Posts Tagged ‘food’

Sunday, July 20th: Melons, More Corn, Heirloom Tomatoes, Nectarcots & More!

July 19, 2014
Yellow Doll watermelons from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yellow Doll watermelons from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just when you thought this summer couldn’t get any more amazing, Lyall Farms brings the first melons of the season to your Ballard Farmers Market! These are Yellow Doll watermelons, and this is the earliest we’ve ever seen them here, by more than two full weeks. Wow. They also have more traditional red watermelons, sweet, juicy and ripe, and ready for you to devour.

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

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

Woohoo! The tomatoes from One Leaf Farm are coming in early, and with a vengeance! Four varieties so far, and more to come. Besides the sungold and heirloom cherries, above left, they’ve got Black Krim and Paul Robeson, above right. They are so ripe and juicy and delicious. While I’ve been devouring sungolds straight out of the container and in salads for a week now, last Thursday, I enjoyed some of the Black Krims simply with some salt and some mayo. Not highbrow, just classic.

Organic sweet corn from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic sweet corn from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

More sweet corn has arrived this week. This is certified organic sweet corn from Alvarez Organic Farms, and because I care, I have already done some serious quality control testing on it, and I can assure you, it is awesome!

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.

Nectarcots from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nectarcots from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are nectarcots, from Collins Family Orchards, and as the name suggests, they are a cross betwixt nectarines and apricots. And of all the various stone fruit hybrids, I’d say these guys might be the most difficult to pick out their genetic lineage without us telling you. They kinda look like a yellow-orange plum, and they taste super sweet and are super juicy. They don’t have the fuzzy exterior of the apricot, or its deep flavor, and they don’t have that texture that nectarines have. It is as if somehow, someone was able to cross them and get them to contribute their best flavor notes while giving them the texture of a plum and the sturdiness of a pluot. Bottom line is, they are amazing, but they’re only around for a few weeks, so don’t you dare miss them!

Baby summer squash from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Baby summer squash from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Every summer, Growing Things Farm brings the most beautiful summer squash to your Ballard Farmers Market. In fact, they size it for you, so that it is easy for you to pick out the perfect sized squash for your plans. Like these baby summer squash that are perfect for a quick sauté or grilling.

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

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

We welcome the return of Whitehorse Meadows Blueberry Farm from northern Snohomish County today. They grow some extraordinary organic blueberries, including these SpartansJerseys and Rubels, a close cousin to the wild mountain blueberries on Northern New England and Maritime Canada. Whitehorse Meadows is actually located several miles east of Oso, on the far side of the slide zone on SR 530, which recently reopened. We imagine they’ll be thrilled to be able to get out and see us again, so let’s give them a big welcome back today!

Sweet onions from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet onions from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It has been a bit of a tough year for sweet onions so far — kinda surprising given how good it’s been for just about everything else. But we finally have some seasoned sweet onions for you at your Ballard Farmers Market. These are from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. These sweet onions 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. Still, these are plenty sweet.

Flavor Supreme pluots from Tiny's Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Flavor Supreme pluots from Tiny’s Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Here’s another of those cool hybrid stone fruits: Flavor Supreme pluots from Tiny’s Organic. Remember, pluots are genetically 70% plum and 30% apricot, but they definitely favor plums in structure and appearance… well, except that pluots come in an extraordinary diversity of colors, flavors and sizes. For instance, Flavor Supremes have a greenish-red skin, but a deep red flesh (see above). And they are fantastic. Enjoy!

Pink turnips from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pink turnips from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gorgeous pink turnips from Boistfort Valley Farm are a close cousin to some of the other Asian turnip varieties we see here at your Ballard Farmers Market, only these guys are just a bit more flamboyant. And they taste good, too!

All beef hot dogs from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

All beef hot dogs from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Do you have a hankering for a good all-beef hot dog, but you fear what’s in it, where it was made and how the animals used in it were treated? Well, be afraid no more! These uncured beef franks are from Skagit River Ranch. That means the cattle were grass-fed on lush pastures, treated well, raised organically, and processed with respect. It also means that they are delicious!

Chinese spinach from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chinese spinach from Children’s Garden. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You may have heard me refer to Treviso radicchio as the second most beautiful vegetable on earth and wondered to yourself, “what is the most beautiful vegetable on earth, then?” This is! Meet Chinese spinach from Children’s Garden. It is only grown by two farms at your Ballard Farmers Market, both Hmong, and the last two summers have been kind of hostile to it, so we haven’t really seen much of it since 2011. It can be simply sautéed with some garlic. Or you can just invite your friends over to sit and look at it.

