Posts Tagged ‘honey’

Sunday, October 12th: Hawaiian Apples, Ozette Potatoes, Wildflower Honey, Heirloom Pears & More!

October 11, 2014
Hawaiian apples from Tiny's Organic Produce at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hawaiian apples from Tiny’s Organic at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hundreds of varieties of apples grown here in Washington. But for some reason, I always get a kick out of when these Hawaiian apples from Tiny’s Organic arrive each fall. I mean, it’s fall! Not exactly Hawaiian weather around here. All those old English and New York varieties make more sense to me. But hey, if we’ve learned anything in this state, it is: if it grows, someone will grow it. So give them a try. They are crisp, firm and sweet… a good eating apple! (And don’t forget to check our Wednesday post for even more info about today’s Market.)

Celery and celeriac (celery root) from Boistfort Valley Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Celery and celeriac (celery root) from Boistfort Valley Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Celery root and celery from Boistfort Valley Farm. Yes, they are different beasts, though they are closely related and similarly flavored. Celery root, also known as celeriac, is not actually just the root of common celery. It is actually bred specifically for its root. See, while celery is rather fibrous and crunchy raw, and holds up in cooking, celery root will get nice and soft, making it great for soups, purees, mashes and broths. And you’ll need plenty of both for your favorite fall recipes.

Ozette potatoes from Alvarez Organic Farms at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Ozette potatoes from Alvarez Organic Farms at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

The Ozette potato is the closest thing to a native potato that we have here in Washington. See, potatoes originated in South America, and all but a handful travelled to Europe before being brought to North America by European settlers. But a few varieties travelled up the West Coast with the Spanish in the 1790s, during their brief attempt at colonization here, long before Lewis and Clark ever arrived. The Spanish established one outpost at Neah Bay amidst the Makah Nation in 1791, and it only took two Northwest winters for them to give up and sail back down to California in 1793. They left this potato behind. So eat a bit of Washington history. These Ozettes from Alvarez Organic Farms are great steamed and mashed with a good butter, but I like to toss them with some camelina oil from Ole World Oils, and hit them with a nice, course sea salt and maybe some thyme, and then roast them in a 425 degree oven until they are nice and crunchy on the outside. Nummers.

Fireweed honey with a hint of blackberry from Golden Harvest Bee Ranch at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fireweed honey with a hint of blackberry from Golden Harvest Bee Ranch at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Tom tells me that really, this honey from Golden Harvest Bee Ranch is mostly fireweed honey, with just a hint of blackberry, despite the label. (See, honey bees do not simply follow orders and only pollinate one flower species at a time.) So, if you like a nice, big local wildflower honey, stop by for some of this stuff today!

Clara Frijs pears from Booth Canyon Orchard at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Clara Frijs pears from Booth Canyon Orchard at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Meet Clara Frijs pears from Booth Canyon Orchard in the Methow Valley. Danish in origins, they date back to the 1850s, and they are an excellent dessert pear. They will keep for up to a month, are not messy eaters, have a great texture, and they are delicious!

Rainbow chard from Nash's Organic Produce at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Rainbow chard from Nash’s Organic Produce at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s Organic Produce is rocking the rainbow chard right now, and few things are as comforting on a crisp fall night than some wilted chard tossed with garlic. And just look at how gorgeous it is right now! Seriously, this epic year for weather and produce has, in the case of rainbow chard, manifested itself in the most spectacular leaf color I’ve ever seen on chard.

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

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

Sweet  potatoes from Lyall Farms return today to your Ballard Farmers Market. Now, it’s really fall, am I right? I kinda like roasting them in a hot oven with parsnips. Yeah, baby.

English shelling peas from Growing Things Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

English shelling peas from Growing Things Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Another pleasant anomaly in this spectacular year that is 2014 is the reemergence of peas this fall. We saw Boistfort Valley Farm return with snow peas recently, and now Growing Things Farm has a new crop of English shelling peas. And sure, the pods may not be the prettiest. But the peas they hold inside are some of the best shelling peas I have ever tasted!

Winter squash from Summer Run at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter squash from Summer Run Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

We finish this installment with a lovely collection of winter squash and pie pumpkins from Carnation’s Summer Run Farm. Did you know that you can eat the skins of many winter squashes? Delicata, for instance, has edible skin when oven roasted, or when you pan roast thin slices of it. No need to cut the skin off or scoop it out. And don’t forget to roast those seeds!

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, December 22nd: Happy Solstice, Good Yule & Merry Christmas! Find Unique, Meaning Gifts With A Story & Great Local Food For The Holidays Right Here!

