Archive for the ‘What’s Next?’ Category

Sunday, August 31st: Ginormous Juicy Melons, Adorable Summer Squash, Charming Cherry Tomatoes, Glorious Gala Apples & Saying Sayonara To Succulents… For Now, Anyway.

August 30, 2014
Succulents in late summer light from Phocas Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Succulents in late summer light from Phocas Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! September begins… tomorrow! And that means our buddy, Jimmy, from Phocas Farms, has to retire to his farm in Port Angeles to tend to his saffron crop, which is beginning to spring to life now. So today is your last chance until early next year to stock up on succulents and saffron corms to plant in your own yard. Stop by today, get what you need, and wish Jimmy a happy fall and a bountiful saffron harvest!

Ginormous melons from Lyall Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Ginormous melons from Lyall Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Lyall Farms has lots of these ginormous, delicious, juicy melons right now at  your Ballard Farmers Market. They grow all different kinds of melons, some all too familiar, and others downright strange. But they are all great and just waiting to make a mess out of your best shirt!

A rainbow of carrots from Oxbow Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

A rainbow of carrots from Oxbow Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm is rocking the carrots right now, in a rainbow of colors. They’ve got ‘em white, orange and purple at present, each with their own particular levels of sweetness, some suited best for roasting, while others are best raw. So stop by and get your carrot on now! And if you want to learn more about carrots than you ever thought there was to know about them, check out the World Carrot Museum online, where you’ll learn, for instance, that orange is a relatively new color for carrots.

Late summer strawberries from Sidhu Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Late summer strawberries from Sidhu Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sidhu Farms has a fresh crop of late summer strawberries for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Gorgeous, aren’t they? These are from a class of strawberry varieties known as “ever-bearing,” which means they will keep producing blooms and fruit until it gets too cold and dark to do so. Spring varieties are known as “June-bearing,” which means they are naturally genetically preset to bloom and produce fruit for only a specific period of time, usually 10-14 days in and around June, after which they go dormant again until next year. See, aren’t you glad you tuned in to your Ballard Farmers Market blog this week?

Baby summer squash from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Baby summer squash from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Meet baby squash, little summer squash that are so sweet and so beautiful, and the perfect size for sautéing whole. See, Growing Things Farm sorts their summer squash by size — baby, toddler, adolescent… even tiny ones with full blossoms attached — so that you can get the perfect ones for your special meal… which ends up being every meal, when you eat them!

Gala apples from Martin Family Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Gala apples from Martin Family Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These are Gala apples from Martin Family Orchards, just in time for packing in the kiddies lunch bags. (Yikes! Tomorrow is September!) And in case you haven’t noticed, this year has seen the fruit trees of Washington put out record fruit sets of the most delicious fruit ever, earlier than ever. See, global warming does have its up sides.

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

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

It’s celery season, good people of Ballard! Wait, what? Celery season, you ask? I get it. You still get your celery at the Big Box store, and they have it all year-round. But that celery cannot hold a candle to this celery from Boistfort Valley FarmThis celery is fresh, firm, crisp and, believe it or not, sweet. Yes, sweet. That’s because of its freshness and how it is grown. See, the celery you are getting from the Big Box store was harvested a week or two ago and shipped here from thousands of miles away. This celery was harvested yesterday afternoon in Thurston County. If you have never had farm-fresh celery, you owe it to yourself to try some today. You will never look at Big Box celery the same again!

Early Italian prunes from Magana Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Early Italian prunes from Magana Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

I heart Italian prunes. Yes, prunes. Not plums. These are early Italian prunes from Magana Farms. Prunes are a free-stone stone fruit, meaning they release easily from their pit. They have a denser, sweeter flesh than plums, which are not free-stone, and they take well to cooking and drying, though I love them fresh, too. Of course, the Corporate Agribusiness Yahoos at the California Prune Board would have you believe that these are plums. Why? Because they are about marketing, not about food, and they worry that “prune” is too closely associated with keeping ones bowels regular. And I won’t lie to you… they will do just that. But that should not be a reason to rename them. I mean, why are we so afraid of stuff that is good for us, to the extent we will avoid it even though it is also delicious? How stupid have we become? Well, if you go ask Sam at Pasteria Lucchese what he thinks, he will tell you that he and his fellow Italians are still proud to call these what they really are: prunes! Celebrate them! Eat them! Sauce them! Syrup them! Dry them! Just don’t call them plums!

