Posts Tagged ‘apricots’

Sunday, August 3rd: Juicy Melons, Local Tuna, Lemon Cucumbers, Cascading Beans, Succulent Sausages & Gluten-Free Goodies!

August 2, 2014
Cantaloupe melon from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cantaloupe melon from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cantaloupe in the house! Woohoo! Washington produces an amazing diversity and quantity of melons, and our plant researchers and hybridists have developed some of the best melons anywhere. And yet, this humble, downright ancient, cantaloupe from Alvarez Organic Farms still remains a showstopper for flavor and juiciness. They are ripe and ready for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Local albacore tuna loins from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Local albacore tuna loins from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s the first Sunday of August, and that means it’s local albacore tuna day at your Ballard Farmers Market! Yes, Fishing Vessel St. Jude is here the first Sunday of every month with their sashimi grade frozen loins that are favored by chefs all over Seattle, as well as the best canned tuna you will ever taste… anywhere.

Lemon cucumbers from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Lemon cucumbers from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look kids! It’s time for lemon cucumbers from One Leaf Farm! Now, of course they get their name from looking like lemons, but I think this year’s crop might look so much like lemons that I might squeeze one into my iced tea by accident and then wonder why it tastes like cucumber.

A cascade of yellow wax beans from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A cascade of yellow wax beans from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things Farm grows lots of different kinds of beans, and their cascading displays of them are almost as delicious as the beans themselves. Like these yellow wax beans flowing like a waterfall out of this bucket. Their beans come in a rainbow of colors, some round and skinny, and others wide and flat, and a few that are speckled. Green bean season is always so short, and when they’re gone, they’re just plain gone. Enjoy them while you can!

Arctic Star nectarines from Tiny's Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Arctic Star nectarines from Tiny’s Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These white-fleshed, organic Arctic Star nectarines from Tiny’s Organic are very sweet. In fact, when I tried drying them one summer, I ended up with little slices that seemed more like candy than dried fruit.

Lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This past Sunday marked the earliest we’ve ever been able to capture wild lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles on pixels. Mind you, the fickle nature of, um, nature, and the ever-changing demands of local chefs do influence when we see wild, foraged foods at your Ballard Farmers Market more than cultivated crops. Heck, we aren’t even sure they’ll have these again today. But rest assured that Foraged & Found Edibles will have some delicious jewels of the wild waiting for you today, no matter what!

Cranberry shelling beans from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cranberry shelling beans from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cranberry shelling beans are in at Alm Hill Gardens a full three weeks earlier than we’ve every seen them before! Now it is proper succotash season! Cook these bad boys up whilst still fresh by boiling them in well-salted water for about 20 minutes, or until just tender. Then drain them and toss them in a skillet with sweet corn freshly cut off the cob, green onions, fresh garlicparsley and some bacon from Skagit River Ranch or Olsen Farms, and just heat it through. No need to cook it to death. Remember to render out the bacon before adding the other ingredients to the pan, and use the bacon fat as your cooking oil, and for flavor, of course!

Sausages from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sausages from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Did you know that Olsen Farms, the folks with all those amazing potatoes and meat, also make some great sausages? And because they come pre-cooked, they are great for picnics and camping, because you don’t have to worry about cross-contaminating your work space with raw meat. Made from animals the Olsens raise themselves, they are great on the grill, the stovetop, or simply on a stick over a campfire!

Rival apricots from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rival apricots from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We enjoyed the little apricots of early summer. Now, it’s time for the big, beautiful, delicious ones, like these Rival apricots from Collins Family Orchards. Think of the jams, the tarts, the messy shirt fronts! Rivals are a free-stone fruit, which means they release easily from their pit when you cut them in half, making them very easy to cook with!

