Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

Sunday, September 28th: It’s Still Summer, Apparently. And Yet… Hardy Kiwis, Brussels Sprouts & Wreaths Have Arrived!

September 27, 2014
Hardy kiwis from Green Water Farm. Photo courtesy Green Water Farm.

Hardy kiwis from Green Water Farm. Photo courtesy Green Water Farm.

It is hardy kiwi season at your Ballard Farmers Market, folks! Yessir, kiwis do grow around these parts. They are a small variety, about the size of a cherry tomato, and they are awesome! Green Water Farm grows them over in Port Townsend. We missed them here last year, as it was a rough year on the crop. No such problems this year, and they are rolling in earlier than ever! Yeehaw! (Sorry, I’m listening to The Outlaws while I write this.)

Walt models a Brussels sprout tree from Summer Run Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Walt models a Brussels sprout tree from Summer Run Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of earlier than ever, we have never seen Brussels sprouts in September before.. well, before now! In fact, I took this photo a week ago, meaning this is the earliest we’ve ever seen there here by over three weeks! What up?! Summer Run Farm wins this particular record-breaking crop lottery. So bring on fall! We’re ready!

Whole pastured chicken from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Whole pastured chicken from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

As of last Monday, we passed back into the dark side of the calendar. Longer nights mean cooler days, and cooler days mean roasting a chicken indoors is bearable again, and in fact, doing so reduces the need to turn on your heat overnight. So why not stop by Growing Things Farm for one of these gorgeous, and stunningly delicious, pasture-raised chickens today? These are the chickens my family eats for Thanksgiving. And just to clarify… “pasture-raised” means they get to run around all over the place outdoors. (Trust me, I’ve seen them.) It does not mean they’ve been treated with heat to sterilize them. That would be “pasteurized,” and that would make for a rather strange chicken.

Farhad from Tall Grass Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Farhad from Tall Grass Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Today is the final day for Farhad of Tall Grass Bakery at your Ballard Farmers Market… at least in his capacity working for them. Farhad is moving on to other projects after about eight years with Tall Grass. He has always been a delight to work with, and we’ll miss seeing him every Sunday. Stop by for a baguetteolive fougasse or loaf of hominy bread, and wish him well! (Note: Tall Grass Bakery ain’t going anywhere. They started with us over in Fremont about 15 years ago, and we’re pretty much joined at the hip now.)

Cherokee purple tomatoes from One Leaf Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherokee purple tomatoes from One Leaf Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

What an epic year for tomatoes! I’ve been hearing even the lamest of backyard gardeners saying they’ve been rocking the tomato action in their gardens this year. And no one rocks tomatoes quite like One Leaf Farm. These Cherokee Purple tomatoes, for instance, are outstanding right now. So juicy and perfect, begging for a dash of salt and a spoonful of mayo, or to be celebrated in a nice salad or sandwich.

Italian prunes from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Italian prunes from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Stina from Booth Canyon Orchard tells me that they have tons of these amazing Italian prunes this year. One of my favorite fruits, they are amazing dried, made into jams, chutneys or sauces, used to accent a nice duck or some pork, or just eaten right off of the stone. They are deeply sweet with a wonderful, thick flesh. And I think I’ll have one right now!

Pepper wreaths and strings from Alvarez Organic Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Pepper wreaths and strings from Alvarez Organic Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

It has been just over a month since my trip to visit Alvarez Organic Farms to see their acres and acres of pepper fields. They have over 400 varieties of peppers now. And they have a group there that has been crafting them into these spectacular pepper wreaths and pepper strings for years. But this year’s are especially beautiful. They will brighten your home for weeks, they make great gifts, and because they are not treated with anything, the peppers are fully edible after they’ve dried out.

Green cabbage from Nash's Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Green cabbage from Nash’s Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Thank you, Devon, for getting me another great recipe (below) from the kitchens of Nash’s Organic Produce. This week’s feature is cabbage, and they have lovely cabbage right now for you! They still have plenty of sweet corn, too, as well as celery root, spinach and basil, for that last dose of pesto. And they’ll have 3-pound bags of rainbow carrots for the next two weeks at a great value!

Cabbage Roll Casserole

Servings: 6

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 head cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups veggie or chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large skillet, brown pork in oil over medium high heat until redness is gone. Drain off fat. In a large mixing bowl combine the onion, tomato sauce, cabbage, rice and salt. Add meat and mix all together. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Pour broth over meat mixture and bake in the preheated oven, covered, for 1 hour. Stir, replace cover and bake for another 30 minutes.

Pie pumpkins and blue hubbard winter squash from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Pie pumpkins and blue hubbard winter squash from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

We finish off with some gorgeous gourds from Colinwood Farm. These are blue hubbard winter squash and sugar pie pumpkins. Hubbards make for great soups and stews, are great roasted, and are large enough to feed a small army. And the pumpkins make for great pies, custards and breads. Yes, it is warm and sunny again today, but it is fall, folks. Let’s enjoy it!

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, August 31st: Ginormous Juicy Melons, Adorable Summer Squash, Charming Cherry Tomatoes, Glorious Gala Apples & Saying Sayonara To Succulents… For Now, Anyway.

August 30, 2014
Succulents in late summer light from Phocas Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Succulents in late summer light from Phocas Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! September begins… tomorrow! And that means our buddy, Jimmy, from Phocas Farms, has to retire to his farm in Port Angeles to tend to his saffron crop, which is beginning to spring to life now. So today is your last chance until early next year to stock up on succulents and saffron corms to plant in your own yard. Stop by today, get what you need, and wish Jimmy a happy fall and a bountiful saffron harvest!

