Archive for the ‘Award Winning’ Category

Some Ballard Farmers Market Success Stories

March 6, 2015
Autumn Martin returns today with her Hot Cakes! Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Autumn Martin with her Hot Cakes at Ballard Farmers Market back in 2009. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

In the People’s Republic of Ballard, and especially at your Ballard Farmers Market, we know great, local food and drink. So it is no wonder your Ballard Farmers Market has been home to, and indeed a launching pad for, many now very familiar and celebrated names in the local food and beverage industry. And as I continue my personal countdown to retirement from this blog, today I celebrate just a fraction of the extraordinary folks with whom we have shared the street over the years, and the success they have so deservedly achieved.

Like Chef Autumn Martin of Hot Cakes, now with her own storefront just a block up from the Market. Most days, there is a line out the door there to eat her delicious chocolatey creations, but did you know Hot Cakes got its start right here on the street at your Ballard Farmers Market? Yep. We couldn’t be more proud of you, Autumn. And just look at all of the press, from all over the world, she’s getting!

Veraci Pizza co-owner Marshall Jett being interviewed by Food Network Canada. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Veraci Pizza co-owner Marshall Jett being interviewed by Food Network Canada. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This photo is from 2010, when a camera crew from Food Network Canada arrived at your Ballard Farmers Market to feature Veraci Pizza on their street food show, Eat Street. You probably see Veraci’s mobile pizza ovens all of town — heck, all over the Northwest. Besides their storefront on Market Street, they have a depot on 15th Avenue on Crown Hill will dozens of the trailers. You will also find them in Spokane, in Oregon and in Idaho. But did you know that they got their humble beginnings right here with us many years ago? Back then, they just had one, and then two trailers. Wow. We just love a great success story!

Kimchi, Krauts & more from Firefly Kitchens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Kimchi, Krauts & more from Firefly Kitchens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Firefly Kitchens got its start in a shared kitchen space in Frelard in 2010, introducing Seattle to what has now become one of the biggest trends in food: fermentation. They gathered up local veggies from area farmers and allowed them to naturally ferment with delicious and nutritious results. We liked them so much, we directed them to the Good Food Awards in San Francisco in January 2011, and low and behold they won! And they’ve been winning ever since! And while you can now find their products at finer grocery stores throughout the area, the finest grocery store for them is still right here at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Farhad from Tall Grass Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Farhad from Tall Grass Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Yes, we all still miss us some Farhad, who retired from Tall Grass Bakery last September. So I thought I’d pay homage to him one more time whilst also reminding all y’all that Tall Grass Bakery also got its start with us, way back when your Ballard Farmers Market was wedged into the Fremont Sunday Market at 34th & Fremont, before Fremont was redeveloped and the Market moved to Ballard in 2000. They, too, shared a kitchen with another bakery back in the late 1990s. Now, they make some of the best bread in Seattle out of their storefront on 24th Avenue NW and bring it to you here at your Ballard Farmers Market, as well as other markets and restaurants all over King County.

Market Master Judy Kirkhuff with Nash & Patty Huber of Nash's Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Market Master Judy Kirkhuff with Nash & Patty Huber of Nash’s Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

In 2008, American Farmland Trust gave Nash Huber of Nash’s Organic Produce in Dungeness their annual, national Steward Of The Land Award. It is just one of many awards Nash has won over the years for the hundreds of acres and many farms he has not only kept in farm production in Clallam County, but that he has rejuvenated, rebuilding the soils, working with the local climate, and developing his own varieties of seeds that would thrive there. The result is a farm that is at its peak of production all winter long while many other local farmers are home reading seed catalogs or vacationing in Mexico. And like Bob Meyer, whom I saluted yesterday, Nash, too, has pioneered organic agriculture in Washington and helped many an up-and-coming farmer along the way!

Don Hilario Alvarez holding hot chile peppers at Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Don Hilario Alvarez holding hot chile peppers at Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Today, it is hard to imagine a farmers market around Seattle in August and September without the dozens of varieties of organic peppers from Mabton’s Alvarez Organic Farms (currently prepping their soil for the 2015 growing season!). Don Hilario Alvarez, the farm’s patriarch, is a classic American success story — a true example of an immigrant who pulled himself up by his own bootstraps, scrimping, saving and investing, until he became one of the most admired organic farmers in the nation. Way back in 2004, ATTRAnews, the newsletter of the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, celebrated him in a feature story in their issue about Latino farmers.

