Posts Tagged ‘basil’

Sunday, August 24th: Prolific Crops of August, 2014!

August 23, 2014
Bags of pickling cucumbers from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Bags of pickling cucumbers from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

As growing seasons go here in Washington, few in memory have been more epic than the summer of 2014. Crop after crop has come in earlier, produced larger yields and tasted better than ever before. And one such stunning crop is pickling cucumbers, which have been with us in earnest since a mind-blowing June! These particular bags of pickling cukes come from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. As you can see, their cukes are nice and straight, making them ideal for packing in mason jars for pickling. And you can get these bags pre-sorted by size, such as “extra small,” “small,” “medium” and “large,” so if you are putting up a lot of pickles this year, you can just get the size you want in one of these bags and make your like much easier. I have been pickling Stoney Plains cukes since the mid-1990s. I used to get them from Terry’s dad, Bob Meyer, at the Olympia Farmers Market that he helped found in the late 1970s. In fact, Bob also help found Washington Tilth Producers, Washington State Farmers Market Association and the Organically Grown cooperative distributors. We lost Bob back in 2002, but all of us who love great, local food here in Washington still owe him a great debt of gratitude, and I, for one, dedicate one jar of pickles to his memory every year!

Hot chile peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hot chile peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

I was over visiting Hilario and Eddie Alvarez on their farm in Mabton, Washington on Friday. Alvarez Organic Farms now counts the number of chile pepper varieties they grow at more than 400, many of which are new varieties without names that have resulted from crossbreeding amongst the other varieties. Don Hilario took me on an exhaustive tour of his pepper fields (well, it exhausted me, but I think he could have kept going all night), and just when I thought I had seen every pepper on earth in the many acres of peppers in the fields behind his house on the mother farm, he said with pride, “Okay, now let me show the farm where we grow the bigger varieties of peppers!” I think that farm had more peppers on it than the mother farm. Hilario grows them all with pride, and his son, Eddie, brings them by the truckload to us here at your Ballard Farmers Market every Sunday. For that, we are all grateful. 2014 is an extraordinary year for peppers, too, with the hot, dry, sunny days making their plants produce more peppers that are more colorful, sweeter and hotter than ever! Enjoy.

Fresh basil from Growing Things Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh basil from Growing Things Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

It is time to get your pesto on, folks, or whatever you like to do best with fresh basil from Growing Things Farm! Their basil is so beautiful and fragrant right now, ready for your caprese salads, that fish, that perfect dessert with peaches and more. I had the good fortune of visiting Michaele and her crew on the farm on Thursday in Duvall, and to see their robust basil fields. This is food grown with love!

Purple Sensation pears from ACMA Mission Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Purple Sensation pears from ACMA Mission Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Say what? Yes, these are a new crop of pears. These are organic Purple Sensation pears from ACMA Mission Orchards, just in time for packing in the kiddies lunch bags (say it ain’t so!). And in case you haven’t noticed, this year has seen the fruit trees of Washington put out record fruit sets of the most delicious fruit ever, earlier than ever. See, global warming does have its up sides.

Tomatoes from Colinwood Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomatoes from Colinwood Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomatoes. If you aren’t relishing 2014’s absolute abundance of tomatoes of all kinds, you must not love tomatoes. Because many of us live through the cold, dark, wet months solely for the promise of farm fresh, vine=ripened tomatoes come summer, and this summer’s bounty is enough to carry us through two Northwest winters. These gorgeous maters are from our buddies at Colinwood Farm in Port Townsend.

Blueberries and raspberries from Hayton Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Blueberries and raspberries from Hayton Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Just in case you missed the memo, raspberries are back in full force now from several farms. These are from Hayton Berry Farms, up in Skagit Valley. They’ve also got these lovely blueberries currently, as well as their most prolific blackberry harvest in years. Yes, this continues to be an epic year for berries folks. Make sure you take advantage!

Bratwurst from Skagit River Ranch. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Bratwurst from Skagit River Ranch. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Holy cow! Labor Day Weekend is next week! Time to get ready. Load up on sausagessteakschops and more from Skagit River Ranch today, and get grilling with the family while everyone is all in one place at the same time for the last time until Thanksgiving!

