers from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And how about this?!? These are Japanese cucumbers from Colinwood Farm, fresh out of their greenhouse over in Port Townsend, a.k.a., The Banana Belt! And not only cucumbers. They’ve got baby summer squash and squash blossomsspinach and carrots now, too, and a lot of other stuff!

Rhubarb from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rhubarb from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Get your rhubarb on, good people of Ballard! Yes, it is full-on rhubarb season, and our friends at Sidhu Farms have begun to harvest plenty of it from their fertile fields down in the Puyallup River Valley, the single most prolific rhubarb producing region in America! (“Alex, I’ll take Washington Agriculture Trivia for $800, please!”)

Organic asparagus from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic asparagus from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When I cook up spring king salmon from Wilson Fish, I love to serve it with some fresh organic asparagus, like this from Alm Hill Gardens, roasted in a 375 degree oven until just tender with some…

Wild morel mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edible. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wild morel mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edible. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wild morel mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. I like to slice them in rings about a half inch thick and then toss them in with the asparagus. Then, I like to add some…

Spring sweet onions from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spring sweet onions from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spring sweet onions from Alvarez Organic Farms. I cut the white part into rounds about a quarter to a half inch long, and the green part into one to two inch pieces. Add a little green garlic from Nash’s Organic Farm, prepared the same as the onions, and toss it all with some olive oil, for a nuttier, more local flavor, some camelina oil from our own Ole World Oils, some good, course sea salt and some freshly ground pepper, and roast it for 10-15 minute at 375 degrees, until just tender. That, and king salmon. Oh, how I love spring. And you will amaze mom with this meal, despite how simple it is. Trust me, I know. My mom is amazed every time I make it for her!

Heat-shaped Kombucha Mothers from CommuniTea Kombucha. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Heat-shaped Kombucha Mothers from CommuniTea Kombucha. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For Mother’s Day, why not give your mother a heart shaped kombucha mother from CommuniTea Kombucha? That way, she can make her own kombucha at home… and it’s just plain a really cool thing!

Awarding-winning sheep cheese from Glendale Shepherd. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Awarding-winning sheep cheese from Glendale Shepherd. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

While mom is relaxing in the sun in the backyard while you cook her dinner, bring her a plate of award-winning sheep’s milk cheese from Glendale Shepherd. Sheep cheese is not very common around these parts, and we are so lucky to have it here. And this stuff is delish! Of course, you’ll need a separate plate for these…

Oysters on the half-shell, on the beach at Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo courtesy Hama Hama Oyster Company.

Oysters on the half-shell, on the beach at Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo courtesy Hama Hama Oyster Company.

Fresh oysters on the half shell that you picked up from Hama Hama Oyster Company today at your Ballard Farmers Market! Hama Hama is the oyster company so nice, they named it twice! And their Blue Pools are gorgeous right now. So get you some, get shucking, and make mom feel like a queen!

Mothers Day Cookies from Grateful Bread Bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Mothers Day Cookies from Grateful Bread Baking. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Grab mom some artisan bread, a few bagels and some of these heart-shaped ‘mom’ cookies from Grateful Bread Baking, while you are at it.

Eaglemount Red Wine defies gravity! Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eaglemount Red Wine defies gravity! Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And don’t forget the wine! Like this gravity-defying Eaglemount Red Table Wine from Eaglemount Wine & Cider.

Red leaf lettuce from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red leaf lettuce from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Make mom a nice salad with some fresh red leaf lettuce from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Yes, head lettuce is back at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Mothers Day pies from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Mothers Day pies from Deborah’s Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And finish mom’s special dinner off with a Mother’s Day pie from Deborah’s Homemade Pies. Yes, I know… you’d think I would be telling you to make the pie yourself. But let’s be honest with each other. Deborah’s pies are so much better than anything you will make on the fly today. Mom will love you all the more for caring enough to admit when making pie has you licked, and just going ahead and getting one you know is going to be really, really good!

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.


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