Roger Wechsler of Samish Bay Cheese. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Roger Wechsler of Samish Bay Cheese. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Back in 2010, Seattle was host to the American Cheese Society Awards, and frankly, our Market vendors mopped up the floor with its competition. And the winningest of all of your Ballard Farmers Market’s cheese makers was Samish Bay Cheese, taking home four separate awards. Stop by and take a tasting tour on any Sunday right here, and you will understand why!

Janelle & Jerry Stokesberry of Stokesberry Sustainable Farm support I-522. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Janelle & Jerry Stokesberry of Stokesberry Sustainable Farm support I-522. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ever wonder what makes the Seahawks and the Sounders play so well? We like to believe it is because they eat eggs and chickens from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Need I say more?

Tacos from Los Chilangos. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tacos from Los Chilangos. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oscar Mendez comes from a family of great Mexican cooks, and our markets are proud to have fostered them. Now, Oscar’s Los Chilangos lays claim to being the only mobile taco stand sourcing its animal protein locally. He get it directly from local, sustainable and humane farmers, fishers and ranchers right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. He gets rockfish from Wilson Fish, beef and pork from Olsen Farms, and eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Best of all, his food is wonderful!

Brent Charnley, winemaker at Lopez Island Vineyards, hold the new release of his Wave Crest White table wine. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Brent Charnley, winemaker at Lopez Island Vineyards, hold the new release of his Wave Crest White table wine. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And I round out this tribute to the achievements of the many vendors we quite frankly consider our family… heck, our children… with neither the last nor the least of our award-winning, storefront opening, international media starring market heroes. This is Brent Charnley from LIV (a.k.a., Lopez Island Vineyards). One of our state’s oldest wineries, the fact that it is certified organic makes it even more unique. Rarer still, it is located in the Puget Sound Appellation, Washington’s coolest, dampest wine-grape growing region, producing many Germanic varieties of grapes, and a few French, that just simply won’t grow elsewhere in Washington. And the list of awards their wines have won over the years is, frankly, almost embarrassing. Stop by for a taste to find out for yourself, and then take a great bottle, or three, home this Sunday!

Sunday, January 5th: A New Year Brings News & Returning Vendors!

January 4, 2014
Fresh-pressed organic cranberry juice from Starvation Alley Farms. Photo courtesy Starvation Alley Farms.

Fresh-pressed organic cranberry juice from Starvation Alley Farms. Photo courtesy Starvation Alley Farms.

Happy New Year, good people of Ballard! It is January, 2014, and while most farmers markets are deep in their winter slumber, your Ballard Farmers Market is actually adding farmers and food artisans. Booyah! We start with the introduction of a new organic cranberry farm, Starvation Alley Farms, an old-school wet bog harvest operation based out in Long Beach, Washington. While other farms out there in Washington’s cranberry belt have made their beds with anti-GMO labeling Ocean Spray, these folks went the other direction and got themselves certified organic just this past October. They offer flash-frozen cranberries, as well as cranberry juice that is freshly pressed and great as is or in your favorite cocktail.

Aged-sheep's milk cheese from Glendale Shepherd. Photo courtesy Glendale Shepherd.

Aged-sheep’s milk cheese from Glendale Shepherd. Photo courtesy Glendale Shepherd.

Oh, and this just makes me giddy! Glendale Shepherd, from up on Whidbey Island, makes… wait for it… farmstead sheep’s milk cheeses! Boom! These are beautiful, aged cheeses with amazing flavors… and that’s just this time of year. Once lambing season commences in a couple of months, they’ll also have fresh cheeses and sheep’s milk yogurt! Oh, and did I mention they’ll got wool, too? (Admit it. You’re a bit giddy now, too.)

Albacore tuna loin portion from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Albacore tuna loin portion from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fishing Vessel St. Jude makes its monthly visit to your Ballard Farmers Market today, and what better way is there to welcome the new year but with albacore tunaliciousness direct for the folks who caught it?

Braising mix from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Braising mix from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alm Hill Gardens returns today from its brief holiday break, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, which quite frankly is not entirely a look JT pulls off. But hey, at least he feeds us, right? And we’re all itching for some nice, tasty greens right about now, which means braising mix!

Saffron tagliatelle from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Saffron tagliatelle from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

On the other hand, Sam and Sara from Pasteria Lucchese spent their holiday hiatus nursing colds. Doh! But never fear. They are back today, and they’re nationwide. (That’s a ZZ Top reference, kids.) Just in time for you get some of this saffron tagliatelle to enjoy as your long-life New Year’s noodles. It is made with saffron grown by our buddy Jimmy from Phocas Farms, over in Port Angeles!