Baby red romaine lettuce from One Leaf Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Baby red romaine lettuce from One Leaf Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Look kids! It is adorable little heads of baby red romaine from One Leaf Farm! The summer of 2014 has been great for lettuce, too. One Leaf grows a lovely selection of heirloom lettuces that are beautiful and delicious. But like so much else this summer, you had better enjoy it now with vigor, lest you regret missing it come December.

Fortune plums from Collins Family Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fortune plums from Collins Family Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

We are getting into serious plum season now, with such deeply sweet and complexly flavored varieties such as these Fortune plums from Collins Family Orchards from Selah. They are big, juicy and ready to eat, and you have to admit, they are also gorgeous, eh?

Eggplant from Alm Hill Gardens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Eggplant from Alm Hill Gardens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Spectacular eggplant from Alm Hill Gardens awaits you today at your Ballard Farmers Market! I enjoyed some simply pan-fried last night. Awesome. Eggplant, like peppers and tomatoes, comes from the summer-loving nightshade family, and that means it, too, is having an epic year. Try some on the grill, alongside those sausages!

Fresh kombucha from CommuniTea. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh kombucha from CommuniTea. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you had a refreshing bottle of kombucha from Communi-Tea Kombucha lately? Then today’s is a good day for one! Communi-Tea brews its kombucha in Seattle’s Central District. It is real, unfiltered, and comes with a small amount of naturally occurring alcohol, so you have to be 21 to buy it. But that means this is honest kombucha. And it comes in eco-friendly refillable bottles, too!

Jersey cow yogurt from Samish Bay Cheese. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Jersey cow yogurt from Samish Bay Cheese. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for Jersey cow yogurt? Samish Bay Cheese, from Bow, Washington, has it! They offer it in plain and Greek, and occasionally they have seasonal flavored versions. Samish Bay also has a great lineup of award-winning cheeses, as well as grass-fed beef and pastured pork. Yummers!

Raisin pumpernickel bread from Sonhomish Bakery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Raisin pumpernickel bread from Sonhomish Bakery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you been on the lookout for a nice raisin pumpernickel bread around Seattle, but been frustrated in your search? Snohomish Bakery has you covered! So grab a loaf today, and enjoy the toast you’ve been missing tomorrow!

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, June 30th: Peaches, Blueberries, Apricots, Summer Squash, Basil & Other Stuff What Shouldn’t Be Here Yet!

June 29, 2013
Sugar Time Peaches from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sugar Time Peaches from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I know. I know. I was rubbing my eyes to make sure I wasn’t seeing things either. But I took this photo on Wednesday at our Wallingford Farmers Market. These really are the first Sugar Time peaches of the season from Collins Family Orchards. For real… and in June!!! But it gets even crazier than that, as they’ve also got their first harvest of Tomcot apricots of the season now, too! After three consecutive years of our harvest schedule being two to four weeks behind schedule, it is really confusing to have things two weeksahead of schedule this year, but who’s complaining?!? Now, if you are wondering why not all crops are ahead of schedule, that is because row crops, which require being planted each spring, were planted close to on schedule, so their harvests are not coming quite so early — at least not yet — though that will change in the coming weeks. But tree, bush and vine fruit, and things like strawberries, are perennials, so they are able to take full advantage of this warmer, drier year so far!

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

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

And the hits just keep on coming! Yes, these are blueberries, from Sidhu Farms. Again, this photo was also taken on Wednesday. I cannot remember when last we had so much fruit available so early, and I cannot remember blueberries and peaches in June, well, ever! Oh, and blackberries, too! Yup, blackberries made an appearance on Sidhu’s tables at our Madrona Farmers Market on Friday! Wow.

Basil plants from Red Barn Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Basil plants from Red Barn Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And even with all these crops coming on early this year, there is still time to get some of your own basil plants in the ground, or in a big pot on your deck. Red Barn Farm has a wonderful selection of basil plants for just that purpose, and with a hot summer like we’re are going to have this year, your basil will be very happy indeed, and it will reward you with all the basil you will need for pestos, capreses and more! Of course, if you are really impatient, you can pick up a bit of freshly harvested basil today from One Leaf Farm, while it lasts.

Ground beef from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ground beef from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just in time for Independence Day, Skagit River Ranch will be firing up their grill today at your Ballard Farmers Market and sampling out their outstanding ground beef patties and sausages. You know, being an ex-pat New Yorkers, I used to miss dearly good sweet Italian sausage here in Seattle. That is, until I met Skagit River Ranch’s. And I’ve heard the same thing from many other folks from Back East… chefs even. They just do it right. And today, Skagit will introduce their new hot dogs, too! So stop by, try a few samples, figure out what you like best, and then stock up for your 4th of July barbecue!