Cauliflower from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cauliflower from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Your Ballard Farmers Market is loaded with lots of heirloom and exotic crops grown by adventurous farmers. But what Summer Run Farm specializes in is growing lovely organic produce standards — the stuff you could find at the Big Box store, but that would pale by comparison to Summer Run’s. Like this cauliflower. Sweet and crunchy, and wonderful roasted, made into soup, dipped in hummus or cocktail sauce, or however you enjoy it best.

Slicing cucumbers from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Slicing cucumbers from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

There’s nothing like a cucumber to cool you off during the hot days of summer, a phrase we don’t get to say too often. But this year is one for the record books, so let’s get our cucumber salads on, people. Let’s crank out some cucumber sandwiches. Let’s add it to our ice water and make cocktails and gazpacho out of it. They babies are from Alm Hill Gardens. Pick some up today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Bell peppers from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bell peppers from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These bell peppers from Colinwood Farm are so fragrant that they seem to steal the show for your olfactory glands as you examine the farm’s tables. Pep up your salads, stuff some, or throw them on the barby. This is going to be a phenomenal year for peppers!

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget to grab a loaf or two of artisan bread from Tall Grass Bakery today. They have a wonderful selection, from deep, dark pumpernickel, to chewy, moist Baker Street sourdough, to earthy, sweet oat and honey and challah that will complete your sabbath meal or make for amazing French toast on Saturday morning.

Spicy whole dill pickles from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spicy whole dill pickles from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish off this week’s epistle with this brand-spanking-new release of spicy whole dill pickles from Purdy Pickle. You can’t get these year-round from Purdy, because they are using local ingredients when they are at their peak of freshness. And that means, when they run out, they run out. Lucky for us, this is a very early year for local pickling cukes, so Purdy should be able to put up quite a few jar. But don’t let that cause you to hesitate. Get your pickle on now!

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 13th: Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Peaches, Pluots & Ballard Seafood Fest!

July 12, 2014
Andrey is psyched to enjoy his Loki Fish salmon sliders. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Andrey is psyched to enjoy his Loki Fish salmon sliders. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Happy 2014 Ballard Seafood Fest! And they’ve really put the “seafood” back in the festival this year! So did we, with the addition of salmon sliders from Loki Fish. Because Loki catches, cleans it and cooks it themselves, they will be the only prepared food vendors today at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Plus, you can get fresh Alaskan salmon (king, coho and sockeye) from Loki today, too.

Here are a few tips for managing your trip today to your Ballard Farmers Market:

  • If you are just going to shop at the farmers market today, and you are not staying for Seafood Fest, we recommend you get here before noon to avoid Seafood Fest crowds and associated parking hassles.
  • It is going to be hot today, so dress and plan accordingly. Buy your most heat sensitive items last, or ask the vendor to hold them for you in their coolers until you are ready to leave. Maybe bring a small cooler with gel ice in it to protect items between the Market and home.
  • If spending the whole day, remember to keep hydrated.
  • If you are planning to shop at the farmers market and then attend Seafood Fest, bring a good cooler and plenty of ice or gel packs, and if driving, park in the shade if you can.
  • Don’t store items like berries and salad greens in a hot car, and avoid putting berries, peaches, corn and tomatoes in your cooler, as cold hurts them.
  • Try to walk, ride your bike or take the bus today, as parking will be challenging.
  • Remember that Market Street is closed from 20th to 24th, 22nd is closed from Shilshole to 57th & Ballard Ave is closed from Vernon Place to Market.
  • Pack your patience and enjoy the day!
Sweet corn from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet corn from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, now we’re talking! Yes, it is time for sweet corn! Lyall Farms will have their first harvest of the season today at your Ballard Farmers Market. To quote Garrison Keillor, “Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn.” 

Sungold cherry tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sungold cherry tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These sungold cherry tomatoes from One Leaf Farm are like candy, they are so sweet. They also are the fastest maturing tomatoes, from planting the seed to harvest. I love adding them to salads this time of year, but I usually have to get twice as many as I think I’ll need, since I end up eating most of them right out of the container.

Flavorosa pluots from Tiny's Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Flavorosa pluots from Tiny’s Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tiny’s Organic has the first pluots of the year today. Pluots are a cross between plums and apricots — genetically 70% plum and 30% apricot. As such, they tend to favor plums in appearance, texture and taste, but they are sturdier and surprisingly diverse in flavor and appearance in and of themselves. These are Flavorosa pluots, the earliest variety.

