Posts Tagged ‘pears’

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, September 21st: Today We Enjoy One Last Official Day Of The Endless Summer Of 2014!

September 20, 2014
Ocra shelling beans from Alm Hill Gardens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ocra shelling beans from Alm Hill Gardens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Orca beans from Alm Hill Gardens are one of those varieties of shelling beans that was developed in partnership with Washington State University in an effort to produce beans that would thrive in the climate of Western Washington. Alm Hill actually developed and named these right on their farm in Everson, Washington, a stone’s throw from the Canadian border. They are gorgeous, aren’t they? And they do look like Orcas. Alm Hill has a number of fresh shelling beans, both in the pod and shucked, right now. If you haven’t cooked with fresh shelling beans before, I highly recommend it. Mmm. Think of the soups, the salads, the sides… think of the succotash!

BTW, today there will be a major People’s Climate Action March in New York City, but you won’t have to hop a climate-deteriorating flight there to get in on the action. You can simply ride your bike or hop a bus to Downtown Seattle (check the People’s Climate Action site for event details on many marches globally). Now, why should you care? I mean, if global warming means we get more summers like this, we’re sitting pretty here in Seattle, right? Wrong! Do you love oysters? Because our spewing of massive amounts of carbon from fossil fuels into the atmosphere over the last 50 years has made Puget Sound so acidic that oysters are having to be spawned elsewhere and then planted in our oyster beds now. And the krill that our beloved local salmon feeds on are having even more trouble reproducing, which spells trouble for the salmon themselves. So, if you like to eat great local seafood, just for starters, then it’s time to care!

Asian pears from Tiny's Organic at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Asian pears from Tiny’s Organic at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These Asian pears from Tiny’s Organic may look like apples, but they are all pear. Now, I say that only to then tell you that they are really another fruit unto themselves in many ways. They have a flavor that is almost wine-like. The point is, they are wonderful, and you should get some.

Oh, and speaking of climate change, cooler temps will come this year… eventually. If you think you could use some help with your utilities this coming winter, be sure to stop by the Market Information Desk today to find out how Seattle Public Utilities can support you with their winter assistance program.

Fresh, Washington coastal red king salmon from Wilson Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh, Washington coastal red king salmon from Wilson Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Today is the last day in 2014 for fresh Washington coastal king salmon from Wilson Fish at your Ballard Farmers Market. The Washington coastal fishing season closed earlier this week. Of course, next week, they will still have plenty of their amazing smoked salmon, as well as other fresh fish. But this is your last chance this year to get your fresh, truly local king salmon on!

Sweet corn from Nash's Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet corn from Nash’s Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s Organic Produce is rocking the organic sweet corn right now with their biggest crop in years. You can help them by bringing lots of it home and making with it this recipe from Nash’s for corn salsa:
Corn Salsa

2 cups sliced, ripe tomatoes
2 cups fresh corn kernels
12 oz-can black beans, rinsed well, drained
4 green onions, sliced thin
1 or 2 green jalapeño, seeded, diced fine
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 fresh lime, juiced
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. sugar
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients in a large glass or stainless steel bowl to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. May be made up to 8 hours ahead. Toss well before serving.

Also, Nash’s encourages you to save the date for Clallam County Farm Day and their Fall Barn Dance and Farmland Fundraiser featuring Seattle sensation Spoonshine.  On Saturday, October 4th, Farm Day runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Nash’s Community Potluck begins at 6 p.m., with the band starting at 7:30pm. Nash’s also has hay and straw available for your animal and mulching needs. Please contact Sid at the Nash’s Sales Desk at (360) 681-7458.
San Marzano paste tomatoes from Alvarez Organic Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

San Marzano paste tomatoes from Alvarez Organic Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

San Marzano paste tomatoes are the pride of Italy, growing near Naples in the fertile volcanic soils around Mount Vesuvius. So it is no wonder that they also thrive in the rich volcanic soils in the Yakima Valley of Eastern Washington at Alvarez Organic Farms. And in this epic year of the tomato, this is perhaps the best year we’ve ever had for these little treasures. They are a thick fleshed tomato with fewer seeds than a Roma tomato, and a robust flavor that makes them an ideal sauce tomato. If you ever wanted to can some sauce tomatoes, this is the year, and these are the tomatoes to can! They are great roasted and grilled, too.