Winter squash from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter squash from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Colinwood Farms also makes its post-holidaze comeback today. Look for these lovely winter squashbraising and salad mixesspudsonions and other deliciousness!

D'Anjou pears from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

D’Anjou pears from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Still lotsa apples and pears to be had from Martin Family Orchards at your Ballard Farmers Market, including these tasty D’anjou pears. And they’ve also got fresh apple cider, as well. Woohoo!

Local granola from Marge Granola. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Local granola from Marge Granola. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Welcome yet another new vendor for 2014 to your Ballard Farmers Market: Marge Granola. They make several varieties of freshly-blended granolas flavored with many local ingredients. It’s great for breakfast, on the trail, an afternoon snack, or over ice cream!

Dinosaur kale from Children's Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dinosaur kale from Children’s Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Children’s Gardens is back today, as well, with lots of tasty greens, like this dinosaur kale, as well as their gorgeous flower arrangements. So you’ve got no excuse not to eat your veggies this week, or to not bring Ma Kettle a nice bouquet.

Parsnips from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Parsnips from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

January is a great time of year to get your roots on, and Nash’s Organic Produce is ready to assist you in that pursuit. Besides these gorgeous parsnips, they are full-up with sunchokesbeetsturnipscarrotsspuds and more, as well as grains, flours and dried legumes, and even some more Brussels sprouts.

Farm-fresh eggs from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Farm-fresh eggs from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It may be January, but the girls out at Growing Things Farm are still laying amazing eggs. In fact, the jumbos (right) are even more jumbo than usual. These are eggs laid by happy chickens that get to run around the yard and hang out with roosters, which stand guard and show them where all the best food is. What gentlemen!

Red Sunchokes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red Sunchokes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of sunchokes, Stoney Plains Organic Farm is swimming in them right now. These native-to-North America tubers are a member of the sunflower family. They make a great substitute for potatoes in soups, root roasts, home fries and more. Of course, they’ve got lots of other goodness fresh from the farm for you, too!

White wines from Lopez Island Vineyards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

White wines from Lopez Island Vineyards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And this just in late today from Brent Charnley of Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery: “We just learned that our Siegerrebe was awarded a Double Platinum in the ‘Best of the Best’ Wine Competition, held by Wine Press Northwest Magazine. We will taste this wine on Sunday at the Market!”

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.

Please remember bring your own bags 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.

Sunday, November 10th: Giant Heirloom Pears, Rovery Rutabagas, Terrific Turnips, Suh-weeh Potatoes & Purdy Pickles!

November 9, 2013
Concorde pears from Jerzy Boyz Farm. Photo courtesy Jerzy Boyz Farm.

Concorde pears from Jerzy Boyz Farm. Photo courtesy Jerzy Boyz Farm.

Wow. We’ve blown right past Halloween, Daylight Savings Time and one testy election and rolled right into the Holiday season. Yes, that’s right. It is time to start planning that Eat Local For Thanksgiving feast with which you will be impressing your loved ones come November 28th, or thereabouts. See, everything you need for the perfect feast is right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Starting with these ginormous heirloom Concorde Pears from Jerzy Boyz Farm. Now, here’s a fun fact! An artist went to Jerzy Boyz Farm to look at their Concorde pears to get a model for a statue they wished to make for the pear’s namesake city of Concord, MA, and here is a photo of that statue!

Rutabagas from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rutabagas from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I heart rutabagas. They seem foreign to many folks, but I grew up with them. Guess my Irish ancestors never forgot them, even after over 300 years in the New World. In Ireland, they call them “turnips” or “Swedes”. Viking Norseman may have brought them to the Emerald Isle over 1,000 years ago. I enjoy rutabagas anytime, but I must have them on two different holidays: St. Patrick’s Day (which needs no explanation now), and Thanksgiving, perhaps because my ancestors incorporated them into their tradition after coming over to Upstate New York in the  1690s. At Thanksgiving, I just to simply steam them and mash them with a good butter, like from Golden Glen Creamery. Oh, and these beautiful rutabagas are from Boistfort Valley Farm.

Hard ciders from Eaglemount Wine & Cider. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hard ciders from Eaglemount Wine & Cider. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is a tasting day for Eaglemount Wine & Cider, and today is a great day to identify your favorite hard cider, and then stock up for Thanksgiving. Eaglemount makes a wonderful variety of ciders from pears, apples, quince and more. Stop by their stall, sample their ciders, and find the flavor (or flavors) you enjoy most.

