The talking heads on all the local TV news programs have been whipping us all into a rabid, snow-obsessed frenzy this week. They’ve got their artists working overtime to come up with updated looking “Winter Blast 2012″ graphics, and their IT guys are designing all kinds of new toys for the weather reporters. People are waiting in line at Les Schwabb for hours to get snow tires, and riots are breaking out in Home Depots over shovels and window scrapers. But here in Ballard, we fear not! We are of Viking stock, after all, and we would not have been the first Europeans to land on North American shores by traversing the North Atlantic if we were a bunch of weather wusses. Am I right, people?!? So bring on the snow! Show us your worst! We will don our winter boots, our cross-country skis, our snow shoes and our toboggans, and we will make our weekly pilgrimage to our Ballard Farmers Market, no matter the weather, just like we did in December 2008.
And to show winter what we really think of it, we will eat spicy salad mix from Colinwood Farms in the middle of January, because we can! We are hearty folk, and we eat what’s in season, but because we support our local farmers year-round, they have been able to adapt along with us, and that means they have figured out how to feed us salad in January. Boo-yah!
We will eat local tomatoes in the dead of winter, in the form of vodka cream sauce from Tomato Goodness, because they had the good sense to make a whole lot of sauces from Billy’s tomatoes this past summer. Genius! Heck, they’ve even straight-up canned some of those tomatoes whole. And the vodka in their cream sauce is local, too!
And we can store things, too. Like apples & pears. Martin Family Orchards does just that. And they’ve got plenty of lovely pears like these, as well as apples galore, from this past fall. Ah, fresh, local fruit, all winter long. Now, that impresses me about our species a lot more than the latest smart phone upgrade!
You go to the local Big Box store, and the fish there is from, um, like Thailand or China. What’s up with that? I mean, Ballard is first and foremost Seattle’s maritime community, where its fishing fleet is based. We should be eating local fish, sustainably harvested, as direct from the boat as we can get it. And here at your Ballard Farmers Market, you can do just that. How about some of this lovely fresh Washington true cod from Wilson Fish, for example. I love this stuff tossed in a simple little breading mixture of whole wheat flour and corn meal, some garlic powder, cayenne powder, some nice sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a little bit of baking powder, to help the breading crisp up when I pan-fry it. And to get it to cook evenly and get more breading flavor, I cut it up into bite-sized pieces before breading it. Oh, sweet codlicious satisfaction!
We’ve still got a good selection of hearty greens at your Ballard Farmers Market this week, including these awesome collard greens from Children’s Garden. Did you know that collard greens are one of the most nutrient dense veggies out there? And they are delish! Okay, maybe you are one of those people who has only ever had them cooked to death, Southern-style, and you don’t think you care for them. Our northern collards are different. They are sweeter, and more tender, and they don’t require more than a gentle sauté with some garlic and maybe some salty, smoky pork product until just wilted, but still bright green. They are an amazing side to a nice steak, some sausage, or just starring on their own. And they are at their prime right now. Amazing what a little cold weather will do to bring out their inner beauty!
Our local farmers have been working hard with Washington State University to develop varieties of shelling beans that will thrive in our diverse climate zones around here. Several years ago, you would have been hard pressed to find shelling beans at local farmers markets. Today, farms like Stoney Plains have them year-round, fresh during their harvest season, and dried the rest of the year. Visit them today for some dried cannellini, cranberry or fava beans!
Nothing like some stick-to-your-ribs all-rye bread from Tall Grass Bakery to get you through a cold winter’s day. This stuff is so hearty and delicious, and it’ll stoke your fire for hours. I love this with a healthy shmir of some local, farmstead butter. Hmm, where can I get some of that?
Oh, yeah, right! Golden Glen Creamery has local, farmstead butter, and they’re back today, after several weeks hiatus to do some major maintenance on their processing facility. And they make some incredible butter. It is available in a selection of flavors, and even unsalted, but me, I like it plain old lightly salted. So back off! That one’s mine!
Hey, there is plenty of 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.