Posts Tagged ‘lamb’

Sunday, February 12th: To Quote U2, “In The Name Of Love…”, Because Hallmark Says So!

February 12, 2012

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

Yes, it is our annual obligation to encourage you to forego Hallmark’s demands that you go to your local mall to pick up stuff made by the millions in China that is supposed to represent how much you care for someone you love, and instead to get said symbols of your undying love and affection from local producers right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, because when it comes to guilt, guilt begins right here at home! So let’s start you out with a beautiful bouquet of fresh tulips from Alm Hill Gardens. They were cut yesterday, so they are super fresh, and they will keep for many days to warm the heart of that someone special. And hey, when they realize you got them today at your Ballard Farmers Market, they will not only know you cared enough to get them the best, and that you care enough to support local farmers, but it will also let them know that you remembered to get them a full two days before Valentine’s Day!

Beautiful, non-toxic, scentless candles from Ascents Candles. Photo copy 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Along with tulips, you will need some candles to help set the mood. For that, visit our own Ascents Candles for some of these beautiful, scentless candles that are also blissfully non-toxic. That means the stunning meal with which you are about to dazzle your darling will not be disturbed by the smoke from that romantic candlelight. Yup, we think of everything here at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Sweetbread Cellars Wine from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweetbread Cellars is the label for the fabulous wines made by Sea Breeze Farm. And right now, they have some beautiful vintages for your sipping pleasure, including their 2006 Syrah, and their 2009 Vashoneuf, their red table wine blend. Forget the Three Buck Chuck, and show your sweetie you are so cool that you get your wine direct from the winemaker!

Rack of lamb, saddle of lamb and standing beef rib roasts from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Why not surprise your little lamb chop with some actual lamb chops from Olsen Farms? They’ve got lamb loin chops on sale today just for you. And they’ve got New York steaks on sale, too! Hey, anybody can make reservations and take their honey out for a fancy meal. But you are going to hit a home run this year by cooking that fancy meal yourself, right?!?

Spicy salad mix from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And to keep your in-house, romantic dinner humming along, looking mighty sophisticated, whilst still keeping it easy on you in the kitchen, why not grab a bag of tasty salad mix from Colinwood Farms? They are harvesting it out of their greenhouses this time of year, and it is what your body is craving right now… well, besides the undying gratitude of your dining companion.

Lotsa pies from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For this one, I recommend that you just don’t tell them that you bought this pie from Deborah’s Homemade Pies. Make pretend you slaved all day making it yourself. Leave some extra dirty bowls about the kitchen and a bit of stray flour here and there. The fact that you didn’t actually make from scratch the best flippin’ pie your little cupcake has ever tasted will just be our little secret.

Award winning wines from Lopez Island Vineyards. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish off the night with, um, well, more wine! And hey, why not buy that special someone part of a vineyard? Okay, well, not really. But today is your last chance to get in on Lopez Island VineyardsSiegerrebe Futures.” They are taking preorders for case quantities of their Puget Sound Siegerrebe at $20/bottle, prepaid. This wine will be $25 when released in late March! Also, last call on their 2010 Riesling at $10/bottle – that’s $4 off! Hey, you’ll be serving up fine wine while saving some cash. That shows you can be thoughtful and romantic, while being responsible all at the same time. That makes you a keeper!

Hey, there is plenty of 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 18th: Hayton Strawberries, Finnriver Hard Cider, Hama Hama Oysters, Pasteria Lucchese Cannoli… Happy Fathers’ Day Indeed!

June 19, 2011

First-of-the-season strawberries from Hayton Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Say Happy Fathers’ Day with strawberries from Hayton Berry Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. What says, “I love you, dad!” better than strawberry shortcake? Am I right, people? Hayton returns to Ballard today for the 2011 berry season. And hey, Hayton’s strawberries are transitional to organic, which means you won’t be finding the residue of nasty agri-chemicals in these beauties, which will really show dad you care!

Bottle-fermented hard ciders from Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Welcome our newest farm to your Ballard Farmers Market, just in time for Fathers’ Day: Finnriver Farm & Cidery. They’re from Chimacum, over in Jefferson County. They make old-school hard ciders and fruit cordials from their own fruit. Grab a couple of bottles for dad to wash down all those oysters. What oysters, you say?…

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

These oysters! Yes, Hama Hama Oyster Company returns to your Ballard Farmers Market today, and dad’s all over Ballard couldn’t be happier! You see, they had their truck with all their farmers market equipment stolen right out of their storage facility here in Seattle a couple of weeks ago, which is why we’ve missed them the past two weeks. But they’ve got a new truck and a new setup, and they are back today with live oysters and clams, and smoked, pickled and fresh-shucked jar oysters. If you just get dad the first three items on today’s checklist, you will be good with him for the next year. But wait, there’s more!