Red Delicious apples from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red Delicious apples from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I talk a lot about heirloom apples with all kinds of funky names and intriguing stories, but there is one apple that is sort of iconic — the poster child, as it were, for apples, or at least it used to be. That is the Red Delicious apple. It dates back to 1880 in Iowa, and it has been commercially developed for looks and shelf life over the years, but you can still find some good ones out there. For starters, the good ones are a lighter red and more round, like these from Martin Family Orchards. See, some have been developed to the point of being almost black and very elongated. Avoid those at the Big Box stores. Instead, try one of these from Martin today. Reacquaint yourself with an old friend!

Japanese Wax turnips from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Japanese Wax turnips from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One Leaf Farm has a new harvest of these lovely Japanese Wax turnips this week at your Ballard Farmers Market. They have been even more amazing than usual lately, which a rich, sweet flavor and a nicely radishy bite. In fact, I like them best simply sliced like a radish and tossed into a nice salad. But you can also sauté them, again like a radish. Cut the greens off, cut the turnips in half, and then cook them in some butter. As they get tender and a little browned, you can even add the greens back into the pan with them just to wilt them, and then serve them together as a beautifully delicious side dish.

Fresh cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm. Photo courtesy Bloom Creek.

Fresh cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm. Photo courtesy Bloom Creek.

It is week three of the return of fresh cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm, and that usually means that they are about done for the year. Don’t be that person who waits too long, and then ends up missing out on them altogether. Make this the year that you ditch that gelatinous canned “cranberry sauce” and make your own!

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another mainstay of any Thanksgiving feast is sweet potatoes, and there is only one place you will find locally-grown sweet potatoes around here — from Lyall Farms right here at your Ballard Farmers Market! They are amazing, and naturally sweet, so there is no need to candy them or smother them in marshmallows. They are perfect on their own, though I do like roasting them with some parsnips. Mmm.

Spicy pickled garlic and Northwest Country vinegar from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spicy pickled garlic and Northwest Country vinegar from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know, there is no such thing as too much garlic. And pickles make every holiday feast special. So spicy pickled garlic from Purdy Pickle would seem to be the ultimate, would it not? They also have some wonderful cider vinegar they call Northwest Country Vinegar that is made with local, organic apples. You can now add that, too, to your list of things you’ll be getting from now on at your Ballard Farmers Market, instead of the heavily refined stuff from who knows where at the Big Box stores.

Yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Few things feel more like fall than wild yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Sure, they have many amazing varieties of wild mushrooms right now, but there is just something about these babies that is just so comforting, so soul-warming, so… so fall! Simply sauté them in butter, perhaps with a little garlic, and then serve them over a steak or tossed with pasta. Incorporate them into your favorite stuffing mix. Add them to a nice fall chowder or bisque. You really can’t go wrong with them.

Parsnips from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Parsnips from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah, I did mention parsnips, didn’t I? Besides roasting them with sweet potatoes, or any other root roast for that matter, you can also puree them with celery root and potatoes for soup, or mash the three together for a delicious spin on mashed potatoes. Parsnips are wonderfully sweet, and they cook quickly, so be careful not to overcook them. If you are roasting other roots, like rutabagas, which are very dense and slow-cooking, either add the parsnips after cooking the others for a while or be sure to cut the bagas into smaller pieces than the parsnips, so the bagas will cook quicker, and the parsnips slower. These lovely parsnips are from Nash’s Organic Produce.

Artisan bread loaves from Grateful Bread Bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Artisan bread loaves from Grateful Bread Baking. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish off this week’s epistle with some gorgeous loaves of artisan breads from Grateful Bread Baking from up in Wedgewood. These loaves are the perfect compliment to any holiday feast, and, of course, they also make many special holiday breads and cookies this time of year, too, as well as bags of croutons perfect for making stuffing.

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.

Please remember bring your own bags 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.

Sunday, September 5th: Awarding Winning Market & Vendors! Of Firsts, Seconds, Thirds & Fourths!!!

September 5, 2010

A busy Ballard Farmers Market basks in golden smoky sunlight on August 1, 2010. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

According to the USDA, there are 6,132 farmers markets at present in the United States. And in the American Farmland Trust’s national 2010 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest, your Ballard Farmers Market finished #4 in the large market category. Not too shabby. Thank you, good folk of the People’s Republic of Ballard, Seattle and Washington state for voting for Ballard. And to those who didn’t vote for Ballard out of fear it would draw even more people to Ballard Avenue every Sunday, you can rest assured that those crowds are headed to Rochester, NY now. And if you believe that, I have some condos in Belltown I’d like to sell you!