Oysters on the half-shell, on the beach at Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo courtesy Hama Hama Oyster Company.

Oysters on the half-shell, on the beach at Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo courtesy Hama Hama Oyster Company.

I’m thinking oysters on the grill tonight sounds like an excellent idea, don’t you? Stop by Hama Hama Oysters today and grab a few dozen for the barby. And if they haven’t sold out of fresh, cooked dungeness crabs, devouring one of them on your deck, with a nice salad and a loaf of bread, will work well, too!

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

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

Jarvis Family Garlic Farm returns today with their amazing selection of heirloom garlic varieties, ranging from mild to wild, all with big garlic flavor. Because after all, there is no such thing as too much garlic.

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

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

I’m thinking a good game plan would be to take some of that garlic and mingle it with some of these organic tomatillos from Alvarez Organic Farms. Get your green salsa on, baby!

Early Red Haven peaches from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Early Red Haven peaches from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These early red haven peaches from Martin Family Orchards are sweet and juicy, picked only when ripe, and then packed in these protective trays to reduce bruising. They are ready for you to enjoy right now, at the happy expense of the front of your shirt!

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 catches some of the world’s best wild king salmon right off the coast of Washington and brings it to us fresh right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. In most cases, it was swimming just 24-48 hours ago. And their smoked king salmon is the stuff of dreams! Why not grab a side of smoked king and enjoy it on your deck this evening?

New Viking Purple potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

New Viking Purple potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

In the spirit of Ballard’s Scandinavian ancestry, and the fishing culture they brought here with them, our friends at Olsen Farms present these Viking Purple new potatoes, just dug fresh this past week. They are sweet and tender, and they need to be eaten right away, preferably with lots of butter!

Huge heads of romaine lettuce from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Huge heads of romaine lettuce from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Everyone, run for your lives! It is the attack of the Heads of Romaine that ate Manhattan! Seriously, these heads of romaine from Boistfort Valley Farm are so huge, they should really be called “boulders of romaine.” One thing is for sure. With one of these bad boys, you won’t have to worry about running out of lettuce this week, will you?

Bacon from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bacon from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

With ginormous heads of lettuce like that, and with tomatoes now in season, you’ll need bacon from Skagit River Ranch to complete the ultimate local BLT. And actually, you’ll also need bacon for radicchio, collard greens, broccoli… everything, really. Because, after all, everything is better with bacon.

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

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

Have you tried the Gruyere bread from our newest bakery, Snohomish Bakery? It is nothing short of addictive. It has that wonderful, cheesy, Gruyere funkiness, and lovely, moist, chewy bread. Follow it up with one of their chocolate croissants, and you’re pretty much set!

A rainbow of berries from Hayton Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A rainbow of berries from Hayton Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is a spectacular rainbow of berries today at Hayton Farms, including golden raspberriesred raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Better load up on them, so you can enjoy their cooling effects with every meal this coming hot week!

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

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

Want to grow your own saffron? Then stop by Phocas Farms today for some of these saffron crocus corms. This is the earliest they ever had them available, which means you can plant them earlier, enhancing the chances you will have a lovely bit of your own precious saffron come October. (Head over to their Facebook page for planting instructions.)

Fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Sodas. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Sodas. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cool down with a fresh soda from Soda Jerk Soda today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Made with many fresh, local, seasonal ingredients, their flavors change from time-to-time, so stop by to see what’s fresh today!

Ron & Florence from Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ron & Florence from Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Or better yet, how about a nice ice cream bar from our buddies at Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company? It’s like a big hug and an air conditioner on a stick! They have a ridiculous selection of flavors from which to choose. I have a bit of a weakness for the cardamom, myself. Nummers.

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 6th: More Colors Than A July 4th Fireworks Display! Including Nectarines, Green Beans, Tomatoes & Some Fishy Business!

July 5, 2014
Beeksteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beeksteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We hope you all had a pleasant Independence Day holiday. Now, it’s time to gear up for the real summer in Seattle — lots of warm, sunny days, a festival every three days, and a stunningly diverse rainbow of localiciousness at your Ballard Farmers Market. Indeed, this particular blog installment is about as colorful as any we’ve ever done. And yes, this is a photo of beefsteak tomatoes taken this year. I took it on Wednesday, in fact, at our sister Wallingford Farmers Market. These beauties are from Alm Hill Gardens.

