Posts Tagged ‘milk’

Sunday, February 24th: Swiss Cheese, Daffodils, Stinging Nettles & Spinach!

February 23, 2013
Smoky peppercorn & chives Swiss cheese from Rosecrest Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Smoky peppercorn & chives Swiss cheese from Rosecrest Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And the hits just keep on coming! Have you met our newest newest farm, Rosecrest Farms from Chehalis? They are a cows milk dairy that specializes in making Swiss styles of cheeses, something truly unique to them in Washington state. And it is some delish cheese, too. This is not your sliced off of a big block and full of ginormous holes at the “deli” in the Big Box store kind of “Swiss” cheese. This is beautiful, rich cheese — the stuff the Swiss produce on steep hillsides, or Wisconsin. It is not the stuff that people who have never been to Philadelphia slap on a so-called “Philly Cheese Steak”, a crime punishable by a serious flogging in Philly, cuz fake Swiss cheese does not belong on a cheese steak. Just sayin’. But I digress. See, this stuff — indeed, the smoky peppercorn & chives swiss cheese pictured here — is cheese I find myself longing for once I’ve finished off the most recent chunk I brought home. And you will, too. So stop by and say ‘hi’ today, get you some cheeseliciousness from our newest farmstead cheese maker, finish it off while you watch the Oscars, and then spend the rest of the week wishing you had gotten more… until you do just that next Sunday.

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

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

As if stomping its feet and demanding that we acknowledge that it is, in fact, still winter, a nice, big, blustery storm blew through on Friday, and snow was being measured by the foot in the passes. And yet, as much as the talking heads on the one-eyed god tried to proclaim it “the strongest storm of the year,” it came and went, and now we seem back into our seemingly winterless winter once again. I’m not complaining, mind you. After umpteen years of watching crops come in a month late, we are actually seeing some signs of some crops coming in a bit early this year. And in that spirit, we celebrate the return of daffodils from Children’s Garden! A true harbinger of spring indeed, they will breathe some life back into your hibernating spirit.

Stinging nettles from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Stinging nettles from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And yet more proof that the days are getting longer, the temps higher, and that spring approaches, are these wild stinging nettles from Foraged & Found Edibles. The first of the season are in your Ballard Farmers Market today! Just fight the urge to stick your hand recklessly into the bag. They don’t call them stinging nettles for nothing.

Goat milk from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Goat milk from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The other new dairy farm here at your Ballard Farmers Market is, of course, Twin Oaks Creamery, which is actually a neighbor of Rosecrest Farms down in Chehalis. And they are now bringing bottles of pasteurized goat milk to your Ballard Farmers Market. But you know, I can’t help but notice a typo in their cute little goat sign above. I mean, isn’t there an “a” missing from it?

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.

So maybe this winter spinach from Nash’s Organic Produce isn’t gonna win any beauty contests, but it is delicious. And seriously, it’s spinach… in February! It may not be those delicate, tender leaves you get in May, but it is loaded with flavor, courtesy of having to weather cool, dark, wet winter days and nights, and it is loaded with the nutrients your bod is craving right now. So have at it, people. And don’t be so judgmental!

Mt. Fuji apples from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Mt. Fuji apples from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Your Ballard Farmers Market is still filled with plenty of apples, even if our supply of orchardists has suffered a bit of attrition lately. Tiny’s Organic Produce has a nice selection of certified-organic apples, like these Mt. Fuji apples. They’ve also got dried fruit and apple sauce, too, made from their own fruit. If you’ve seen entirely too much of your doctor this winter, you clearly have not been eating enough apples. It’s time to rectify that!

Bread & Butter pickles from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bread & Butter pickles from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And let’s face it. Pickles is just good food. Grab a jar of one of Purdy Pickles’ many varieties of pickles to enjoy alongside your Swiss cheese during the Oscars tonight. Perhaps these Bread & Butter pickles will do the trick. You can thank me later.

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.

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, February 3rd: Milk (Cow & Goat), Eggs (Chicken & Duck), Carrots (Sweet & Delicious), Succulents (Beautiful & Drought Resistant) & Other Wonderful Stuff!

February 3, 2013
Bottled cows milk from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bottled cows milk from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Did you get a chance to meet our newest farm last Sunday at your Ballard Farmers Market? If not, let me introduce you to Twin Oaks Creamery. Twin Oaks, meet Ballard. Twin Oaks is a small, family-owned and operated dairy farm in Chehalis that manages both dairy goats and cows. And they bring with them to Ballard the return pasteurized bottled milk from both, as well as fresh and aged cheeses, and soon, yogurt. Their milk is whole milk, not homogenized, so it is real milk, and it is delicious! We’ve been without pasteurized milk since September, and we are very excited about the arrival of Twin Oaks. So come meet your local dairy farmers today, and tomorrow, you can have a super bowl of cereal with delicious local milk! (Did you see what I did there?)

