Sunday, October 5th: A Fiesta Of Fall Flavors!

October 4, 2014
Concord grapes from Lyall Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Concord grapes from Lyall Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! In case you haven’t noticed, it really is fall now. Temps at night are getting into the 40s. The sun sets before 7 p.m. Sure, the sun is still out, and it’ll break 70 again today, but there is a distinct turn of the seasons in the air. And the crops at your Ballard Farmers Market show it. Like these gorgeous Concord grapes from Lyall Farms. These are the stuff of our childhood. These are the stuff of Welch’s grape jelly and juice. These are the stuff of wines served at bar mitvahs far and wide. They are sweet, juicy and have a big grape flavor.

And just a reminder that we have begun doing shorter posts twice a week to wet your appetite all week long, instead of the usual marathon post once a week. So do remember to read the previous post for more words of wisdom and deliciousness. It’s full of news for this week’s Market, too! And check in on Wednesdays.

Treviso radicchio from One Leaf Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Treviso radicchio from One Leaf Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

For my money, this is the second most beautiful vegetable on earth… second only to Chinese spinach, which graces the tables of Children’s Garden and Mee Garden each summer. This is Treviso radicchio from One Leaf Farm, and it is in the fall, when the nights get cold, that it really hits its prime. It is both bitter and sweet, but as a chicory, it is predominantly bitter. It is a great addition to a panzanella or bean salad, it is awesome simply grilled and finished with a nice artisan sea salt and some good balsamic vinegar, and I love it sautéed with bacon… and nothing else!

Fresh organic chickens from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh organic chickens from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Nothing says fall like the smell of a chicken roasting in the oven. It permeates the entire structure, while it warms every room, and every soul. These beautiful organic birds are from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia, and they offer them fresh and frozen right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. These are the chickens that the Seahawks and Sounders eat.

8 oz and 32 oz bottles of organic cranberry juice from Starvation Alley Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

8 oz and 32 oz bottles of organic cranberry juice from Starvation Alley Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Starvation Alley Farms is the first certified organic cranberry farm in Washington. They are located out on the Long Beach Peninsula, surrounded by one of the largest commercial cranberry growing regions in America. Not Maine. Not Massachusetts, Washington. They are getting ready for the 2014 harvest now, but they still have lots of their amazing organic cranberry juice available, and now they offer it in these nifty new 8 ounce bottles, in addition to their standard 32 ouncers.

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

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

“Choppin’ broccoli… choppin’ brocolliiiii…” Okay, now that that little ditty is stuck in your head (and if it isn’t, look that up with Dana Carvey’s name attached in the Google), let’s talk broccoli from Stoney Plains Organic Farm in Tenino. They just started harvesting this planting, and it is just what the doctor ordered on a cool autumn night!

Parsnips from Pa Garden at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Parsnips from Pa Garden at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And we finish this weekend’s epistle with a stalwart vegetable of fall, the sweet and mighty parsnip. I love to roast these puppies with some sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms (coming soon, themselves). And no epic autumn root roast would be complete without them. They are deeply sweet with a hint of celery-ness to them. And speaking of celery, try mashing some spuds, some celery root and some parsnips together sometime. Yeah, baby! You’ll find these first parsnips of the season from Pa Garden today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

There is plenty more local deliciousness waiting for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Just check What’s Fresh Now! for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now.

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 28th: It’s Still Summer, Apparently. And Yet… Hardy Kiwis, Brussels Sprouts & Wreaths Have Arrived!

September 27, 2014
Hardy kiwis from Green Water Farm. Photo courtesy Green Water Farm.

Hardy kiwis from Green Water Farm. Photo courtesy Green Water Farm.

It is hardy kiwi season at your Ballard Farmers Market, folks! Yessir, kiwis do grow around these parts. They are a small variety, about the size of a cherry tomato, and they are awesome! Green Water Farm grows them over in Port Townsend. We missed them here last year, as it was a rough year on the crop. No such problems this year, and they are rolling in earlier than ever! Yeehaw! (Sorry, I’m listening to The Outlaws while I write this.)

