Posts Tagged ‘beets’

Midweek Update For Wednesday, October 29th: Artichokes, Fall Flowers, Local Wine, Cippolini Onions, Kirsop Farm & More!

October 29, 2014
Artichokes from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Artichokes from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s time for your mid-week teaser! Here is some food for thought — literally — to fire you up for this weekend’s trip to your Ballard Farmers Market. These are some gorgeous artichokes from Growing Things Farm, don’t you think? And they are just waiting for you to use them in your favorite recipes. And though you cannot really tell from this photo, these babies are nice and large.

Red Delicious apples from Martin Family Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Red Delicious apples from Martin Family Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s gotten so many people disregard the humble red delicious apple in favor of exotic or classic heirlooms, or because they just seem mundane and boring. And while modern red delicious apples that are bred for storage and appearance — the ones you get at the Big Box store or with school lunches — have been accurately described as “akin to old potatoes when they come out of long storage” by a former Washington State Director of Agriculture, these red delicious apples from Martin Family Orchards are not those red delicious apples. These are, in fact, an older variety of them that hasn’t been bred black and flavorless, but instead is one of the finest eating apples you will ever encounter, because Martin brings them to Market fresh from harvest, when they’re at their peak of flavor and crispness. These are the red delicious apples that earned them their name in the first place!

Maggie and pup Lola inspecting the Madeleine Angevine grapes at LIV (Lopez Island Vineyards). Photo courtesy LIV.

Maggie and pup Lola inspecting the Madeleine Angevine grapes at LIV (Lopez Island Vineyards). Photo courtesy LIV.

The harvest and crush are in full swing at vineyards and wineries all over Washington right now, and that includes LIV (a.k.a., Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery). Here, Maggie and farm dog Lola are inspecting some of this year’s Madeleine Angevine grapes on their Lopez Island vineyards. These are the grapes responsible for their most award-winning wine. Stop by for a sample at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Fall dahlia bouquet at Mee Garden at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fall dahlia bouquet at Mee Garden at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

It seems our amazing, endless summer of 2014 has truly come to an end, though we continue to be blessed with lovely Sundays, as the weather gods love them so Ballard Farmers Market as much as you and I do. Still, we can continue to bring home summer sunshine in the form of these spectacular flowers from Mee Garden until they receive their first frost in the Lower Snoqualmie Valley. So stop by for a beautiful bouquet this week!

Cipollini onions from One Leaf Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cipollini onions from One Leaf Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cipollini onions from One Leaf Farm cook down and caramelize wonderfully, making them brilliant for adding deep, rich onion flavor to soups, sauces and sides, or just as a simple garnish. Try them with one of their winter squash! One Leaf also has other great storage onions now, as well as shallots.

Beets from Kirsop Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Beets from Kirsop Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

This Sunday, we welcome a new farm to the vendor ranks here at your Ballard Farmers Market, but Kirsop Farm is by no means a new farm. In fact, they’ve been around for almost 20 years! We’ve enjoyed their stunning organic produce at both Wallingford and Madrona Farmers Markets for the last two years, and they’ve played a starring role at the Olympia Farmers Market going back to the 1990s. Based in Tumwater, Kirsop Farm is one of those farms, like Boistfort Valley Farm, to which many other farms in Washington look up. Their displays are magnificent, and their produce superb. And for an example of both, just take a gander at the beets in the photo above.

Sunday, July 27th: Alien Stone Fruit, Ginormous Fish, Spectacular Leaves, Onions You Can Eat Like Apples, Snow Peas Of A Different Color & Something For The Cave Man In All Of Us!

July 26, 2014
Donut peaches from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

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

These other-worldly looking donut peaches from Collins Family Orchards are one of my favorite stone fruits. And considering that there are literally hundreds of different stone fruits — indeed, dozens of different peaches — that’s saying something! They get their unusual shape from their tiny stone, and because this is a free-stone variety, its flesh separates from the stone very easily, making it an easy eater, and an easy peach to cook with. Donut peaches are sweet and juicy, yet tend to be small enough that they are easy to eat. And while they will dribble on your shirt with the best of peaches, they are perhaps the least sloppy of peaches. Try one today!

Huge king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Huge king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The boys at Wilson Fish have been having a tremendous season catching fish off the Washington coast. These are whole king salmon, weighing in at more than 25 pounds each! That’s some big king salmon, but it is by no means the biggest one they’ve caught. The result is big, beautiful fillets and whole fish that will feed a small army. Do not miss out on this season of wild Washington salmon!

Rainbow chard from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rainbow chard from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Talk about stunning colors, I cannot recall a year in which chard has been so colorful. Indeed, in a year in which most crops are thriving, chard stands out. The harvests of chard throughout Western Washington in 2014 have been nothing short of epic, which big, beautiful, delicious leaves that will just plain make you smile. These particular marvels of nature come from our friends at One Leaf Farm.

Sweet onions from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet onions from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These sweet onions from Alvarez Organic Farms are the stuff of legend. They are from Walla Walla sweet onion seed, but we call them “sweet onions,” without adding “Walla Walla” in front, because the name, “Walla Walla sweet onion,” is protected by a federal USDA Marketing Order, only to be used for onions grown within a 50-mile radius around Walla Walla. Never the less, Alvarez grows them just outside that range, in much the same hot, dry conditions that result in an onion you can eat like an apple! They’re that sweet.

Heirloom snow pears from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Heirloom snow pears from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These beautiful snow peas are from Alm Hill Gardens. The yellow ones are an heirloom variety with its roots in India, whereas the purple ones are a relatively new variety, bred over the last three decades. See, purple is a new color for snow peas entirely. Both are sweet and crunchy, and excellent quickly sauteed as a side dish.