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

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

Another true love of Italians everywhere (and especially in Italy, for some reason) are fresh artichokes. They steam them. They grill them. They toss them with pasta, make them into soup, put them on pizza. They are crazy for them! If you are, too, now is your time. Get thee to Nash’s Organic Produce with all due haste and enjoy these beautiful artichokes today!

Cherry tomatoes from Gaia's Harmony Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherry tomatoes from Gaia’s Harmony Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Gaia’s Harmony Farm has lots and lots of these spectacular cherry tomatoes today! But wait, don’t they just sell berries and juice, you ask? Nope. So come get you some of these wonderful, organic cherry tomatoes today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Nothing like a nice, chewy loaf of crusty artisan bread from Tall Grass Bakery to make your meal complete. From pain au levain, a lovely, sour loaf made with whole wheat, to hominy, made with, um, hominy, to their just plain comforting oat and honey bread, Tall Grass has set the standard for great bread in Seattle since their humble beginning with our market organization almost 20 years ago.

These organic estate wines come from Wilridge Winery in Madrona. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These organic estate wines come from Wilridge Winery in Madrona. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget a nice bottle of wine from Seattle’s original winery: Wilridge. These bottles, above, in fact, are their estate wines, made from grapes they grow themselves in the tiny Naches Heights appellation, just west of Yakima in the foothills of the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains. Stop by their tent for a sample today, then grab a bottle of Washington winemaking history from right here in Seattle to enjoy tonight!

A bee enjoying a sunflower from The Old Farmer at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

A bee enjoying a sunflower from The Old Farmer at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Let us finish this week’s epistle with this image of a happy little honey bee on freshly cut sunflowers from The Old Farmer, just across the isle from Oxbow Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Ballard is home to lots of honey bees, many of which reside atop restaurants like Bastille. And on Sundays, they get to enjoy the wonders of the Market just like you do!

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, August 24th: Prolific Crops of August, 2014!

August 23, 2014
Bags of pickling cucumbers from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Bags of pickling cucumbers from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

As growing seasons go here in Washington, few in memory have been more epic than the summer of 2014. Crop after crop has come in earlier, produced larger yields and tasted better than ever before. And one such stunning crop is pickling cucumbers, which have been with us in earnest since a mind-blowing June! These particular bags of pickling cukes come from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. As you can see, their cukes are nice and straight, making them ideal for packing in mason jars for pickling. And you can get these bags pre-sorted by size, such as “extra small,” “small,” “medium” and “large,” so if you are putting up a lot of pickles this year, you can just get the size you want in one of these bags and make your like much easier. I have been pickling Stoney Plains cukes since the mid-1990s. I used to get them from Terry’s dad, Bob Meyer, at the Olympia Farmers Market that he helped found in the late 1970s. In fact, Bob also help found Washington Tilth Producers, Washington State Farmers Market Association and the Organically Grown cooperative distributors. We lost Bob back in 2002, but all of us who love great, local food here in Washington still owe him a great debt of gratitude, and I, for one, dedicate one jar of pickles to his memory every year!

Hot chile peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hot chile peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

I was over visiting Hilario and Eddie Alvarez on their farm in Mabton, Washington on Friday. Alvarez Organic Farms now counts the number of chile pepper varieties they grow at more than 400, many of which are new varieties without names that have resulted from crossbreeding amongst the other varieties. Don Hilario took me on an exhaustive tour of his pepper fields (well, it exhausted me, but I think he could have kept going all night), and just when I thought I had seen every pepper on earth in the many acres of peppers in the fields behind his house on the mother farm, he said with pride, “Okay, now let me show the farm where we grow the bigger varieties of peppers!” I think that farm had more peppers on it than the mother farm. Hilario grows them all with pride, and his son, Eddie, brings them by the truckload to us here at your Ballard Farmers Market every Sunday. For that, we are all grateful. 2014 is an extraordinary year for peppers, too, with the hot, dry, sunny days making their plants produce more peppers that are more colorful, sweeter and hotter than ever! Enjoy.

