Archive for the ‘What’s Hot?’ Category

Midweek Update for Wednesday, October 22nd: Sunchokes, A Recipe From Nash’s, Sweet Potato Chips, Keta Salmon Skeines & More!

October 22, 2014
Poblano peppers from Stoney Plains Organic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Poblano peppers from Stoney Plains Organic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

In this epic year of peppers, even Westside farms like Stoney Plains Organic Farm are getting in on the action. In fact, apparently, they have a gargantuan harvest of these gorgeous poblano peppers in progress right now. So if you want to get your chile relleno on, this is the time to do it! Stop by and grab a big bag full this Sunday at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Organic pink lady apples from ACMA Mission Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic pink lady apples from ACMA Mission Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Pink Lady apples are one of my favorite eating apples. They are super crisp, sweet, and have just the tiniest hint of tartness. They have become a standard here in the Northwest in recent years, helped by their openness to long storage while maintaining their quality. Enjoy some of the first organic Pink Lady apples of the season this week from ACMA Mission Orchards at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Sunchokes from Summer Run Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sunchokes from Summer Run Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sunchokes are in the house! North America may not have any native potatoes (though we Northwesterners lay claim to the Ozette as our own), but we do have this tuber, a member of our beloved sunflower family. You can eat them much like potatoes, including making soups, mashes, root roasts and even home fries. And they have the added benefit of actually being good for blood sugar levels. Yes, the skins are edible, and they can be eaten raw. When cooking, it is good to cut them and then put them in a bowl of water with some lemon juice in it to keep them from turning color on  you before you drop them in the pot, steamer or baking dish. Enjoy a true American native crop this fall! These are from Summer Run Farm, the winners of the first farm to bring sunchokes to Market this season award.

Arugula from Nash's Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Arugula from Nash’s Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s Organic Produce has begun to harvest a bumper crop of arugula, and to that end, Devon has shared with us another great recipe, though I can’t help but ponder how this salad might be using some of their own delicious whole grains, or perhaps subbing some Glendale Shepherd fresh sheep cheese.

Quinoa, Beet and Arugula Salad

  • 1/2 lb. beets
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 lb. arugula, chopped
  • 5 oz. goat cheese

Cook beets until tender, peel and slice. Bring water to boil, add quinoa, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Whisk vinegar, olive oil, honey, garlic, salt, pepper together. Remove quinoa from heat, add 1/2 of salad dressing, cover refrigerate for ½  to 1 hour. Stir in onion, arugula, goat cheese, beets and remaining dressing, toss and serve.

Fresh Puget Sound Keta salmon skeines (eggs) from Loki Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh Puget Sound Keta salmon skeines (eggs) from Loki Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

With the annual Puget Sound Keta salmon season in full swing, Loki Fish has lots of fresh salmon skeines (salmon roe) available right now. Make your own ikura, or use them in any number of ways, from garnishes to salads and soups to sushi and more. Ask the fine folks at Loki for ideas this Sunday at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Sweet potato chips from Lyall Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet potato chips from Lyall Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Lyall Farms has begun to harvest its wonderful Beauregard sweet potatoes from their fields in Sunnyside. And that means not only the sweet potatoes themselves at your Ballard Farmers Market, but these awesome sweet potato chips. If you love sweet potatoes, get thee to Lyall Farms this weekend!

Blueberries from Hayton Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Blueberries from Hayton Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, we finish up this midweek epistle with these beautiful blueberries from Hayton Berry Farms. This Sunday will be Hayton’s last for the 2014 season at your Ballard Farmers Market. It has been a berry season for the record books, but it had to end sometime, right? So why not load up for one last hoorah of fresh berries for this year, before you begin pining away as you await the first berries again next May.

