Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

Sunday, September 22nd: Chile Peppers, Concord Squash, Cheddar Cauliflower, Red Kuri Squash & More!

September 21, 2013
Goathorn chile peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Goathorn chile peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Well, how ’bout them… well… insert any name of a local sports team except the Mariners, am I right? (Okay, gratuitous pandering to Seattle’s rabid sports fans. Check.) Above is a variety of goathorn chile peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. They are a medium hot chile with a wonderful, bright flavor. Well, it is full-on pepper season at Alvarez. They grow over 200 varieties, and this is a prolific year for peppers, like for so many other crops. This time of year, the pepper fields are so colorful at Alvarez, they are kind of reminiscent of the tulip fields in Skagit Valley in April. You can get a pretty good idea of their many varieties of peppers by checking out our Facebook photo album of them!

Concord grapes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Concord grapes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey, kids! It’s Concord grapes from our friends at Lyall Farms! Concord grapes make the best juice, and even better grape jelly. They have a deep, bold, natural sweetness to them, and you can even let them ferment with their own natural yeasts (that’s the ashy stuff on the outside of the grapes) into a nice wine.

Cherry tomatoes and garlic from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherry tomatoes and garlic from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I just love this image of garlic framed by cherry tomatoes at Alm Hill Gardens. It just underscores how our farmers do not just work the soil and grow delicious things, but they are artists, too. And we get to enjoy the delicious rewards of their labors and creativity!

Clara Frijs pears from Booth Canyon Orchard. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Clara Frijs pears from Booth Canyon Orchard. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The summer of 2013 has been one for the record books. Warm, humid, prolific crop production with epic harvests, lots of thunder storms… and it is this last item that brought with it a dark, destructive side the likes of which we rarely see around here in summer. Sure, there were the lightening-caused fires. But the real trouble came with the deluges of rain, and worse yet, the hail. Not so much on this side of the mountains, but on the other side, along the eastern slopes of the Central and North Cascades. And some of the worst  damage was caused in northern Chelan and eastern Okanogan Counties, like up in the Methow Valley, where Booth Canyon Orchard is located. Between late spring freezes and late summer hail, they lost almost all of their various heirloom apple crops. That is why, when they returned to your Ballard Farmers Market this past Sunday, they came only with pears, and mind you, these are the pears that made it through the hail storms. So, if you loves you some Booth Canyon fruit, focus on their pears right now, like these Clara Frijs pears, above, and celebrate them. Cuz this year, they are among the chosen few, and the chosen few are invariably the most delicious. Enjoy them, and support Booth Canyon, too!

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.

Nash’s Organic Produce is famous for its carrots. So it’s no wonder they call them “Nash’s Best”. Sure, they produce lots of delicious veggies over in Dungeness. But these carrots are a thing to behold. They are so sweet. And right now, they are available in their iconic five pound bags right here at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Nectarplums from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nectarplums from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Here is yet another installment from the Collins Family Orchards book of funky, hybridized stone fruit. These beauties are nectarplums. Yup, they are a cross betwixt plum and nectarine, and they are amazing! But they have a short-lived season, so enjoy them while you can!

Cheddar cauliflower & romanesco from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cheddar cauliflower & romanesco from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Curiously, in this prolific summer of 2013, another of the few crops that underperformed is the cauliflower family. So Oxbow Farm having this colorful cheddar cauliflower and this geometrically pleasing romanesco right now is something worth celebrating!

Kabocha and Red Kuri winter squash from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Kabocha and Red Kuri winter squash from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Woohoo! Winter squash from One Leaf Farm! These lovelies are kabocha (left) and red kuri winter squash. They both have such gorgeous textures and deeply sweet flavors, and when you roast them, you can even eat their skins. Oh, and be sure to toss the seeds in some olive oil, sprinkle them with a little salt, and roast them in a pie tin in the oven for a wonderful little salty, crunchy snack. Yup. Fall does begin tomorrow, alrighty!