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

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

In years past, we’ve been lean on eggs at your Ballard Farmers Market this time of year. But not this year. In fact, our egg producers are flush with eggs right now, and for the first time in months, they actually didn’t sell out of eggs this past Sunday. So, if you’re one of those folks who has simply given up hope of getting farm-fresh eggs on Sunday afternoon, because you just can’t drag yourself down to your Ballard Farmers Market before 1:30 p.m., this is your winter! Fear not. And get thee down here today. These lovely eggs (above) are from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. The white ones are duck eggs and the brown ones are chicken eggs. And just so’s you know I ain’t just blowing smoke, I took this photo last Sunday at — wait for it — 3 p.m.! Just sayin’.

February's Tamale-of-the-Month from Patty Pan Grill. Photo courtesy Patty Pan Grill.

February’s Tamale-of-the-Month from Patty Pan Grill. Photo courtesy Patty Pan Grill.

Patty Pan Grill just launched at the new year a great new program of offering seasonal tamales that changes each month. Made with great local ingredients, you can take them home to cook or eat them here. February’s offering is Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese & Olsen Farms Potato Tamales. Stop by and grab some today, because February is a short month!

Nash's Best Carrots from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s Best Carrots from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

There’s a reason why they call them Nash’s Best Carrots. They are really good carrots! And Nash’s Organic Produce has lots of them… but not for long. In fact, I hear that they may only last through next Sunday’s market. But they keep incredibly well in your fridge, so stock up today. Then you’ll have them for soups, salads, juices, root roasts, stews and more for the rest of the winter. But if you dillydally, you’re gonna miss them until the next harvest begins weeks from now.

Succulent chicks from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Succulent chicks from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just up the road from Nash’s, a little west in Port Angeles, is Phocas Farms. They seem to mysteriously disappear from your Ballard Farmers Market every fall, but it is really no mystery at all. Fall is when the saffron harvest happens, and Jimmy puts all of his attention into plucking, cleaning and drying every delicate thread of saffron all day long for two or three months. Then he shifts his attention to transferring the fall’s crop of succulent chicks from their parents into small pots to get all set and ready for coming back to your Ballard Farmers Market… TODAY! So if you are developing a gardening itch already, but you realize it is still too early to plant most other stuff, get you some succulents from Phocas Farms today, get them in the ground, and then they will be all ready to do what they do best come summer, which is to flourish despite your neglect and weeks without rain!

Baby baby bok choy from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Baby baby bok choy from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

From the department of redundancy department comes baby baby bok choy from Stoney Plains Organic Farm in Tenino. These are the most delicate of baby shoots of the vegetable that is correctly known as baby bok choy. See, baby bok choy is not baby bok choy. They are completely different beasts. So, in this case, these really are baby baby bok choy. And perhaps the most fascinating thing is how long I can go on with this inane discussion with seemingly no shame. But never you mind that. Get yourself some of this deliciousness today! Toss in hot pan with olive oil and garlic. Give a quick toss or two. Done. You can thank me later. Just don’t come too late looking for these, as they’ll sell out early. (Oh, and Terry, please save me some, eh? Thanks!)

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

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

Today is the last day for Booth Canyon Orchard for the season. They will exhaust today their 2012 fall harvest of heirloom apples and pears, like these D’Anjou pears, and they will retire to the Methow Valley to prune trees (or, if they’re smart, they’ll spend a week or three in Mexico) in preparation for their triumphant return next September. So stop by, stock up, thank them for feeding us so well, and send them on their way with a hug!

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.

It’s the first Sunday of the month, and that means our monthly visit from Fishing Vessel St. Jude with the finest cannedsmokedfrozendried, and just generally delicious local albacore tuna you’ll find anywhere. Remember, it’s low in mercury and high in beneficial omega-fatty acids, because this is adolescent tuna from the North Pacific. So stock up for the month, as we won’t see them again until March 3rd!

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.

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, September 9th: Sweet Potatoes, Winter Squash, Black-Eyed Susans, Saffron Corms & Some Folks Taking A Break After Today’s Market, So Stock Up!

September 9, 2012

Black-eyed Susans from Pa Garden. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I don’t usually start off with flowers in my weekly blog posts, but I also don’t usually have a photo of these stunning black-eyed susans from Pa Garden. They just scream September, don’t they? You know, ever since I first began working with farmers markets like a century ago — okay, it was 1991, but still… — I have come to recognize that our seasons are color-coded. And at no time of year is this more evident than right now, as we begin our shift from summer to fall crops. Think about that as you continue on reading this week’s epistle, and enjoy it in all its splendor as you walk through your Ballard Farmers Market today. Because we have now entered the highest of the high season — September is peak season for local produce, and at no other time of year will you find more different crops on our farmers’ tables than right now!