Honeyfire nectarines from Tiny's Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Honeyfire nectarines from Tiny’s Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tiny’s Organic wins the award for first orchard with nectarines this summer! Like with so many other crops this year, these organic Honeyfire nectarines mark the earliest we have ever seen nectarines at your Ballard Farmers Market! So let’s review: it is the first Sunday in July, and we already have nectarines and beefsteak tomatoes. Woohoo!

Gene Panida of Wilson Fish holding a whole wild Washington king salmon. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gene Panida of Wilson Fish holding a whole wild Washington king salmon. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now that is a fish! Gene Panida, from Wilson Fish, is holding a whole, wild Washington troll-caught king salmon, and that is no small fish. Last week, they were selling them for a mere $11.99 per pound! If you are feeding an army, grab one of these gorgeous fish and pop it in your smoker. Yeah, baby!

Green beans from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Green beans from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And look! Green beans from Alvarez Organic Farms! Yup, green beans are flooding into your Ballard Farmers Market this week from several farms. Try doing a quick sauté on them, maybe with some bacon and some pearl onions, if you can find them. Or get pickling!

Fresh keta salmon ikura and skeines from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh keta salmon ikura and skeines from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Do you love fresh salmon eggs? Then you are in luck! Loki Fish has fresh skeines of salmon eggs right now. They also have freshly cured ikura — that’s salted salmon eggs… in those little jars. Take a slice of Tall Grass Bakery baguette, a schmear of truffled fromage from Mt. Townsend Creamery, and top with a spoonful of ikura, and you have one serious bite of deliciousness!

A colorful display from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A colorful display from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of rainbows, how about this display from our friends at Boistfort Valley Farm. They returned full-time last week with lots of great veggies. Stop by for amazing lettuceschardradishesfresh herbshoney and more!

Red & salmon raspberries from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red & salmon raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And I know I wrote of organic salmon raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm just last week. But when I saw this spectacular checkerboard of berries on their tables at Wallingford Farmers Market this past Wednesday, I just had to share it.

Treviso radicchio from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Treviso radicchio from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This Treviso radicchio, from One Leaf Farm, is one of the most beautiful vegetables on earth, hands down. It is also one of my favorite vegetables. It is a chicory, so like all chicories, it tends to be bitter. But it has a sweetness to it, too. And when you cook it, those dramatic white cores of its leaves sweeten up a bit. There are many ways to enjoy it. Two of my favorites are grilling it and sautéing it with bacon. For grilling it, just cut it in half, lengthwise, oil it down, and plop it on the grill until wilted. It’s okay if it gets a little char. That adds depth to the flavor. Then finish it with a nice finishing salt, some fresh ground pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. To sauté it, cut it up crosswise, with about one inch wide cuts. Use a good, smoking, salty bacon, like from Sea Breeze Farm, or a sweeter bacon, like Olsen Farms‘ jowl bacon, or the bacon ends and pieces from Skagit River Ranch. Chunk it up into smallish pieces and render out the fat over medium heat in a skillet, then drop in the Treviso with the bacon and fat, and toss together until the Treviso is just wilted. Salt and pepper to taste, and if the bacon hasn’t effectively sweetened it, add a drizzle of balsamic.

Canned local albacore tuna in a variety of flavors from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Canned local albacore tuna in a variety of flavors from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Talk about a rainbow, canned local albacore tuna from Fishing Vessel St. Jude comes in a plethora of flavors, each with its own colorful labels. And since it is the first Sunday of the month, St. Jude is here will all manner of yummy tuna, from canned to  jerkied to fresh-frozen loins to smoked, and more! Stock up!

Robada apricots from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Robada apricots from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

ACMA Mission Orchards has these juicy organic Robada apricots this week, as well as cherriestomcot apricots, and probably some early peaches, too! Enjoy these early apricot varieties while you can, as they come and go so quickly.

Summer squash from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer squash from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How about some yellow crookneckzucchini, sunburst and other wonderful summer squashes from Colinwood Farm? And don’t forget their awesome salad mix, their red, white & blue new potatoes, and even a few tomatoes!

Broccoli from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Broccoli from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer Run Farm always grows such gorgeous broccoli, don’t you think? To say nothing of (though I am going to anyway) those ginormous heads of lettuce and their adorable little dwarf sunflowers.

Fresh Herbs de Provence & Garlic-Parsley Chevre from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh Herbs de Provence & Garlic-Parsley Chevre from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer is a great time of year to enjoy fresh goat cheese, or chevre, from Twin Oaks Creamery. it is sweet, refreshing and comes in a nice variety of flavors. Just grab your favorite bread and schmear some on it, or stuff some squash blossoms from Alvarez Organic Farms, and pan-fry them. And try chevre with beets! Boom!

