Sunday, September 30th: Hard Cider, Pearl Onions, Concord Grapes, Fresh Peanuts & One Adorable Child Eating Broccoli!

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Hard ciders from Alpenfire Cider. Photo courtesy Alpenfire Cider.

It’s the last Sunday of the month, and that means Finnriver Cidery will let one of its fellow cider makers take over their spot at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Today’s special guest is Alpenfire Cider, from Port Townsend. Their cidery is nestled in the woods at the end of a street on the west side of PT, surrounded by orchards. They make great hard ciders with their own twist on them, and they also make amazing vinegars, too! Plus, they’re certified organic!

Prairie Spy apples from Booth Canyon Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Booth Canyon Orchards is located in the beautiful Methow Valley in Okanogan County. They grow amazing tree fruit — many wonderful heirloom varieties. Like these beautiful Prairie Spy apples. Stop by and learn all about their many amazing apples and pears, and take some home to try!

Fresh green peanuts from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look, kids! It’s fresh peanut season at Alvarez Organic Farms! Take them home and boil them in a big pot of heavily salted water for a great Southern-style treat. Eat them freshly boiled, or drain them, let them dry a little, and then put them on a baking sheet in the oven for a while for fresh-roasted salted peanuts. Or for unsalted, you can just put them straight in the oven and roast them without boiling them.

Flavor Grenade pluots from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, there are so many kinds of pluots, and they come in so many sizes and colors, but one of the coolest looking pluots, and the one I think has the most macho name, is the Flavor Grenade pluot, like these, above, from Collins Family Orchards. And hey, just like their name suggests, they explode with flavor!

Pea vines from Gaia’s Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Here’s a little rebirth of spring for you! Gaia’s Natural Goods has a fresh crop of pea vines! I love these just sauteed with a little garlic in some olive oil, and imagine serving some local halibut from Wilson Fish, if you get here early enough to get any, or a nice grilled pork chop from Olsen Farms, over a bed of sauteed pea vines, eh? Yummers! They’ve also got carrotsberries and more today, too.

Concord grapes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

There are lots of grapes coming through your Ballard Farmers Market now, ready for making jelly, wine, sauces, raisins or just eating fresh off the vine. These are Concord grapes from Lyall Farms. They grow on the slopes along the east side of the Columbia River in Mattawa. They’re sweet, juicy and delicious!

Tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And how’s about early fall, farm-fresh tomatoes? Just look at these beauties from Alm Hill Gardens. Big ones. Little ones. Slicers, poachers. Sweeter ones, more acidic ones. And in all sorts of great colors to liven up your meal! Enjoy them right now. You will miss local, farm-fresh tomatoes come winter!

A dizzying variety of flower bulbs from Choice Bulb Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D Lyons.

It’s getting into bulb planting season again, and now’s a great time to stop by Choice Bulb Farms to check out the dozens of varieties of flower bulbs they have to offer. Remember, the bulbs you plant this fall will provide beautiful flowers next spring and summer!

Red Bartlett pears from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is peak season for fall tree fruit at your Ballard Farmers Market, so revel in it.  Looks like a record year! Try out these red Bartlett pears from Tiny’s Organic Produce, for instance. And they’ve got lots of apples and pluots now, too!

Radicchio from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah, radicchio! The stunningly beautiful, bitter chicory favored by Italians everywhere. Grill it. Add it to salads. Heck, top a sandwich with it. It’ll add color and a nice bite to many a dish. I love the stuff. Find these lovely heads of radicchio at Growing Things Farm.

Little Marina loves her some Oxbow Farm broccoli! Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

If there was ever a poster child for eating right, I think little Marina here would be it. Her mom had just purchased this lovely head of broccoli from Oxbow Farm last week, and Marina just had to hold it for mom. Mom soon found out why, as Marina began devouring it on the spot. I loved it when mom calmly asked Marina, “Please don’t eat all of it before we get home. We won’t have any for dinner.”

Red pearl onions from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish this week’s epistle with one of my favorite things — pearl onions. These little jewels are very hard to grow, so not many farms around here grow them. And yet, they are so amazing caramelized whole with some Sea Breeze bacon and then tossed with some hericot vert beans from Stoney Plains Organic Farm — a true treat! Well, lucky us, Boistfort Valley Farm has some of these cured red pearl onions right now! But they won’t last long!

Finally, another reminder to please bring your own bags today, and 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.

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.

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