Sunday, October 19th: Fall Foods & Food Day 2014

October 18, 2014

food-day_2014

National Food Day 2014 is this coming Friday, October 24th. Inaugurated several years ago, it is designed, like Earth Day in April, to get us talking about food. After all, it is the one thing we all have in common — the one thing we all cannot live without. Just to confuse you, though, the UN has held International Food Day on October 16th since 1979, but given that neither you nor I ever heard much about this, it made sense to start anew. You’ll find lots of things to do, and more info, at the Food Day website, and read on to learn about some cool stuff happening in New York City that we could easily replicate here.

Jessika Tantisook rounding up freshly harvested cranberries at Starvation Alley Farms. Copyright Giles Clement.

Jessika Tantisook rounding up freshly harvested cranberries at Starvation Alley Farms. Copyright Giles Clement.

Starvation Alley Farms has begun the harvest of the 2014 crop of organic cranberries out on Long Beach Peninsula. They’ll have them flash-frozen for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. And check this out from Wholesome Wave in New York City:

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) announced on October 16th the expansion of a program that allows doctors at HHC’s Elmhurst and Bellevue Hospital Centers to write fruit and vegetable “prescriptions” to children who are overweight or obese to help improve access to healthy food and promote overall health and wellness in the community.  First adopted by HHC hospitals in the South Bronx and Harlem last summer, the Wholesome Wave Fruit and Vegetable Prescription program (FVRx) proved successful in its first year when the program at HHC Harlem Hospital Center and HHC Lincoln Medical Center helped 40 percent of the enrolled children lower their Body Mass Index (BMI) and more than half of the families reported having more food to eat at home.

“A prescription for healthy food at an affordable price can be even better than a prescription for medicine,” said HHC President Dr. Ram Raju. “When doctors don’t just ask patients to eat more fruits and vegetables, but take concrete steps to make it easier for them and to demonstrate the benefits, patients listen. Obesity is a significant problem for children in New York City.  With HHC’s excellent primary care services and community collaborations like this one, we can help children learn at an early age that a healthy lifestyle and good food choices strongly affect their future health and wellbeing.”

… HHC selects pediatric patients for FVRx based on age and BMI eligibility. Over the course of four months, during farmers market season, patients receive a “prescription” to eat more fruit and vegetables. The prescription is designed to increase fruit and vegetable consumption for the entire family and is typically valued at $1 per day per household member ($28 per week for a family of four). This year, Wholesome Wave is piloting a $.50 incentive at two of the FVRx hospitals ($14 per week for a family of four). The prescription is exchanged on-site for Health Bucks, a city-wide Department of Health and Mental Hygiene program, which  can be used at all New York City farmers markets.

Gee, that sounds like something our local government and hospitals could do right here in Seattle in partnership with our farmers market Fresh Bucks Program.

Click image to download.

Click image to download.

And speaking of Fresh Bucks, the program has been extended through the end of December this year, so if you or someone you know receives SNAP benefits (a.k.a., Food Stamps), we will match the SNAP dollars you spend at your Ballard Farmers Market with Fresh Bucks, up to $10, each and every visit! Fresh Bucks can only be used for fresh fruits, vegetables and cut herbs, so use them to stock up on those items, and save your regular SNAP benefits to use for other food items, like eggs, grains, dried beans, honey, meat, pickles and such.

Fresh, whole, Puget Sound Keta salmon from Loki Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh, whole, Puget Sound Keta salmon from Loki Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

The commercial fishing season for Keta salmon on Puget Sound just opened, and that means Loki Fish should have the most local salmon you will ever find here at your Ballard Farmers Market today, as it is caught just a few miles from here in the heart of Puget Sound. Keta salmon used to be considered a trash fish, but in recent years, it has reemerged as a high-quality, affordable, local and wild salmon that also serves to maintain our local fishing economy. It is fresher, better tasting and generally less expensive than farm-raised salmon. It takes well to rubs, smokes and sauces. And unlike most farmed salmon, it is not on drugs and its color is natural. So enjoy some salmon tonight that actually hangs out in the same area code as you do!

Lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

This fall has been great for wild lobster mushrooms harvested by Foraged & Found Edibles in the forests of Western Washington. They get their name from their bright red color, and they are a sturdy, earthy mushroom that holds up well when you cook them. They make a great topping for that Keta salmon!

Don Hilario Alvarez holding hot chile peppers at Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Don Hilario Alvarez holding hot chile peppers at Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

This is Don Hilario Alvarez, the patriarch of Alvarez Organic Farms in Mabton, holding hot chile peppers in the pepper fields on the farm this past August. Their hot chiles are at their colorful peak now, just before the season’s end. They grow over 400 varieties of them, and you will find them fresh, as well as some dried, today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Freshly shucked oysters on the half shell from Hama Hama Oysters at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Lauren McCool.

Freshly shucked oysters on the half shell from Hama Hama Oysters at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Lauren McCool.

As the waters of Hood Canal cool down with fall rains and shorter days, now is the best time of year to enjoy fresh oysters from Hama Hama Oysters. You’ll find a few varieties of live in-the-shell oysters today, ready for you to shuck and slurp, as well as jars of pre-shucked oysters, pickled and smoked oysters, and live clams!

Arkansas Black apples from Tiny's Organic at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Arkansas Black apples from Tiny’s Organic at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These Arkansas Black apples from Tiny’s Organic turn almost black when in storage. It is a firm, tart apple good for fresh eating, cooking, juicing and making hard cider, and it will keep for two to three months.

Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins from Stoney Plains Organic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins from Stoney Plains Organic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

We talk a lot about cooking pumpkins here in the blog for your Ballard Farmers Market. There are so many varieties offered by our farmers, after all. But Halloween is less than two weeks away, so let’s talk about carving pumpkins today. Stoney Plains Organic Farm has a nice selection of carving pumpkins for you and the kids to turn into all manner of spooky creations. Pick out the best one for you today, and remember to roast these seeds!

Local granola from Marge Granola at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Local granola from Marge Granola at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cool, dark, often damp fall mornings call for a hardy breakfast, and for that you’ll find great granola in a variety of flavors from Marge Granola. Tall Grass Bakery also makes a great granola, or you can grab some muesli from Daddy’s Muesli. Besides being fine with milk or yogurt, they’re nice just heating up a little hot water, too.

Blackberries from Hayton Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Blackberries from Hayton Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Berry season is just about over, folks. We still are enjoying a few blackberries and blueberries from Hayton Berry Farms, but next week will be their last for 2014. So get your berry on one last time this year, and celebrate the epic berry season it was! (They go great with that granola and muesli, too.)

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.

Wednesday, October 1st Midweek Teaser: Local Tuna, Black Currants, Artisan Cheese, Wild Mushrooms & More!

October 1, 2014
Canned local albacore tuna in a variety of flavors from Fishing Vessel St. Jude at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Canned local albacore tuna in a variety of flavors from Fishing Vessel St. Jude at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

As we enter October, we’ve decided to mix it up a little bit here at the blog for your Ballard Farmers Market. Instead of doing one epic post each Saturday evening, with a gagillion photos, we’re going to start splitting it up a bit, and to that end, we introduce a new midweek installment. It’s just a little something to stir your culinary imagination in the middle of the work week.

This coming Sunday is the first Sunday of the month, and that means a visit from Fishing Vessel St. Jude, with the finest canned and frozen albacore tuna you will find anywhere. It is sashimi grade and prized by top chefs all over Seattle. St. Jude catches younger albacore as they swim south toward tropical waters from the cold waters of the North Pacific, where they were born. Because of their youth, they are very low in accumulated heavy metals. Because they’ve been in cold water, they are very high in beneficial omega-fatty acids. And they are delicious!

Black currants from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Black currants from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

We get asked a lot if anyone here at your Ballard Farmers Market grows currants. Finally, we can say, “yes!” Booth Canyon Orchard has these gorgeous black currants right now, but just for another week or two. So for your sauces, jams, pies, or whatever you like to do with them, stop by Booth Canyon this Sunday and get you some!