Fresh basil from Growing Things Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh basil from Growing Things Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

It is time to get your pesto on, folks, or whatever you like to do best with fresh basil from Growing Things Farm! Their basil is so beautiful and fragrant right now, ready for your caprese salads, that fish, that perfect dessert with peaches and more. I had the good fortune of visiting Michaele and her crew on the farm on Thursday in Duvall, and to see their robust basil fields. This is food grown with love!

Purple Sensation pears from ACMA Mission Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Purple Sensation pears from ACMA Mission Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Say what? Yes, these are a new crop of pears. These are organic Purple Sensation pears from ACMA Mission Orchards, just in time for packing in the kiddies lunch bags (say it ain’t so!). And in case you haven’t noticed, this year has seen the fruit trees of Washington put out record fruit sets of the most delicious fruit ever, earlier than ever. See, global warming does have its up sides.

Tomatoes from Colinwood Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomatoes from Colinwood Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomatoes. If you aren’t relishing 2014’s absolute abundance of tomatoes of all kinds, you must not love tomatoes. Because many of us live through the cold, dark, wet months solely for the promise of farm fresh, vine=ripened tomatoes come summer, and this summer’s bounty is enough to carry us through two Northwest winters. These gorgeous maters are from our buddies at Colinwood Farm in Port Townsend.

Blueberries and raspberries from Hayton Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Blueberries and raspberries from Hayton Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Just in case you missed the memo, raspberries are back in full force now from several farms. These are from Hayton Berry Farms, up in Skagit Valley. They’ve also got these lovely blueberries currently, as well as their most prolific blackberry harvest in years. Yes, this continues to be an epic year for berries folks. Make sure you take advantage!

Bratwurst from Skagit River Ranch. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Bratwurst from Skagit River Ranch. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Holy cow! Labor Day Weekend is next week! Time to get ready. Load up on sausagessteakschops and more from Skagit River Ranch today, and get grilling with the family while everyone is all in one place at the same time for the last time until Thanksgiving!

Baby red romaine lettuce from One Leaf Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Baby red romaine lettuce from One Leaf Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Look kids! It is adorable little heads of baby red romaine from One Leaf Farm! The summer of 2014 has been great for lettuce, too. One Leaf grows a lovely selection of heirloom lettuces that are beautiful and delicious. But like so much else this summer, you had better enjoy it now with vigor, lest you regret missing it come December.

Fortune plums from Collins Family Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fortune plums from Collins Family Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

We are getting into serious plum season now, with such deeply sweet and complexly flavored varieties such as these Fortune plums from Collins Family Orchards from Selah. They are big, juicy and ready to eat, and you have to admit, they are also gorgeous, eh?

Eggplant from Alm Hill Gardens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Eggplant from Alm Hill Gardens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Spectacular eggplant from Alm Hill Gardens awaits you today at your Ballard Farmers Market! I enjoyed some simply pan-fried last night. Awesome. Eggplant, like peppers and tomatoes, comes from the summer-loving nightshade family, and that means it, too, is having an epic year. Try some on the grill, alongside those sausages!

Fresh kombucha from CommuniTea. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh kombucha from CommuniTea. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you had a refreshing bottle of kombucha from Communi-Tea Kombucha lately? Then today’s is a good day for one! Communi-Tea brews its kombucha in Seattle’s Central District. It is real, unfiltered, and comes with a small amount of naturally occurring alcohol, so you have to be 21 to buy it. But that means this is honest kombucha. And it comes in eco-friendly refillable bottles, too!