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

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

This is the last week for blueberries from Sidhu Farms, and likely from all of our farms, as with the return of the rains and cooler weather, the berries are beginning to turn to mush on the bush. So again, enjoy them while you can, for one last time. Stock up and freeze a bunch to enjoy all winter!

Pickled jalapeños peppers from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pickled jalapeños peppers from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Purdy Pickle has a fresh supply of these gorgeous pickled jalapeño peppers that they got from Alvarez Organic Farms. These are the perfect compliment to so many thing, or just on their own. Enjoy!

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 25th: Fresh Shelling Beans, Crisp Celery, Marvelous Melons, Bagged Bulk Cukes, Pretty Pears & More!

August 24, 2013
Fresh cranberry beans from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

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

Hey kids! It’s shelling bean season! And they are in much earlier than last year. These are cranberry beans from Alm Hill Gardens. You are probably most familiar with them as dried beans, but when they’re fresh like this, they are quick to cook and extremely versatile. Honestly, my favorite thing to do with them this time of year is make succotash. Grab some bacon from Skagit River Ranch, some sweet corn and parsley from Alm Hill, some green onion from Children’s Garden and some garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm, and you’ve got all the ingredients you’ll need for a simple and fresh succotash. Enjoy!

Cantaloupe melon from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cantaloupe melon from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, admit it. You just banged your nose or your finger into your screen while going after this gorgeous organic cantaloupe melon from Alvarez Organic Farms. I snapped this photo on Wednesday at our sister Wallingford Farmers Market. Oh, if you could just smell this melon. Wow. Sweet and juicy and absolutely incredible tasting.

Bagged bulk pickling cucumbers from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bagged bulk pickling cucumbers from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

If you are like me, when you make pickles, you make a lot of pickles. See, I use them as gifts and trade all winter long. Well, to make things easy for folks like us, Stoney Plains Organic Farm offers these bulk bags of their certified organic pickling cucumbers. They pack them in 20 pound pages, and I figure about a pound per wide-mouth canning jar. I love working with their cukes in part because they are straight and uniform, making packing of pickle jars easier.

Asian pears from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Asian pears from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This time of year, it is kind of mind boggling just how many different varieties of fruit you will find coming into season at ACMA Mission Orchards. Like these Asian pears that just came into season this past week, along with something like four different kinds of peaches, a couple kinds of apples and a plum. What makes things more challenging and adventurous for us is that many of these varieties will only be available at your Ballard Farmers Market for a week or two, so if you want to try them, or if you already love them, you need to act fast, but do so with the joy of knowing that next week, you’ll get to test drive a whole new selection of fruit.

See, ACMA plants a huge diversity of fruit trees, not just because they like each variety, which they do, or because they think it’s cool to offer such an extraordinary number of different kinds of fruit, though we think it’s cool. No, they plant all of these varieties because they come in and out of season a few at a time, from the start of June through the end of October. It just makes good business sense to have fresh fruit every week, you know? And each type of tree in their orchards is naturally genetically programmed to have its fruit come to maturity at a different time. If they had just one or two kinds of cherries, apples and peaches, not only would it be boring for us, but their entire year’s income would be dependent on the success of a few crops, and at greater risk to the mercies of the marketplace. That’s the fate many orchardists face who mono-crop for the big packing houses whose prices are set on the commodities markets, and who sell only a few varieties to the Big Box stores, because that’s what they’ve trained people to think of as “cherry” or “peach” or “apple.”

That’s why ACMA instead comes to your Ballard Farmers Market. You get a plethora of fruit varieties all year long. They get a much more secure and sustainable marketplace for their harvest, and they don’t have to share the sales price with a bunch of nameless, faceless executives from the packing houses, warehouses, brokers and Big Box Stores.