Dukes blueberries from Jessie's Berries. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dukes blueberries from Jessie’s Berries. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These Dukes blueberries from Jessie’s Berries are plump, juicy, sweet and utterly blueberrilicious! I’ve been adorning my morning oatmeal with them for the last two weeks, in fact. See, I get a whole bunch of these puppies now, while they’re at their peak of flavor and abundance, give them a quick rinse, dry them thoroughly by rolling them around on a paper towel, and then pop them in waves into the freezer in a single layer in a glass baking dish. They freeze quickly — in just a couple of hours — and then I loosen them up and pour them into a gallon freezer bag so that I can enjoy them for weeks without worrying about them spoiling. I just grab out a handful at a time. They stay loose and good for months. Get enough, and you can enjoy them all winter long this way!

Zucchini Cardamom and Ginger Peach Mini Loaf from nuflours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Zucchini Cardamom and Ginger Peach Mini Loaf from nuflours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These Zucchini-Cardamom and Ginger Peach mini loaves from Nuflours Gluten-Free Bakery are so go, you won’t even notice that they are gluten-free. All you will notice is that you are out of cream cheese! But before that particular emergency befalls you, remember to stop by Mt. Townsend Creamery for some truffled fromage today, too.

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

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

Enjoy a snack of localiciousness, Mexican-style, today at your Ballard Farmers Market! Los Chilangos sources all of their animal proteins from vendors right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, like Olsen Farms and Wilson Fish. No mystery meat here! Enjoy some of their amazing tacos, or grab a breakfast burrito!

And remember, their plates, forks and napkins are all compostable. When you go to dispose of them, please take a moment to recognize our green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Ballard Farmers Market, and please make an effort to put your cup in the correct receptacle. Each receptacle 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. It’s easy. You already do it at home every day. 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.

Sunday, July 6th: More Colors Than A July 4th Fireworks Display! Including Nectarines, Green Beans, Tomatoes & Some Fishy Business!

July 5, 2014
Beeksteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beeksteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We hope you all had a pleasant Independence Day holiday. Now, it’s time to gear up for the real summer in Seattle — lots of warm, sunny days, a festival every three days, and a stunningly diverse rainbow of localiciousness at your Ballard Farmers Market. Indeed, this particular blog installment is about as colorful as any we’ve ever done. And yes, this is a photo of beefsteak tomatoes taken this year. I took it on Wednesday, in fact, at our sister Wallingford Farmers Market. These beauties are from Alm Hill Gardens.

Honeyfire nectarines from Tiny's Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Honeyfire nectarines from Tiny’s Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tiny’s Organic wins the award for first orchard with nectarines this summer! Like with so many other crops this year, these organic Honeyfire nectarines mark the earliest we have ever seen nectarines at your Ballard Farmers Market! So let’s review: it is the first Sunday in July, and we already have nectarines and beefsteak tomatoes. Woohoo!

Gene Panida of Wilson Fish holding a whole wild Washington king salmon. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gene Panida of Wilson Fish holding a whole wild Washington king salmon. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now that is a fish! Gene Panida, from Wilson Fish, is holding a whole, wild Washington troll-caught king salmon, and that is no small fish. Last week, they were selling them for a mere $11.99 per pound! If you are feeding an army, grab one of these gorgeous fish and pop it in your smoker. Yeah, baby!

Green beans from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Green beans from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And look! Green beans from Alvarez Organic Farms! Yup, green beans are flooding into your Ballard Farmers Market this week from several farms. Try doing a quick sauté on them, maybe with some bacon and some pearl onions, if you can find them. Or get pickling!

Fresh keta salmon ikura and skeines from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh keta salmon ikura and skeines from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Do you love fresh salmon eggs? Then you are in luck! Loki Fish has fresh skeines of salmon eggs right now. They also have freshly cured ikura — that’s salted salmon eggs… in those little jars. Take a slice of Tall Grass Bakery baguette, a schmear of truffled fromage from Mt. Townsend Creamery, and top with a spoonful of ikura, and you have one serious bite of deliciousness!

A colorful display from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A colorful display from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of rainbows, how about this display from our friends at Boistfort Valley Farm. They returned full-time last week with lots of great veggies. Stop by for amazing lettuceschardradishesfresh herbshoney and more!