Snow peas from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Snow peas from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Look kids! Snow peas are back at Boistfort Valley Farm! Yes, Boistfort as a late crop of snow peas they are harvesting now, right alongside their celery root and winter squash! See, when the summer lasts this long, you can squeeze extra plantings out of it. Enjoy!

Gluten-free brownies from Nuflours Gluten-Free Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Gluten-free brownies from Nuflours Gluten-Free Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These gluten-free brownies from Nuflours Gluten-free Bakery are as good as they look. Seriously. If you require gluten-free baked goods, these will thrill you with the bakedliciousness you’ve been missing. Even if you don’t require gluten-free goods, you will still love these. And Nuflours uses all sorts of yummy local ingredients from local farmers in many of their goodies. Right now, their products feature produce from Hayton Farms, Kirsop Farm, Martin Family Orchards and Stoney Plains Organic Farm, to name a few.

Late summer flower bouquet from Pa Garden at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Late summer flower bouquet from Pa Garden at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget to pick up a lovely bouquet of late summer flowers from Pa Garden today at your Ballard Farmers Market. These beautiful, local flowers are fresh, affordable, have a smaller carbon footprint, and come with the face of a local farmer, unlike the flowers from the Big Box store which come via airplane from places like Holland, Israel, South Africa and who knows where.

Organic fig brittle with almonds from Pete's Perfect Toffee at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic fig brittle with almonds from Pete’s Perfect Toffee at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s end on something truly sweet today. This is the latest creation from Pete’s Perfect Toffeeorganic fig brittle with almonds. It’s delicious. And it has perfectly good for you things like figs and almonds in it, so you can enjoy it while justifying away any misplaced feelings of guilt.

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 14th: Signs Of The Changing Seasons, In Spite Of The Thermometer!

September 14, 2014
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.

Sorry I’m late getting this week’s post up. I was waylaid by the wonderful wedding of Chefs Dustin and Shannon of Art of the Table. Short on ceremony. Long on merriment and amazing local food, much of which came from the farmers right here at your Ballard Farmers Market! (Heck, some of those farmers were even there.) Congrats, kids! But let’s get down to bidniz here, as there is plenty of it. We are seeing strong signs of fall’s approach on our tables this week, in spite of what today’s weather forecast looks like. And cooler, longer nights (and a few epic gully washers) have brought water temps down enough for Hama Hama Oysters to be able to harvest from their oyster beds again. Says Lauren, “We’ll have Hama Hama and Blue Pool oysters again this weekend. Oyster season is back on!”

Suncrest peaches from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Suncrest peaches from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And I love it when our vendors make it easy for me by writing copy and sending it to me. Text like this from Stina of Booth Canyon Orchard:

We have TONS of Italian prunes this year. We will have them at Ballard Farmers Market for at least the next 3-4 weeks. Also this week, very special Crandall BLACK CURRANTS. Not sure what one does with them, but European baker types rave about them. This week also: Sweet 16 apples, Orcas pears (this week only), and more Suncrest peaches (pictured above… last week for those).

And if you have a favorite use for those Crandall Black Currents, do share. (And thanks, Stina!)

Black turtle shelling beans from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Black turtle shelling beans from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things Farm’s lovely displays of green beans have given way to displays of shelling beans now. See, that’s what many of those green beans do. They mature into these shelling beans. It’s like “green onions” and “green garlic.” It’s the immature fruit of the plant. And these black turtle shelling beans are the mature fruit. If you like black beans, these are them, fresh from the field. Pop open the pod, and those beans are black as night! And they will taste better than any dried beans you’ve ever had, too.

Italian prunes from ACMA Mission Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Italian prunes from ACMA Mission Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of Italian prunes, ACMA Mission Orchards has them right now, too. But aren’t these really plums, you ask? Aren’t all prunes dried plums? Actually, all plums are members of the family Prunus. These are proper prunes, with a more oval shape, to a plum’s round shape. And all prunes are freestones, meaning they come easily off of their pit for easy eating, drying and cooking. Think of the sauces, chutney and jams! This is an extraordinary year for these prunes, like so many other crops, so enjoy it while you can.