Spinach from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For the dad with a Popeye complex, we’ve got a new crop of spinach from Nash’s Organic Produce!

Rainier cherries from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For the dad that likes to spit pits, we’ve got these early Rainier cherries from Lyall Farms. And for all of you who are asking, how the %$#@#$!!! can Lyall Farms have Rainier cherries already, here is how. See, this is an early variety bred by WSU researchers specifically for Washington. It is ripe a good 10 days before other Rainiers. Add another 10 days for the location of Lyall’s orchard in Prosser, which is both extra sunny and extra warm, and that’s a three-week advantage. Now you know!

Iris bouquet from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For the sensitive dad, how about a bouquet of these beautiful irises from Children’s Garden. Hey, dad’s like flowers, too, you know!

Communi-Tea Kombucha in a convenient single-serving container! Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And for the dad who needs a boost, how about some kombucha from CommuniTea? Chris now bottles his kombucha in these convenient, single-serving bottles. (Thanks, Chris!) And better yet, all his bottles are reusable. Just return it next week when you get your next supply! I guess that would also make this for the “green” dad, too, then. Just remember, Junior, to have mom buy it for dad, as you have to be 21 to purchase this stuff in Washington.

Fougasse from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I see a Fathers’ Day barbecue in your future. Don’t forget the bread! In fact, get dad some fougasse from Tall Grass Bakery, full of olivy-oniony goodness. Get it in the traditional pretzel-like form, or in a lovely loaf for the slicing. Either way, get two — one just for dad and one for the rest of the family. Trust me on this one!

Mutton and wine from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

What yuh eatin’? Mutton. Does dad like his meat a bit on the gamey side? Well, Sea Breeze Farm has some true mutton this week! Mutton is from two-year-old sheep, whereas lamb is usually six-months old or less. Mutton has a much stronger flavor than lamb. Never had it? Give it a try this week.

Cheese maker Matthew Day from Mt. Townsend Creamery in one of his four cheese caves in Port Townsend. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And I bet dad would love some great, local cheese, eh? Well, you are bound to find something for any dad’s palate at Mt. Townsend Creamery. They have a dozen or so styles of cheese available here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Stop by and do some “quality control” (read: sampling), and then grab the kind that’ll please your dad.

Spicy salad mix from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ooh! Spicy salad mix from Alm Hill Gardens. That’s the trick. Let’s see. We’ve got kombucha, cheese and oysters to balance dad’s equilibrium, then hard cider, mutton, spinach, spicy salad mix and fougasse for dinner. You’ve got a bouquet for the table, cherries for the pit spitting contest and strawberries for shortcake. But it seems like something is still missing. Hmm. Oh, I know what’s missing!!!

Fresh cannoli from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cannoli!!! How could I forget?!? Yes, dad will need a cannoli for dessert. Heck, he may need two or three! I mean, have you had one of Pasteria Lucchese’s cannoli? Boy, howdy! They make outrageous pastas at Pasteria Lucchese, but their desserts are positively out of this world.

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check the What’s Fresh Now! listings in the upper right-hand corner of this page for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now.

Sunday, February 20th: 10 Years of Market Meat

February 20, 2011

George Vojkovich of Skagit River Ranch moving his herd of beef cattle from one pasture to another. Photo copyright 2007 by Zachary D. Lyons.

10 years ago, you could not purchase meat, seafood or poultry at farmers markets in King County. Today, we rely upon farmers markets for the highest quality meat, seafood and poultry produced by true artisans who care about the products they produce and the animals they husband.

Rib steaks from Olsen Farms being prepared for a cooking demonstration at Wallingford Farmers Market by Chef Seth Caswell of emmer&rye. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

In February of 1999, during the annual Washington State Farmers Market Conference at Pike Place Market, a workshop was convened to discuss how to make meat, seafood and poultry sales possible at farmers markets. Attendees at this meeting including USDA inspectors, state food safety regulators, King County health officials, market managers, ranchers, and myself, the newly appointed Executive Director of the Washington State Farmers Market Association. As workshop facilitator, I began the discussion with two instructions: that we were there to figure out how to bring meat, seafood and poultry to farmers markets; and that we would not accept “no” as an answer. The USDA inspectors in attendance refused to speak — they would not answer a single question yes, no or maybe. But everyone else seemed enthusiastic.