Red & salmon raspberries from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red & salmon raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And I know I wrote of organic salmon raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm just last week. But when I saw this spectacular checkerboard of berries on their tables at Wallingford Farmers Market this past Wednesday, I just had to share it.

Treviso radicchio from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Treviso radicchio from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This Treviso radicchio, from One Leaf Farm, is one of the most beautiful vegetables on earth, hands down. It is also one of my favorite vegetables. It is a chicory, so like all chicories, it tends to be bitter. But it has a sweetness to it, too. And when you cook it, those dramatic white cores of its leaves sweeten up a bit. There are many ways to enjoy it. Two of my favorites are grilling it and sautéing it with bacon. For grilling it, just cut it in half, lengthwise, oil it down, and plop it on the grill until wilted. It’s okay if it gets a little char. That adds depth to the flavor. Then finish it with a nice finishing salt, some fresh ground pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. To sauté it, cut it up crosswise, with about one inch wide cuts. Use a good, smoking, salty bacon, like from Sea Breeze Farm, or a sweeter bacon, like Olsen Farms‘ jowl bacon, or the bacon ends and pieces from Skagit River Ranch. Chunk it up into smallish pieces and render out the fat over medium heat in a skillet, then drop in the Treviso with the bacon and fat, and toss together until the Treviso is just wilted. Salt and pepper to taste, and if the bacon hasn’t effectively sweetened it, add a drizzle of balsamic.

Canned local albacore tuna in a variety of flavors from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Canned local albacore tuna in a variety of flavors from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Talk about a rainbow, canned local albacore tuna from Fishing Vessel St. Jude comes in a plethora of flavors, each with its own colorful labels. And since it is the first Sunday of the month, St. Jude is here will all manner of yummy tuna, from canned to  jerkied to fresh-frozen loins to smoked, and more! Stock up!

Robada apricots from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Robada apricots from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

ACMA Mission Orchards has these juicy organic Robada apricots this week, as well as cherriestomcot apricots, and probably some early peaches, too! Enjoy these early apricot varieties while you can, as they come and go so quickly.

Summer squash from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer squash from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How about some yellow crookneckzucchini, sunburst and other wonderful summer squashes from Colinwood Farm? And don’t forget their awesome salad mix, their red, white & blue new potatoes, and even a few tomatoes!

Broccoli from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Broccoli from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer Run Farm always grows such gorgeous broccoli, don’t you think? To say nothing of (though I am going to anyway) those ginormous heads of lettuce and their adorable little dwarf sunflowers.

Fresh Herbs de Provence & Garlic-Parsley Chevre from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh Herbs de Provence & Garlic-Parsley Chevre from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer is a great time of year to enjoy fresh goat cheese, or chevre, from Twin Oaks Creamery. it is sweet, refreshing and comes in a nice variety of flavors. Just grab your favorite bread and schmear some on it, or stuff some squash blossoms from Alvarez Organic Farms, and pan-fry them. And try chevre with beets! Boom!

Some of the hard cider lineup at Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Some of the hard cider lineup at Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Some hard cider from Finnriver Farm & Cidery will compliment any of those goat cheese dishes, or just about anything else at the Market today. Try them out, find the ones you like, and get some tips for pairing it from them today!

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.

Sunday, June 29th: Independence Day Deliciousness: Your Ballard Farmers Market Chants, “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”

June 28, 2014
Smoked salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Smoked salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Next Friday is Independence Day, July 4th, the birthday of our nation and it’s grand experiment with democracy. It’s the day John Adams and Thomas Jefferson predicted would be celebrated for generations to come with fireworks and revelry, and it is the day they both left this world. And as much as many of us disagree openly with the various courses taken in the name of our homeland, and even the bastardization of the term “homeland” itself, July 4th is still the day we all take pause and celebrate the very fact that we can disagree with each other openly. And to do so, you’ll need plenty of goodies from the local farmers, fishers, ranchers and food artisans here at your Ballard Farmers Market, a place that celebrates freedom every Sunday! You’ll need some of this freshly smoked Washington king salmon from Wilson Fish, for instance. It is easy to take camping with you, or to Gasworks Park or Lake Washington to watch fireworks, without even having to worry about making a fire, and it is amazing!