Celery from One Leaf Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Celery from One Leaf Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s getting deep into celery season folks. Nothing like some crisp celery on a crisp night. Besides, you are cooking more now, and your heartier fall recipes call for lots of this super food. Lucky for you, One Leaf Farm has some gorgeous celery right now, grown just a few miles from here in Carnation!

Gene Panida of Wilson Fish holding a whole wild Washington king salmon at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Gene Panida of Wilson Fish holding a whole wild Washington king salmon at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

The Washington coastal king salmon fishing season closes on September 15th — that’s Tuesday. And it means that you have just this Sunday and next to get some of this amazing fresh, local king salmon from our friends at Wilson Fish. And don’t forget their amazing smoked king salmon, too!

Belgian-style ales from Propolis Brewing. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Belgian-style ales from Propolis Brewing at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Piper from Propolis Brewing reports that they have a few new releases today, and the return of their award-winning Litha, their chamomile golden saison. Their three new releases include:
  • Salmonberry Sour 7.5% ~ a tart, creamy, woodsy, can’t-put-your-finger-on-it…wild salmonberry ale… Ridiculous…and very limited…
  • Erthe 4.5% ~ a crisp golden saison brewed with thyme (classic refreshing Golden Saison)
  • Gardin 7.5% ~ an amber herbal saison aged in a beautiful Eaglemount Syrah barrel
And it’s last call for Corona Farms Borage ~ a borage flower ale with delicate cucumber, floral, marmalade champagne notes.
Coriander from Oxbow Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Coriander from Oxbow Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Here is something we don’t see very often at your Ballard Farmers Market: coriander! But given this summer’s heat, many a farmer’s cilantro crop bolted. And a few patient farmers just let it go to seed. And what is the seed of cilantro called? That’s right, it’s called coriander. If you are in the market for the freshest coriander you will ever encounter, stop by Oxbow Farm today and grab a bunch. Oh, and they’ll have some righteous strawberries today, too, as well as some lovely table grapes.

Concorde pears from Tiny's Organic at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Concorde pears from Tiny’s Organic at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Big, beautiful and delicious Concorde pears from Tiny’s Organic are in at your Ballard Farmers Market. These giants of the pear world are the quintessential pear, a cross between the great ancient Conference and Comice varieties, developed in England years ago. They enjoy a superior flavor, texture and a dramatic, classical pear shape. They are only around for a month or two each fall, so enjoy them while you can!

Winter squash from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter squash from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Holy season changes, Batman! Winter squash is in the house at your Ballard Farmers Market! Yup. Several farmers today will have the sweet, delicious gourds favored for the cold, dark, wet months. With our nights longer and cooler, it is time to crank up the oven and roast you some squashy deliciousness, filling your whole home with its aroma before you devour it mercilessly. These particular beauties come from Boistfort Valley Farm.

Sweet corn from Alm Hill Gardens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet corn from Alm Hill Gardens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

More Westside sweet corn has arrived at your Ballard Farmers Market. You’ll find these big, beautiful, sweet ears of corn from Alm Hill Gardens in Everson.

Here is a tip for chosing corn:instead of pulling open the top to see if it is filled out, simply run your thumb over the outside of the husk. You can easily feel the mature kernels inside. See, when you actually tear the corn open, you are actually ruining it either for yourself or the next person, because the minute you do that, all the delicious sugars in it that make it so sweet begin to turn to starch. So please, never tear open the husk to examine it before you buy it. If you need help choosing the best ears, just ask. Our farmers are more than happy to lend you a hand.

Kimchi, Krauts & more from Firefly Kitchens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Kimchi, Krauts & more from Firefly Kitchens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Look who’s back today at your Ballard Farmers Market! It’s Firefly Kitchens, and their awesome selection of naturally fermented vegetables made with great local ingredients. Choose from their award-winning kimchi, their Yin-Yang carrots, or any of their krauts, from the classic kraut that is the friend of hot dogs everywhere, to the brilliant caraway kraut that pairs perfectly with any of the various bratwursts from the farmers in the Market.