Broccoli from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Broccoli from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm has begun harvesting this beautiful broccoli, and you know, it is really good on the grill, right alongside those burgers and sausages. And let’s face it: you do not want to be cooking indoors over the next week, am I right? It is just too hot. Well, now, you can have your broccoli and grill it, too! And some more food for thought… kale grills well, too!

Raspberries from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

What up?!? Organic raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. These big, beautiful berries are exploding with flavor, as are their amazing organic strawberries. Their strawberries are grown under row covers, which is why they are also so perfect looking. They don’t get splattered in the rain with dirt.

Gluten-free dinner rolls from d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gluten-free dinner rolls from d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How’s about some gluten-free dinner rolls from d:floured gluten-free bakery. After all, who says you have to live without a nice roll for your burger, or something flavorful, chewy and crusty alongside your salad, just because you have to avoid gluten? They’ve got these lovely rolls in a variety of flavors, not to mention all the other sweet and savory goodies they make!

English shelling peas from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

English shelling peas from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Here’s some vege that requires no heating at all… just eating! Yup, it’s English shelling pea season at Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Just grab a bag of them, sit out your porch, and pop open pod after pod and enjoy straight. Add them to salads. Get extras, shuck them, put them in pint freezer bags, pop them in the freezer now, and enjoy them all next winter, too!

Growlers and growler coolers from Soda Jerk Fresh Soda. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growlers and growler coolers from Soda Jerk Fresh Soda. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Soda Jerk Soda Company has a great lineup of refreshing fresh sodas on tap for you today made from great local ingredients.  Today’s flavors include Raspberry Vanilla featuring raspberries from Sidhu Farms, Cherry Chipotle featuring cherries from Lyall Farms and Bill’s Fruits, and Lemon Lavender using lavender from multiple farms in the Sequim area. They are all refreshing and delicious. Grab some for your picnic in the park, and grab a jug to take home for later!

Tomatoes from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomatoes from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Magana Farms, based in Sunnyside, has two advantages: the warmest climate in the state and big hot houses. And that means they are the first to have tomatoes. You’ll want some of these for slicing up to top your burgers, or for making that aforementioned caprese. They also have green tomatoes for frying, if you are so inclined, and they even have a few pints of cherry tomatoes already, too!

Summer squash from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer squash from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer squash has returned… just in time for summer! Alvarez Organic Farms is already harvesting eight varieties, and soon they’ll have half a dozen more! I love grilling these puppies, but there are so many ways to enjoy them. Share your recipes on our Facebook page!

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.

It is fresh Alaskan salmon season at Loki Fish, and they’ve got fresh ketapinkcohosockeye and king salmon right now! They also have fresh ikura (keta roe) and skeines (the whole egg sack, top). So get your tasty, salty, popping with deliciousness fish eggs on now!

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

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

I’m thinking that sprinkling some of those keta eggs over this spicy salad mix from Alm Hill Gardens (a.k.a., Growing Washington) sounds pretty good right about now. And hey, salads are the way to go in this heat. Get some radishes, carrots, turnips, snap and shelling peas, spring sweet onions, maybe some goat feta or ricotta from Twin Oaks Creamery, and add a little protein over the top, or on the side, and you are good to go! And with that, please, stay hydrated, and wear that sunscreen today. We’ve got your localiciousness right here. Stock up and then get thee to a beach or to a picnic table under a shady tree at a park!

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, August 26th: Righteous Birds, Wild Huckleberries, Thai Basil, Gorgeous Garlic & Celery!

August 26, 2012

Whole pastured chicken from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you ever eaten a really good chicken? I mean, a chicken that you not only talked about for days afterwards, but for years? Well, I have. I believe it was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving 2000 when I drove out to Growing Things Farm in East King County to pick up a chicken from farmer Michaele Blakely for my family to enjoy for Thanksgiving dinner. It was big, beautiful, and it was the best chicken I had ever tasted. It was so good, my family has been eating them ever since for Thanksgiving when we are able to all get together. We don’t miss turkey at all. Well, lucky you. These chickens are available right here at your Ballard Farmers Market.