Hey kids, while you plan to celebrate America this week, please take a moment and recognize our 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. It’s easy. You already do it at home every day. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.

Red, white and blue new potatoes from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red, white and blue new potatoes from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And just in time for getting your potato salad on for the 4th, Colinwood Farm has these lovely red, white & blue new potatoes freshly dug from their Port Townsend fields. Just think how we can wow everyone at the barbecue this week with our red, white and blue potato salad! New potatoes should be eaten quickly, and at this size, they are also great wrapped in foil with some butter and herbs and tossed on the barby.

Sugar Time peaches from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sugar Time peaches from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look kids! Peaches! Yes, these are Sugar Time peaches from Collins Family Orchards. They are the earliest peach to ripen in their orchards. Sweet and juicy, you must give them a try this week. And let me explain why. See, there are many, many varieties of peaches, and this time of year, our orchardists begin to bring in a different variety every week. Works the same way for strawberries, but it is harder for you to notice the difference. But with peaches, they vary dramatically in shape, size, color, sweetness and whether or not they release easily from their stones (“free stone”), which makes them a lot easier to cook with. In other words, enjoy the Sugar Time peaches from Collins now, because who knows if they’ll be around next time, right? But hey, at least you know you’ll be able to look forward to trying an entirely new peach then.

Fresh basil from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh basil from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know what goes great with peaches? Basil! I kid you not. Just give the basil a nice chiffonade, sprinkle it over some slices or wedges of peach, and drizzle with a simple syrup, or even some balsamic vinegar, for a simple, yet elegant dessert or starter. You can get fresh, organic basilThai basil, lemon basil and purple basil today from Alvarez Organic Farms. And here is a vital storage tip: never refrigerate basil. Instead, place dry basil leaves (not damp) into a plastic produce bag, inflate the bag like a balloon, and tie it shut. Your basil will stay fresh right on your kitchen counter, at room temperature, for up to a week!

Tomcot apricots from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomcot apricots from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Also new this week are these gorgeous, juicy and flavorful Tomcot apricots from our friends at Lyall Farms. Grown in the warm sunshine of their orchards in the Columbia River Gorge, just south of the I-90 bridge at Vantage, these apricots are an all too short-lived joy of summer, so enjoy them while you can!

English shelling peas from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

English shelling peas from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah, English shelling peas, from Alm Hill Gardens. This time of year, I get lots and lots of them, shuck them, then freeze them for use in the winter. No blanching required. Just sturdy one-pint freezer bags, which I then put inside a larger one-gallon freezer bag, for extra protection. Of course, I do need to get extras, so I can enjoy them now. I like to sit on my deck in my Adirondack chair with a bag of them, eating them right out of the pod. But one of my favorite ways to enjoy them is to toss them with some pappardelle from Pasteria Lucchese and some smoked salmon, garnished with just a bit of freshly-grated cheese. The trick is to drop the peas in the pot with the pasta about 30 seconds before it is done, then drain both, and then toss them with the smoked salmon and some olive oil in a warm skillet. As Samuelle Lucchese would say, “Done!”

Montmorency pie cherries from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Montmorency pie cherries from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for pie cherries? Well, their short window of availability is now open. These are organic Montmorency pie cherries from ACMA Mission Orchards. Pie cherries are sour, lending themselves well to the addition of sugar in pies, for canning, or for curing for use in cocktails. If you are looking for pie cherries, and you know who you are, now’s the time! You’ve got maybe another week or two. Maybe.

Green beans from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Green beans from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yay! Green beans! Seriously, can you remember a year when we had so many different crops come in so early? We were asking this very question this time last year, and yet this year’s crops are arriving even earlier! These green beans are from Magana Farms.

Golden raspberries from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Salmon raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How about some organic salmon raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm? They are delicious as they are beautiful, and they’re a nice compliment to Gaia’s amazing organic strawberries and red raspberries. And have you tried one of their chocolate-covered strawberries yet? Yummers!

