Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

Sunday, July 20th: Melons, More Corn, Heirloom Tomatoes, Nectarcots & More!

July 19, 2014
Yellow Doll watermelons from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yellow Doll watermelons from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just when you thought this summer couldn’t get any more amazing, Lyall Farms brings the first melons of the season to your Ballard Farmers Market! These are Yellow Doll watermelons, and this is the earliest we’ve ever seen them here, by more than two full weeks. Wow. They also have more traditional red watermelons, sweet, juicy and ripe, and ready for you to devour.

Tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Woohoo! The tomatoes from One Leaf Farm are coming in early, and with a vengeance! Four varieties so far, and more to come. Besides the sungold and heirloom cherries, above left, they’ve got Black Krim and Paul Robeson, above right. They are so ripe and juicy and delicious. While I’ve been devouring sungolds straight out of the container and in salads for a week now, last Thursday, I enjoyed some of the Black Krims simply with some salt and some mayo. Not highbrow, just classic.

Organic sweet corn from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic sweet corn from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

More sweet corn has arrived this week. This is certified organic sweet corn from Alvarez Organic Farms, and because I care, I have already done some serious quality control testing on it, and I can assure you, it is awesome!

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.

Nectarcots from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nectarcots from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are nectarcots, from Collins Family Orchards, and as the name suggests, they are a cross betwixt nectarines and apricots. And of all the various stone fruit hybrids, I’d say these guys might be the most difficult to pick out their genetic lineage without us telling you. They kinda look like a yellow-orange plum, and they taste super sweet and are super juicy. They don’t have the fuzzy exterior of the apricot, or its deep flavor, and they don’t have that texture that nectarines have. It is as if somehow, someone was able to cross them and get them to contribute their best flavor notes while giving them the texture of a plum and the sturdiness of a pluot. Bottom line is, they are amazing, but they’re only around for a few weeks, so don’t you dare miss them!

Baby summer squash from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Baby summer squash from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Every summer, Growing Things Farm brings the most beautiful summer squash to your Ballard Farmers Market. In fact, they size it for you, so that it is easy for you to pick out the perfect sized squash for your plans. Like these baby summer squash that are perfect for a quick sauté or grilling.

Spartans blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Blueberry Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spartans blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Blueberry Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We welcome the return of Whitehorse Meadows Blueberry Farm from northern Snohomish County today. They grow some extraordinary organic blueberries, including these SpartansJerseys and Rubels, a close cousin to the wild mountain blueberries on Northern New England and Maritime Canada. Whitehorse Meadows is actually located several miles east of Oso, on the far side of the slide zone on SR 530, which recently reopened. We imagine they’ll be thrilled to be able to get out and see us again, so let’s give them a big welcome back today!

Sweet onions from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet onions from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It has been a bit of a tough year for sweet onions so far — kinda surprising given how good it’s been for just about everything else. But we finally have some seasoned sweet onions for you at your Ballard Farmers Market. These are from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. These sweet onions are from Walla Walla sweet onion seed, but we call them “sweet onions,” without adding “Walla Walla” in front, because the name, “Walla Walla sweet onion,” is protected by a federal USDA Marketing Order, only to be used for onions grown within a 50-mile radius around Walla Walla. Still, these are plenty sweet.

Flavor Supreme pluots from Tiny's Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Flavor Supreme pluots from Tiny’s Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Here’s another of those cool hybrid stone fruits: Flavor Supreme pluots from Tiny’s Organic. Remember, pluots are genetically 70% plum and 30% apricot, but they definitely favor plums in structure and appearance… well, except that pluots come in an extraordinary diversity of colors, flavors and sizes. For instance, Flavor Supremes have a greenish-red skin, but a deep red flesh (see above). And they are fantastic. Enjoy!

Pink turnips from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pink turnips from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gorgeous pink turnips from Boistfort Valley Farm are a close cousin to some of the other Asian turnip varieties we see here at your Ballard Farmers Market, only these guys are just a bit more flamboyant. And they taste good, too!

All beef hot dogs from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

All beef hot dogs from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Do you have a hankering for a good all-beef hot dog, but you fear what’s in it, where it was made and how the animals used in it were treated? Well, be afraid no more! These uncured beef franks are from Skagit River Ranch. That means the cattle were grass-fed on lush pastures, treated well, raised organically, and processed with respect. It also means that they are delicious!