December 21, 2013
Holiday decoration made from potatoes at Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Holiday decoration made from potatoes at Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

‘Twas the day before the night before the night before Christmas, and all through Ballard, a festive spirit, delicious local foods and unique holiday gifts with a story and a face behind them could be found at your Ballard Farmers Market! (Thanks, Olsen Farms!)

Julianna from Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Julianna from Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Seems appropriate to be listening to Ella Fitzgerald cranking out some jazzed up holiday classics as I write this evening. It may have gotten dark at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, but the longest night of the year is now behind us. Still, it is time for the festival of lights, just about whatever your beliefs, and it will be dark for 17+ hours for the next few nights. You will need candles both for light and for fun. Why not make them non-toxic candles from Ascents Candles? After all, they last a long time, and they don’t pollute the air in your home while you burn them for hours with nary an open window. Plus, this just in: our dear friend, Julianna, of Ascents Candles, told us last Sunday that she is retiring from the Market as of this week! I don’t know about you, but I am trying to figure out why I should bother showing up next week without her, but I’ll find a way to soldier through. In the meantime, stock up on her candles today, and check her website for local retailers.

Festive holiday bottles of honey from Golden Harvest Bee Ranch. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Festive holiday bottles of honey from Golden Harvest Bee Ranch. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

“It’s Christmas time pretty baby, and the snow is falling on the ground…” Yup, it’s Elvis time all up in here! And how’s about sweetening up someone special with some of this wonderful honey, from Golden Harvest Bee Ranch, in these lovely holiday bottles. They will fit perfectly into any stocking. Just make sure it is anchored well to the mantel!

Stölen holiday bread from Grateful Bread Bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Stölen holiday bread from Grateful Bread Bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

“May your days, may your days, may your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white…” It is time to get your stölen holiday sweet bread on at Grateful Bread Baking. This traditional Christmas bread filled with dried fruit and nuts and covered in sugar is as much fun to eat as it is to pronounce!

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

The “Pete” of Pete’s Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

“Santa, bring my baby back to me…” Or at least leave me a package of Pete’s Perfect Toffee in my stocking. “…a-hoob-a-hoob-a-hoob-a-hoob-a…”

Celery root from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Celery root from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We also bid adieu to Boistfort Valley Farm after today until next June, as they take their winter hiatus. So stock up on garlicrutabagasbeetscarrots and celery root today!
FreshBucks_Logo

If you have any Fresh Bucks coupons left, or if you receive Food Stamps benefits, this is a heads up that the Fresh Bucks Program expires on December 31st. Use your coupons now! And you can still get Fresh Bucks coupons this week and next when you use your SNAP/EBT card at your Ballard Farmers Market. Come to the Market Information Desk, and we’ll match the Food Stamps you use at the Market today dollar-for-dollar, up to $10. Fresh Bucks are good for fresh fruits and vegetables, so use them to stretch your holiday food dollars. Just remember to use them before the end of the month. (The program is intending to return next spring sometime, by the way.)

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 the lion shall lay down by the lamb…” Thank you, Elvis. You just can’t deliver the holiday toonage like he did without truly believing in it. Brent Charnley, the winemaker at Lopez Island Vineyards, believes in making really great wines, and so, like Elvis, you can feel it in his products. Stop by for a sample taste today, and I have been assured that Brent will not start swinging his hips about like Sgt. Presley.

Winter squash from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter squash from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s heat up that kitchen and fill the whole house with the smell of sweet deliciousness! Stock up on these beautiful winter squashes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm, and you will inevitably do just that. And while you are waiting to cook them, they also make great holiday decorations! (You can thank me later.)

Hemp clothing from Textures. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hemp clothing from Textures. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Add a little color and some elegance to the life of that someone special by sliding a box full of hemp fabric fashions from Textures Clothing under the tree!

Carrots in the field at Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Carrots in the field at Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

“I love those j-i-n-g-l-e bells…” Yes, we’ve moved on to Frank Sinatra now. So get your bippity on. (I have no idea what that means.) I’ve spoken much of holiday sweets so far this week, but few things are as naturally sweet as these carrots from Oxbow Farm. Kissed by a healthy dose of freezing weather already here in Oxbow’s fields, they have sweetened up considerably. After all, sugar is nature’s own anti-freeze. But take notice: this is likely the last week for Oxbow at your Ballard Farmers Market until spring as well, too, so stock up!

Julie from Four Sisters Chili Sauce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Julie from Four Sisters Chili Sauce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spice up your holidays with some Vietnamese hot sauces from Four Sisters Chili Sauce! Made with peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms and recipes brought over on a boat and a prayer in the 1980s from Vietnam, this is some hot sauce that is not only packed with flavor, it is packed with an amazing story and love. Enjoy!

