Posts Tagged ‘farmer’

Sunday, December 1st: It’s Buy Direct From The Local Producer At Your Ballard Farmers Market Sunday!

November 30, 2013
Wreathe assembly at Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wreathe assembly at Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know when it starts snowing on the blog for your Ballard Farmers Market that we have arrived in the holiday season. We all experienced the once-in-a-lifetime convergence of Thanksgiving and Chanukah this past week, and now we look ahead to Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Zappadan, Christmas, New Year’s, my buddy Jimmy’s birthday and anniversary, or whatever you might celebrate. It’s time to get festive all up in here, people. This year, let’s make it special. Let’s make it unique. Let’s make it beautiful and delicious. Let’s make it local. And let’s do it all right here at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Fresh holiday wreath from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh holiday wreath from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s get it started with one of these fresh, fragrant holiday wreathes from Alm Hill Gardens. Made from a variety of fresh cuttings of gorgeous plants right on the farm, they will last for months, even indoors, and they smell amazing. I got to visit Clayton and the gang on Wednesday up in Everson, and I witnessed the farm crew assembling these beauties (see top photo). They come in various sizes, so whether you live in an apodment with a tiny door, or in a McMansion, they’ve got a wreathe that is perfect for you. They also have garlands and such for dressing up your mantle and your dining room table. And while you are in the festive spirit, keep in mind that if you open a new checking account at HomeStreet Bank on Crown Hill (at 15th & 83rd) between now and December 7th, they will donate $50 to the Ballard Farmers Market Fresh Bucks program, but you have to remember to tell them that’s where you want that $50 to go. And thanks in advance!

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

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

It is getting darker and colder each day, as we march headlong into the Winter Solstice, and that means we all want to devour the nearest breads and cakes. That can be frustrating for folks who require a gluten-free diet. Lucky for you, though, nuflours gluten-free bakery makes some of the most incredible baked goods you’ll find anywhere — not just great gluten-free products, but stuff anyone would happily inhale. Just take a look at this bread. Have you ever seen gluten-free bread that looked that gorgeous? Stop by and try out their cookiescakessweet and savory breadspastries and more!

Sheets of salt at San Juan Island Sea Salt. Photo courtesy San Juan Island Sea Salt.

Sheets of salt at San Juan Island Sea Salt. Photo courtesy San Juan Island Sea Salt.

Yes, it is getting chilly outside, but this is not ice. This is salt from our own Salish Sea. What you are looking at is sheets of sea salt that have formed atop the solar-powered evaporation ponds in the greenhouses of San Juan Island Sea Salt. This salt is amazing. I cooked the best chicken of my life using it this past week. See, this salt tastes of where we live. Like the terroir of wine and cheese, and the merroir of oysters, sea salt tastes of the place from which it comes, and that means it makes everything taste just a little more special. So give some a try today. And it comes in some lovely packages that make for great gifts!

Herbal teas from Harbor Herbalist. Photo copyright 2013 by Ben Chandler.

Herbal teas from Harbor Herbalist. Photo copyright 2013 by Ben Chandler.

While your are treating yourself, or stuffing the stocking of someone special, you can’t go wrong with any one of the many flavors of herbal teas from Harbor Herbalist. They handcraft a tea for your every mood. Stop by and check them all out, give them a smell, and bring home some soul-warming deliciousness.

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

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

With all the bearded men around Ballard these days, one might think, “who needs a shaving kit?” Well, I do, for one. See, some of us still enjoy a clean shave. If the special guy in your life likes a clean, close shave and healthy skin, pick him up one of these wonderful shaving kits from Brown Butterfly Aromatherapy this holiday season. (Of course, you might pick one up for your bearded fellow, too, if it’s just plain time.)

Hand-forged blue steele pans from Blu Skillet. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hand-forged blue steele pans from Blu Skillet. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Carbon steel pans are great for searing and caramelizing – and they make fantastic over-easy eggs! They are similar to cast iron, but forged rather than cast. This makes the pans lighter and easier to handle, as well as less porous and quicker to season.  They can take high temperatures, and they can go from stove top, to oven, to table – where they make a beautiful addition!” Sometimes, it is just easier to quote the vendor’s website, you know? Especially when it is as well-written as is the site for Blu Skillet Ironware. Patrick Maher and Caryn Badgett make these gorgeous pans right here in Ballard.

When I got my first pan from them back in June, I wasn’t sure if it would pull me away from my beloved vintage Revere Ware stainless steel pans, but it has. I use it every day now. It browns and sears great. It cleans easily. And best of all, it is made right here in Ballard! Yup, one more thing you don’t need Corporate America to do for you anymore! Booyah!