Cipollini onions from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cipollini onions from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cipollini onions from Port Townsend’s Colinwood Farm are the perfect compliment to many fall dishes. They cook down and caramelize into a sweet garnish to meats. They make wonderful pickled onions. They’re great in soups. They just plain have a beautiful flavor that is prized by chefs and Italians alike! (And in some cases, even by Italian chefs!)

Seastack cheese from Mt Townsend Creamery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Seastack cheese from Mt Townsend Creamery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of Port Townsend, it is also the home of Mt. Townsend Creamery, one of Washington’s many great artisan cheese makers. They are partnered with a family-owned dairy farm in Sequim, just to their west, that produces all of the milk for their cheeses. Their Seastack cheese (above) has won multiple awards nationally, and it is a lovely, soft-ripened cheese perfect with a fresh baguette from Tall Grass Bakery and a little dollop of ikura from Loki Fish.

Wild matsutake mushrooms from Foraged & Food Edibles at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Wild matsutake mushrooms from Foraged & Food Edibles at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Matsutake mushrooms grow wild on the slopes of our local volcanos. And Foraged & Found Edibles harvests them there and brings them to us. They are highly prized for Japanese and Chinese cuisine, but they certainly are not limited to it. And they are nutrient dense, perhaps more so than many other mushrooms.

Fresh spearmint from Children's Garden at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh spearmint from Children’s Garden at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

With the return of fall rains, the spearmint crop at Children’s Garden in Fall City has made a strong comeback. It is superb right now, waiting to perk up your water or tea, or to lay the foundation for amazing mojitos and juleps. It also opens up your senses, and is even said to help you breathe better at night. What’s not to love?

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, September 21st: Today We Enjoy One Last Official Day Of The Endless Summer Of 2014!

September 20, 2014
Ocra shelling beans from Alm Hill Gardens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ocra shelling beans from Alm Hill Gardens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Orca beans from Alm Hill Gardens are one of those varieties of shelling beans that was developed in partnership with Washington State University in an effort to produce beans that would thrive in the climate of Western Washington. Alm Hill actually developed and named these right on their farm in Everson, Washington, a stone’s throw from the Canadian border. They are gorgeous, aren’t they? And they do look like Orcas. Alm Hill has a number of fresh shelling beans, both in the pod and shucked, right now. If you haven’t cooked with fresh shelling beans before, I highly recommend it. Mmm. Think of the soups, the salads, the sides… think of the succotash!

BTW, today there will be a major People’s Climate Action March in New York City, but you won’t have to hop a climate-deteriorating flight there to get in on the action. You can simply ride your bike or hop a bus to Downtown Seattle (check the People’s Climate Action site for event details on many marches globally). Now, why should you care? I mean, if global warming means we get more summers like this, we’re sitting pretty here in Seattle, right? Wrong! Do you love oysters? Because our spewing of massive amounts of carbon from fossil fuels into the atmosphere over the last 50 years has made Puget Sound so acidic that oysters are having to be spawned elsewhere and then planted in our oyster beds now. And the krill that our beloved local salmon feeds on are having even more trouble reproducing, which spells trouble for the salmon themselves. So, if you like to eat great local seafood, just for starters, then it’s time to care!

Asian pears from Tiny's Organic at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Asian pears from Tiny’s Organic at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These Asian pears from Tiny’s Organic may look like apples, but they are all pear. Now, I say that only to then tell you that they are really another fruit unto themselves in many ways. They have a flavor that is almost wine-like. The point is, they are wonderful, and you should get some.

Oh, and speaking of climate change, cooler temps will come this year… eventually. If you think you could use some help with your utilities this coming winter, be sure to stop by the Market Information Desk today to find out how Seattle Public Utilities can support you with their winter assistance program.

