Everything in Ballard Farmers Market is Wonderful

March 28, 2015 by
BFM 2015 Bergen Place Park

Opening Day for Bergen Place – Ballard Farmers Market 2015

 Ballard Farmers Market grows into Bergen Place Park.    

We are glad to have a little more space to keep more of our fine foods and craft vendors longer through the summer as the farms begin to rush into the Ballard Farmers Market with their larger harvests.  You may have noticed over the years, the market experiences a gradual loss of some of our favorite food makers and handmade crafts as we have more and bigger farm presence.  A shout-out goes to the City Department of Parks and Recreation for approving our use permit of Bergen Place.  Now we can keep more of our fine vendors working in Ballard.  You’ll see a rotating variety of vendors over the coming months, like:  Veraci Pizza!  Their famous pizza oven cooking pizzas with many locally sourced toppings, was scheduled to move into Bergen Place at Ballard Farmers Market this Sunday, but they brought the wrong size truck and can’t make it work.  I apologize to those readers who saw this False alarm last night and the earlier post this morning.  We will try to work it out for next week.

Loading pizza in the mobile oven at Veraci Pizza at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Loading pizza into the mobile oven at Veraci Pizza at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

IT’S SPRING TONIC TIME

Spring Greens from Stoney Plains Farm

and Foraged and Found 

Once upon a time, in the far distant past, mothers and crones and medicine women were the keepers of the villagers’ health.  It was from them that the secret of the Spring Tonic was imposed into the family diets and for treating illnesses in the community.  The medicine women had learned, what much later would be named by modern science as Micro-Nutrients and Vitamin C, were effective at helping people fight off the ravages of the winter weather and effects of less food for the people during the dark months.  They knew the secrets of recovery that were held within the bright green shoots emerging in the forests around them.

 MINERS LETTUCE

Fresh, tasty miner's lettuce from Stoney Plains Farm Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh, tasty miner’s lettuce from Stoney Plains Farm Copyright Zachary D. Lyons

Miners Lettuce, saved many miners’  lives during the mid-1800s. Many men were taken in by the myths of “gold in them thar hills” that came out of the California Gold Rush.  These guys were gullible. They thought that within a few weeks, they could just walk around the mountains, picking up huge gold nuggets, and return home with their fortunes before their families missed them.  Consequently, many opted not to bring food supplies with them and, of course, many soon began to starve.  Luckily, the mountain ranges of the West Coast had a native plant, Claytonia profoliata, growing everywhere in the forests.  This beautiful and delicious green was packed with vitamins, most especially  “C”, and its common name, of Miners Lettuce is a testament to how many miners’ lives it was responsible for saving and how many of those silly men made it back from the wilds of the Northern California Sierras alive, if poorer.  Excellent in salads, as a beautiful garnish on any food, and used on sandwiches in place of lettuce.  The flavor is almost tart, but mild, and children love eating it fresh picked.
Both Nettles and Chickweed, endemic to fields and forest, paths and hedgerows, have also provided natural remedies for eons.  One is scary and the other is stepped on wherever you go.

 CHICKWEED

Chickweed, or Satin Flower as it was called in the early days of civilization.  From Stoney Plains Farm

Chickweed, or Satin Flower as it was called in the early days of civilization. From Stoney Plains Farm

Chickweed is delicate and if soaked in cold water for an hour or four, will leach many of their healthful nutrients into the water and provide a refreshing drink to those who may have to re-hydrate from congestion or a cough from a cold.  Then use the greens in a fresh salad, on sandwiches, or as a garnish, much like you would parsley or cilantro sprigs.

STINGING NETTLES

Wild stinging nettles from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wild stinging nettles from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The Nettles, with their prickly leaves, should be placed in a bowl of water, rinsed and drained. Best if you use a pair of tongs or a spoon so as not to touch them with your hands. Then throw them into a saute pan with mushrooms, onions and/or garlic, and eaten like any great vegetable.  Their sting disappears with the cooking, and may be responsible for a big part of the nutrition they provide.

AND THERE IS MORE !

Stop by to Welcome One Leaf Farm

Oxbow Alice. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Alice. Photo copyright by Zachary D. Lyons.

Our amazing weather has caused bumper crops that are popping out of the fields of our area farms like magic.  One Leaf Farm is one of those.  I got a call from Alice, formerly the beauty who was always seen behind the tables of Oxbow Farm in the past years.  Now she works with Rand Rasheed.

Rand Rasheed, Owner & Operator of One Leaf Farm from Carnation

Rand Rasheed, Owner & Operator of One Leaf Farm from Carnation

It seems these two powerhouse women farmers had more greens than the restaurants they normally supply could use this week.  So when they asked if they could bring One Leaf Farm greens this week, I jumped at the chance to bring them to Ballard Farmers Market.