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look, kids! It’s sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms at your Ballard Farmers Market. Yeah, baby! Sweet, nutritious tuberous deliciousness! And an early taste of fall. Only one local farm grows sweet potatoes to sell at Ballard Farmers Market. Most in Seattle come from far, far away. Enjoy these. They are wonderful!

Fresh, Washington coastal red king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Right now is also peak season for fresh king salmon from Wilson Fish. Why? Because right now, the salmon are beginning to swim from the Washington coast, where they’ve been fattening themselves up for months now, through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and into the Frasier River, where they will make one of the longest journeys of any fish on earth, deep into Canada to eventually spawn until they die. See, once they leave the ocean and enter the River, they stop eating, so they need to have stored a lot of fat up before they start that journey. Add to that that we are seeing big returns of four and five year kings this year, and the result is fish that are much larger and loaded with flavorful fat, making them the best of the year. And add to that that the Washington coastal salmon season ends in just a couple of weeks, and the answer is that now is the time to enjoy incredible, local salmon!

Saffron corms from Phocas Farms. Photo courtesy Phocas Farms.

“This will be the second of three, possibly four, Market Sundays at which I’ll have saffron corms available for purchase,” says Jim Robinson of Phocas Farms. They are sustainably grown with OMRI approved nutrients in an herbicide and pesticide free environment. Many know Phocas Farms for their spectacular collection of succulents, and some know them for the saffron they produce in Port Angeles. The problem lately is that they are a victim of their own success, having all of their saffron harvest pre-sold to many of Seattle’s top chefs. That means, if you want some of Jim’s saffron, your best bet is to get some of these saffron corms today and grow it yourself! (For more information about saffron cultivation, visit SaffronBulbs.com.)

Varnish clams from Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These little clams are affectionately called varnish clams by the good folks of Hama Hama Oyster Company because of the color of their shells. They are tasty, and you should eat as many of them as you can, because in reality, they are an invasive species brought here from the East Coast many years ago. So, you’ll actually being doing yourself and Hama Hama a favor by gorging yourself on them! (Don’t you just love mixing virtue with gluttony?)

Winter squash from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of an early taste of fall, how’s about winter squash from Stoney Plains Organic Farm? Yuppers, they’ve got it already. Deeply sweet with a divine texture, you gotta love ‘em. And keep in mind that they store really well, so even if you are not quite in the mood for it now, get some for later. Because we’ve only got four more weeks left in the season for your Ballard Farmers Market. Just store them in a cool, dark, dry place, and be sure to let the stems fully dry out without molding, and whatever you do, don’t remove the stem!

Award-winning jersey cow yogurt from Silver Springs Creamery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The good news is that this is the best yogurt in America. This jersey cow yogurt from Silver Springs Creamery is rich and creamery and absolutely amazing, and it won Best Yogurt at the 2010 American Cheese Society Awards. Their jersey cow milk and goat milkyogurt and cheese are great as well. The bad news is that this will be their last week at your Ballard Farmers Market for a while, as Farmer Eric is taking a bit of a rest break, due to doctors orders. So, stock up on yogurt and cheese today, as it keeps, and get your last fix of their milk for a while.

Peppers from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of rocking the fall colors, how’s about these peppers from Colinwood Farms. They’re on fi-wuh, as Elmer Fudd would say. These babies vary in intensity, so do as questions, so you’ll get what you’re looking for. I am loving grill-roasting peppers right now. Their sweet meatiness combined with the grill’s smokiness are simply delicious.

Celery from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Celery seems so un-sexy, especially amidst all this magnificent late summer color, but fall is a season that begs for good celery — for making soups, roasts, salads, stuffings and more. And no one grows better celery than Boistfort Valley Farm. Seriously, if you’ve only ever experienced celery from the Big Box stores, you are in for a real treat. This celery is fresher, sweeter, tastier and more nutritious. I know. You’ve been hearing all that anti-organic propaganda lately saying it is no more nutritious than conventionally-grown produce, right, and that it still has pesticide residues. Well, perhaps someone should have suggested that the folks down in Palo Alto at Stanford University take the time to actually compare conventionally-grown crops, and large-scale organic crops, for that matter, to freshly-harvested local crops at farmers market. Because the reality is that the crop diversity, care for the soil and the fact that crops are harvested usually within 24 hours of coming to market makes the crops on the tables of the small, local, family farms at your Ballard Farmers Market more nutritious. The better the soil, the better the crop variety, and the fresher it is, the more nutrients are packed in them. Just sayin’.

Lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now, there’s some fall color, eh? Wild lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles! These dense, earthy mushrooms are incredibly flavorful, easy to work with, and make for an excellent accompaniment to meat, fish, pasta and more. And we are blessed with an extra early, long season for them this year, so enjoy!