A personal-sized still from Daily Bird Pottery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A personal-sized still from Daily Bird Pottery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Daily Bird Pottery makes lovely naked pottery, as in it is not glazed, that makes all your foods and beverages taste better. Seriously. See, there is a special chemical reaction that takes place between the clay and your food and drink that results in less bitterness and great flavor. They’ve got cups and shot glasses, tableware and ovenware, ornamentals, and even these cool, little personal stills, in case you know someone who would like to join the local craft distillery craze.

Gingerbread from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gingerbread from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gingerbread, anyone? This time each year, our friends at Ballard’s own Tall Grass Bakery start making various bready holiday treats, like this wonderful gingerbread. Enjoy it while you can, as it’ll only be around for a few short weeks!

Handmade beaded necklaces from Gypsy Beaded Creations. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Handmade beaded necklaces from Gypsy Beaded Creations. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These beautiful beaded necklaces are handmade by Gypsy Beaded Creations right here in the Market on many days. Corrine has a bunch of new designs for this season, and with a great selection, you’ll be sure to find one that you, or someone you love, will adore.

Beautiful, hand-turned wooden tableware from Vern Tater. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beautiful, hand-turned wooden tableware from Vern Tater. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

What table would not benefit from one of these stunning turned wood creations from Vern Tater, Woodturner. Vern makes everything by hand, from salad bowls to bottle stoppers to salt & pepper mills, all using gorgeous pieces of local wood.

Slinging veggie quesadillas at Patty Pan Grill. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Slinging veggie quesadillas at Patty Pan Grill. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of no longer needing Big Corporate America, did you know that Patty Pan Grill has ditched Big Ag cooking oils in favor of using Camelina Gold cooking oil from Ole World Oils. Available right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, this local cooking oil is high in anti-oxidents, is non-GMO, tastes incredible, can withstand very high heat — 475 degrees! — and is produced in Ritzville from camelina seed grown in Ritzville. Boom!

Berry cream confections from Jessie's Berries. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Berry cream confections from Jessie’s Berries. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These delicious little sweets are berry cream confections from our own Jessie’s Berries. Perfect for gifts and holiday parties, they make them with their own berries! Stop by and try some today! You can thank me later. (Please note that Fishing Vessel St. Jude, with their local albacore tuna, will not be here today, but will instead be hear next Sunday, December 8th.)

Judy & Gil receive recognition by the King County Council for Wallingford Farmers Market. Photo courtesy Councilman Larry Phillips office.

Judy & Gil receive recognition by the King County Council for Wallingford Farmers Market. Photo courtesy Councilman Larry Phillips office.

On November 18th, Wallingford Farmers Market, our sister market, was honored by the King County Council. It was just the latest recognition for what is easily the most beautiful market in the area, located in Meridian Park at N. 50th Street and Meridian Avenue N. Earlier this year, it was declared Washington State Farmers Market of the Year by the Washington State Farmers Market Association. It is open from the end of May through the end of September on Wednesday evenings. We hope you’ll join us there next summer!

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, November 24th: Everything You Need For An All-Local Thanksgiving & Chanukah, From Sweet Potatoes To Brisket To Sharpened Knives!

November 23, 2013
Chef Jason Stoneburner of Bastille & Stoneburner. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chef Jason Stoneburner of Bastille & Stoneburner. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! It’s time for Chanukgiving, or Thanksnukah, or whatever you call it in the extremely rare instance when Chanukah and Thanksgiving happen simultaneously. But whatever you choose to call it, one thing is certain, it is time to eat local, and eat lots of it! Woohoo!!! Of course, your Ballard Farmers Market has you covered from every angle, with the possible exception of fresh turkeys. (Let’s face it. If you still haven’t arranged for your pasture-raised, local turkey, you have no one to blame but the turkey looking back at you in the mirror. But I digress.) We do have everything else you’ll need, and I do mean everything. We even have cooking oil, butter and salt! (That’s right, boys and girls. This week, we’ve added San Juan Island Sea Salt to our vendor lineup, with local salt!) And today, we’ve even got an Eat Local For Thanksgiving cooking demonstration at noon with Chef Jason Stoneburner of Bastille and Stoneburner to give you great ideas for holiday side dishes. Jason’s menus are built around what he can get from the vendors at your Ballard Farmers Market. Indeed, each Sunday, you can watch dolly after dolly of localiciousness being transferred from our vendors to his kitchens. So he knows a little bit about eating local. Come get a tip or two from him today. (Last week, for instance, Chef Dustin Ronspies from Art of the Table taught us that that a pinch of sugar enhances the savory flavors in savory dishes, and a pinch of salt enhances the sweet flavors in sweet dishes.)