Chinese spinach from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chinese spinach from Children’s Garden. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You may have heard me refer to Treviso radicchio as the second most beautiful vegetable on earth and wondered to yourself, “what is the most beautiful vegetable on earth, then?” This is! Meet Chinese spinach from Children’s Garden. It is only grown by two farms at your Ballard Farmers Market, both Hmong, and the last two summers have been kind of hostile to it, so we haven’t really seen much of it since 2011. It can be simply sautéed with some garlic. Or you can just invite your friends over to sit and look at it.

Cauliflower from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cauliflower from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Your Ballard Farmers Market is loaded with lots of heirloom and exotic crops grown by adventurous farmers. But what Summer Run Farm specializes in is growing lovely organic produce standards — the stuff you could find at the Big Box store, but that would pale by comparison to Summer Run’s. Like this cauliflower. Sweet and crunchy, and wonderful roasted, made into soup, dipped in hummus or cocktail sauce, or however you enjoy it best.

Slicing cucumbers from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Slicing cucumbers from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

There’s nothing like a cucumber to cool you off during the hot days of summer, a phrase we don’t get to say too often. But this year is one for the record books, so let’s get our cucumber salads on, people. Let’s crank out some cucumber sandwiches. Let’s add it to our ice water and make cocktails and gazpacho out of it. They babies are from Alm Hill Gardens. Pick some up today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Bell peppers from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bell peppers from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These bell peppers from Colinwood Farm are so fragrant that they seem to steal the show for your olfactory glands as you examine the farm’s tables. Pep up your salads, stuff some, or throw them on the barby. This is going to be a phenomenal year for peppers!

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget to grab a loaf or two of artisan bread from Tall Grass Bakery today. They have a wonderful selection, from deep, dark pumpernickel, to chewy, moist Baker Street sourdough, to earthy, sweet oat and honey and challah that will complete your sabbath meal or make for amazing French toast on Saturday morning.

Spicy whole dill pickles from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spicy whole dill pickles from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish off this week’s epistle with this brand-spanking-new release of spicy whole dill pickles from Purdy Pickle. You can’t get these year-round from Purdy, because they are using local ingredients when they are at their peak of freshness. And that means, when they run out, they run out. Lucky for us, this is a very early year for local pickling cukes, so Purdy should be able to put up quite a few jar. But don’t let that cause you to hesitate. Get your pickle on 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.

Sunday, July 13th: Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Peaches, Pluots & Ballard Seafood Fest!

July 12, 2014
Andrey is psyched to enjoy his Loki Fish salmon sliders. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Andrey is psyched to enjoy his Loki Fish salmon sliders. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Happy 2014 Ballard Seafood Fest! And they’ve really put the “seafood” back in the festival this year! So did we, with the addition of salmon sliders from Loki Fish. Because Loki catches, cleans it and cooks it themselves, they will be the only prepared food vendors today at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Plus, you can get fresh Alaskan salmon (king, coho and sockeye) from Loki today, too.

Here are a few tips for managing your trip today to your Ballard Farmers Market:

  • If you are just going to shop at the farmers market today, and you are not staying for Seafood Fest, we recommend you get here before noon to avoid Seafood Fest crowds and associated parking hassles.
  • It is going to be hot today, so dress and plan accordingly. Buy your most heat sensitive items last, or ask the vendor to hold them for you in their coolers until you are ready to leave. Maybe bring a small cooler with gel ice in it to protect items between the Market and home.
  • If spending the whole day, remember to keep hydrated.
  • If you are planning to shop at the farmers market and then attend Seafood Fest, bring a good cooler and plenty of ice or gel packs, and if driving, park in the shade if you can.
  • Don’t store items like berries and salad greens in a hot car, and avoid putting berries, peaches, corn and tomatoes in your cooler, as cold hurts them.
  • Try to walk, ride your bike or take the bus today, as parking will be challenging.
  • Remember that Market Street is closed from 20th to 24th, 22nd is closed from Shilshole to 57th & Ballard Ave is closed from Vernon Place to Market.
  • Pack your patience and enjoy the day!
Sweet corn from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet corn from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, now we’re talking! Yes, it is time for sweet corn! Lyall Farms will have their first harvest of the season today at your Ballard Farmers Market. To quote Garrison Keillor, “Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn.” 

Sungold cherry tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sungold cherry tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These sungold cherry tomatoes from One Leaf Farm are like candy, they are so sweet. They also are the fastest maturing tomatoes, from planting the seed to harvest. I love adding them to salads this time of year, but I usually have to get twice as many as I think I’ll need, since I end up eating most of them right out of the container.