Tomatoes from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomatoes from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomato season is in full swing now at your Ballard Farmers Market, and I thought I’d take a break from showcasing our new resident rock star tomato farmers at One Leaf Farm to share with you some gorgeous tomatoes from our friends at Summer Run Farm, which is just across the valley from One Leaf. Yeah, baby! More maters!

Bartlett pears from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bartlett pears from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is pear season at your Ballard Farmers Market, earlier than we’ve ever seen them before. These beauties are Bartlett pears from our friends at Collins Family Orchards. They’ve also got some great late-season peaches and nectarines now, too. This really has been one amazing summer, eh?

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

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

Meet Herbs de Provence and Garlic-Parlsey chevre from Twin Oaks Farm in Chehalis. Okay, this chevre is not new to your Ballard Farmers Market, but it is different. See, they ditched the plastic wrap and switched to small containers for their packaging. It makes for a more attractive, less messy chevre that is easy for you to dive into, and you can reuse or easily recycle the container — more than you can say for that plastic wrap!

Crisp celery from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Crisp celery from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Maybe it’s just me, but frankly, I was almost as excited to see this fresh crop of celery from One Leaf Farm show up this week at our sister Madrona Farmers Market as I have been to see all of their dozen or so tomato varieties come into season. Seriously, there is nothing quite like a crisp stalk of locally-grown celery fresh from the farm. It is sweeter and tastier, and once you try it, you won’t look at this staple of most kitchens quite the same when you see it in the Big Box stores.

Red Hiromi plums from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red Hiromi plums from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now, that is one spectacular plum, don’t you think? It is a Red Hiromi plum from Tiny’s Organic Produce. It is the first plum harvested at Tiny’s each summer. It tends to have a mildly sweet to slighty tart flavor, and it must be very soft before eating to bring out maximum flavor, Tiny’s advises.

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

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

Have you checked out the selection of heirloom garlics offered by Jarvis Family Garlic Farm from over in the Dungeness River Valley of Clallam County in the Banana Belt? It is amazing stuff grown in an microclimate perfectly suited to garlic. Jarvis has garlic ranging from mild to hot, pleasant to testing who loves you after you’ve eaten it. Stop by for a garlic lesson, and try out a few kinds. Remember, there is no such thing as too much garlic.

Fresh pink salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh pink salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is high time for pink salmon from Loki Fish at your Ballard Farmers Market. Whether you are enjoying the last of their fresh catch from Alaska, or the first of their Puget Sound catch, which just started, this wonderful salmon that is so often relegated to cans is incredibly versatile. It takes well to grilling, smoking, pickling, marinating, seasoning and saucing. It is pink instead of red, like its cousins, because pink salmon is vegetarian. And it only returns to Puget Sound every other year, which makes it so much more important to enjoy it now, while you can. 2013 is shaping up to see an historically large pink salmon run here, too. So, celebrate with our truly local salmon!

Fresh grapes from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh grapes from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Magaña Farms has the first table grapes of the year for your snacking, juicing and raisining pleasure. These white table grapes are wonderfully sweet and juicy, and they beat the heck out of eating grapes from the Southern Hemisphere, which you end up doing much of the year, if you are getting your grapes from the Big Box store. Washington produces a lot of grapes. They don’t all have to be made into wine.

Experimental brie from Port Madison Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Experimental brie from Port Madison Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This is called Experimental Brie, and it is one of three kinds of brie that Port Madison Farm is making currently with its goat milk. It has a lovely tang and a flavorful rind, and it just begs for a nice crusty baguette from Tall Grass Bakery. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we only have three more weeks with Port Madison’s cheese before they leave us again. So take full advantage of their wonderful offerings now!

There is plenty more local deliciousness waiting for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Just check What’s Fresh Now! for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now.

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 18th: Pears, Peaches, Peppers, Politicians & P-other Stuff!