Sprouting broccoli from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sprouting broccoli from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This lovely sprouting broccoli from One Leaf Farm is wonderful on the grill, alongside some of their tender, young fava beans and whatever else you plan to grill. Just oil it down, grill until just tender, and hit it with a nice finishing salt and some freshly ground pepper. One Leaf also has some spectacular carrots this week — sweet and crunchy. You’ll need twice what you think you’ll need, cuz you’ll be eating them on the way home from the Market!

Fresh organic chickens from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh organic chickens from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nothing says Independence Day like a certified organic fresh chicken from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm on the barby with a can of beer up its bum. Or, butterfly it, marinate it, then grill it flat with a brick on top to make quick, delicious work of it.

Blueberries from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Blueberries from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Our friends at Sidhu Farms tell us they will have lots and lots of these wonderful blueberries today at your Ballard Farmers Market. See, they couldn’t pick them on Friday due to rain, so that means all to more for us today! Get a flat for blueberry cobbler, another for blueberry pancakes for camping, or for Saturday brunch after the 4th or for mixing with your oatmeal, and a third to freeze for winter. Freezing them is easy. Give them a quick wash, dry them thoroughly by dumping them on top of paper towels in a baking dish and rolling them around for a while, and then remove the paper towel and slide the baking dish into the freezer with the berries in a single layer. They’ll be frozen in 30-60 minutes. When they are, loosen them from the dish and pour them into a one-gallon freezer bag, then start the process over again with the next batch.

Sesame loaf (left) and whole grain sandwich bread from d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sesame loaf (left) and whole grain sandwich bread from nuflours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for great sandwich bread, but you are allergic to gluten? Never fear! nuflours gluten-free bakery has you covered! This stuff is moist, chewing, slices well, and it is delicious. It will make you fall in love with bread all over again.

Pork chops from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pork chops from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

With July 4th just next Friday, whether you will be firing up the barby and watching the fireworks from your rooftop deck, or fleeing the big city in favor of camping in some peaceful forest, you’ll want some of these incredible pork chops from Olsen Farms for the grill. These are likely the best pork chops you have ever tasted — beautifully marbled and full of flavor. In fact, they are featured on the menus of restaurants all over town, like Le Petit Cochon on Fremont Avenue. Of course, they’ve got beef steakssausageshamburger meat and other goodies for the grill, too.

The Pete behind Pete's Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The Pete behind Pete’s Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Why is this guy smiling? Because this is Pete… the “Pete” behind Pete’s Perfect Toffee. He’s got a pretty sweet job, making toffeebrittle and fudge for all of us here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Stop by, try a sample or three, and then load up on the sweetness for this big holiday week!

Dylan Knutsen of Loki Fish doing quality control. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dylan Knutson of Loki Fish doing quality control. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t get too close to Loki Fish‘s Dylan Knutson while he’s doing “quality control” one of their new entrees, or you might lose a finger. The good folks at Loki tell us, “We’ll be debuting a new entree this Sunday at the Ballard Farmers Market: The Loki Special, featuring a fresh sockeye fillet, cucumber, mint and emmer salad, shallot vinaigrette dressing, and fennel yogurt sauce. Supplies will be limited, don’t sleep in!” (Hey Dylan, what that last bit a jab at me?!) Oh, and Loki has lots of fresh Alaskan KingCoho and Sockeye salmon right now, too!

Refillable bottles (left) from Wilridge Winery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Refillable bottles (left) from Wilridge Winery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget to get a couple of bottles of wine from your friendly Madrona neighborhood winery, Wilridge Winery, for those parties next week. They offer great table wines in an economical 1.5 liter bottle, and best of all, they are refillable! Just bring the empties back next time and swap them for full ones.

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.

Sunday, July 7th: Boistfort Valley Farm Returns, Growing Things Farm Needs Your Help, Green Beans, Nectarines, Berries Galore & So Much More!