Flavorosa pluots from Tiny's Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Flavorosa pluots from Tiny’s Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tiny’s Organic has the first pluots of the year today. Pluots are a cross between plums and apricots — genetically 70% plum and 30% apricot. As such, they tend to favor plums in appearance, texture and taste, but they are sturdier and surprisingly diverse in flavor and appearance in and of themselves. These are Flavorosa pluots, the earliest variety.

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.

I’m thinking oysters on the grill tonight sounds like an excellent idea, don’t you? Stop by Hama Hama Oysters today and grab a few dozen for the barby. And if they haven’t sold out of fresh, cooked dungeness crabs, devouring one of them on your deck, with a nice salad and a loaf of bread, will work well, too!

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

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

Jarvis Family Garlic Farm returns today with their amazing selection of heirloom garlic varieties, ranging from mild to wild, all with big garlic flavor. Because after all, there is no such thing as too much garlic.

Tomatillos from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomatillos from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I’m thinking a good game plan would be to take some of that garlic and mingle it with some of these organic tomatillos from Alvarez Organic Farms. Get your green salsa on, baby!

Early Red Haven peaches from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Early Red Haven peaches from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These early red haven peaches from Martin Family Orchards are sweet and juicy, picked only when ripe, and then packed in these protective trays to reduce bruising. They are ready for you to enjoy right now, at the happy expense of the front of your shirt!

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 catches some of the world’s best wild king salmon right off the coast of Washington and brings it to us fresh right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. In most cases, it was swimming just 24-48 hours ago. And their smoked king salmon is the stuff of dreams! Why not grab a side of smoked king and enjoy it on your deck this evening?

New Viking Purple potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

New Viking Purple potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

In the spirit of Ballard’s Scandinavian ancestry, and the fishing culture they brought here with them, our friends at Olsen Farms present these Viking Purple new potatoes, just dug fresh this past week. They are sweet and tender, and they need to be eaten right away, preferably with lots of butter!

Huge heads of romaine lettuce from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Huge heads of romaine lettuce from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Everyone, run for your lives! It is the attack of the Heads of Romaine that ate Manhattan! Seriously, these heads of romaine from Boistfort Valley Farm are so huge, they should really be called “boulders of romaine.” One thing is for sure. With one of these bad boys, you won’t have to worry about running out of lettuce this week, will you?

Bacon from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bacon from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

With ginormous heads of lettuce like that, and with tomatoes now in season, you’ll need bacon from Skagit River Ranch to complete the ultimate local BLT. And actually, you’ll also need bacon for radicchio, collard greens, broccoli… everything, really. Because, after all, everything is better with bacon.

Gruyere bread from Snohomish Bakery. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gruyere bread from Snohomish Bakery. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you tried the Gruyere bread from our newest bakery, Snohomish Bakery? It is nothing short of addictive. It has that wonderful, cheesy, Gruyere funkiness, and lovely, moist, chewy bread. Follow it up with one of their chocolate croissants, and you’re pretty much set!

A rainbow of berries from Hayton Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A rainbow of berries from Hayton Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is a spectacular rainbow of berries today at Hayton Farms, including golden raspberriesred raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Better load up on them, so you can enjoy their cooling effects with every meal this coming hot week!

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

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

Want to grow your own saffron? Then stop by Phocas Farms today for some of these saffron crocus corms. This is the earliest they ever had them available, which means you can plant them earlier, enhancing the chances you will have a lovely bit of your own precious saffron come October. (Head over to their Facebook page for planting instructions.)

Fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Sodas. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Sodas. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cool down with a fresh soda from Soda Jerk Soda today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Made with many fresh, local, seasonal ingredients, their flavors change from time-to-time, so stop by to see what’s fresh today!

Ron & Florence from Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ron & Florence from Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Or better yet, how about a nice ice cream bar from our buddies at Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company? It’s like a big hug and an air conditioner on a stick! They have a ridiculous selection of flavors from which to choose. I have a bit of a weakness for the cardamom, myself. Nummers.

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, July 6th: More Colors Than A July 4th Fireworks Display! Including Nectarines, Green Beans, Tomatoes & Some Fishy Business!

July 5, 2014
Beeksteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beeksteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We hope you all had a pleasant Independence Day holiday. Now, it’s time to gear up for the real summer in Seattle — lots of warm, sunny days, a festival every three days, and a stunningly diverse rainbow of localiciousness at your Ballard Farmers Market. Indeed, this particular blog installment is about as colorful as any we’ve ever done. And yes, this is a photo of beefsteak tomatoes taken this year. I took it on Wednesday, in fact, at our sister Wallingford Farmers Market. These beauties are from Alm Hill Gardens.