YES!  WE HAVE EGGS!

Fresh eggs from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh eggs from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And that’s not the only treat we have this Spring. The hens love the balmy weather too.  Just about all of our egg farmers are having great egg production right now.  And they are the best, freshest, and often hugest eggs you can find without having a coop in your back yard. Perfect for Easter egg hunts and deviled egg plates on the dinner table. Don’t worry, the market has all the eggs you could ever want this year. If you have an Egg dying project coming up, be assured that you can dye the brown ones too. Not surprisingly, the colors come out more vibrant and intense than when using white eggs.  I found a fun website a few years ago with ideas for brown egg decorating.  I thought it had creative ideas.  Check it out here: http://roscommonacres.com/2012/04/how-to-decorate-brown-eggs-for-easter/

LOPEZ ISLAND WINERY’S LAST WEEK

Award winning wines from Lopez Island Vineyards. Photo copyright by Zachary D. Lyons.

Award winning wines from Lopez Island Vineyards. Photo copyright by Zachary D. Lyons.

A consistent winner of prizes for Best-of-Category, Lopez Island Vineyards will be taking a hiatus from the Ballard Farmers Market in order to catch up with the many Spring chores that a vineyard has. Again, because of this amazing weather, the vines are requiring a lot of attention.  As so many of our farms, Brent Charnley and Maggie Nilan, are working the vineyards and running the winery almost entirely by themselves. You’re encouraged to come to market this Sunday, stock up on their very special wines and say goodbye.  If you have the time, volunteer to help out at LIV, and you could find yourself with an interesting job while you enjoy one of the most beautiful islands in the world.  Be sure to pick up enough bottles to last until they return.  Luckily wine keeps in a cool pantry or basement excellently, actually getting better.  It’s a feeling of security to have a stock of great wines, ready for that special occasion when only the best local taste will meet the standard of what you want to sip.  Try taking home their most recent winner, Malbec, their lovely Gold Winning Madeline Angevine, it won a Platinum Award, and the Siegerrebe white wine, declared “top-quality” by Wine Press Northwest.

NEED SOMETHING NEW FOR THE SPRING?

Find a one of a kind skirt to brighten up these warmer days.  Children’s sizes are also available.

Marmalade Design You can find a unique and charming skirt for the Spring festivities

Marmalade Design You can find a unique and charming skirt for the Spring festivities

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT

Another Sad Loss for the Ballard Farmers Market Family

March 25, 2015 by
Jessie's Berries. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Anita Vizcaya and her daughter Alexandria.  Smiling as usual. Photo Copyright by Zachary D. Lyons.

Anita Vizcaya

On Thursday, March 19, 2015 Anita Vizcaya passed away in her sleep, after a productive day of making candles in the farm house kitchen and going to bed happy.  Her family is grateful for the mercy that she left this world peacefully and without pain.

All who knew her, realized that Anita was a wonderful mother and friend.  Alex and Anita were a team, working together with a shared respect and love between them that was unmistakable.  One of her favorite quotes, and the one that her family named as her memorial statement is from “On Motherhood” by Elizabeth Stone: “Making the decision to have a child-it’s momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”  

Anita was born in Mt Vernon, Washington, and grew up on her parents’ farm, Jessie’s Berries. Located in Skagit County, the farm was named by her father to honor Jessie, Anita’s mother, when they began farming in the late 50’s.  Anita took on a greater share of the farming as her parents grew older and the farming became harder for them.  And like so many small farmers must, she worked full time in a real-world job too.  She retired last year from the Tesoro Refinery, after a long and illustrious professional career.  

Long after Anita’s Dad passed away, the 3 Vizcaya women worked diligently to keep the berry farm productive.  We benefited from  their hard work.  Their ever present beautiful and infectious smiles were glorious gifts to all the people who came to the market, not to mention the marvelous berries they brought to us each week.  

Anita Vizcaya, Artist

Anita Vizcaya, Artist

Energetic and full of the love of life, Anita’s passion was drawing and painting, which she pursued during the dark and wet winters on Fir Island Rd in Mount Vernon.  Anita  is survived by her mother, Jessie, her sister, Ofelia, brothers, Alfredo and Javier, son-in-law Daniel, and of course, her daughter Alexandria.  

Their family was open and loving to each other and so they know that she did not want the family to organize a memorial service.  Instead, she insisted they go to Hawaii and enjoy the beauty, warmth, and comfort that Aloha can provide in a time of need.  