Jersey cow yogurt from Samish Bay Cheese. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Jersey cow yogurt from Samish Bay Cheese. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for Jersey cow yogurt? Samish Bay Cheese, from Bow, Washington, has it! They offer it in plain and Greek, and occasionally they have seasonal flavored versions. Samish Bay also has a great lineup of award-winning cheeses, as well as grass-fed beef and pastured pork. Yummers!

Raisin pumpernickel bread from Sonhomish Bakery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Raisin pumpernickel bread from Sonhomish Bakery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you been on the lookout for a nice raisin pumpernickel bread around Seattle, but been frustrated in your search? Snohomish Bakery has you covered! So grab a loaf today, and enjoy the toast you’ve been missing tomorrow!

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, August 17th: Raspberries Are Back, Bag-O-Fish Returns, Funky Eggplant, Perfect Potatoes & More!

August 16, 2014

Wilson Fish's Washington-coastal coho salmon. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Wilson Fish’s Washington-coastal coho salmon. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! Bag O’ Fish returns today to your Ballard Farmers Market! Yes, this is the annual celebration of the Washington coastal Coho salmon fishery from Wilson Fish. Coho season on the coast is short, and Wilson catches them, cleans them, bags them, and offers them to you at a great price for a late summer feast!

Organic raspberries from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic raspberries are back today at your Ballard Farmers Market! After a brief hiatus, during which I’m guessing  they were catching their breath during this prolific year of berry production, the raspberry canes at Gaia’s Harmony Farm are once again bearing fruit for us to enjoy. Woohoo!!!

Purple Rain eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Purple Rain eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These princely beings are know as Purple Rain eggplant. They are just one of over a dozen varieties of eggplant grown by Alvarez Organic Farms. Eggplant comes in many shapes, sizes and colors, and more importantly, many textures, flavors and levels of bitterness which affects how you need to prepare them. These puppies do well being sliced ahead of time and then salted and allowed to sit for a bit to neutralize its bitterness and drawn out moisture. If you are cooking it in small pieces, the process time is reduced, of course.

Ginger Gold apples from Collins Family Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Ginger Gold apples from Collins Family Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Collins Family Orchards is rocking the Ginger Gold apples today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Ginger Golds are among the first apples we see each year here, and they are crisp, a bit tart, and make for fine apples crisps or just right off the core.

Sweet Snax carrots from One Leaf Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet Snax carrots from One Leaf Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Meet Sweet Snax carrots from One Leaf Farm. Beautiful, aren’t they? They are sweet and crunchy and delicious. These are just the babies, as they are thinning their fields to allow the rest to grow even longer and bigger.

Flavor Heart pluots from Tiny's Organic. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Flavor Heart pluots from Tiny’s Organic. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fruit names don’t get more blatantly obvious than Flavor Heart pluots.  I mean, just look at them. They are heart-shaped, they are packed with flavor, and they are pluots. Of course, they also have their romantic side, right? Sweet, juicy, and that whole heart-shaped business. Bottom line is, these organic beauties are delish, and you should beat a path to get some from Tiny’s Organic, while you can!

Rio Grande Russet potatoes from Olsen Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Rio Grande Russet potatoes from Olsen Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sure, there are plenty of more colorful potatoes with sexier names, but there is just something about a russet potato that comforts the American soul. These little fellers are Rio Grande russet potatoes from Olsen Farms. They are, like any russet, a great baker, masher and chipper. They’re are nice on the grill, too!

5 Cheese Blend from Glendale Shepherd. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

5 Cheese Blend from Glendale Shepherd. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Glendale Shepherd introduced its 5-Cheese Blend of shredded sheep cheeses last week at your Ballard Farmers Market, and it sold out in no time flat. I mean, think about it. Shreds of five of their most awesome sheep cheeses mixed together in one convenient package, ready for you to sprinkle on soups, salads, pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, eggs and more!