Some of the hard cider lineup at Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Some of the hard cider lineup at Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Some hard cider from Finnriver Farm & Cidery will compliment any of those goat cheese dishes, or just about anything else at the Market today. Try them out, find the ones you like, and get some tips for pairing it from them today!

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 29th: Independence Day Deliciousness: Your Ballard Farmers Market Chants, “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”

June 28, 2014
Smoked salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Smoked salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Next Friday is Independence Day, July 4th, the birthday of our nation and it’s grand experiment with democracy. It’s the day John Adams and Thomas Jefferson predicted would be celebrated for generations to come with fireworks and revelry, and it is the day they both left this world. And as much as many of us disagree openly with the various courses taken in the name of our homeland, and even the bastardization of the term “homeland” itself, July 4th is still the day we all take pause and celebrate the very fact that we can disagree with each other openly. And to do so, you’ll need plenty of goodies from the local farmers, fishers, ranchers and food artisans here at your Ballard Farmers Market, a place that celebrates freedom every Sunday! You’ll need some of this freshly smoked Washington king salmon from Wilson Fish, for instance. It is easy to take camping with you, or to Gasworks Park or Lake Washington to watch fireworks, without even having to worry about making a fire, and it is amazing!

Hey kids, while you plan to celebrate America this week, please take a moment and recognize our 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. It’s easy. You already do it at home every day. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.

Red, white and blue new potatoes from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red, white and blue new potatoes from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And just in time for getting your potato salad on for the 4th, Colinwood Farm has these lovely red, white & blue new potatoes freshly dug from their Port Townsend fields. Just think how we can wow everyone at the barbecue this week with our red, white and blue potato salad! New potatoes should be eaten quickly, and at this size, they are also great wrapped in foil with some butter and herbs and tossed on the barby.

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

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

Look kids! Peaches! Yes, these are Sugar Time peaches from Collins Family Orchards. They are the earliest peach to ripen in their orchards. Sweet and juicy, you must give them a try this week. And let me explain why. See, there are many, many varieties of peaches, and this time of year, our orchardists begin to bring in a different variety every week. Works the same way for strawberries, but it is harder for you to notice the difference. But with peaches, they vary dramatically in shape, size, color, sweetness and whether or not they release easily from their stones (“free stone”), which makes them a lot easier to cook with. In other words, enjoy the Sugar Time peaches from Collins now, because who knows if they’ll be around next time, right? But hey, at least you know you’ll be able to look forward to trying an entirely new peach then.

Fresh basil from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh basil from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know what goes great with peaches? Basil! I kid you not. Just give the basil a nice chiffonade, sprinkle it over some slices or wedges of peach, and drizzle with a simple syrup, or even some balsamic vinegar, for a simple, yet elegant dessert or starter. You can get fresh, organic basilThai basil, lemon basil and purple basil today from Alvarez Organic Farms. And here is a vital storage tip: never refrigerate basil. Instead, place dry basil leaves (not damp) into a plastic produce bag, inflate the bag like a balloon, and tie it shut. Your basil will stay fresh right on your kitchen counter, at room temperature, for up to a week!

Tomcot apricots from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomcot apricots from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Also new this week are these gorgeous, juicy and flavorful Tomcot apricots from our friends at Lyall Farms. Grown in the warm sunshine of their orchards in the Columbia River Gorge, just south of the I-90 bridge at Vantage, these apricots are an all too short-lived joy of summer, so enjoy them while you can!

English shelling peas from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

English shelling peas from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah, English shelling peas, from Alm Hill Gardens. This time of year, I get lots and lots of them, shuck them, then freeze them for use in the winter. No blanching required. Just sturdy one-pint freezer bags, which I then put inside a larger one-gallon freezer bag, for extra protection. Of course, I do need to get extras, so I can enjoy them now. I like to sit on my deck in my Adirondack chair with a bag of them, eating them right out of the pod. But one of my favorite ways to enjoy them is to toss them with some pappardelle from Pasteria Lucchese and some smoked salmon, garnished with just a bit of freshly-grated cheese. The trick is to drop the peas in the pot with the pasta about 30 seconds before it is done, then drain both, and then toss them with the smoked salmon and some olive oil in a warm skillet. As Samuelle Lucchese would say, “Done!”

