Posts Tagged ‘chard’

Sunday, September 7th: Return of Booth Canyon & Camelina Gold, Westside Sweet Corn, Table Grapes, Fresh Peanuts, Nectarplums, A Guy Who Loves Making Soup & Nearing The End Of Washington’s 2014 King Salmon Season!

September 6, 2014
Fresh Washington coastal red king salmon from Wilson Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

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

Holy cow! It is September already! The kiddies are back in school, the nights are getting longer and a little cooler. And the crops in your Ballard Farmers Market are beginning to trend toward fall. And yet today, Seattle will break the 80 degree mark for the 43rd time this year. Summer is not over! If it were, after all, you wouldn’t be able to get this amazing fresh, wild Washington king salmon from our buddies at Wilson Fish. That’s because the salmon fishing season on the Washington coast ends in mid-September. So enjoy it now, while it is still here. Cuz in a couple of weeks, it won’t be!

Gravenstein apples from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Gravenstein apples from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Booth Canyon Orchard returns today to your Ballard Farmers Market for the 2014 season. Says owner, Stina Booth, “This weekend, look for Gravenstein apples (the BEST pies in the world), Suncrest peaches (as close to a mango as you can get in Washington), Morretini pears (if champagne were a pear…..), and weird and wonderful Green Gage plums.”

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

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

Westside sweet corn has finally arrived at your Ballard Farmers Market, and this year’s crop is amazing! While we’ve been enjoying the blessings of Eastern Washington’s hot weather and earlier corn crops for almost two months now, the corn fields in Western Washington have slowly been growing to maturity. You’ll find big, beautiful, sweet ears of corn from several Westside farms today, including this beautiful specimen from Stoney Plains Organic Farms in Tenino.

Here is a tip for chosing corn: instead of pulling open the top to see if it is filled out, simply run your thumb over the outside of the husk. You can easily feel the mature kernels inside. See, when you actually tear the corn open, you are actually ruining it either for yourself or the next person, because the minute you do that, all the delicious sugars in it that make it so sweet begin to turn to starch. So please, never tear open the husk to examine it before you buy it. If you need help choosing the best ears, just ask. Our farmers are more than happy to lend you a hand.

Eric displays huge heads of romaine lettuce from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Eric displays huge heads of romaine lettuce from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Over the past few years, we’ve all gotten quite familiar with our pal, Eric, working behind the tables of Boistfort Valley Farm, slinging ginormous heads of organic lettuce, or hooking us up with amazing fresh herbs or artichokes or any manner of colorful beetsturnips and radishes. But time’s come for Eric to finally hunker down and finish off a college degree he’s be slow-walking for a while now, and that makes today his last day selling for Boistfort Valley at your Ballard Farmers Market. Stop by today, wish him well, and grab some deliciousness while you’re there!

Seedless Thompson table grapes from Magana Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Seedless Thompson table grapes from Magana Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These sweet seedless Thompson table grapes from Magana Farms make for great white raisins. Just pluck them off of the vine, give them a good rinse, and put them in your dehydrator until raisinesqueness ensues. That is, of course, as long as you don’t eat them all fresh, right off of the vine, first. On second thought. you’d better buy twice as many as you think you’ll need!

Camelina oil from Ole World Oils at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Camelina oil from Ole World Oils at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Your local cooking oil returns today to your Ballard Farmers Market, after its summer hiatus. This is camelina oil, made from the seeds of the camelina plant, an old member of the mustard family. It is grown and pressed by Ole World Oils in Ritzville, Washington. It is non-GMO, has a higher smoke point than grapeseed oil (475 degrees!), and is high in natural vitamin E, making it shelf stable. It is also high in beneficial omega-fatty acids, with a perfect 2:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. It has a great, nutty flavor that makes it a good finishing and cooking oil. It is great for cooking white fish, chicken and pork, for roasting cauliflower, broccoli, roots and potatoes, for blistering padron peppers and more. It is competitively priced, and best of all, it is local!