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, let’s get down to seriously delicious business here. There are over 20 photos this week, so I am going to make my descriptions briefer than usual, but really, the photos speak for themselves. They say, “we are stocked to the gills with great, local ingredients to make your holiday table complete, and render a visit to a Big Box story unnecessary.” Like these local sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Oh, and Lyall has apples and onions, too!

Fresh cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Make your own cranberry sauce this year with fresh cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm. Last Sunday, Chef Dustin made some in less than an hour, under a tent in the middle of Ballard Ave, with a strong, cold wind at his side, so you can do it at home. He cooked down the cranberries, then added some apple, a little sugar, some orange zest and orange juice, and a pinch of salt. Simple. Delicious.

Winter squash from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter squash from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How’s about some winter squash from Growing Things Farm? Yeah, baby. Of course, I am also having one of their pasture-raised chickens for my holiday feast. Because no law requires me to have a turkey. (Something to think about, if you haven’t gotten a turkey yet, and you don’t need to feed an army.)

Viking purple potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Viking purple potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You’ll need spuds, and few potatoes are better for making perfect mashed potatoes than these Viking Purple potatoes from Olsen Farms. They are bright white inside, and they have an amazing texture that takes well to mashing. Pick up butter from Golden Glen Creamery (see below) and some milk from Twin Oaks Creamery or Sea Breeze Farm to round out your mashers, or add some parsnip and celery root for something really spectacular.

Purple Goddess pears from Jerzy Boyz. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Purple Goddess pears from Jerzy Boyz. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These beauties are Purple Goddess pears from Jerzy Boyz Farm from Chelan. And who doesn’t need a beautiful pear, anytime of year?

Korean red garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Korean red garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Garlic. You will need it for stuffing, for seasoning your bird, for adding to your greens, for lots of stuff. Jarvis Family Garlic Farm has you covered with this Korean red garlic, and several other varieties that vary in flavor and intensity.

Smoked, pickled & shucked oysters from Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Smoked, pickled & shucked oysters from Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I, for one, enjoys me some oyster stuffing, and Hama Hama Oyster Company makes it easy with their freshly-shucked oysters in a variety of sizes. And if you are looking for great appetizers, try their pickled and smoked oysters, too!

Brussels sprouts from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Brussels sprouts from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

If you aren’t a lover of Brussels sprouts from Nash’s Organic Produce, I can only assume you haven’t ever had them prepared properly. Try sautéing them with Alvarez shallots and Sea Breeze bacon. First, you brown the bacon whilst rendering out its fat, and you caramelize the shallots, and then you toss in the sprouts, cut in halves, or in quarters for the bigger ones, and cook them until they get bright green and just a bit tender. Then deglaze the pan with a nice white wine, cooking off the alcohol while the wine combines with the bacon and shallot bits in the pan, and then the sprouts absorb all that deliciousness as they get tender. Boom. You now love Brussels sprouts.

Black truffles from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Black truffles from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are wild black truffles from Washington, brought to you by Foraged & Found Edibles. Add some to your mashed potatoes, or toss them with some Pasteria Lucchese pappardelle and Golden Glen butter for a nice side dish! They also have yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms and hedgehog mushrooms, which are a great addition to stuffing!

Seasoned croutons for stuffing from Grateful Bread Bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Seasoned croutons for stuffing from Grateful Bread Baking. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of stuffing, if you get here early enough, you might get some of these seasoned croutons from Grateful Bread Baking. They make for amazing stuffing. Just add some Sea Breeze stock, onions, garlic, celery, and whatever else suits your fancy, and bake. If you miss out on these croutons, you can easily make your own with one of their wonderful loaves of bread.

Fresh, local butter from Golden Glen Creamery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh, local butter from Golden Glen Creamery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And here is that aforementioned farmstead butter from Golden Glen Creamery in Bow. You can get it salted and unsalted, or with any of a number of sweet and savory flavorings. And let’s face it. You will need lots of butter. Why not make it local, too?!

Yellow onions from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yellow onions from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sure, One Leaf Farm has lots of deliciousness right now, from parsnips to kale to cauliflower to winter squash, and even a little parsley root. But they also have these gorgeous onions, and you know you will need some onions this week!