Honeyfire nectarines from Tiny's Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Honeyfire nectarines from Tiny’s Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tiny’s Organic wins the award for first orchard with nectarines this summer! Like with so many other crops this year, these organic Honeyfire nectarines mark the earliest we have ever seen nectarines at your Ballard Farmers Market! So let’s review: it is the first Sunday in July, and we already have nectarines and beefsteak tomatoes. Woohoo!

Gene Panida of Wilson Fish holding a whole wild Washington king salmon. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gene Panida of Wilson Fish holding a whole wild Washington king salmon. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now that is a fish! Gene Panida, from Wilson Fish, is holding a whole, wild Washington troll-caught king salmon, and that is no small fish. Last week, they were selling them for a mere $11.99 per pound! If you are feeding an army, grab one of these gorgeous fish and pop it in your smoker. Yeah, baby!

Green beans from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Green beans from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And look! Green beans from Alvarez Organic Farms! Yup, green beans are flooding into your Ballard Farmers Market this week from several farms. Try doing a quick sauté on them, maybe with some bacon and some pearl onions, if you can find them. Or get pickling!

Fresh keta salmon ikura and skeines from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh keta salmon ikura and skeines from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Do you love fresh salmon eggs? Then you are in luck! Loki Fish has fresh skeines of salmon eggs right now. They also have freshly cured ikura — that’s salted salmon eggs… in those little jars. Take a slice of Tall Grass Bakery baguette, a schmear of truffled fromage from Mt. Townsend Creamery, and top with a spoonful of ikura, and you have one serious bite of deliciousness!

A colorful display from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A colorful display from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of rainbows, how about this display from our friends at Boistfort Valley Farm. They returned full-time last week with lots of great veggies. Stop by for amazing lettuceschardradishesfresh herbshoney and more!

Red & salmon raspberries from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red & salmon raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And I know I wrote of organic salmon raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm just last week. But when I saw this spectacular checkerboard of berries on their tables at Wallingford Farmers Market this past Wednesday, I just had to share it.

Treviso radicchio from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Treviso radicchio from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This Treviso radicchio, from One Leaf Farm, is one of the most beautiful vegetables on earth, hands down. It is also one of my favorite vegetables. It is a chicory, so like all chicories, it tends to be bitter. But it has a sweetness to it, too. And when you cook it, those dramatic white cores of its leaves sweeten up a bit. There are many ways to enjoy it. Two of my favorites are grilling it and sautéing it with bacon. For grilling it, just cut it in half, lengthwise, oil it down, and plop it on the grill until wilted. It’s okay if it gets a little char. That adds depth to the flavor. Then finish it with a nice finishing salt, some fresh ground pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. To sauté it, cut it up crosswise, with about one inch wide cuts. Use a good, smoking, salty bacon, like from Sea Breeze Farm, or a sweeter bacon, like Olsen Farms‘ jowl bacon, or the bacon ends and pieces from Skagit River Ranch. Chunk it up into smallish pieces and render out the fat over medium heat in a skillet, then drop in the Treviso with the bacon and fat, and toss together until the Treviso is just wilted. Salt and pepper to taste, and if the bacon hasn’t effectively sweetened it, add a drizzle of balsamic.

Canned local albacore tuna in a variety of flavors from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Canned local albacore tuna in a variety of flavors from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Talk about a rainbow, canned local albacore tuna from Fishing Vessel St. Jude comes in a plethora of flavors, each with its own colorful labels. And since it is the first Sunday of the month, St. Jude is here will all manner of yummy tuna, from canned to  jerkied to fresh-frozen loins to smoked, and more! Stock up!

Robada apricots from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Robada apricots from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

ACMA Mission Orchards has these juicy organic Robada apricots this week, as well as cherriestomcot apricots, and probably some early peaches, too! Enjoy these early apricot varieties while you can, as they come and go so quickly.

Summer squash from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer squash from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How about some yellow crookneckzucchini, sunburst and other wonderful summer squashes from Colinwood Farm? And don’t forget their awesome salad mix, their red, white & blue new potatoes, and even a few tomatoes!

Broccoli from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Broccoli from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer Run Farm always grows such gorgeous broccoli, don’t you think? To say nothing of (though I am going to anyway) those ginormous heads of lettuce and their adorable little dwarf sunflowers.

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

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

Summer is a great time of year to enjoy fresh goat cheese, or chevre, from Twin Oaks Creamery. it is sweet, refreshing and comes in a nice variety of flavors. Just grab your favorite bread and schmear some on it, or stuff some squash blossoms from Alvarez Organic Farms, and pan-fry them. And try chevre with beets! Boom!