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

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

You may recall that 2013 was a great year for many crops, but a lousy year for carrots. And the carrots for which Nash’s Organic Produce is famous took a particularly bad beating last year. So this year, to hedge their bets, Nash’s planted a lot more carrots. Of course, as Murphy’s Law would have it, 2014 turned out to be a great year for carrots. The result is, Nash’s has lots of their famous carrots now, and they are offering them at a special price today.

Sweet peppers from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet peppers from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Colinwood Farm is harvesting a bunch of beautiful peppers from their greenhouses in Port Townsend this summer. They have these colorful sweet peppers as well as a great selection of hot peppers. And while it is true that Westside peppers tend not to be as hot as Eastside peppers, even the Westsiders are toasty this year. See, hot peppers get their heat enhanced by the sun. More sun and more heat means hotter peppers. Their poblano peppers are particularly good right now. Enjoy!

Young reishi mushrooms from Ascended Grounds at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Young reishi mushrooms from Ascended Grounds at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

This is a block of fresh, young reishi mushrooms that were ground by Cascadia Mushrooms for Ascended Grounds. Ascended Grounds then takes these wonderfully medicinal fungi and makes beverages and tinctures that are both delicious and darn good for you. I’m not sure I am versed well enough to do it justice, but they say, “Ascended Grounds transforms what it means to drink a cup of coffee. Using the ascended health practices of ancient masters, we are awakening your mug and your consciousness to upgrade your health and quality of life. Let us introduce you to the incredible synergy of medicinal mushrooms and coffee. Your ‘morning cup of joe’ will never be generic again!” Stop by today for a taste, and for the whole story, at your Ballard Farmers Market!

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, August 24th: Prolific Crops of August, 2014!

August 23, 2014
Bags of pickling cucumbers from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Bags of pickling cucumbers from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

As growing seasons go here in Washington, few in memory have been more epic than the summer of 2014. Crop after crop has come in earlier, produced larger yields and tasted better than ever before. And one such stunning crop is pickling cucumbers, which have been with us in earnest since a mind-blowing June! These particular bags of pickling cukes come from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. As you can see, their cukes are nice and straight, making them ideal for packing in mason jars for pickling. And you can get these bags pre-sorted by size, such as “extra small,” “small,” “medium” and “large,” so if you are putting up a lot of pickles this year, you can just get the size you want in one of these bags and make your like much easier. I have been pickling Stoney Plains cukes since the mid-1990s. I used to get them from Terry’s dad, Bob Meyer, at the Olympia Farmers Market that he helped found in the late 1970s. In fact, Bob also help found Washington Tilth Producers, Washington State Farmers Market Association and the Organically Grown cooperative distributors. We lost Bob back in 2002, but all of us who love great, local food here in Washington still owe him a great debt of gratitude, and I, for one, dedicate one jar of pickles to his memory every year!

Hot chile peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hot chile peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

I was over visiting Hilario and Eddie Alvarez on their farm in Mabton, Washington on Friday. Alvarez Organic Farms now counts the number of chile pepper varieties they grow at more than 400, many of which are new varieties without names that have resulted from crossbreeding amongst the other varieties. Don Hilario took me on an exhaustive tour of his pepper fields (well, it exhausted me, but I think he could have kept going all night), and just when I thought I had seen every pepper on earth in the many acres of peppers in the fields behind his house on the mother farm, he said with pride, “Okay, now let me show the farm where we grow the bigger varieties of peppers!” I think that farm had more peppers on it than the mother farm. Hilario grows them all with pride, and his son, Eddie, brings them by the truckload to us here at your Ballard Farmers Market every Sunday. For that, we are all grateful. 2014 is an extraordinary year for peppers, too, with the hot, dry, sunny days making their plants produce more peppers that are more colorful, sweeter and hotter than ever! Enjoy.