July 6, 2013
Carrots from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

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

Okay, now it’s summer, cuz our good friends from Boistfort Valley Farm have finally returned to your Ballard Farmers Market! We now have our full compliment of row crop farms, and the Market is literally bursting at the seams with incredible local produce direct from the Washington farms that grew it, and much of it far ahead of when we would normally expect to see it. Read on in today’s epistle to see what I mean. Boistfort, for its part, today will be arriving with: artichokes, beets, broccoli, carrots, golden and red chard, cilantro, garlic flowers, green onionsapple mint, chives, oregano, curly and dino kale, green leaf, red oak & bibb romaine lettuce, shelling and snow peaspurple radishes, spinach and more!

Michaele Blakely from Growing Things Farm (center) with U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (left) and Market Master Judy Kirkhuff at Ballard Farmers Market last summer. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Michaele Blakely from Growing Things Farm (center) with U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (left) and Market Master Judy Kirkhuff at Ballard Farmers Market last summer. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things Farm, which brings all manner of deliciousness every week to your Ballard Farmers Market, from eggs to jams to chickens to fresh veggies, is asking for your help to “Raise the House.” You see, Growing Things Farm is located in a flood plain in Duvall. Many farms are. Why? Because the flood plains that line our river valleys in Western Washington are extremely fertile – made so by the forest matter and minerals that flow down from the Cascade Mountain – and  are unattractive to developers, meaning they have land still available for farming in one of the most populated counties in the nation.

A major flood in 2006 damaged the farmhouse at Growing Things Farm, rendering it uninhabitable until it can not only be repaired. See, the house cannot be torn down and rebuilt under current laws, but it can be raised above historic flood levels, and then repaired. King County has offered the farm a grant to raise the farmhouse, but not to repair the house itself. For that, the farm needs your help. The farm  launched a Kick Starter campaign to raise $20,000 to repair the house. With a little over a week left, they are two-thirds of the way to their goal. Please to go to their Kick Starter page and contribute to saving the farmhouse, and in so doing, saving the farm itself.

FreshBucks_LogoA program called Fresh Bucks has been created by a partnership between the City of Seattle and local farmers markets to double Food Stamps, now known as SNAP, at Seattle farmers markets. Beginning Sunday, July 14th, for every SNAP dollar spent at Ballard Farmers Market, SNAP benefits users can receive an additional dollar to spend on fruits & vegetables, up to 10 dollars. Get them, and more information, from at Market Information Desk at your Ballard Farmers Market. You can also get more information from the Washington State Farmers Market Association.

Morel mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles.Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Morel mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles.Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jeremy reports that his Foraged & Found Edibles will have lots of lovely wild gray morel mushrooms today at your Ballard Farmers Market. It has been a great year for morels, and really, just about everything else, so be sure to take full advantage will you can!

Arctic Star nectarines from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Arctic Star nectarines from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

What the…? Nectarines?!? Yes! These are Arctic Star nectarines from Tiny’s Organic Produce photographed on Friday at our sister Madrona Farmers Market. I kid you not! This year really is out of control in the most delicious of ways. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, Tiny’s also has begun to harvest Flavorosa pluots, too. Seriously. Wow.

Green beans from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Green beans from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And green beans! Yes, green beans. These are from Lyall Farms, but we’ve also seen them already from Magana Farms, and they have yellow wax beans, too! We may even see some hericot verts from Alvarez Organic Farms today, as well. Oh, the humanity!

Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries from Hayton Berry Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries from Hayton Berry Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And how about this early rainbow of berries? Yes, our friends at Hayton Berry Farms are already harvesting blueberriesblackberriesraspberries and strawberries from their Skagit Delta fields, and it is only July 7th! Oh, I am liking this summer.

Fava beans from Stoney Plains Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fava beans from Stoney Plains Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This is a great year for fava beans. What? You’ve never eaten them? You think they’re too much work? Well, let me tell you a little secret. If you get them when they’ve got small, young, tender pods, the best way to eat them is grilled. Seriously. Just remove the stem and the string on one side, wash, slather with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and on the grill they go. Once the pods get soft, pull them off, hit them with a little nice finishing salt, and serve. You eat the whole thing, pod and all. But this is finger food. There will be one more string in them to remove. Get messy. Have fun. Eat well! You’ll find a nice big pile of these fava beans today at Stoney Plains Organic Farm.