August 17, 2013
Sen. Ed Murray and Councilperson Richard Conlin enjoying Soda Jerk Soda at Wallingford Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sen. Ed Murray and Councilperson Richard Conlin enjoying Soda Jerk Soda at Wallingford Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

State Senator Ed Murray and Seattle City Councilperson Richard Conlin joined us at our sister Wallingford Farmers Market recently to celebrate not only National Farmers Market Week, but also the fact that Wallingford Farmers Market is the reigning Washington Farmers Market of the Year, according to the Washington State Farmers Market Association. In addition to lovely proclamations, presentations, tours and speechifying, they also enjoyed some Lime Cilantro Jalapeño fresh soda from Soda Jerk Soda (above). Of course, being the marketing machine that we are, we couldn’t help but use this image to promote Soda Jerk. (You’re welcome, Corey!)

Rosa Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchard. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rosa Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchard. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rosa Hale peaches are those big, juicy, sweet peaches that dreams are made of. They come on midway through peach season, along with many cousins of similar name. These are the peaches for which Washington is famous. But they are only around for a few short weeks. Try them today atMartin Family Orchards at your Ballard Farmers Market.

Goat yogurt in the incubator at Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Goat yogurt in the incubator at Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This is goat yogurt in the incubator at Twin Oaks Creamery in Chehalis. See, in order for yogurt to become, well, yogurt, it needs to be inoculated first. It starts out as goat milk. Then, after quick pasteurization, they add those beneficial and delicious bacteria that are so good for us. They need to take root in the milk, though, to make it yogurt, and that requires a higher temp than a refrigerator for a little while. The result is wonderful goat yogurt that will keep your immune system and digestive tract happy.

Cauliflower from Growing Things Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cauliflower from Growing Things Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is cauliflower season at Growing Things Farm, and for them, that means a rainbow of cauliflower, from white to green to yellow to purple, and that wonderful, fractalized variety known as romanesco. Steam it, then top it with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Sauté it with bacon, cayenne pepper flakes and some bread crumbs. Toss it with pasta, or into a salad. Dip it raw into cocktail sauce or hummus. Roast it in the oven with olive oil. Make cheesy cauliflower soup with it. Heck, throw it on the grill. You are only limited by your own imagination!

Purple Sensation pears from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Purple Sensation pears from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is also pear season already, a full week earlier than we’ve ever seen them here before! Wow. This beauties are called Purple Sensation pears, and they are from the certified organic orchards of ACMA Mission Orchards. ACMA also has the early Gale Gala apples today, and a dizzying variety of stone fruit, including peachesnectarinespluots, plums and Italian prunes. In fact, no other orchard has the variety of tree fruit that ACMA does now at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Jim holds a gigantic sweet onion from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jim holds a gigantic sweet onion from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Meet Jim. Jim was shopping at your Ballard Farmers Market last Sunday, and he really wanted a sweet onion. What he found was a sweet onion that was the size of his head from our buddies at Nash’s Organic Farm. Seriously. There is no photographic trickery going on here. And the fact is, most of their sweet onions are this big. Must be all the clean living and the rich organic soil over there in Clallam County or something.

Hot chile peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hot chile peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alvarez Organic Farms grows over 200 different kinds of chile peppers, from the most mild bell peppers to the infamously hot ghost chile. And they are all coming into season right now. August and September is peak pepper season, and at the absolute peak, the pepper fields of the Alvarez family are awash in almost every color in the rainbow, much like the tulip fields of Skagit Valley in April. So enjoy a veritable tsunami of these tasty nightshades while you can, as they will go away again soon.

Treviso radicchio from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Treviso radicchio from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One of my favorite vegetables, and really, one of the most stunningly beautiful, is this treviso radicchio from Oxbow Farm. Unlike many radicchios, treviso grows tall instead of round. A member of the chicory family, it is naturally bitter, but grill it or sauté it with a nice slighty sweet, smoky bacon, and it sweetens up a bit. It likes salt and a good dose of olive oil (on the grill) or the rendered fat from the bacon, but not much else. It likes to stand alone, and it kinda clashes with garlic. Of course, if you like it a little sweeter, try drizzling a little balsamic vinegar on it when you serve it.