Fresh basil from Growing Things Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh basil from Growing Things Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

It is time to get your pesto on, folks, or whatever you like to do best with fresh basil from Growing Things Farm! Their basil is so beautiful and fragrant right now, ready for your caprese salads, that fish, that perfect dessert with peaches and more. I had the good fortune of visiting Michaele and her crew on the farm on Thursday in Duvall, and to see their robust basil fields. This is food grown with love!

Purple Sensation pears from ACMA Mission Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Purple Sensation pears from ACMA Mission Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Say what? Yes, these are a new crop of pears. These are organic Purple Sensation pears from ACMA Mission Orchards, just in time for packing in the kiddies lunch bags (say it ain’t so!). And in case you haven’t noticed, this year has seen the fruit trees of Washington put out record fruit sets of the most delicious fruit ever, earlier than ever. See, global warming does have its up sides.

Tomatoes from Colinwood Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomatoes from Colinwood Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomatoes. If you aren’t relishing 2014’s absolute abundance of tomatoes of all kinds, you must not love tomatoes. Because many of us live through the cold, dark, wet months solely for the promise of farm fresh, vine=ripened tomatoes come summer, and this summer’s bounty is enough to carry us through two Northwest winters. These gorgeous maters are from our buddies at Colinwood Farm in Port Townsend.

Blueberries and raspberries from Hayton Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Blueberries and raspberries from Hayton Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Just in case you missed the memo, raspberries are back in full force now from several farms. These are from Hayton Berry Farms, up in Skagit Valley. They’ve also got these lovely blueberries currently, as well as their most prolific blackberry harvest in years. Yes, this continues to be an epic year for berries folks. Make sure you take advantage!

Bratwurst from Skagit River Ranch. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Bratwurst from Skagit River Ranch. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Holy cow! Labor Day Weekend is next week! Time to get ready. Load up on sausagessteakschops and more from Skagit River Ranch today, and get grilling with the family while everyone is all in one place at the same time for the last time until Thanksgiving!

Baby red romaine lettuce from One Leaf Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Baby red romaine lettuce from One Leaf Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Look kids! It is adorable little heads of baby red romaine from One Leaf Farm! The summer of 2014 has been great for lettuce, too. One Leaf grows a lovely selection of heirloom lettuces that are beautiful and delicious. But like so much else this summer, you had better enjoy it now with vigor, lest you regret missing it come December.

Fortune plums from Collins Family Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fortune plums from Collins Family Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

We are getting into serious plum season now, with such deeply sweet and complexly flavored varieties such as these Fortune plums from Collins Family Orchards from Selah. They are big, juicy and ready to eat, and you have to admit, they are also gorgeous, eh?

Eggplant from Alm Hill Gardens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Eggplant from Alm Hill Gardens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Spectacular eggplant from Alm Hill Gardens awaits you today at your Ballard Farmers Market! I enjoyed some simply pan-fried last night. Awesome. Eggplant, like peppers and tomatoes, comes from the summer-loving nightshade family, and that means it, too, is having an epic year. Try some on the grill, alongside those sausages!

Fresh kombucha from CommuniTea. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh kombucha from CommuniTea. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you had a refreshing bottle of kombucha from Communi-Tea Kombucha lately? Then today’s is a good day for one! Communi-Tea brews its kombucha in Seattle’s Central District. It is real, unfiltered, and comes with a small amount of naturally occurring alcohol, so you have to be 21 to buy it. But that means this is honest kombucha. And it comes in eco-friendly refillable bottles, too!

Jersey cow yogurt from Samish Bay Cheese. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Jersey cow yogurt from Samish Bay Cheese. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for Jersey cow yogurt? Samish Bay Cheese, from Bow, Washington, has it! They offer it in plain and Greek, and occasionally they have seasonal flavored versions. Samish Bay also has a great lineup of award-winning cheeses, as well as grass-fed beef and pastured pork. Yummers!

Raisin pumpernickel bread from Sonhomish Bakery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Raisin pumpernickel bread from Sonhomish Bakery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you been on the lookout for a nice raisin pumpernickel bread around Seattle, but been frustrated in your search? Snohomish Bakery has you covered! So grab a loaf today, and enjoy the toast you’ve been missing tomorrow!

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.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,191 other followers