Basin 'R' Yellow sweet corn from Lyall Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Basin ‘R’ Yellow sweet corn from Lyall Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

The sweet corn just keeps on rolling this summer. This is Basin ‘R’ Yellow sweet corn from Lyall Farms. This is one of those super-sweet varieties with big kernels, and even bigger ears that will feed two. It is a corn developed to thrive in the Columbia Basin, and that it does!

Some of the hard cider lineup at Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Some of the hard cider lineup at Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

I had the good fortune to visit Finnriver Farm & Cidery on Thursday. They were busy bottling many bottles of their hard ciders and berry cordials. Indeed, their production has grown significantly since I last visited several years ago, and no wonder. Their products are excellent, and demand is high. And yet, they still produce it all right on their farm, supplementing their fruit with fruit from neighbor farms in the fertile valley around Chimacum. Stop by for a sample today, and then stock up for these last weeks of summer!

Kale, zucchini & collard chips from House of the Sun. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Kale, zucchini & collard chips from House of the Sun. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Has it been a while since you got your kale chips on with House of the Sun raw & vegan foods? Sheesh. You are missing out on the ultimate, guilt-free snack food! It is dried instead of fried or baked, it is made with ingredients from right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, and it is totally satisfying. Better yet, it makes for a great, lightweight trail snack for hiking. Enjoy!

Beefsteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Beefsteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Alm Hill Gardens is up to its earlobes in organic beefsteak tomatoes this summer. So get in on the action of the most prolific tomato season in recent memory. Make that BLT. Get your salad feeling complete. Make soup, salsa, whatever. Just don’t let this summer go by with enjoying the tomatoliciousness, cuz it will bum you out in January when you get served a lame tomato somewhere.

Chile peppers from Boistfort Valley Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Chile peppers from Boistfort Valley Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And hows about some chile peppers from, wait for it, Boistfort Valley Farm? Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? But because it has been so hot and so dry in Western Washington this summer, even the peppers on this side of the mountains are rip-roaring hot and delicious. Yay!

Cinnamon rolls from Tall Grass Bakery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cinnamon rolls from Tall Grass Bakery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, though I finish off this week’s epistle with cinnamon rolls from Tall Grass Bakery, I recommend that you start your Sunday with one… or two. They are sweet and chewy and de-lish. But if you can’t get down to your Ballard Farmers Market for breakfast, then come get one for an afternoon snack, for dessert tonight, or for breakfast tomorrow. We won’t judge you.

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, August 10th: Happy Farmers Market Week!

August 9, 2014

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Happy National Farmers Market Week! Check out this list of all the amazing benefits markets like your Ballard Farmers Market provide to your community. (You can download this image just by clicking on it.) And guess what else? Your Ballard Farmers Market just won Seattle Weekly’s Readers’ Choice Best Farmers Market Award for at least the fifth year in a row! (Honestly, we’ve lost count. And thank you!) Oh, hey, we’ll have great recipe cards for Farmers Market Week from Washington State Farmers Market Association today at the Market Information Desk, too.

Copia (top) and Brandywine tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Copia (top) and Brandywine tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One Leaf Farm is rocking the Brandywine and Copia tomatoes right now! The Brandywines (bottom) may not be the most flamboyant of tomatoes, but they are one of the most delicious — the perfect vehicle for salt and mayo, or on a BLT, or in a simple caprese salad. Copias, on the other hand, are quite flamboyant. Just look at all their different colors and stripes and shapes and sizes! Plus, they are awesome to eat, and they will add a ton of character to whatever creation they join!

Pan-roasted padron peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms by Chef Derek Ronspies of Le Petit Cochon. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pan-roasted padron peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms by Chef Derek Ronspies of Le Petit Cochon. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Padron peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms as pan-roasted by Chef Derek Ronspies of Le Petit Cochon last week during his cooking demonstration at our sister Wallingford Farmers Market. Consider this as enticement to visit today, AND as a recipe. Get your skillet nice and hot, with a high-heat oil, toss in the padrons and pan-roast until tender and a bit browned. Finish with a good sea salt. Eat. You’re welcome!

Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Organic Blueberry Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Organic Blueberry Farm. Photo copyright 2014 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.

A saffron crocus in full bloom at Phocas Farms. Photo courtesy Phocas Farms.

A saffron crocus in full bloom at Phocas Farms. Photo courtesy Phocas Farms.

Our pal Jimmy, from Phocas Farms, tells us that he’s still got some saffron crocus corms available today for you to plant to grow your own saffron, and that if you get them today, you still have time to get them in the ground so that you can harvest them this fall! Yep, these beauties bloom in the fall. See those gorgeous red threads in the flower above? That’s the saffron. So grab some today, and start your own little saffron plantation! Oh, and he’s got a little bit of last year’s saffron harvest left, too!

Lodi apples from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Lodi apples from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Guess what? It is already apple season! The first apples of the year are now arriving at your Ballard Farmers Market. They tend to be tart, green-skinned varieties, like Ginger Gold, Gravenstein, Shamrock, and these organic Lodi apples from ACMA Mission Orchards.

Carrots from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Carrots from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s Organic Produce is going carrot crazy this week! Besides these sweet and crunchy bunch carrots, they’ve got plenty of their five-pound bags of Nash’s Best Carrots, as well as big bags of juicing carrots. So get down with your bad, carrot-loving self today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Cherry plums from Tiny's Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherry plums from Tiny’s Organic. Photo copyright 2014 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.

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

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

And under the heading of learning something new every day comes these little, baseball-sized baby cabbages from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. You see, after they harvest the full-sized cabbages in the field, they leave the cabbage plant there, and it grows a second, smaller head of cabbage… this cabbage. Who knew? So, if you need just enough cabbage for one serving of cole slaw, or perhaps you want to braise or grill little, individual servings of cabbage, this is for you!

Rosa-Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rosa-Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Free-stone peaches have arrived. There is a family of peaches, all with the word “Hale” in their names, and these are the big, yellow, sweet and juicy peaches for which Washington is famous. They come freely off of their pits, ergo the term “free-stone,” and that makes them ideal for cooking and canning, as well as just eating fresh. Think of the pies, cobblers, preserves, salads, and more! These particular peaches are Rosa-Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchards.

Soft-ripened Tallulah cheese from Glendale Shepherd. Photo courtesy Glendale Shepherd.

Soft-ripened Tallulah cheese from Glendale Shepherd. Photo courtesy Glendale Shepherd.

If you love stank cheese like I love stank cheese, then this cheese is for you! Meet Tallulah, a soft-ripened sheep’s milk cheese from Glendale Shepherd. This is the kind of character-rich cheese that would make a Frenchman weep. If you prefer to wrestle with your cheese instead of waltzing with it, you gotta get you some Tallulah today at your Ballard Farmers Market! Oh, and this just in: Glendale Shepherd as also begun packaging a five-cheese shredded blend of their sheep cheeses for easy sprinkling on pastas, salads, grilled sandwiches, roasted veggies and more.

Collard greens from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Collard greens from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I loves me some Oxbow Farm collard greens! Sautéed until just tender with some lovely bacon from Olsen Farms, Skagit River Ranch or Sea Breeze Farm, and some heirloom garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm, how can you go wrong? It is delicious and nutrient dense, and it makes a great side for so many proteins, or just build dinner around the collards themselves!

Canned salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Canned salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Do you have guests visiting from out of town who want to bring home a taste of Seattle’s famous salmon with them? Loki Fish makes it easy! Just get some of their canned salmon. It is self-stable, comes in a convenient, sturdy carrying case, and when they get it back to Dubuque, it’ll be better tasting than any other fish they can get there! (It ships well, too.)

Pain au Chocolat from Snohomish Bakery. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pain au Chocolat from Snohomish Bakery. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

There is just something about a chocolate croissant, you know? Flaky, buttery pastry wrapped around deep, dark chocolate… meow! I heart them! And Snohomish Bakery makes some lovely ones that they offer to you right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Grab one to snack on at the Market, and a few more for tonight’s dessert!

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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