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

If you are looking for non-toxic candles made from natural, essential oils, you must check out our own Ascents Candles at your Ballard Farmers Market. Think about it. You are likely burning candles in your home, right? But most candles are made from materials that, when burned, release toxic gases into the air… meaning into your house. I’m thinking you probably don’t want to be doing that, right? Solution: get your candles from Ascents Candles. Simple. Except that Julianna is about to take a month-long break from the Market after today. So stock up! You’ll find lots of great prices today, too!

Cucumbers from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look! Even the cucumbers are getting in on the colorful action today! Just take a gander at this collection of the fruity vegetables from Full Circle Farm. From slicers to lemon cukes to picklers, they’ve got a cucumber for every occasion, and I’m not even sure what that means.

Sunrise apples from Jerzy Boyz. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another sure sign of the waning days of summer is the return of Jerzy Boyz with their gorgeous organic orchard fruit, like these sunrise apples. They grow a number of heirloom varieties not grown by any other orchardist at your Ballard Farmers Market, from peaches to apples to pears. Stop by, welcome them back, try a sample or two and pick up some fruit for the week!

Finally, another reminder to please bring your own bags today, and 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.

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, May 20th: A Celebration of Washington Cheese!

May 20, 2012

Farmstead cheeses from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Blessed are the cheese makers. And why not? They practice the oldest form of food preservation, after all. Thousands of years ago, long before refrigeration and pasteurization, we lowly humans figured out that if we aged milk in cool caves for a certain period of time, we could make tasty food from it that would last for quite a while without killing us. We didn’t necessarily understand that science of it back then, but we did appreciate the whole “trial and error” thing, and making cheese by aging cultured milk in caves seemed to work pretty well. Little did we know then that we were encouraging the healthy microorganisms that make cheese, well, cheese to overpower pathogenic microorganisms through the aging and drying process, resulting it a stable, safe and nutritious food product. We just knew that a) it didn’t kill us, b) it gave us energy to get through our chores, and c) it tasted good. (Of course, our “we all really need to be living in protective bubbles” obsessed government regulators of today would have us think this oldest form of food preservation should be banned for our own safety.) Well, in honor of Washington’s growing number of great cheese makers, and Seattle Cheese Week, we pay tribute to six wonderful, local cheese makers you will find right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, starting with Sea Breeze Farm (cheeses pictured above), who’s motto is, “Legalize Milk!”

Roger Wechsler of Samish Bay Cheese. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Why is Roger Wechsler of Samish Bay Cheese smiling? Maybe it is because he’s been winning so many awards lately for his cheeses. Indeed, over just the last two years, five different cheeses of his have won awards at the American Cheese Society Competition. Those cheeses include LadysmithLadysmith with ChivesAged Ladysmith, Labneh and Queso Jalapeno. Stop by Samish Bay’s stand today to sample some, and you’ll be taking some home with you for sure!

Fresh chevre from Port Madison. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Port Madison Farm makes lovely goat cheeses, from fresh cheeses to aged. Best known perhaps for their wonderful fresh chevre (above), don’t miss out on their ashed St. Helens, or their spring cheese, an aged variety. And each year, they seem to add another variety, so stop by to see what they’ve got now! Just don’t get here too late. They always sell out.

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 why is Mt. Townsend Creamery’s Matthew Day smiling? For much that same reason as Roger is, I imagine. Of the dozen or so varieties of cheeses Mt. Townsend makes, three won awards in recent years from the American Cheese Society, though for my money, they all deserve awards. The award winners are CampfireNew Moon and Seastack. But again, try them all. And frankly, if you aren’t eating your bagels and Loki lox with their Truffled Fromage, you are, quite simply, out of your friggin’ mind!

Eric Sundstrom of Silver Springs Creamery chats with one of the girls. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eric Sundstrom of Silver Springs Creamery stands out in his field for his jersey milk products. Literally, in this case, as he stands out in one of his pastures chatting with one of the girls that produce all that beautiful milk. If you haven’t ever tried his jersey milk, it is extraordinary. So rich, it is yellow. And so is the jersey yogurt he makes from it. This stuff has a beautiful, rich fat cap on top, with an unsurpassed flavor. And you don’t have to take just my word for it. It won first place in the yogurt category in 2010 from the American Cheese Society! Give it a try, and it’ll win you over, too.

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

The Jensens at Golden Glen Creamery have been making cheese up in Bow for years. Located just a few miles from Samish Bay Cheese, they are part of a proud tradition of gouda makers in Washington’s Northwest Interior. But they also make cheddarfetafromagefarmstead butter, and much more. Stop by, grab a few toothpicks, and take to full taste test tour to find your favorite(s)!

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.


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