Aveen vintage necklace with labradorite from Wild Swan Designs. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Aveen vintage necklace with labradorite from Wild Swan Designs. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I bet someone you love will be very happy to receive this stunning Aveen vintage necklace with labradorite from Wild Swan Designs. It is just one of their gorgeous collection of hand-crafted jewelry.

Winter spinach from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter spinach from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

WHAT?!? Yes, that is spinach. It is winter spinach from Nash’s Organic Produce, and some of it made it through the freeze. But not very much. So get here early if you want some of it. Just remember the spirit of the holidays as you fight for that last bunch at 10:53 a.m.

Brenda and the Mt Townsend Creamery display. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Brenda and the Mt Townsend Creamery display. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

“The wind is blowing, and the snow is snowing, but I can weather the storm…” Dean Martin is in the house! And so is Mt. Townsend Creamery with their amazing artisan cheeses from Jefferson County. Your holidays will not be complete without some great local cheese.

Hand-turned pens from Vern Tater Woodturner. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hand-turned pens from Vern Tator Woodturner. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

“But baby, it’s cold outside…” One of these spectacular, hand-turned pens from Vern Tator Woodturner will warm things up. Just imagine, every time that someone special pulls this particular stocking stuffer out during a meeting or class, and everyone else in the room turns to look at it, they will be thinking of you. Boom!

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

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

Some more natural sweetness for you, perfect for the holidays, comes in the form of these lovely sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms at your Ballard Farmers Market.

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.

Sweet briny deliciousness, Batman! Make your holiday party or dinner just that much more perfect with some fresh oysters from Hama Hama Oyster Company, the oyster farm so nice, they named it twice! Get your oysters live and in the shell, shucked, pickled or smoked.

Holiday pies from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Holiday pies from Deborah’s Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And pie! Get your holiday pies from Deborah’s Homemade Pies today, but get them early, as they will sell out fast. Pumpkin, pecan, apple and more, better than your mom ever made, but if she asks, tell her, “it’s almost as good as you used to make, mom.”

Delicious desserts from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Delicious desserts from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Or get your Italian desserts on at Pasteria Lucchese. Grab some rice pudding or a cheesecake, or get some cookie dough and bake them at home.

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.

Do you have someone special in your world who never leaves the kitchen? Then you need to get them some of this magnificent forged iron cookware from BluSkillet Ironware, made right here in Ballard. They have a nice selection of skillets, one of which has become my go-to pan in my kitchen. But they also have these new paella and casserole pans. They hold their heat well, go from stove top to oven, are durable, and they clean up very easily.

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.

This Polish garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm is wonderful stuff. It has a big flavor that will fill you with garlicky goodness. But whether you like your garlic mild or wild, they have an heirloom variety of garlic you will love. After all, there is no such thing as too much garlic.

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

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

I finish this holiday week epistle of the blog for your Ballard Farmers Market with perhaps the most popular stocking stuffer of them all: fruit! Why not make that fruit local. ACMA Mission Orchards has a dizzying variety of certified organic apples available today, so you can get a different kind of apple for each stocking hanging from your mantel.

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, December 8th: More Holiday Treats, Gifts & Goodies!

December 7, 2013
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.

Fishing Vessel St. Jude joins us today for their monthly Market visit. I know, it’s not the first Sunday of the month, but they had schedule conflicts last week. Point is, you should stock up on all your local albacore holiday needs today at your Ballard Farmers Market! Their tuna is high in beneficial omega-fatty acids, low in heavy metals, the frozen loins are sashimi grade, and it is delicious! Plus, these colorful cans of tuna come in many flavors, and make great stocking stuffers. Just don’t drain off the juice in the can. That’s not added water. It’s the natural juices of the fish itself, and that means flavor!

Sail boat earrings from Itali Lambertini. Photo courtesy Itali Lambertini.

Sailboat earrings from Itali Lambertini. Photo courtesy Itali Lambertini.

These beautiful sailboat earrings from Itali Lambertini are made from 100% recycled gold. That means no dangerous, environmentally destructive mines are necessary to produce this gold. Besides being unique, and from a local artist, these earrings will not jeopardize the future of salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska.

Holiday wreathes from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Holiday wreathes from Children’s Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you gotten your holiday wreath yet? How about one of these beauties from Children’s Garden? Made lovingly by hand using plant material from their farm in Fall City, they are fresh, fragrant and will hold up for weeks, if not months.

Pink Lady apples from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pink Lady apples from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pink Lady apples from Collins Family Orchards are crisp and sweet and great for holiday parties, pies and sauces. Think of the cheese plate accented with slices of these. Or, maybe you’d like them tossed with some muesli and honey…

Daddy's Muesli and Tahuya River honey. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Daddy’s Muesli and Tahuya River honey. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Funny you should ask… Daddy’s Muesli makes a lovely recipe of this European breakfast cereal. And now, they are also offering jars of Tahuya River Apiaries wild honey, too! Really, all you need still is some milk or yogurt from Twin Oaks Creamery, right? Oh, hey… muesli and honey both make great stocking stuffers, too!