Brent Charnley, winemaker at Lopez Island Vineyards, hold the new release of his Wave Crest White table wine. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Brent Charnley, winemaker at Lopez Island Vineyards, hold the new release of his Wave Crest White table wine. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And speaking of wine, Lopez Island Vineyards has a great selection of award-winning whites and reds, with one perfect for you. Best of all, they will be sampling their wines today, so you can try it before you buy it, and find the ones you like best!

Braising mix from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Braising mix from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How about cooking up a nice mix of braising greens from Colinwood Farm? All you need to do is add oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and you are good to go! Talk about making life easier on Thursday.

D'Anjou pears from Booth Canyon Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

D’Anjou pears from Booth Canyon Orchard. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This is the last week for Booth Canyon Orchard for 2013 at your Ballard Farmers Market. So grab yourself a box of these D’Anjou pears, store them in a nice, cool, dark place, and you can enjoy them for weeks to come.

George Vojkovich out standing in his field... with a bunch of cattle. Photo copyright 2007 by Zachary D. Lyons.

George Vojkovich out standing in his field… with a bunch of cattle. Photo copyright 2007 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And for Chanukah, perhaps you’d like a nice beef brisket. Well, I don’t have a photo of Skagit River Ranch‘s brisket, but I guess, if you look real close, you can see the brisket on their cattle above, enjoying the good life on Skagit River Ranch’s lush pastures up in Sedro-Woolley. Oh, and that is Farmer George in the background, moooving the herd.

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.

Did I not say we even have cooking oil for you? This is camelina oil from Ole World Oils of Ritzville. Camelina is an ancient member of the mustard family, and its seeds make for great oil. It holds up to high heat, it is non-GMO, and it is high in beneficial omega-fatty acids! So now, you can say your cooking oil is farm fresh, too.

Marie Makovicka of Little Prague European Bakery piping fresh cannoli. Photo copyright 2013 by Ben Chandler.

Marie Makovicka of Little Prague European Bakery piping fresh cannoli. Photo copyright 2013 by Ben Chandler.

Looking for something sweet to finish off your meal, or perhaps something to start your day? Stop by Little Prague European Bakery, say hi to Marie, and pick up some of her delicious pastries. Thinking you want them on Thursday morning to enjoy while you watch the parade, but think they won’t keep? Ask Marie about how to properly store them until them, and how to refresh them when you are ready to eat them. Then, the only worry you’ll have is keeping yourself from eating them all before Thursday morning. Hmm. On second thought, you’d better buy extras!

Red Sunchokes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red Sunchokes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These red sunchokes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm were introduced to the earliest European colonists by East Coast Indians. A member of the sunflower family, they are native to North America, and a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving, as we remember that those Indians welcomed and fed those colonists, in spite of what they ultimately represented. Sunchokes are great roasted,  you can make soup with them, you can mash them like potatoes, and one of my favorite ways to enjoy them is by steaming 1/4″ to 1/2″ chunks until just fork tender, then browning them in butter and seasoning them with salt and pepper, and perhaps a little thyme, like good home fries.

Pumpkin Pie from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pumpkin Pie from Deborah’s Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You’ve got enough to do to prepare for the big feast this week. Why not leave the pie baking to Deborah’s Homemade Pies? She has these amazing pumpkin pies, as well as a great selection of appleberry and even pecan pies, and let’s face it… most of us cannot bake a pie like Deborah can, so why not cut ourselves a break and have better pie this year?

Cranberry-tangerine, lemon-lavender, and apple pie fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Sodas. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cranberry-tangerine, lemon-lavender, and apple pie fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Sodas. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Soda Jerk Sodas has new flavors for the season, like Cranberry-Tangerine (left) and Apple Pie (right). Why not pick up a growler or two for this week? And while you’re at it, if you loves you so fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Sodas, consider supporting their Kickstarter campaign today. It ends Monday (tomorrow), and they just have a little ways left to go to meet their goal, so click over now and contribute to the cause of their Mobile Soda Truck.

Andrew, Your Knife Sharpening Guy, sharpening knives at Wallingford Farmers Market this past summer. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Andrew, Your Knife Sharpening Guy, sharpening knives at Wallingford Farmers Market this past summer. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And last, but most assuredly not least, now is a great time to get your knives sharpened, so that dull carving knife doesn’t bounce off of your turkey on Thursday, resulting in either humiliation or serious injury, or both! Remember, sharp knives save fingers. Well, Andrew, Your Knife Sharpening Guy, will be here all day, sharpening your dullest slicing equipment, so bring your knives down, drop them off before you start shopping, and pick them up when you’re done! Or, if you’re in a rush, leave them with Andrew, and pick them up from him in Green Lake during the week, or arrange for delivery.