Hilario Alvarez of Alvarez Organic Farms harvesting fresh peanuts on his Mabton farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hilario Alvarez of Alvarez Organic Farms harvesting fresh peanuts on his Mabton farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

It is fresh peanut season at your Ballard Farmers Market again! Yes, our good friends at Alvarez Organic Farms are harvesting peanuts right now from their fields in Mabton, Washington. Still don’t believe peanuts grow here? Then look at this photo I took of Don Hilario Alvarez on the farm two weeks ago! Those are two freshly-harvested peanut bushes in his hands, and behind him is acre after acre of peanuts. Peanuts are not nuts at all, but legumes, and you can see that in the pea-like leaves they have. Love boiled peanuts, or you want to roast your own? Now’s the time!

Fresh cannellini shelling beans from One Leaf Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh cannellini shelling beans from One Leaf Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Ooh, baby. Fresh cannellini beans from One Leaf Farm! These lovely little shelling beans are white when dried, but are green when fresh. And when fresh, their flavor and texture are quite different. I love fresh shelling beans in general. They make for great salads, sides, additions to pastas, spreads… but I especially love them in succotash. Just shuck and boil the fresh beans for 15-20 minutes in well-salted water, until just slightly fork tender. Then toss them into a pan with some rendered bacon or some smoked salmon, add corn freshly cut off the cob, some chopped parsley, some green onion, a bit of crushed garlic and some salt and pepper and give it all a good toss until just warmed through. Don’t overcook it. And enjoy! Remember, too, that you can buy, shuck and freeze fresh shelling beans now, and enjoy them all winter.

Nectarplums from Collins Family Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Nectarplums from Collins Family Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

The last of the season’s funny-named hybrid stone fruit has arrived: nectarplums. Yes, you guessed it. They are a cross betwixt nectarines and plums. They are large, juicy, sweet and delicious, and they’re pretty cool looking, too, eh? Grab some today from Collins Family Orchards.

Olsen Farms pork belly bacon (left) and jowl bacon (right) at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Olsen Farms pork belly bacon (left) and jowl bacon (right) at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

This gorgeous bacon is from Olsen Farms. On the left is traditional pork belly bacon, and on the right is pork jowl bacon. And while both are great, the jowl bacon has its own unique, somewhat sweeter, flavor to it that I love for adding to vegetable dishes and pastas.

Gorgeous chard from Alm Hill Gardens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Gorgeous chard from Alm Hill Gardens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

As the days are getting shorter and (a little) cooler, now’s a great time to enjoy some fabulous late-summer greens. This stunning chard from Alm Hill Gardens is wonderful simply sautéed with a little garlic until just wilted, or added to grain salads or soup.

Jerry Baxter of Got Soup? presiding in his kitchen over some of the many local ingredients he uses. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Jerry Baxter of Got Soup? presiding in his kitchen over some of the many local ingredients he uses. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Why is this guy smiling? Truth is, Got Soup‘s Jerry Baxter always seems to be smiling. Maybe it is the amazing soups he makes for us, in an extraordinary variety of flavors. Maybe it is the great, local ingredients he uses to make his soups, like these from Alvarez Organic Farms, Martin Family Orchards, Nash’s Organic Produce, Olsen Farms, and so many other great local farms, seen at his kitchen recently. Maybe it is because he has figured out how to spend his days either making soup or hanging out at farmers markets, and getting paid for it. Whatever the case, his soups will definitely make you smile, too!

Local albacore tuna loins from Fishing Vessel St. Jude at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons..

Local albacore tuna loins from Fishing Vessel St. Jude at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons..

It is the first Sunday of the month, and that means we enjoy a visit today from Fishing Vessel St. Jude! They have the finest local albacore tuna you will find anywhere. It is available in sashimi-grade frozen loinsdriedsmoked, and canned. In fact, the canned tuna is great to send home with your visiting relatives! Just make sure they understand not to drain off the liquid inside the can. That is the tuna’s natural juices, not added water, and as such, it is full of flavor!