Montmorency pie cherries from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Montmorency pie cherries from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for pie cherries? Well, their short window of availability is now open. These are organic Montmorency pie cherries from ACMA Mission Orchards. Pie cherries are sour, lending themselves well to the addition of sugar in pies, for canning, or for curing for use in cocktails. If you are looking for pie cherries, and you know who you are, now’s the time! You’ve got maybe another week or two. Maybe.

Green beans from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Green beans from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yay! Green beans! Seriously, can you remember a year when we had so many different crops come in so early? We were asking this very question this time last year, and yet this year’s crops are arriving even earlier! These green beans are from Magana Farms.

Golden raspberries from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Salmon raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How about some organic salmon raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm? They are delicious as they are beautiful, and they’re a nice compliment to Gaia’s amazing organic strawberries and red raspberries. And have you tried one of their chocolate-covered strawberries yet? Yummers!

Sprouting broccoli from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sprouting broccoli from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This lovely sprouting broccoli from One Leaf Farm is wonderful on the grill, alongside some of their tender, young fava beans and whatever else you plan to grill. Just oil it down, grill until just tender, and hit it with a nice finishing salt and some freshly ground pepper. One Leaf also has some spectacular carrots this week — sweet and crunchy. You’ll need twice what you think you’ll need, cuz you’ll be eating them on the way home from the Market!

Fresh organic chickens from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh organic chickens from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nothing says Independence Day like a certified organic fresh chicken from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm on the barby with a can of beer up its bum. Or, butterfly it, marinate it, then grill it flat with a brick on top to make quick, delicious work of it.

Blueberries from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Blueberries from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Our friends at Sidhu Farms tell us they will have lots and lots of these wonderful blueberries today at your Ballard Farmers Market. See, they couldn’t pick them on Friday due to rain, so that means all to more for us today! Get a flat for blueberry cobbler, another for blueberry pancakes for camping, or for Saturday brunch after the 4th or for mixing with your oatmeal, and a third to freeze for winter. Freezing them is easy. Give them a quick wash, dry them thoroughly by dumping them on top of paper towels in a baking dish and rolling them around for a while, and then remove the paper towel and slide the baking dish into the freezer with the berries in a single layer. They’ll be frozen in 30-60 minutes. When they are, loosen them from the dish and pour them into a one-gallon freezer bag, then start the process over again with the next batch.

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 nuflours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for great sandwich bread, but you are allergic to gluten? Never fear! nuflours gluten-free bakery has you covered! This stuff is moist, chewing, slices well, and it is delicious. It will make you fall in love with bread all over again.

Pork chops from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pork chops from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

With July 4th just next Friday, whether you will be firing up the barby and watching the fireworks from your rooftop deck, or fleeing the big city in favor of camping in some peaceful forest, you’ll want some of these incredible pork chops from Olsen Farms for the grill. These are likely the best pork chops you have ever tasted — beautifully marbled and full of flavor. In fact, they are featured on the menus of restaurants all over town, like Le Petit Cochon on Fremont Avenue. Of course, they’ve got beef steakssausageshamburger meat and other goodies for the grill, too.

The Pete behind Pete's Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The Pete behind Pete’s Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Why is this guy smiling? Because this is Pete… the “Pete” behind Pete’s Perfect Toffee. He’s got a pretty sweet job, making toffeebrittle and fudge for all of us here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Stop by, try a sample or three, and then load up on the sweetness for this big holiday week!

Dylan Knutsen of Loki Fish doing quality control. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dylan Knutson of Loki Fish doing quality control. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t get too close to Loki Fish‘s Dylan Knutson while he’s doing “quality control” one of their new entrees, or you might lose a finger. The good folks at Loki tell us, “We’ll be debuting a new entree this Sunday at the Ballard Farmers Market: The Loki Special, featuring a fresh sockeye fillet, cucumber, mint and emmer salad, shallot vinaigrette dressing, and fennel yogurt sauce. Supplies will be limited, don’t sleep in!” (Hey Dylan, what that last bit a jab at me?!) Oh, and Loki has lots of fresh Alaskan KingCoho and Sockeye salmon right now, too!

Refillable bottles (left) from Wilridge Winery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Refillable bottles (left) from Wilridge Winery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget to get a couple of bottles of wine from your friendly Madrona neighborhood winery, Wilridge Winery, for those parties next week. They offer great table wines in an economical 1.5 liter bottle, and best of all, they are refillable! Just bring the empties back next time and swap them for full ones.

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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