Sunday, April 15th: Asparagus, Garden Starts, Wood Sorrel, Gluten-Free Flour & Rebranded Tea!


It's asparagus time again! Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gee, I wonder if folks will get excited to hear that two farms will have the first asparagus of 2012 today at your Ballard Farmers Market? Well, if the reaction to this news on our Facebook page earlier this week was any indication, I’d say yes! We had a record response to the announcement there. So here it is: both Lyall Farms and Alm Hill Gardens will have asparagus today. Clayton predicted that Alm Hill’s supply will last all of about 15 minutes this morning, but Alan says Lyall Farms will be harvesting quite a bit for today. (Read: it’ll last until noon.) Bottom line is the early bird gets the asparagus!

Sugar snap pea starts from Seattle Urban Farm Company. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

By the way, is it just me, or does anyone else see the irony in that this year’s tax filing deadline was postponed until April 17th, because April 16th is Emancipation Day? That said, I saw plenty of folks the last couple of days availing themselves of generous April sun to get out and do some weeding in their gardens. Well, with gardens prepped, it’s time to stock up on plants for said gardens. Like these sugar snap pea starts from Seattle Urban Farm Company, for instance. Peas are one plant you can safely stick in the ground right now, and they’ll be serving you up legumeliciousness come June!

Field peas and buckwheat flour from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One of the many things I love about Nash’s Organic Produce is how they have been diversifying their crops over the years. And in the process, they are actually helping Washington State University develop crop varieties that will thrive in Western Washington. Take these yellow and green field peas, and this buckwheat flour, for instance. The peas make for great soups, salads, and can even be ground into flour or mashed into hummus. And the buckwheat flour is gluten-free! See, buckwheat isn’t wheat at all. Heck, it isn’t even a grass, as most grains used in our society are. Instead, it is related to sorrel, knotweed and rhubarb, all crops that grow in abundance here. Perhaps the most ingenious thing about these crops of Nash’s is that they are actually cover crops, meant to be used in rotation with vegetable crops, as they help the soil replenish its nutrients. Gotta love that they can produce another cash crop, too! See, this is how we make small-scale farming profitable, right? (Oh, BTW, that chickweed they sell… yet another tasty cover crop!)

Wild wood sorrel from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Thpthpthpeaking of thpthpthorrel, ’tis the season for wild wood sorrel, and Foraged & Found Edibles has it… or at least, they had it last week. See, unlike farmers, foragers cannot absolutely predict what they’ll be able to harvest from week-to-week, so I know I am taking a risk whenever I tell you Jeremy will have a particular foraged food in a given week. But hey, it didn’t get cold, or overly wet, this past week, so I’m feeling pretty confident it’ll be here. As well as fiddleheads. Enjoy!

Honey Crisp Apple Cider from Rockridge Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The sun last Sunday made for some fun market photography, did it not? I could not resist these glowing bottles of honey crisp apple cider from Rockridge Orchards. It was like they were lit from the inside. I mean, if all the light was coming from outside, the labels would be more discernible, would they not? But enough talk about art. Let’s talk drink! This is some mighty delicious cider of the non-alcoholic kind. (They’ve got plenty of the other kind, too, BTW.)

Stunning spring succulents from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Not all the plants at your Ballard Farmers Market are for eating. Some just hang around and look good. And you know what? They don’t even feel demeaned by the experience. These succulents from Phocas Farms are in all their spring glory right now, just waiting to be added to your garden, your path, your rockery or wherever you need some beautiful, hearty, draught-tolerent plants to spruce up your surroundings. And now, while it is still the rainy season, is a great time to get them and plant them, so they’ll be well-established and ready to roll on through summer, thriving despite your neglect.

Misfits Bliss Tea, formerly known as Sip-T. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish off this week’s post with a little presto-chango. You see, Sip-T has reinvented itself into Misfits Bliss, but they still are making amazing tea blends to warm up your day. Personally, I really like the new look, with the jam jars and old suitcases. Heck, the jars even come with their own baggage tags! Kinda give them an out-of-time feel, eh? And why not? I mean, don’t you ever find yourself sipping tea and imagining yourself in Victorian times in some PBS series or something? Perhaps that is why people drink tea when they want to slow down, as opposed to drinking coffee when they want to speed up!

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.

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