If you have only ever eaten those mass-produced chickens at the Big Box stores — even the so-called “free range” and “organic” chickens — you will be blown away by one of Michaele’s chickens, because for the first time in your life, you will actually taste what a chicken is supposed to taste like. It’s about the right breed, the right feed, and the right treatment of the chickens, and Growing Things Farm hits the mark on all three counts. Try one this week. You can thank me later! Oh, and you can thank us now by voting for your Ballard Farmers Market in the 2012 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest! The deadline to vote is September 3rd, so please vote now! We need everyone to vote!

Wild blue mountain huckleberries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These beauties are wild mountain huckleberries from Foraged & Found Edibles. And they are the stuff of legend around here. A month ago, huckleberries briefly were in season over near Spokane, and the Spokane Farmers’ Market posted about them on their Facebook page. I was astounded to see that that photo of huckleberries got something like 75 “likes.” Mind you, them Spokanesters are a bit “like” happy over there. But then, last Sunday, I posted a photo of them on the Ballard Farmers Market Facebook page, and bam!, we got something like 60 “likes.” Apparently, folks around here are a bit bonkers for huckleberries. Well, lucky you, Jeremy’s got a bunch more this week for you at your Ballard Farmers Market.

Polish hardneck garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Meet the Jarvis Family Garlic Farm. They grow… wait for it… garlic! They grow their garlic over on the North Olympic Peninsula, in the Dungeness River Valley, right near Nash’s Organic Produce. And they grow some amazing garlic. From mild to wild, hardnecks and soft skins. Garlic for what ails you. Garlic that assails you. And I don’t even know what that last one means! The most important thing to remember is, there’s no such thing as too much garlic.

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

I know. You’re thinking, “What? Just one pint of those grape tomatoes from Boistfort Valley Farm?” Hey, can’t a guy get creative now and then? Besides, they’re kinda purdy surrounded by those lovely, green herbs. And truth be told, these lovely little maters sell so fast, I was lucky to even get this shot! Boistfort’s got all manner of spectacular deliciousness from Southwest Washington on their tables right now. Give them a visit!

Ruble blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These Ruble blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm are descendant from wild blueberries that grow in the mountains of Maine. They have a unique flavor and are packed with antioxidant goodness, and they’re certified organic! And when I first tasted them, they took me right back to my childhood, hiking up Cadillac Mountain in Maine’s Acadia National Park, eating my weight in wild blueberries as I went.

Celery from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Celery. It may not be sexy, but it is a mainstay in most American kitchens. And it is the perfect vehicle for transporting peanut butter, hummus or onion dip from bowl to pie hole, am I right? It is also really good for you! And right now, Colinwood Farms has some of the sweetest celery I’ve ever tasted. Seriously. It’s actually sweet! Look, you’re going to need celery this week anyway, right? Why not get it from a great local farm?

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

This golden cauliflower from Alm Hill Gardens is so stunning, I just had to post it. And these suckers are huge with a capital huge. They dwarf the green beans in the background. And hey, cauliflower is also a great vehicle for onion dip and hummus transport, and it works well with cocktail sauce, too. Or make a nice summery salad with it, some heirloom maters, a little feta and some cukes, all from your Ballard Farmers Market. Woohoo!

Thai basil from Children’s Garden. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This beautiful Thai basil from Children’s Garden is full of tons of flavor. This is the stuff that dreams of the perfect bowl of pho are made of! This is the stuff you always want more of when you go out to any Thai or Vietnamese restaurant. So this is the time to enjoy playing with those flavors at home!

Summer squash from Nature’s Last Stand. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nature’s Last Stand is rocking the summer squash right now. Theirs is beautiful, perfect, sweet and delicious. Get your ratatouille on. Grill it. Roast it. Eat it raw in salads. Heck, make bread out of it, if you must. Look, folks, you may think you’ve seen plenty of this stuff this summer, but summer is running out. This is the last market of August, after all. Enjoy these jewels of summer while you can. You will miss them come January.

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

Let us end this week’s epistle with some lovely, freshly harvested shallots from Summer Run Farm. They are big, beautiful and full of amazing flavor. Think of caramelizing some shallots and dressing green beans or some of that summer squash with them. Maybe add a little bacon to the mix. Oh, baby! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

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.