J.H. Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

J.H. Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

J.H. Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchards are big, beautiful, sweet and juicy. They are the quintessential peach — the peach’s peach. They are the legendary peach for which Washington is famous. When you look up “peach” in the dictionary, you’ll see these guys. They are a freestone peach, making them easy for canning or making cobblers. And they are in season now!

Kale-spinach tortelloni from Pasteria Lucchese at Ballard Farmers Market. Photo courtesy Pasteria Lucchese.

Kale-spinach tortelloni from Pasteria Lucchese at Ballard Farmers Market. Photo courtesy Pasteria Lucchese.

It is fine pasta weather again, since you can count on your house cooling off overnight, in spite of daytime still being warm. These kale-spinach tortelloni from Pasteria Lucchese will certainly hit the spot for a lovely blast of flavor and quick prep time on a busy weekday evening.

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, July 27th: Alien Stone Fruit, Ginormous Fish, Spectacular Leaves, Onions You Can Eat Like Apples, Snow Peas Of A Different Color & Something For The Cave Man In All Of Us!

July 26, 2014
Donut peaches from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

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

These other-worldly looking donut peaches from Collins Family Orchards are one of my favorite stone fruits. And considering that there are literally hundreds of different stone fruits — indeed, dozens of different peaches — that’s saying something! They get their unusual shape from their tiny stone, and because this is a free-stone variety, its flesh separates from the stone very easily, making it an easy eater, and an easy peach to cook with. Donut peaches are sweet and juicy, yet tend to be small enough that they are easy to eat. And while they will dribble on your shirt with the best of peaches, they are perhaps the least sloppy of peaches. Try one today!

Huge king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Huge king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The boys at Wilson Fish have been having a tremendous season catching fish off the Washington coast. These are whole king salmon, weighing in at more than 25 pounds each! That’s some big king salmon, but it is by no means the biggest one they’ve caught. The result is big, beautiful fillets and whole fish that will feed a small army. Do not miss out on this season of wild Washington salmon!

Rainbow chard from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rainbow chard from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Talk about stunning colors, I cannot recall a year in which chard has been so colorful. Indeed, in a year in which most crops are thriving, chard stands out. The harvests of chard throughout Western Washington in 2014 have been nothing short of epic, which big, beautiful, delicious leaves that will just plain make you smile. These particular marvels of nature come from our friends at One Leaf Farm.

Sweet onions from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet onions from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These sweet onions from Alvarez Organic Farms are the stuff of legend. They are from Walla Walla sweet onion seed, but we call them “sweet onions,” without adding “Walla Walla” in front, because the name, “Walla Walla sweet onion,” is protected by a federal USDA Marketing Order, only to be used for onions grown within a 50-mile radius around Walla Walla. Never the less, Alvarez grows them just outside that range, in much the same hot, dry conditions that result in an onion you can eat like an apple! They’re that sweet.

Heirloom snow pears from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Heirloom snow pears from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These beautiful snow peas are from Alm Hill Gardens. The yellow ones are an heirloom variety with its roots in India, whereas the purple ones are a relatively new variety, bred over the last three decades. See, purple is a new color for snow peas entirely. Both are sweet and crunchy, and excellent quickly sauteed as a side dish.

Beef rib chop from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beef rib chop from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

To be honest, I haven’t the foggiest idea if Sea Breeze Farm will have any of these Flintstone-esque beef rib chops today, but that’s neither here nor there. That’s because pretty much anything they’ve got in the case today — and their case does vary, a la “it’s a farmers market, folks,” every week — is going to be really tasty, and from happy animals raised by people you know, because those people are the ones standing directly behind the case. Heck, I had some beef tongue and some duck breast from them this past week that were almost transcendental. So grab a chop, a roast, a bird, some charcuterie or a few links, and reconnect with your inner Fred.

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.

In case you haven’t noticed, Propolis Brewing, from Port Townsend, is all about the seasonal ales. That means that their ales change every month or two to feature the flavors of the season. And today is new release day! Yes, Propolis has informed us that they’ll be releasing their first Washington State award-winning Ale, “Litha,” a Chamomile Saison, as well as a new Spruce Saison & Birch Ale today at your Ballard Farmers Market! Woohoo!