Ginormous melons from Lyall Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Ginormous melons from Lyall Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Lyall Farms has lots of these ginormous, delicious, juicy melons right now at  your Ballard Farmers Market. They grow all different kinds of melons, some all too familiar, and others downright strange. But they are all great and just waiting to make a mess out of your best shirt!

A rainbow of carrots from Oxbow Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

A rainbow of carrots from Oxbow Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm is rocking the carrots right now, in a rainbow of colors. They’ve got ‘em white, orange and purple at present, each with their own particular levels of sweetness, some suited best for roasting, while others are best raw. So stop by and get your carrot on now! And if you want to learn more about carrots than you ever thought there was to know about them, check out the World Carrot Museum online, where you’ll learn, for instance, that orange is a relatively new color for carrots.

Late summer strawberries from Sidhu Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Late summer strawberries from Sidhu Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sidhu Farms has a fresh crop of late summer strawberries for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Gorgeous, aren’t they? These are from a class of strawberry varieties known as “ever-bearing,” which means they will keep producing blooms and fruit until it gets too cold and dark to do so. Spring varieties are known as “June-bearing,” which means they are naturally genetically preset to bloom and produce fruit for only a specific period of time, usually 10-14 days in and around June, after which they go dormant again until next year. See, aren’t you glad you tuned in to your Ballard Farmers Market blog this week?

Baby summer squash from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Baby summer squash from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Meet baby squash, little summer squash that are so sweet and so beautiful, and the perfect size for sautéing whole. See, Growing Things Farm sorts their summer squash by size — baby, toddler, adolescent… even tiny ones with full blossoms attached — so that you can get the perfect ones for your special meal… which ends up being every meal, when you eat them!

Gala apples from Martin Family Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Gala apples from Martin Family Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These are Gala apples from Martin Family Orchards, just in time for packing in the kiddies lunch bags. (Yikes! Tomorrow is September!) 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.

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

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

It’s celery season, good people of Ballard! Wait, what? Celery season, you ask? I get it. You still get your celery at the Big Box store, and they have it all year-round. But that celery cannot hold a candle to this celery from Boistfort Valley FarmThis celery is fresh, firm, crisp and, believe it or not, sweet. Yes, sweet. That’s because of its freshness and how it is grown. See, the celery you are getting from the Big Box store was harvested a week or two ago and shipped here from thousands of miles away. This celery was harvested yesterday afternoon in Thurston County. If you have never had farm-fresh celery, you owe it to yourself to try some today. You will never look at Big Box celery the same again!

Early Italian prunes from Magana Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Early Italian prunes from Magana Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

I heart Italian prunes. Yes, prunes. Not plums. These are early Italian prunes from Magana Farms. Prunes are a free-stone stone fruit, meaning they release easily from their pit. They have a denser, sweeter flesh than plums, which are not free-stone, and they take well to cooking and drying, though I love them fresh, too. Of course, the Corporate Agribusiness Yahoos at the California Prune Board would have you believe that these are plums. Why? Because they are about marketing, not about food, and they worry that “prune” is too closely associated with keeping ones bowels regular. And I won’t lie to you… they will do just that. But that should not be a reason to rename them. I mean, why are we so afraid of stuff that is good for us, to the extent we will avoid it even though it is also delicious? How stupid have we become? Well, if you go ask Sam at Pasteria Lucchese what he thinks, he will tell you that he and his fellow Italians are still proud to call these what they really are: prunes! Celebrate them! Eat them! Sauce them! Syrup them! Dry them! Just don’t call them plums!

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

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

Another true love of Italians everywhere (and especially in Italy, for some reason) are fresh artichokes. They steam them. They grill them. They toss them with pasta, make them into soup, put them on pizza. They are crazy for them! If you are, too, now is your time. Get thee to Nash’s Organic Produce with all due haste and enjoy these beautiful artichokes today!

Cherry tomatoes from Gaia's Harmony Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherry tomatoes from Gaia’s Harmony Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Gaia’s Harmony Farm has lots and lots of these spectacular cherry tomatoes today! But wait, don’t they just sell berries and juice, you ask? Nope. So come get you some of these wonderful, organic cherry tomatoes today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Nothing like a nice, chewy loaf of crusty artisan bread from Tall Grass Bakery to make your meal complete. From pain au levain, a lovely, sour loaf made with whole wheat, to hominy, made with, um, hominy, to their just plain comforting oat and honey bread, Tall Grass has set the standard for great bread in Seattle since their humble beginning with our market organization almost 20 years ago.

These organic estate wines come from Wilridge Winery in Madrona. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These organic estate wines come from Wilridge Winery in Madrona. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget a nice bottle of wine from Seattle’s original winery: Wilridge. These bottles, above, in fact, are their estate wines, made from grapes they grow themselves in the tiny Naches Heights appellation, just west of Yakima in the foothills of the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains. Stop by their tent for a sample today, then grab a bottle of Washington winemaking history from right here in Seattle to enjoy tonight!

A bee enjoying a sunflower from The Old Farmer at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

A bee enjoying a sunflower from The Old Farmer at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Let us finish this week’s epistle with this image of a happy little honey bee on freshly cut sunflowers from The Old Farmer, just across the isle from Oxbow Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Ballard is home to lots of honey bees, many of which reside atop restaurants like Bastille. And on Sundays, they get to enjoy the wonders of the Market just like you do!

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.


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