Berries from Hayton Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Berries from Hayton Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of gorgeous, just look at this array of fresh berries from Hayton Berry Farms. We’ve got blackberriesblueberriesraspberries and the elusive golden raspberries. Sounds like the golden ones will be available in a somewhat greater quantity this year, but supplies will still be limited, so get here early!

Jubilee tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jubilee tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids, it’s time for the One Leaf Farm tomato of the week! And by my count, they are now up to harvesting 10 different kinds of maters. (See them all in our Facebook photo album.) These are Jubilee tomatoes. There seems to be debate amongst the seed companies on the Intertubes about the origins of this tomato, but it has been around since at least the early 1940s, and maybe as long ago as the 1890s. A golden to orange tomato, they are lower in acid, and thus a possible alternative for folks who have issues with high-acid tomatoes.

Fresh, local Rockfish from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh, local Rockfish from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish off with some fresh Washington rockfish from Wilson Fish. Rockfish is that fish that is misnamed “red snapper” by many folks, and it wasn’t until the feds cracked down of labeling practices of fish over the last decade that we finally realized we’d been eating rockfish this whole time. (Then again, most so-called “grouper” on menus still is, in fact, another species.) Rockfish kinda looks like a champion boxer that had to go the distance in order to win — not the prettiest of fish. But it is delicious. I love it coated with a nice blackening rub or jerk seasoning and pan-fried. Yummers. Of course, if you are reading this at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon, you may be out of luck. This stuff tends to sell out very fast at your Ballard Farmers Market, so get here early!

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 11th: A Little Rain Makes For Happy Farmers & Even More Local Deliciousness!

August 10, 2013
Wild Black Elderberries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wild Black Elderberries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For a couple of weeks each summer, Foraged & Found Edibles is able to harvest these wild black elderberries. They had some to offer last Sunday, and hopefully, they will have more today. Native to Eastern Washington, they can be made into wine, jellies, sauces. syrups, baked goods and more. They are loaded with vitamin C, are coated with a natural, wild yeast that makes them ideal for making wine and as a bread starter, and they are believed to have many medicinal qualities as well.

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

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

These are saffron corms from Phocas Farms. They are the bulb from which the saffron crocus grows. And when these crocus bloom, it is the bright red stigma that becomes the spice we all know as saffron. Surprisingly, saffron crocus grows well around here. Equally surprising is that August is a great time of year to plant their corms, because they spring to life and bloom in early fall when most other plants are going into hibernation. So, while it is next to impossible for you to get your hands on the dried saffron spice that Phocas Farms produces, because it is all pre-sold to local chefs, you can get some of their corms and try growing it yourself!

Sharon (left) & Gary McCool of Rosecrest Farm chatting with our own Gil Youenes in their on-farm shop. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sharon (left) & Gary McCool of Rosecrest Farm chatting with our own Gil Youenes in their on-farm shop. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When we visited Rosecrest Farm in Chehalis, we learned some naturally cool things about how they make their amazing Swiss cheeses. The photo above was taken in their on-farm store, and that big, white door between Sharon and Gary McCool is the door to their aging room. That door is something like 16″ thick. Seriously. See, the room was originally built decades ago for aging beef, and it was designed to maintain a constant temperature without refrigeration. Amazing! And perfect for aging cheese, as it holds at 50 degrees or so year-round. That’s pretty cool, figuratively and literally.

Fennel bulb from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fennel bulb from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Check out these ginormous fennel bulbs from Alm Hill Gardens (a.k.a., Growing Washington). Fennel bulb is wonderful stuff. I add it raw to salads, grill it, cook it down into a nice, caramelized accent to pork, pickle it… the sky’s the limit. It has a mild licorice flavor and is slightly sweet. And it is great this time of year. Just be sure to clean it thoroughly, as bits of dirt get down inside it.