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, August 11th: A Little Rain Makes For Happy Farmers & Even More Local Deliciousness!

August 10, 2013
Wild Black Elderberries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wild Black Elderberries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For a couple of weeks each summer, Foraged & Found Edibles is able to harvest these wild black elderberries. They had some to offer last Sunday, and hopefully, they will have more today. Native to Eastern Washington, they can be made into wine, jellies, sauces. syrups, baked goods and more. They are loaded with vitamin C, are coated with a natural, wild yeast that makes them ideal for making wine and as a bread starter, and they are believed to have many medicinal qualities as well.

Saffron corms from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Saffron corms from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are saffron corms from Phocas Farms. They are the bulb from which the saffron crocus grows. And when these crocus bloom, it is the bright red stigma that becomes the spice we all know as saffron. Surprisingly, saffron crocus grows well around here. Equally surprising is that August is a great time of year to plant their corms, because they spring to life and bloom in early fall when most other plants are going into hibernation. So, while it is next to impossible for you to get your hands on the dried saffron spice that Phocas Farms produces, because it is all pre-sold to local chefs, you can get some of their corms and try growing it yourself!

Sharon (left) & Gary McCool of Rosecrest Farm chatting with our own Gil Youenes in their on-farm shop. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sharon (left) & Gary McCool of Rosecrest Farm chatting with our own Gil Youenes in their on-farm shop. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When we visited Rosecrest Farm in Chehalis, we learned some naturally cool things about how they make their amazing Swiss cheeses. The photo above was taken in their on-farm store, and that big, white door between Sharon and Gary McCool is the door to their aging room. That door is something like 16″ thick. Seriously. See, the room was originally built decades ago for aging beef, and it was designed to maintain a constant temperature without refrigeration. Amazing! And perfect for aging cheese, as it holds at 50 degrees or so year-round. That’s pretty cool, figuratively and literally.

Fennel bulb from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fennel bulb from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Check out these ginormous fennel bulbs from Alm Hill Gardens (a.k.a., Growing Washington). Fennel bulb is wonderful stuff. I add it raw to salads, grill it, cook it down into a nice, caramelized accent to pork, pickle it… the sky’s the limit. It has a mild licorice flavor and is slightly sweet. And it is great this time of year. Just be sure to clean it thoroughly, as bits of dirt get down inside it.

A smoked whole side of king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A smoked whole side of king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wilson Fish is catching some of the largest wild king salmon of the season right now off the coast of Washington. And because these fish are getting ready to swim up Northwest rivers, like the Hoh and Frasier, to spawn until they die, they are loaded up with delicious fat. And that makes for incredible smoked king salmon. This is as moist and divine as any smoked salmon you will ever taste. But because they smoke it up fresh every week, they also sell out every week, so get here early!

Red pearl onions from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red pearl onions from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I heart pearl onions from Boistfort Valley Farm. These tiny little alliums are only available fresh for a few weeks each summer — a very common theme in today’s post, eh? They may be available dried in the fall, but I like them best sautéed fresh with hericot vert beans (find them now from Growing Things Farm or Stoney Plains Organic Farm), and both are only available fresh this time of year. Peel the outer skin off of the pearl onions, and trim off the top and the root hairs, but keep the onions whole for cooking. I like to toss them with a good bacon — try the jowl bacon from Olsen Farms, which has a nice smoky sweetness to it. As the bacon browns, its fat renders out and caramelizes the onions beautifully. When the onions start to become translucent, and the bacon is mostly rendered out and beginning to brown, toss in the beans and sauté them all together until the beans are heated through but still have a nice crunch to them, which just takes a few minutes. Enjoy!

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

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

This time of year, as the early apples come into season, it is not uncommon to see different varieties of apples come and go every week. Between the different growing seasons throughout Washington and the hundreds of different varieties of apples grown here, apples are seemingly always coming into or going out of season. On the one hand, that means you need to pay attention, so that you can enjoy your favorites while they are in season. On the other hand, if you are more adventurous, you can experiment with new kinds of apples all the time! Like these Shamrock apples from Tiny’s Organic Produce, which are in season right now… for a little while, anyway.