Yet, in her good natured way, she understood that some in her extended family, friends, and co-workers might want to have a recognition of some kind.  The family has informed us that they won’t be accepting guests for a while, but if you find yourself going by their farm, they will have a guest book on the front porch for you to share your feelings.

We who worked so many years together with Anita at the market, would like to invite her fellow vendors and her customers to join in recognition of the beautiful person that she was, by stopping at the Market Information desk to share memories of her with an entry in the Anita Vizcaya Remembrance Book we will have available there.  In lieu of flowers/gifts, it was her wish that donations be made to N.O.A.H. www.thenoahcenter.org.   All notes of condolence you wish to leave with us, will be forwarded immediately to Anita’s family.

2nd Addition: March is National Soup Month: Now Use Fish for a Healthy and Sumptuous Basis for Great Chowders

March 21, 2015 by
When he's not clowning around at Wilson Fish, Tim Davidson is an international disaster relief volunteer for the Red Cross. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When he’s not clowning around at Wilson Fish, Tim Davidson is an international disaster relief volunteer for the Red Cross. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

SO WHY NOT TRY A CHOWDER FOR SUNDAY DINNER?

Any variety of smoked salmon you chose will make a fine main ingredient in a chowder that will become one of your favorites with this recipe from bbcgoodfood.com.  We recommend it for the simple ingredients and fabulous flavor. You can click this link to see what you think. It may inspire you to try it.  You might even want to send us a photo or video of you cooking, or eating the soup, or clowning around.  We think it would be fun to see how you do and what you think.

Now, let’s talk Potatoes and Leeks.  Absolutely required, they can be found in abundance from most of our farmers.

First, Leeks:  Try Mee Garden, The Old Farmer, Colinwood Farm, Nash’s Organic Farm, Pa Garden, Ia’s Gardne, Growing Washington, Growing Things, and Stoney Plains.

OneLeafBabyLeeks

Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These shining and delicate flavored vegetables provide just the right touch.  But they always need to be washed thoroughly-they have a reputation for surprising people with globs of mud stuck between their layers of the top 2/3rds of the stalk.

HELPFUL TIP FOR CLEANING LEEKS:  Cut stalks into 2-3 inch pieces and remove the root end; place in a large bowl with cold water; and stir vigorously enough to see the beginnings of separation of the layers.  Allow to sit in the water long enough to begin to see the dirt come free from the layers, and give a good final rinse until you get the pieces clean.  Plan on using the bottom white portion up to the paler green pieces in your soup.  The greenest top parts can be placed in a bag & frozen to add terrific flavor to a clear vegetable broth made later, or you can compost them.

Now, the beloved Potato:  They too are available from your favorite farmer with little exception.  Pick the colors and textures you want.

AlmHillRussetPotatoes

Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

KirsopPotatoes

Kirsop Potatoes are still looking good. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

The great news is Potatoes are so good for you.  Even without the skin, 1 medium potato will provide 70% of the Vitamin C you need in a day, 25% of the Potassium, 9% Iron and 8% Protein.  Add to that such nutrients as 30% of your daily need for Vitamin B-6, 18% of dietary fiber and 12% of Magnesium.  And I could go on, but out of courtesy to you, I’ll stop here.

Finally, this recipe calls for heavy cream (BBC calls it double cream), but if you substitute yogurt from Samish Bay Cheese, or sheep yogurt from Glendale Shepherd, you won’t regret it.

Sheep's milk yogurt from Glendale Shepherd. Photo courtesy Glendale Shepherd.

Sheep’s milk yogurt from Glendale Shepherd. Photo courtesy Glendale Shepherd.

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

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

We’d love to see your innovations and how you do.  We are always interested in your experience.

Until then Bon Appetite!

To Our Friend and Supporter: We Won’t Forget Your Love

March 18, 2015 by
imagesIn Honor of Our Affection for Larry Woelich

We lost a great friend this past week.  Someone who would never miss a Sunday at the Ballard Farmers Market.  Larry Woelich, a long-time visitor at the market and well known by most of us who work here, passed away peacefully last week, at the age of 78.

Larry always looked for the best: in people and in the foods he bought each week.  Although he filled a huge rolling basket with vegetables, meats, flowers, fruit, eggs, and candy, we knew he gave away much of it to his many friends, with whom he worked, and to his family.

His generosity was grander than the elegant clothes he wore every time he visited us.  And after shopping, his great treat to himself, and often one or more friends, was to enjoy a brunch at Bastille Cafe, followed by a few puffs of a smelly cigar as we waved goodbye to each other for the day.

As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

We all are hoping that you are enjoying a big party right now, one at least as fun as the Holiday Galas you invited us to for so many years.  

Larry always made us feel special and we will always remember.  

images-1


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