New liquid soaps from Karmela Botanica. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

New liquid soaps from Karmela Botanica. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We’ve loved the handmade, local soaps from Karmela Botanica for years at you Ballard Farmers Market. And soap always makes for a great stocking stuffer itself. This year, they have introduced these great new herbal liquid soaps in these convenient pump bottles. (Oh, and they, too, are perfectly sized to slide into any stocking.)

Brussels sprouts from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Brussels sprouts from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is hard not to adore Brussels sprouts from Nash’s Organic Produce, but this past week has been coooolllllddddd, and that has shortened their season — really, shortened the season for a lot of things — so as best as we understand, this may be the last week for them for quite a while. Stock up!

Whole pastured chicken from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Whole pastured chicken from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Last week, we missed Growing Things Farm, as Michaele was hold up on the farm on flood watch. But the flood never quite materialized, and they’re back this week with their jams and roots and squash and eggs and soaps and, well, these amazing chickens. This is the chicken I ate for Thanksgiving this year. If you still haven’t tried a pasture-raised chicken direct from one of local farmers here at your Ballard Farmers Market — if you still get your chicken from the Big Box store — you have no idea what a chicken truly tastes like.

Dried beans from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dried beans from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is a great time of year for cooking hearty soups and stews, and making stick-to-your-ribs, soul-warming dishes. And a fundamental ingredients for many a house-warming winter recipe is dried beans, like these from our buddies at Alm Hill Gardens. Because they work closely with WSU developing varieties of beans that will thrive in our cooler, damper Western Washington climate, they have a wonderful collection of beans from which to choose.

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.

Are you striving to keep it as local as you can, and you can’t wait until global warming allows for local production of olive oil? Well, fear not! We have the perfect cooking oil for you that is local and full of flavor, so you can finally cross that off your list of things you must get at the Big Box store. Yes, Ole World Oils in Ritzville grows and presses camelina oil, an old world oil made from the seeds of this mustard-family plant. It is non-GMO, high in beneficial omega-fatty acids and antioxidants, it has a very high smoke point (475 degrees), and it is luscious and has a great, robust flavor. I used it to cook my chicken on Thanksgiving, to pop popcorn, and even with my corned beef hash Saturday morning. It is also a great finishing oil, and it is reasonably priced, too!

Winter squash from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter squash from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Boistfort Valley Farm was also on flood watch last week. They return today with much deliciousness, from rutabagas to celery root to beets to garlic to honey to these gorgeous winter squash.

Parsnip ravioli from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Parsnip ravioli from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s pasta weather! The big pot of boiling water warms up your kitchen while the steam helps replenish the moisture your furnace has sucked out of the house. It warms your belly and gives you energy. Oh, and it tastes great, too! Pasteria Lucchese makes a great selection of artisan pastas, from stuffed to noodles, using many ingredients from Market farmers. And today is a great day to stock up, as you don’t have to worry about them thawing before you get home!

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.

Wilridge Winery is Seattle’s oldest winery. They make some great wines, and they offer three of them in magnums that are refillable — perfect for the holiday season. And they are priced right, too! Stop by today and sample their wines, and then grab a magnum for that holiday party, and bring back the empty next week to trade for a fresh bottle.

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.

In a cold week with limited greens, this is as good a time as any to introduce yourself to sunchokes. This tuber is a member of the sunflower family. It is native to North America, and it was introduced to the first European colonists by the resident tribes. It substitutes well for potatoes in recipes from home fries to soups to root roasts, and it can even be eaten raw. These lovely red sunchokes are from Stoney Plains Organic Farm.

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

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

Loki Fish catches all five species of Pacific salmon. They fish in Southeast Alaska and Puget Sound, where keta salmon season just wrapped up. This time of year, you can find their salmon smokedcanned (a great stocking stuffer!), in salmon spreadpickledloxed, in frozen patties and sausages, as ikura (salmon eggs), and as blast-frozen at sea sides and fillets. And because Loki takes such great care of their fish, bleeding and cleaning it as soon as they catch it, then blast-freezing it right on their boat, their frozen fish is fresher and better tasting than much of the “fresh” salmon you’ll find in the Big Box stores!

Breakfast burrito from Los Chilangos. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Breakfast burrito from Los Chilangos. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, if you are looking to warm up while you are at your Ballard Farmers Market today, try a breakfast burrito or some tacos from Los Chilangos. They are the first taco stand in Seattle to use all local meat, fish and eggs on their Market menu, all sourced from other vendors right here.

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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