Japanese Black Truffle tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Japanese Black Truffle tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This week’s gorgeous tomato of the week from our friends at One Leaf Farm is the Japanese Black Truffle tomato. This heirloom tomato traces its origins to Russian, where it is prized and fetches a high price. Its flesh is very dark, ergo its name. (Though you might ask, “then why is it called ‘Japanese’ if it’s from Russian?” Don’t have a good answer for you.) It is pear shaped, and it has a deep, rich flavor. It is just one of eight tomato varieties currently being harvested by One Leaf! (See a photo album of all their tomatoes on our Facebook page.)

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

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

Tomatillos! Hmm. Can you say salsa? Alvarez Organic Farms has everything — and I do mean everything — you will need for amazing salsas right now, from these tomatillos to tomatoes to garlic to onions to chile peppers to cucumbers! Heck, you can even toss in some of their watermelon!

Early Italian prunes from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Early Italian prunes from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Italian prunes have early and late varieties, meaning we see some in August, and then some more in October. And lucky us, as they are one of the finest stone fruits around! But don’t get hung up in the name “prune” like Californians did. They actually rebranded them as “plums” because they were worried that Americans associated the word “prune” with constipated old people. Europeans do not have this uptightness, and the Italians celebrate their beloved prunes. And while they will keep you regular, please do not be afraid to eat these delicious jewels because of their name. Eat them fresh, dried, in jams, jellies, sauces, chutneys, syrups, pies, tarts and more. Find them today from Magaña Farms.

Raspberry jam with thyme from Deluxe Foods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Raspberry jam with thyme from Deluxe Foods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of folks who can appreciate a fine prune, Deluxe Foods is back today with their wonderful lineup of jams, jellies, chutneys and sauces, though it is a little early yet for their prune varieties. See, they make their products with fresh, local, seasonal ingredients using heirloom recipes, and they sell them until, well, they run out. That means we’ll see prune flavors in a month or two, just in time for hearty fall dishes. For now, you can enjoy their berry flavors on your toast, like this Raspberry Jam with Thyme.

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, August 4th: It’s National Farmers Market Week! Tomatillos, Eggplant, Cherry Plums & All Manner Of August Localiciousness!

August 3, 2013
Farm-fresh honey from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Farm-fresh honey from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! It’s National Farmers Market Week! Yes, a special week proclaimed by dignitaries, elected officials and bureaucrats that actually celebrates something that matters to us. Go figure. But hey, sooner or later, it had to happen, right? So come celebrate with us today. Now, I won’t bore you with lots of proclamations from the governor, the county executive and the mayor — and trust me, they’ve all issued them — no let’s celebrate with all the amazing local products and people who bring us our precious Ballard Farmers Market week in and week out, year-round, in rain, sleet, snow, sun, wind, hot and cold. We are more reliable, after all, than the postal service. And let’s start this party by honoring perhaps the most important beings in our local, and global for that matter, food system: honey bees. Without them, we would all starve. Really. And yet we silly humans are creating environmental conditions that are killing honey bees by the millions. What can you do? Eat organic. Stop using pesticides. Raise your own honey bees. Pay attention. You wonder why we have less honey in our farmers markets today than we did five years ago? That’s why.

Jim Robinson of Phocas Farms shows how his saffron crocuses have multiplied over the winter. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jim Robinson of Phocas Farms shows how his saffron crocuses have multiplied over the winter. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Your Ballard Farmers Market is loaded with lots of characters who, out of a labor of love, a love of creating delicious food and quality goods, and a love of community, come here every week at 0-dark-30 from all over Washington to set up their tents and tables while you are still asleep, just so you will be able to stock up on their seasonal goodness every Sunday. One such character is Jim Robinson from Phocas Farms in Port Angeles. Jim may be best known around the Market for his hundreds of varieties of succulents and his wild appearance, but he is best known by Western Washington’s finest chefs for the incredible saffron he grows.

Saffron? Yes. It is so prized by local chefs that his entire crop is pre-sold every year before it is even harvested. And yet Jimmy is quite tall — not the best physical characteristic for raising a crop that demands one to be hunched over down low most of the time. Plus, he and the sun don’t get along all that well. You may have noticed that he is always covered head-to-toe at the Market, save for his face, which is a ghostly white. That white is industrial strength sunscreen, because Jim has light-sensitive lupus. And yet, he busts his hump year-round raising beautiful plants and spectacular saffron, then stands under his tent — outdoors in the daylight — every Sunday with nary a whimper, but instead a laugh, a smile, a flirtatious expression and a firm embrace. Why? Cuz he loves what he does and where he does it — right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Kinda makes it hard not to love the guy, or this place. Oh, hey, speaking of saffron, Jimmy has saffron corms for you this week, and for the next few. The chefs in town may not have left any of his saffron for you, but you can still plant and grow your own. Get them in the ground this month, and you will have your very own saffron later this fall!