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

Interestingly, later that year, I found myself in a conversation with a member of King County Health Department’s meat inspection program — yes, King County is one of the few counties in the U.S. that has one — at the University District Farmers Market. In this conversation, the County staffer said to me she thought people shouldn’t eat animals unless they were willing to travel out to the farm and look the animals in the eyes first. In response, I pointed across the street to the University District Safeway store, and I told her that every Saturday, after they got their fruits and vegetables at the farmers market, many people walked across the street to Safeway to purchase factory-farmed meat. These city folk were very unlikely to ever go to a farm to meet their dinner, I told her. So, if people are going to eat meat anyway, why shouldn’t we give them the option of purchasing that meat directly from farmers who are treating their animals with care and are producing a healthy product?

Cans of albacore tuna from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

In June 2000, King County Executive Ron Sims, at the request of farmer Michaele Blakely of Growing Things Farm and Chris Curtis of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance on the King County Agriculture Commission, convened the King County Farmers Market Health Regulation Task Force. At its first meeting, County inspector Jim Thompson, who had participated in the 1999 workshop, presented what he thought was a regulatory solution to allow meat sales at King County markets by adapting language in the mobile meat sales code. His proposal was enacted with only minor revisions by the King County Board of Health in August 2001.

Goat shoulder steaks from Quilceda Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Then, in late 2001, the first ever USDA inspected Mobile Slaughter Unit (MSU) came on line. Based in Bow, it was built by the Island Grown Farmers Cooperative using USDA grant funding in order to address the extraordinary stress put on both farmers and their animals when transporting animals from the San Juan Islands to processing facilities on the mainland. Consider that Washington had only five such facilities at the time in the entire state that would accept less than 50 animals for processing at one time, and the two in Western Washington were both significantly far south of Seattle. The MSU, by contrast, was designed to be able to travel from farm to farm, and to fit on ferries, so that farmers could humanely dispatch their animals right on the farm, reducing the stress on farmer and animal alike. And it offered the additional benefit of allowing farmers to compost byproducts from the process right on the farm, instead of it being added to feed and pet foods via rendering plants.

Fresh ducks from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

With the new King County code in place, and the MSU online, a revolutionary shift took place at King County farmers markets. Indeed, it changed the way all of us will look at farmers markets forever. The idea that farmers markets could offer more than just fruits and vegetables seemed unthinkable to many before 2001, and yet now, farmers markets are rife with all manner of farm products, from cheese and milk to grain and flour, from fermented foods to wine. Wine was not legal at farmers markets in Washington until 2003. The first grain products entered King County farmers markets in 2007. And yet it is hard to imagine our dear Ballard Farmers Market without these products today.

Fresh whole keta salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Today, Washington has four MSUs, half of all those nationwide. Farms are investing in infrastructure for on-farm processing of all manner of poultry. Fishing vessels no longer must serve at the mercy of large canneries and low prices. And we get to benefit from the pride and care these passionate, hard-working people put into their products, giving us the highest quality meat, seafood and poultry most of us have ever eaten. And they have helped us grow our Ballard Farmers Market into the #1 farmers market in the state, around which an extraordinary food-centric neighborhood has blossomed, from one end of Ballard Avenue to the other.

Lamb rib roasts from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

So today, when you pickup your beloved local meat, seafood and poultry direct from the producer, think about that day back in February 1999, when in essence a sort of Lexington & Concord event took place in the local food movement — when a group of people told, instead of asking, the USDA and local regulators that we wanted local meat at our markets. Because the rest, as they say, is now history!

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check the What’s Fresh Now! listings in the upper right-hand corner of this page for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now. But please note that due to our recent cold weather, some crops may not be available as anticipated.

Sunday, December 12: Pork Bellies, Paprika, Lamb Skins, Smoked White King Salmon, All The Kale You Can Eat (for a price), Great Holiday Gifts & Miner’s Lettuce (really)!!!

December 11, 2010

A Mother's Day 2009 visit to Ballard Farmers Market from the entire family Vojkovich of Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

See how good looking you can be when you eat nothing but the bounty found at your Ballard Farmers Market? Actually, Eiko (left), Nicole & George Vojkovich of Skagit River Ranch are in large part responsible for keeping us all healthy and good looking around here with all of their pasture-finished, certified organic beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and for my money, the best sweet Italian sausage around these parts. Are you looking for a special holiday roast? Click through to their website (or ask them at the Market) to see how to call them to pre-order your whole beef tenderloins, prime rib roasts, boneless hams and pork bellies now, and they’ll deliver them to you at the Market on December 19th.

Spicy and delicious paprikas from Some Like It Hott! Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Welcome back, Some Like It Hott! Just in time to put some kick into your holidays. Charlie Bodony got his itch for all things paprika from his Transylvanian ancestors, and now he raises, dries, smokes and grinds his own paprikas, in the style of his elders, in Port Townsend. His paprikas range from mild to atomic, with a wide variety of flavors and colors. And don’t be intimidated by those small bottles. A little goes a long way. Oh, and ask if he’s got any of his homemade liquid smoke. He makes it from the condensation created when he alder smokes his chili peppers.