Walt models a Brussels sprout tree from Summer Run Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Walt models a Brussels sprout tree from Summer Run Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of earlier than ever, we have never seen Brussels sprouts in September before.. well, before now! In fact, I took this photo a week ago, meaning this is the earliest we’ve ever seen there here by over three weeks! What up?! Summer Run Farm wins this particular record-breaking crop lottery. So bring on fall! We’re ready!

Whole pastured chicken from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Whole pastured chicken from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

As of last Monday, we passed back into the dark side of the calendar. Longer nights mean cooler days, and cooler days mean roasting a chicken indoors is bearable again, and in fact, doing so reduces the need to turn on your heat overnight. So why not stop by Growing Things Farm for one of these gorgeous, and stunningly delicious, pasture-raised chickens today? These are the chickens my family eats for Thanksgiving. And just to clarify… “pasture-raised” means they get to run around all over the place outdoors. (Trust me, I’ve seen them.) It does not mean they’ve been treated with heat to sterilize them. That would be “pasteurized,” and that would make for a rather strange chicken.

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

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

Today is the final day for Farhad of Tall Grass Bakery at your Ballard Farmers Market… at least in his capacity working for them. Farhad is moving on to other projects after about eight years with Tall Grass. He has always been a delight to work with, and we’ll miss seeing him every Sunday. Stop by for a baguetteolive fougasse or loaf of hominy bread, and wish him well! (Note: Tall Grass Bakery ain’t going anywhere. They started with us over in Fremont about 15 years ago, and we’re pretty much joined at the hip now.)

Cherokee purple tomatoes from One Leaf Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherokee purple tomatoes from One Leaf Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

What an epic year for tomatoes! I’ve been hearing even the lamest of backyard gardeners saying they’ve been rocking the tomato action in their gardens this year. And no one rocks tomatoes quite like One Leaf Farm. These Cherokee Purple tomatoes, for instance, are outstanding right now. So juicy and perfect, begging for a dash of salt and a spoonful of mayo, or to be celebrated in a nice salad or sandwich.

Italian prunes from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Italian prunes from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Stina from Booth Canyon Orchard tells me that they have tons of these amazing Italian prunes this year. One of my favorite fruits, they are amazing dried, made into jams, chutneys or sauces, used to accent a nice duck or some pork, or just eaten right off of the stone. They are deeply sweet with a wonderful, thick flesh. And I think I’ll have one right now!

Pepper wreaths and strings from Alvarez Organic Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Pepper wreaths and strings from Alvarez Organic Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

It has been just over a month since my trip to visit Alvarez Organic Farms to see their acres and acres of pepper fields. They have over 400 varieties of peppers now. And they have a group there that has been crafting them into these spectacular pepper wreaths and pepper strings for years. But this year’s are especially beautiful. They will brighten your home for weeks, they make great gifts, and because they are not treated with anything, the peppers are fully edible after they’ve dried out.

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

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

Thank you, Devon, for getting me another great recipe (below) from the kitchens of Nash’s Organic Produce. This week’s feature is cabbage, and they have lovely cabbage right now for you! They still have plenty of sweet corn, too, as well as celery root, spinach and basil, for that last dose of pesto. And they’ll have 3-pound bags of rainbow carrots for the next two weeks at a great value!

Cabbage Roll Casserole

Servings: 6

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 head cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups veggie or chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large skillet, brown pork in oil over medium high heat until redness is gone. Drain off fat. In a large mixing bowl combine the onion, tomato sauce, cabbage, rice and salt. Add meat and mix all together. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Pour broth over meat mixture and bake in the preheated oven, covered, for 1 hour. Stir, replace cover and bake for another 30 minutes.

Pie pumpkins and blue hubbard winter squash from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Pie pumpkins and blue hubbard winter squash from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

We finish off with some gorgeous gourds from Colinwood Farm. These are blue hubbard winter squash and sugar pie pumpkins. Hubbards make for great soups and stews, are great roasted, and are large enough to feed a small army. And the pumpkins make for great pies, custards and breads. Yes, it is warm and sunny again today, but it is fall, folks. Let’s enjoy 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.

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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