Cherry tomatoes from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherry tomatoes from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wait, what?!? Tomatoes? Westside tomatoes? We usually don’t see these much before August, in a good year. And yet here they are. These gorgeous sungold and cherry tomatoes are from Colinwood Farms over in Port Townsend. But One Leaf Farm will have some sungolds today, too, for the early birds, and we’ve already seen a few beefsteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. If it were possible, I’d be speechless right now.

Purple Majesty new potatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Purple Majesty new potatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Here is yet another crop we’ve been woe to see until weeks later in recent years: new potatoes. These beauties are new Purple Majesty potatoes from One Leaf Farm. They are so sweet at this time of year. We’ve also already seen them from Summer Run Farm and Colinwood. If you aren’t eating fresh, local deliciousness at every meal this summer, you are truly missing out!

Perfection apricots from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Perfection apricots from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Seriously. Stop already! Yes, these are Perfection apricots from Martin Family Orchards. They are two weeks earlier than their earliest arrival for which I have photographic evidence. I just checked my files. These are those big, juicy, meaty apricots that will make a delicious mess of your favorite shirt. Enjoy!

Broccoli from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Broccoli from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer Run Farm is known for rocking the broccoli, and this year is no exception. And never fear warm nights on which you don’t want to warm up your kitchen, roasting or steaming broccoli. This stuff grills amazingly well! Summer Run has gorgeous, massive heads of lettuce, of course, too, and lots more!

Red Haven peaches from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red Haven peaches from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oh, you’re killing me! Peaches?!?  Yup! Peaches are coming in this year a week or two ahead of their historic earliest arrivals! These are Red Haven peaches from ACMA Mission Orchards. These slightly smaller early season peaches still pack a big, sweet, juicy punch you will miss come October.

Pallo Rossa radicchio from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pallo Rossa radicchio from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Absolutely unbelievable! This is the earliest, by at least two weeks, we have ever had radicchio make an appearance at our markets. Until this month, it was mostly the perennial crops like berries, tree fruit and such that was way, way ahead of schedule, but now the row crops are catching up! This Pall Rossa radicchio from Oxbow Farm makes for amazing bitter salads with a nice salty treatment, like feta or bleu cheese or anchovies, and it is also great grilled. Either way, finish it off with a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar to add a nice touch of sweetness.

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

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

Alm Hill Gardens is known for producing a lot of delicious food, but they may be most well known for their raspberries. The farm was first and foremost a berry and flower producer before diversifying significantly over the last 15 years or so.  They have acres and acres of raspberries, some in the open air, and some under row tunnels, resulting in some of the tastiest berries you will even encounter. Sure, you can find cheaper berries at the Big Box stores, but what’s the point? I, for one, spend good money on good quality. Saving a few bucks to have something I don’t really enjoy just seems wasteful to me.

Rack of lamb, saddle of lamb and standing beef rib roasts from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rack of lamb, saddle of lamb and standing beef rib roasts from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now’s a great time of year for grilling up some steaks and chops, or slow cooking a nice roast on the barby. Olsen Farms has lots of great lambbeef and pork raised on natural pastureland way over in Aladdin, just northeast of Colville — so far into the northeast corner of Washington, I swear it is almost in Alberta. No farm travels farther within Washington to sell at farmers markets, and we are all the richer for their efforts.

Succulents in bloom from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Succulents in bloom from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I finish off this week’s installment with this magnificent image of blooming succulents from Phocas Farms. It may be hot and dry, but you can still plant a succulent garden. That is, if you get to it right now. See, Phocas Farms likely won’t be here after this week, as we are needing to make room for even more produce farms coming in next week. So get your succulents on today, while you can! (This just in: Phocas Farms will here through the end of July!)

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.