Fresh, tasty miner's lettuce from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I suppose that, given how screwed up the growing seasons have been this year, we should not be surprised by the appearance of miner’s lettuce from Full Circle Farm in December, instead of February. Miner’s lettuce is native to these parts, and it got its name when miners foraged it for food back in the late 1800s. Still widely found growing wild all over Western Washington in the late winter and early spring, it is now also cultivated by many local farmers. It’s leaves have a spinachy toothsomeness to them, though the flavor is very mild, and it takes well to a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice with some pinenuts or sprinkled over a pizza or gratin raw after they’re done cooking.

Fun hair barrettes from Solstice Designs. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Solstice Designs has all manner of lovely items to pretty up  yourself, or that special someone, this holiday season. (Not that you need any prettying up, mind you.) You’ll find fun and inspired earrings, pendants, necklaces, and more, including these great barrettes that’ll have all your friends asking, “where did you get that?”

Gift sampler 3-packs of canned tuna from Fishing Vessel St. Tuna. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For the person who thinks they have everything, how about a gift 3-pack of canned tuna from Fishing Vessel St. Jude? They get three of St. Jude’s most popular versions of their canned tuna in a handy steel can, complete with colorful, decorative and informative label. And the tuna contained therein is, frankly, the best canned tuna they will find anywhere. Plus, it’s low mercury and high in omega fatty acids. Just don’t drain off the liquid. They don’t add water. That liquid is the delicious and nutritious fats from the tuna itself!

Sheep skins from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Olsen Farms has lotsa potatoes, beef, pork, lamb, bacon, sausage, ham, and right now, a limited number of sheep skins. These gorgeous sheep skins are soft, warm, and make for a cozy Hollywood moment with someone special in front of a crackling fireplace with a bottle of red wine from Sea Breeze or Lopez Island. And never fear, they are also washable, for when you ruin the moment by spilling that red wine on it. They’ve got about a dozen going for $120 each, and they go fast every year, so get yours early!

Dried fava beans from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Stoney Plains had a rockin’ year for fava beans, and lucky for us, they dried some of them. Talk about the ultimate year-round farm. Greens and beans all winter long! So enjoy this new addition to the dried bean lineup at your Ballard Farmers Market, and enjoy your fava beans all winter long.

Adam Lewis, from House Of The Sun raw & vegan foods, stands behind lots of Nash's kale. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

From the category of “a picture speaks a thousand words” comes this photo of Adam from House Of The Sun raw and vegan foods holding up their deliciously famous kale chips while he stands behind a huge pile of Nash’s kale that he will use to make more kale chips. It is one thing to be a local food processor who makes a great product. It is another to be one who makes that great product from local ingredients!

Red storage onions from Anselmo's. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Anselmo’s, your Ballard Farmers Market’s founding farmer, is always a great source for all things onions, shallots and garlic. Just take a gander at these beautiful red storage onions, for instance. Just think of the Christmas morning bagels and lox with a slice of one of these lovelies!

Goat milk soap from Harmony's Way. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Is your skin sensitive to many soaps? Are you looking for something milder? How about goat milk soap from Harmony’s Way in Chimicum? They raise and milk their own goats to make this wonderful soap, and they offer it in a variety of shapes, sizes, scents and designs. And while maybe a lot of the girlier looking and smelling bars won’t appeal to us manly men, these new standard-sized rectangular bars (above) with rugged, manly aromas will suit us just fine, so we can still look tough, even while pampering our delicate skin.

Smoked whole sides of white king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Are you entertaining an uppity bunch this holiday season — you know, the kind that will only accept the best nibbles laid out in front of them? Then pickup a side of smoked white king salmon from Wilson Fish. White salmon is the oiliest, most moist of all salmon, and when smoked, it is beyond divine. Lay one of these suckers out with your holiday spread, then scoff at your friends’ tables when you go to their parties!

Milk, cream and butter from Golden Glen Creamery. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen over the next few weeks preparing all sorts of delicious recipes that call for butter, cream and milk. Lucky for you, Golden Glen Creamery has you covered. Bottled in refillable glass bottles for superior flavor and a kindness to the environment, their milk and cream has few rivals, and their farmstead butter is the only farmstead butter made in Washington. But cream supplies are limited, so get there early!

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check the What’s Fresh Now! listings in the upper right-hand corner of this page for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now. But please note that due to our recent cold weather, some crops may not be available as anticipated.


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