Anthony Estrella of Estrella Family Creamery holds three ribbons from 2010 Amercian Cheese Society competition. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of contests, the 2010 American Cheese Society Convention & Competition was held here in Seattle just last week, and three Washington cheese makers that sell right here at your Ballard Farmers Market won awards. Estrella Family Creamery, out of Montesano, won three ribbons, including First in Class (smoked Italian styles category) for their Weebles cheese, First in Class (sheep or mixed milks category) for their Caldwell Crick Chevrette, and a Second Place Award was given to their Jalapeño Buttery in the Flavored, Peppers category.

Roger Wechsler of Samish Bay Cheese. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Samish Bay Cheese, out of Bow, won four ribbons, including: First in Class for their Ladysmith cheese in Fresh Unripened Cow’s Milk Cheeses category; Second Place for their Aged Ladysmith in the Farmstead Cheeses up to 60 days category; Third Place fro their Ladysmith with Chives in Farmstead Cheeses with Flavoring category; and Third Place for their Yogurt Cheese (Labneh) in Cultured Products from Cow’s Milk category.

Cheese maker Matthew Day from Mt. Townsend Creamery in one of his four cheese caves in Port Townsend. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And Mt Townsend Creamery, from Port Townsend, won First in Class for their Seastack cheese in the Soft Ripened category. Congratulations to all the great cheese makers of Washington, who have so impressed the rest of the world over the last 5-10 years that they drew this major national cheese event to Seattle this year. And don’t forget that three more of those great Washington cheese makers — Golden Glen Creamery, Port Madison and Sea Breeze — also sell great cheese at your Ballard Farmers Market. Blessed are the cheese makers, indeed!

Fresh Frasier River Sockeye from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The boats of Loki Fish have returned to Washington waters from Alaska after a long summer fishing up north. Now, they are harvesting Frasier River sockeye salmon just south of the Canadian border, and you can get some of this amazing fish fresh today.

Wild lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Though we may be bemoaning the summer that never completely arrived this year, as we rapidly descend into fall, one thing we can celebrate is an early and vibrant fall wild mushroom season. Just look at these spectacular lobster mushrooms Foraged & Found Edibles has right now. And if you still don’t know why they are called lobster mushrooms after seeing this photo, you need to either adjust the color on your monitor, or you need to look up what a lobster looks like after it’s been steamed.

Cippolini onions from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cippolini onions are another of those wonderful heirloom Italian crops that so many farmers around here enjoy growing. Cippolini onions, like these from Oxbow Farm, are kinda squat in appearance, more disc-like than bulbous. They caramelize magnificently. Just imagine them on some crostini, or over a nice steak.

San Marzano tomatoes from Pipitone Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another great Italian crop is San Marzano tomatoes, like these from Pipitone Farms. These are the tomatoes of Naples, growing in the rich volcanic soil of Mt. Vecuvius. They are prized for their rich, thick, meaty flesh that produces what many consider the finest tomato sauce on earth.

Colorful spices from Seattle Spice. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for spices and rubs? Check out Seattle Spice. They offer a huge selection of spices, blends and rubs to accent the Market fresh goodness you’ll take home tonight. Stop by and just enjoy the aroma of the sample tins.

Caroline raspberries from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sidhu has a fresh wave of raspberries coming on from their fields in Orting. Above are their big, juicy and tangy Caroline raspberries. They also have ever-bearing raspberries now. And they still have plenty of blueberries and blackberries, too.

Many beans from Growing Things. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just look at all these beans from Growing Things Farm! Green beans. Dragon Tongue beans. Yellow wax beans. Purple beans. I’m thinking pickles. Or casseroles. Maybe sauteed with bacon and pearl onions. How about a nice stir fry with pork or shrimp. Or perhaps a bean salad. Ah, beans!

Ailsa Craig onions from Prana Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ailsa Craig onions are not only one of my favorite onions to eat, they are also one of my favorites to say — Ailsa Craig! (Say it with your inner Scot.) These beautiful heirloom onions hail from Scotland originally. These are a sweet onion with a wonderful flavor, great sauteed, caramelized, roasted, grilled and raw. Prana Farms grows them for us here, along with many other heirloom crops.

Hot chilis in every color from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alvarez Organic Farms grows more than 150 varieties of peppers, some of which are varieties they have developed themselves. Above is just a small sampling of the many hot chili peppers they grow, in all their colorful glory. Peppers vary widely in flavor and heat, so experiment with them to find which ones you like the best.

And there is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check the What’s Fresh Now! listings in the upper right-hand corner of this page for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now!


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