Sweetheart cherries from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweetheart cherries from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When Lyall Farms starts bringing in the sweetheart cherries, we know that cherry season is beginning to wind down, because they are the latest cherry variety. So if you haven’t taken the opportunity to enjoy the outstanding cherries that 2014 has produced, do so now, while you still have the chance!

Hericot vert green beans from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hericot vert green beans from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hericot vert green beans are not only redundantly named, they are the most delicate of green beans — thin and tender — and they just beg to be sautéed with some good bacon and some pearl onions. Stoney Plains Organic Farm has lots of them today, along with at least four other varieties of green beans. Yeah, baby!

Tomatoes from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomatoes from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Colinwood Farm is cranking out lots of tomatoliciousness right now. Just look at this veritable potpourri of tomatoes in this basket. Big ones. Little ones. Sweet ones. Orange ones. Round ones and wrinkly ones. 2014 is shaping up to be a barnburner when it comes to maters. Don’t waste your time with those tasteless things at the Big Box store when you can get some of these freshly harvested, vine-ripened beauties.

Detroit beets from Nash's Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Detroit beets from Nash’s Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This gorgeous shot of Detroit red beets sporting spectacular beet greens from Nash’s Organic Produce serve as a reminder to us all that when you buy a bunch of these sweet, earthy roots, you are actually getting two dishes for the price of one! Roast, grill, steam, pickle or shred the roots, and then use the greens as you would chard. Don’t go wasting perfectly delicious food by tossing those greens!

Chicken (top) and duck eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chicken (top) and duck eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Our farmers are producing more eggs than ever it seems, which means that your chances of getting some at your Ballard Farmers Market are better than ever. Just check out these certified organic chicken and duck eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm, for instance. Laid by happy birds that get to run around and get plenty of fresh air, they are way better than anything you’ll find in a Big Box store. In fact. those duck eggs are the only eggs Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will eat! Yes, Stokesberry supplies both the Seahawks and the Sounders with poultry and eggs. And hey, both teams are at the top of their leagues. What can these eggs do for you? Well, if you want to find out, don’t come tooling into the Market at 2:45 p.m. looking for them. I said our farmers have more eggs. I didn’t say they have an endless supply of them!

Victor Jensen in the aging room at Golden Glen Creamery. Photo copyright by Mandy Alderink, courtesy of Golden Glen Creamery.

Victor Jensen in the aging room at Golden Glen Creamery. Photo copyright by Mandy Alderink, courtesy of Golden Glen Creamery.

The Jensens of Golden Glen Creamery have been making gouda and cheddar cheeses up on their dairy farm in Bow for generations. See, when all the Dutch settlers came to the Skagit Valley to grow tulips, someone had to make cheese for them, right? Enjoy a taste of Washington’s history with some their fine cheeses today!

Chesnok Red garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chesnok Red garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is time to get your garlic on, folks. Whether you be sautéing some greens, cooking a roast, making pickles, or whatever you might need it for, Jarvis Family Garlic Farm has the right variety of garlic for you, from mild to wild. They grow it over in Clallam County, on the North Olympic Peninsula, where the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains means their soil is not so wet as most other parts of Western Washington. That makes for great growing conditions for garlic, and we are the beneficiaries!

Kalamata olive bread from Snohomish Bakery. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Kalamata olive bread from Snohomish Bakery. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Moist, chewy, with little explosions of salty oliveliciousness throughout, you will adore this kalamata olive bread from Snohomish Bakery. It is just one of a dozen or so varieties of artisan breads they bake. Stop by for some to compliment your Sunday night supper today!

Tamarind-Ginger, Lemon-Lavender and Blueberry-Basil fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Soda. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tamarind-Ginger, Lemon-Lavender and Blueberry-Basil fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Soda. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, how about some fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Soda. Check out their current selection of flavors, including Tamarind-Ginger, Lemon-Lavender and the oh, so localicious Blueberry-Basil. And remember, their cups and their straws are compostable. When you go to dispose of them, please take a moment to recognize our green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Ballard Farmers Market, and please make an effort to put your cup in the correct receptacle. Each receptacle 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.