Fresh, Washington coastal red king salmon from Wilson Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh, Washington coastal red king salmon from Wilson Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Today is the last day in 2014 for fresh Washington coastal king salmon from Wilson Fish at your Ballard Farmers Market. The Washington coastal fishing season closed earlier this week. Of course, next week, they will still have plenty of their amazing smoked salmon, as well as other fresh fish. But this is your last chance this year to get your fresh, truly local king salmon on!

Sweet corn from Nash's Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet corn from Nash’s Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s Organic Produce is rocking the organic sweet corn right now with their biggest crop in years. You can help them by bringing lots of it home and making with it this recipe from Nash’s for corn salsa:
Corn Salsa

2 cups sliced, ripe tomatoes
2 cups fresh corn kernels
12 oz-can black beans, rinsed well, drained
4 green onions, sliced thin
1 or 2 green jalapeño, seeded, diced fine
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 fresh lime, juiced
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. sugar
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients in a large glass or stainless steel bowl to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. May be made up to 8 hours ahead. Toss well before serving.

Also, Nash’s encourages you to save the date for Clallam County Farm Day and their Fall Barn Dance and Farmland Fundraiser featuring Seattle sensation Spoonshine.  On Saturday, October 4th, Farm Day runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Nash’s Community Potluck begins at 6 p.m., with the band starting at 7:30pm. Nash’s also has hay and straw available for your animal and mulching needs. Please contact Sid at the Nash’s Sales Desk at (360) 681-7458.
San Marzano paste tomatoes from Alvarez Organic Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

San Marzano paste tomatoes from Alvarez Organic Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

San Marzano paste tomatoes are the pride of Italy, growing near Naples in the fertile volcanic soils around Mount Vesuvius. So it is no wonder that they also thrive in the rich volcanic soils in the Yakima Valley of Eastern Washington at Alvarez Organic Farms. And in this epic year of the tomato, this is perhaps the best year we’ve ever had for these little treasures. They are a thick fleshed tomato with fewer seeds than a Roma tomato, and a robust flavor that makes them an ideal sauce tomato. If you ever wanted to can some sauce tomatoes, this is the year, and these are the tomatoes to can! They are great roasted and grilled, too.

Snow peas from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Snow peas from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Look kids! Snow peas are back at Boistfort Valley Farm! Yes, Boistfort as a late crop of snow peas they are harvesting now, right alongside their celery root and winter squash! See, when the summer lasts this long, you can squeeze extra plantings out of it. Enjoy!

Gluten-free brownies from Nuflours Gluten-Free Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Gluten-free brownies from Nuflours Gluten-Free Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These gluten-free brownies from Nuflours Gluten-free Bakery are as good as they look. Seriously. If you require gluten-free baked goods, these will thrill you with the bakedliciousness you’ve been missing. Even if you don’t require gluten-free goods, you will still love these. And Nuflours uses all sorts of yummy local ingredients from local farmers in many of their goodies. Right now, their products feature produce from Hayton Farms, Kirsop Farm, Martin Family Orchards and Stoney Plains Organic Farm, to name a few.

Late summer flower bouquet from Pa Garden at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Late summer flower bouquet from Pa Garden at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget to pick up a lovely bouquet of late summer flowers from Pa Garden today at your Ballard Farmers Market. These beautiful, local flowers are fresh, affordable, have a smaller carbon footprint, and come with the face of a local farmer, unlike the flowers from the Big Box store which come via airplane from places like Holland, Israel, South Africa and who knows where.

Organic fig brittle with almonds from Pete's Perfect Toffee at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic fig brittle with almonds from Pete’s Perfect Toffee at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s end on something truly sweet today. This is the latest creation from Pete’s Perfect Toffeeorganic fig brittle with almonds. It’s delicious. And it has perfectly good for you things like figs and almonds in it, so you can enjoy it while justifying away any misplaced feelings of guilt.

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.


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