Japanese eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Japanese eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alvarez Organic Farms has their first Japanese eggplant today, along with about a half dozen other kinds of eggplant. They have also just begun harvesting tomatoes, okra and tomatillos, too. You know, it’s kinda funny, but some folks have been thinking that eggplant is late in arriving this year. In reality, it is right on schedule, and just everything else is early, making its arrival appear late by comparison. Go figure. I love grilling these beauties. I slice them down the middle and salt them about half an hour before I grill them to pull some of the bitterness out. And make sure to coat them well with olive oil. Mmm.

Janelle Stokesberry holding a chicken and a dozen eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Janelle Stokesberry holding a chicken and a dozen eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You ever wonder why the Seahawks are so much better lately than any of the other professional sports teams in Seattle? Is it maybe because they eat Stokesberry chickens, perhaps? It’s as good a theory as any, I suppose. Janelle & Jerry Stokesberry raise organic chicken, turkey and duckeggs, beefpork and lamb on their Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia. I can’t wait until they have stewing hens, because I love to make chicken soup with them. And their chickens and ducks, as well as their eggs, can be found on the menus of many of the best restaurants in Seattle. Have you tried the sausages made from their pork by Link Lab Artisan Meats? They are great. And I’ve personally visited their pigs happily slopping through the mud in the spring, little piglets chasing each other around all over the place. Hilarious. If you want your meat and poultry raised well by farmers who care about their animals, and that tastes good, too, they’ve got you covered.

Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. Photo copyright 2013 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.

George Vojkovich out standing in his field... with a bunch of cattle. Photo copyright 2007 by Zachary D. Lyons.

George Vojkovich out standing in his field… with a bunch of cattle. Photo copyright 2007 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look! It’s Farmer George Vojokovich of Skagit River Ranch, out standing in his field. That’s him in the upper-lefthand side of the photo. And he is that. Outstanding in his field. His pasture alone in this photo can testify to that. It is lush and green and up to the shoulders of his cattle. And this photo was taken in August! He lets them eat it down to about 6″, and then he moves them to the next pasture. The idea is that the cattle will eat a diversity of forage, not just their favorite ones, and the pasture will recover faster and be healthier. That keeps them healthy, and tasty. And that’s what makes George a dirt farmer more so than a rancher.

Farmer George is also nothing short of a scientist — you really have to be in this business — and he tests his animals to make sure they are getting all the nutrients and minerals they need. After all, the Skagit River Valley is low in a number of key minerals. So, based on the reports he gets, he actually adds minerals either to the pastureland, so it is taken up by the forage, or he puts out self-service stations where the cattle can actually stock up on what they need. They’re a bit smarter than us when it comes to that. The result of all this is some of the best beef you can find around here, and certainly better than anything you’ll find in the big box stores. Better, and better for you and the cattle.

Copia heirloom tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Copia tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One Leaf Farm is really cranking out the heirloom tomatoes now in a whole host of varieties (see the photo spread on our Facebook page). Just take a gander at these gorgeous copia tomatoes for instance. They are a rainbow of colors and the big ones are all kinda weird looking, but hey, they taste absolutely incredible. To quote Chef Gordon Ramsay, “they are the most amazing, stunning tomatoes ever.” Okay, he didn’t really say that, but those seem to be the only two adjectives he knows, and I’ve been wanting to give him a hard time about it for a long time. Chef, get thee a thesaurus, for the love of Mike! You’re welcome. But do beeline it to One Leaf for tomatoliciousness right now.

Roberto Guerrero from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Nicole Reed.

Roberto Guerrero from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Nicole Reed.

Meet Roberto Guerrero of ACMA Mission Orchards in Quincy. He and his family grow a stunning variety of tree fruit, from apples to peaches to cherries to nectarines, on their beautiful farm just north of the Gorge Amphitheater. And just in the last two years, they secured organic certification for all of their acreage. How can you tell an orchard is organic? Simple. Look at the undergrowth under the trees. Do you see all that grass and brush? That’s the sign of an organic orchard. Seriously. They are overgrown under the trees, and most go through and mow and grind up brush just a few times each year. Then, they leave the debris right there to decompose, returning nutrients to the soil and keeping out undesirable weeds that conventional farms would have to sprayed. Plus, it helps keep the ground moist and cool when it’s really hot over there. You may see a jungle in this photo. I see a healthy orchard producing delicious fruit!