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 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, March 30th: Chards Returns, Holiday Hams, Lots of Raab, More Flowers & Plants For Your Garden!

March 29, 2014
Baby chard from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Baby chard from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spring rolls on, good people of Ballard, even if those showers are a bit torrential at times. Still, the days are longer, the temps are warmer, and the farm tables are greener. Case in point: this lovely baby chard from Colinwood Farm. It has been at least two months since we’ve seen chard grace any of the tables here are your Ballard Farmers Market, so let us rejoice in these sweet, tender jewels of a new season!

Smoked hams for Easter from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Smoked hams for Easter from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s time to order those holiday hams from Skagit River Ranch. Yes, the calendar continues to move along at its steady pace, regardless of when our heads think it is. And that means Easter is upon us in just a few short weeks. Why not celebrate this year with one of these fabulous local hams from happy pigs raised by good people you have actually met?

Cabbage raab from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cabbage raab from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Raab is in the house! Yes, friends. It is that wonderful time of year when over-wintered brassicas, like cabbagekalecollards and mustards, begin to bolt for the heavens, bloom and pollinate in that perpetual spring explosion of fertility and rebirth. And when they bolt, their tender, green shoots are so tender and sweet. They are an exception treat we only get to enjoy for a few short weeks every spring. After missing greens for so long this winter, how glorious is it that we should end that drought with such deliciousness! Don’t miss out. Grab your raab all over the Market today from farms like Nash’s Organic Produce!

Mt. Fuji apples from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Mt. Fuji apples from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And even as spring surges ever forward, we can still enjoy some vestiges of fall in the form of these Mt. Fuji apples from Tiny’s Organic Produce. A long-keeping variety of apples to begin with, Tiny’s stores them in what the industry calls “controlled atmosphere” buildings for months, until they are ready to bring them to Market. These special storage facilities are vacuum-sealed, filled with inert gases, and maintained at a constant temperature to keep the apples from aging. For us, that means we get to enjoy our local appliciousness from last fall well into this spring!

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

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

And speaking of spring, it is time to get that garden started, folks! To that end, our buddies at Stoney Plains Organic Farm are now bringing their terrific selection of beautiful garden starts and bedding plants for you. Check out these lovely strawberry plants, for instance. Put them in the ground now, and you will be eating berries from them in June!

Spectacular tulips from Ia's Garden. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spectacular tulips from Ia’s Garden. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And for an absolute explosion of spring, stop by Ia’s Garden for some of these stunning tulips! Freshly cut just for you, from their farm in East King County, they are fresher than anything you’ll find at the Big Box stores, and with less frequent flyer miles, too. So, who cares if it is still a bit gray and gloomy outside. You’ll have this floral sunshine indoors to make you smile!

Nira (garlic-onion chive) from Gaia's Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nira (garlic-onion chive) from Gaia’s Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This nira, from Gaia’s Harmony Farm, is a type of Asian chive that has a flavor profile of a cross between garlic and onion. It is great in salads and sautés, as a garnish for meats and soups, and in whatever else needs a robust spring bunch of flavor!

Blueberry plants from Cascadian Edible Landscapes. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Blueberry plants from Cascadian Edible Landscapes. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cascadian Edible Landscapes has returned to your Ballard Farmers Market with its spring run of edible plants to brighten up your yard and fill your garden. From garden starts to these blueberry bushes, they have everything you need, in hearty Northwest varieties, to help you be able to eat your yard for years to come!

Cherry blossoms from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherry blossoms from Children’s Garden. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish off this week’s epistle with this gorgeous image of cherry blossoms from Children’s Garden. As an accent to a bouquet of daffodils or tulips, or on their own in your tallest, grandest vase, they will be a spectabulous addition to your home. Bring a little spring indoors with you today, because you deserve 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.


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