Some of the hard cider lineup at Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Some of the hard cider lineup at Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Some hard cider from Finnriver Farm & Cidery will compliment any of those goat cheese dishes, or just about anything else at the Market today. Try them out, find the ones you like, and get some tips for pairing it from them today!

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, June 1: Sugar Snap Peas, Tomatoes, Strawberries, Cherries, Glorious Sunshine & The Return Of Boistfort Valley Farm!

May 31, 2014
80-11 Rainier cherries from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

80-11 Early Rainier cherries from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And the hits just keep on coming! Yes, those are Rainier cherries80-11 Early Rainier cherries, to be precise, from Lyall Farms. This variety ripens a good two weeks ahead of other Rainier cherries, and Lyall Farms gets another 7-10 days head start on other farms because of the location of their orchard in the warmest, sunniest micro-climate in the state. Add to that the fact that, after colder than average months of December, January, February, March & April, and lots of rain to start off May, May ended up with warmer than average temps and sunnier than normal skies! Go figure. But hey, who’s complaining? 75 and sunny, with Rainier cherries, on the first day of June in Seattle? That’s fine by me!

Sugar snap peas from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sugar snap peas from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

But wait! There’s more! Yes, these are sugar snap peas, I kid you not! I took this photo on Wednesday at our sister Wallingford Farmers Market, which just opened for the 2014 season. These peas are from our friends at Alvarez Organic Farms in Mabton, another of Washington’s warmest, sunniest micro-climates. And Alvarez has their first harvest of Detroit red beets this week, too, and green shallots!

Organic strawberries from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic strawberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We’ll have strawberries today from at least three different farms, and perhaps as many as six! These are organic strawberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. This is the earliest we have had strawberries in your Ballard Farmers Market in years!

Fresh spinach from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh spinach from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

After their brief annual mid-spring rest, the fields at Nash’s Organic Produce in Dungeness are roaring back to life again. This week, they have lots and lots of their amazing organic spinach for your dining pleasure, as well as freshly-milled buckwheat flour and more!

Hot house vine tomatoes from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hot house vine tomatoes from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, now I’m just messing with, right? Nope! These really are tomatoes, grown in Washington, this year! They are hot house vine tomatoes from Magana Farms in Sunnyside, the aptly named town in the Yakima Valley that is also in one of those special micro-climates of which Washington has more than 200. Magana’s big hoop house greenhouse warms naturally using Ole Sol only. This is the same variety of tomato you see coming out of heated greenhouses just north of Bellingham in British Columbia much of the year, except they didn’t require fossil fuels to ripen, or a passport to get here, and you didn’t need a Big Box store, or a nameless, faceless corporate farm to bring them to you.

Lettuce from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Lettuce from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! Boistfort Valley Farm returns today to your Ballard Farmers Market, again… the earliest in years! In fact, this may be the earliest they’ve ever come in! And you can bet they’ll have lots of this gorgeous lettuce, some colorful radishes, some honey and maybe some artichokes, and much, much more.

Canned local albacore tuna in a variety of flavors from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Canned local albacore tuna in a variety of flavors from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is the first Sunday of the month, and you know what that means? Yes, Fishing Vessel St. Jude is here today, with the finest albacore tuna you will find anywhere.

Collard greens from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Collard greens from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yay! Collard greens are back, baby! I loves me some organic collard greens from Oxbow Farm in Duvall, preferably with some lovely jowl bacon from Olsen Farms, and some green garlic from Alm Hill Gardens. Yeah, baby! Oh, and guess what? Allen is back at Olsen Farms today, too. Could life get any better?

Julie from Four Sisters Chili Sauce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Julie from Four Sisters Gourmet Sauce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

With all these farmers and crops returning to your Ballard Farmers Market, we’re running out of room for many of our beloved food artisans. You’ll find many of them at our sister markets in Wallingford and Madrona all summer, though. Today, however, is the last day at Ballard until fall for Four Sisters Gourmet Sauces. So stock up today for the next few months, while you can!

Soda Jerk Truckster. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Soda Jerk Truckster. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And we finish off this week’s epistle with yet another first: the first ever vendor truck allowed inside your Ballard Farmers Market! That’s because the Soda Jerk Soda Truckster is only nine feet long, from bumper to bumper, soaking wet (as it was last week at this time), meaning it fits perfectly in a standard 10′ x 10′ vendor space. This adorable little fresh soda slinging, street-legal machine was made by Cushman in 1984, and it is the product, in part, of your generosity when you invested in Soda Jerk’s Kickstarter campaign last year. Pretty cool, eh?

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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