Honey Smoked Albacore from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Honey Smoked Albacore from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fishing Vessel St. Jude makes its monthly visit to your Ballard Farmers Market today. Woohoo! I often feel like Bubba Gump when I start to list off all the delectable forms in which you can acquire St. Jude’s albacore tuna. They have it cannedfresh-frozen, jerkied, and even honey-smoked (above). The canned comes in a myriad of wonderful flavors, too, and the frozen is sashimi grade. Stock up today. We won’t see them again until Labor Day Weekend!

Cardamom Zucchini Sweet Bread from NuFlours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cardamom Zucchini Sweet Bread from NuFlours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Name change alert! d:floured gluten-free bakery (my favorite saucy name for a bakery, mind you) has changed its name to nuflours. Apparently, someone else had their grubby paws all over their old name. So, many lawyers and much research later, they now have a new, not-so-saucy but equally functionally name, with the same logo and same great gluten-free products. Like this cardamom zucchini sweet bread that features zucchini from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. The point is, regardless of the name, you can still have your cake and your gluten-free diet, too.

Dragon's Tongue beans from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dragon’s Tongue beans from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things Farm is deep in the fresh beans right now. They have six different varieties, ranging from green to yellow wax to purple runner to these Dragon’s Tongue beans, above. And did you know that Dragon’s Tongue beans will eventually grown about to be shelling beans, too? Pretty cool, huh? And delicious! Oh, and they want to thank you for supporting their successful Kick Starter campaign, too.

Green bell peppers from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Green bell peppers from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s pepper season, and over the coming weeks, we will see an ever-increasing variety of peppers arriving at your Ballard Farmers Market. We start off with these humble green bell peppers from Lyall Farms, and we are already seeing some of the over 200 varieties of peppers grown by Alvarez Organic Farms starting to appear this week. 2013 is on pace to be an epic year for peppers!

Cherry plums from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherry plums from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 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.

Tropea onions from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tropea onions from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah. The lovely and divine tropea onion. I love these beauties. And I do recall hearing the lovely and divine Alice of Oxbow Farm (the growers of these onions) say that they are, in fact, her favorite onion. Named for the town of Tropea on the toe of Italy’s boot, these sweet onions are so popular in Italy that they are synonymous with “red onion” there, though that would be confusing here in the states, with the many red varieties we have. But if everyone just tried one of these, in salads, on the grill, sautéed or cooked down to make an awesome sauce or garnish, perhaps they would become synonymous with red onions here, too, because they may indeed be the best of the reds.

Chocolate-Coconut Fudge from Pete's Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chocolate-Coconut Fudge With Almonds from Pete’s Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pete’s Perfect Toffee has introduced yet another flavor of fudge, because after all, there is no such thing as too much fudge. The new flavor, pictured above, is chocolate-coconut fudge with toasted almonds. Oh, stop it, Pete! You’re killing me… with sweet deliciousness!

Hand-forged blue steele pans from Blu Skillet. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hand-forged blue steele pans from Blu Skillet Ironware. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Carbon steel pans are great for searing and caramelizing – and they make fantastic over-easy eggs! They are similar to cast iron, but forged rather than cast. This makes the pans lighter and easier to handle, as well as less porous and quicker to season.  They can take high temperatures, and they can go from stove top, to oven, to table – where they make a beautiful addition!” Sometimes, it is just easier to quote the vendor’s website, you know? Especially when it is as well-written as is the site for Blu Skillet Ironware. Patrick Maher and Caryn Badgett make these gorgeous pans right here in Ballard.

I do most of my cooking on stainless steel pans from Revere Ware. When they were first introduced in 1938, Revere Copper & Brass made a point of referring to them as exhibiting the best of both form and function, and that was important after the Great Depression. After all, if you were going to spend money on cookware, you want it to last, you want it to work, and you want something you can show off to your dinner guests. And today, as we limp our way out of the Great Recession (because even though it was, in fact, a depression, apparently it is not cool anymore to actually call it that), things are no different. We want quality, form and function. Blu Skillet gives us just that. I have been putting one of their 10″ pans through its paces for a week now, cooking everything from halibut to corned beef hash in it, and it works great. It is getting more seasoned with ever use. It browns and sears great. It cleans easily. And best of all, it is made right here. Yup, one more thing you don’t need Corporate America to do for you anymore! Booyah!

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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