A smoked whole side of king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A smoked whole side of king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wilson Fish is catching some of the largest wild king salmon of the season right now off the coast of Washington. And because these fish are getting ready to swim up Northwest rivers, like the Hoh and Frasier, to spawn until they die, they are loaded up with delicious fat. And that makes for incredible smoked king salmon. This is as moist and divine as any smoked salmon you will ever taste. But because they smoke it up fresh every week, they also sell out every week, so get here early!

Red pearl onions from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red pearl onions from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I heart pearl onions from Boistfort Valley Farm. These tiny little alliums are only available fresh for a few weeks each summer — a very common theme in today’s post, eh? They may be available dried in the fall, but I like them best sautéed fresh with hericot vert beans (find them now from Growing Things Farm or Stoney Plains Organic Farm), and both are only available fresh this time of year. Peel the outer skin off of the pearl onions, and trim off the top and the root hairs, but keep the onions whole for cooking. I like to toss them with a good bacon — try the jowl bacon from Olsen Farms, which has a nice smoky sweetness to it. As the bacon browns, its fat renders out and caramelizes the onions beautifully. When the onions start to become translucent, and the bacon is mostly rendered out and beginning to brown, toss in the beans and sauté them all together until the beans are heated through but still have a nice crunch to them, which just takes a few minutes. Enjoy!

Shamrock apples from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Shamrock apples from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This time of year, as the early apples come into season, it is not uncommon to see different varieties of apples come and go every week. Between the different growing seasons throughout Washington and the hundreds of different varieties of apples grown here, apples are seemingly always coming into or going out of season. On the one hand, that means you need to pay attention, so that you can enjoy your favorites while they are in season. On the other hand, if you are more adventurous, you can experiment with new kinds of apples all the time! Like these Shamrock apples from Tiny’s Organic Produce, which are in season right now… for a little while, anyway.

Japanese Black Truffle tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Japanese Black Truffle tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This week’s gorgeous tomato of the week from our friends at One Leaf Farm is the Japanese Black Truffle tomato. This heirloom tomato traces its origins to Russian, where it is prized and fetches a high price. Its flesh is very dark, ergo its name. (Though you might ask, “then why is it called ‘Japanese’ if it’s from Russian?” Don’t have a good answer for you.) It is pear shaped, and it has a deep, rich flavor. It is just one of eight tomato varieties currently being harvested by One Leaf! (See a photo album of all their tomatoes on our Facebook page.)

Tomatillos from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomatillos from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomatillos! Hmm. Can you say salsa? Alvarez Organic Farms has everything — and I do mean everything — you will need for amazing salsas right now, from these tomatillos to tomatoes to garlic to onions to chile peppers to cucumbers! Heck, you can even toss in some of their watermelon!

Early Italian prunes from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Early Italian prunes from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Italian prunes have early and late varieties, meaning we see some in August, and then some more in October. And lucky us, as they are one of the finest stone fruits around! But don’t get hung up in the name “prune” like Californians did. They actually rebranded them as “plums” because they were worried that Americans associated the word “prune” with constipated old people. Europeans do not have this uptightness, and the Italians celebrate their beloved prunes. And while they will keep you regular, please do not be afraid to eat these delicious jewels because of their name. Eat them fresh, dried, in jams, jellies, sauces, chutneys, syrups, pies, tarts and more. Find them today from Magaña Farms.

Raspberry jam with thyme from Deluxe Foods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Raspberry jam with thyme from Deluxe Foods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of folks who can appreciate a fine prune, Deluxe Foods is back today with their wonderful lineup of jams, jellies, chutneys and sauces, though it is a little early yet for their prune varieties. See, they make their products with fresh, local, seasonal ingredients using heirloom recipes, and they sell them until, well, they run out. That means we’ll see prune flavors in a month or two, just in time for hearty fall dishes. For now, you can enjoy their berry flavors on your toast, like this Raspberry Jam with Thyme.

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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