Sunday, November 15th: Chef Peter Birk of Ray’s Boathouse & Lots of Tasty Goodness!

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Chef Peter Birk from Ray's Boathouse, Ballard's venerable seafood restaurant, explains to market shoppers how to make winter squash gnocchi at his Ballard Farmers Market cooking demo on November 23, 2008. Photo copyright 2008 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chef Peter Birk from Ray’s Boathouse will perform a cooking demonstration today at noon at your Ballard Farmers Market. This cooking demonstration is part of the Eat Local For Thanksgiving campaign, which encourages everyone to pledge to have at least one item on your 2009 Thanksgiving table be from a local farmer. Chef Birk will give you ideas on dishes you can add to your holiday table using ingredients readily available at the Ballard Farmers Market. And hey, why not make your whole Thanksgiving dinner local this year. You can do it entirely from the Market, from the wine to the turkey to the oyster stuffing and mashed rutabagas. Heck you can even get a delicious pie and non-toxic candles to put the finishing touches on your evening.

Sunchokes, a.k.a. "Jerusalem artichokes." from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Try adding a food that our nation’s founders learned to eat from the native peoples in colonial times: sunchokes, which they called “Jerusalem artichokes.” Sunchokes, like these from Nash’s, are quite versatile tubers that can be used much like potatoes. I like adding them to root roasts. Another idea is to steam them until tender, then brown them in thyme butter.

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Shucked oysters from Taylor Shellfish make it easy to add fresh, local oysters to any recipe. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Of course, if you are going to make that aforementioned oyster stuffing, you’ll need oysters. Taylor Shellfish has you covered. Get them fresh-shucked and easy to work with. Or, if your holiday table is more adventurous, get some live oysters, clams, mussels or geoduck.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For those of us who love sweet potatoes on our Thanksgiving tables, now we can get them at the Ballard Farmers Market along with everything else. This year, for the first time, two farmers — Lyall Farms (above) and Alm Hill — grew sweet potatoes locally. One more crop we don’t have to import, eh?

Cape Cleare, from Port Townsend, is back! Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cape Cleare, a fishing vessel based out of Port Townsend, has returned to your Ballard Farmers Market. Cape Cleare are those folks who ride their bicycles to Market pulling their trailers with coolers of fish behind them. Cape Cleare fishes in Alaska, and then flash freezes their fish for maximum quality. They’ve got king and coho salmon, albacore tuna and ling cod frozen, smoked and/or canned.

Hazelnuts from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alm Hill Gardens has certified organic hazelnuts for a short time longer. But remember, they keep well, so stock up while you can!

Caveman Bars are back! Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Caveman Bars are back at Ballard Farmers Market. These local favorites are the perfect pick-me-up snack on the go, or on the slopes. Their new coconut cocoa hazelnut bar, which uses local hazelnuts, is sweet and chewy, and even this non-coconut eater enjoyed it.

Delicate squash from Nature's Last Stand. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nature’s Last Stand is one of several farms that have you covered on winter squash, like these delicata and carnival squash, above. And try out their kale mix, too.

Wine and hard cider from Rockridge Orchards. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget the beverages. Be it wine, hard cider or sweet cider, Rockridge Orchards has got what you need in all sorts of flavors to please every palate, and in forms for both the adult table and the kiddie table.

Snooter-doots unique felted wool creations. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As the holiday season approaches, remember that Ballard Farmers Market is your place for unique, locally-crafted gifts straight from the artists who created them. Check out Snooter-doots — felted wool creations that are truly one-of-a-kind, handmade fun. And what the heck, why wait for the gift-giving holidays. Grab a Snooter-friends “Veggee” for yourself to help decorate your Thanksgiving table!

Ascents scented votives won't pollute the air around your holidays. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ascents Candles has a wide variety of essential oil scented, non-toxic candles to adorn your home during the holidays. Don’t pollute the air in your home with toxic fumes from those cheap, imported candles from those big box store in Renton. While they may cost a little more, Ascents’ candles last much longer, so the price kinda works out the same in the end, but your lungs come out way ahead. And if you are looking for unscented votives for your dining room table, Ascents has you covered there, too. Just ask.

Okay, that’s it for me this week. But there is so much more waiting for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. For a full accounting, click on “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner.

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