Beef rib chop from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beef rib chop from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

To be honest, I haven’t the foggiest idea if Sea Breeze Farm will have any of these Flintstone-esque beef rib chops today, but that’s neither here nor there. That’s because pretty much anything they’ve got in the case today — and their case does vary, a la “it’s a farmers market, folks,” every week — is going to be really tasty, and from happy animals raised by people you know, because those people are the ones standing directly behind the case. Heck, I had some beef tongue and some duck breast from them this past week that were almost transcendental. So grab a chop, a roast, a bird, some charcuterie or a few links, and reconnect with your inner Fred.

Belgian-style ales from Propolis Brewing. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Belgian-style ales from Propolis Brewing. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

In case you haven’t noticed, Propolis Brewing, from Port Townsend, is all about the seasonal ales. That means that their ales change every month or two to feature the flavors of the season. And today is new release day! Yes, Propolis has informed us that they’ll be releasing their first Washington State award-winning Ale, “Litha,” a Chamomile Saison, as well as a new Spruce Saison & Birch Ale today at your Ballard Farmers Market! Woohoo!

Sweetheart cherries from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweetheart cherries from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When Lyall Farms starts bringing in the sweetheart cherries, we know that cherry season is beginning to wind down, because they are the latest cherry variety. So if you haven’t taken the opportunity to enjoy the outstanding cherries that 2014 has produced, do so now, while you still have the chance!

Hericot vert green beans from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hericot vert green beans from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hericot vert green beans are not only redundantly named, they are the most delicate of green beans — thin and tender — and they just beg to be sautéed with some good bacon and some pearl onions. Stoney Plains Organic Farm has lots of them today, along with at least four other varieties of green beans. Yeah, baby!

Tomatoes from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomatoes from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Colinwood Farm is cranking out lots of tomatoliciousness right now. Just look at this veritable potpourri of tomatoes in this basket. Big ones. Little ones. Sweet ones. Orange ones. Round ones and wrinkly ones. 2014 is shaping up to be a barnburner when it comes to maters. Don’t waste your time with those tasteless things at the Big Box store when you can get some of these freshly harvested, vine-ripened beauties.

Detroit beets from Nash's Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Detroit beets from Nash’s Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This gorgeous shot of Detroit red beets sporting spectacular beet greens from Nash’s Organic Produce serve as a reminder to us all that when you buy a bunch of these sweet, earthy roots, you are actually getting two dishes for the price of one! Roast, grill, steam, pickle or shred the roots, and then use the greens as you would chard. Don’t go wasting perfectly delicious food by tossing those greens!

Chicken (top) and duck eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chicken (top) and duck eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Our farmers are producing more eggs than ever it seems, which means that your chances of getting some at your Ballard Farmers Market are better than ever. Just check out these certified organic chicken and duck eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm, for instance. Laid by happy birds that get to run around and get plenty of fresh air, they are way better than anything you’ll find in a Big Box store. In fact. those duck eggs are the only eggs Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will eat! Yes, Stokesberry supplies both the Seahawks and the Sounders with poultry and eggs. And hey, both teams are at the top of their leagues. What can these eggs do for you? Well, if you want to find out, don’t come tooling into the Market at 2:45 p.m. looking for them. I said our farmers have more eggs. I didn’t say they have an endless supply of them!

Victor Jensen in the aging room at Golden Glen Creamery. Photo copyright by Mandy Alderink, courtesy of Golden Glen Creamery.

Victor Jensen in the aging room at Golden Glen Creamery. Photo copyright by Mandy Alderink, courtesy of Golden Glen Creamery.

The Jensens of Golden Glen Creamery have been making gouda and cheddar cheeses up on their dairy farm in Bow for generations. See, when all the Dutch settlers came to the Skagit Valley to grow tulips, someone had to make cheese for them, right? Enjoy a taste of Washington’s history with some their fine cheeses today!

Chesnok Red garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chesnok Red garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is time to get your garlic on, folks. Whether you be sautéing some greens, cooking a roast, making pickles, or whatever you might need it for, Jarvis Family Garlic Farm has the right variety of garlic for you, from mild to wild. They grow it over in Clallam County, on the North Olympic Peninsula, where the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains means their soil is not so wet as most other parts of Western Washington. That makes for great growing conditions for garlic, and we are the beneficiaries!

Kalamata olive bread from Snohomish Bakery. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Kalamata olive bread from Snohomish Bakery. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Moist, chewy, with little explosions of salty oliveliciousness throughout, you will adore this kalamata olive bread from Snohomish Bakery. It is just one of a dozen or so varieties of artisan breads they bake. Stop by for some to compliment your Sunday night supper today!

Tamarind-Ginger, Lemon-Lavender and Blueberry-Basil fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Soda. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tamarind-Ginger, Lemon-Lavender and Blueberry-Basil fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Soda. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, how about some fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Soda. Check out their current selection of flavors, including Tamarind-Ginger, Lemon-Lavender and the oh, so localicious Blueberry-Basil. And remember, their cups and their straws are 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 21st: Sunflowers, Organic Sweet Corn, Donut Peaches, Heirloom Tomatoes, Boysenberries, Gluten-Free Bread & So Much More!

July 20, 2013
Sunflowers from Pa Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sunflowers from Pa Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

2013 is already an epic year for our farmers, and it is only mid-July. I hope you are taking full advantage of this historic year for local crops. Warm weather is not only causing crops to arrive earlier than ever, it is also resulting in record harvests and superb quality. And many crops are also hanging around later than usual, too. Take, for example, flowers from Pa Gardens. Right now, they have in season sweet peasgladiolasdahlias and sunflowers — all at the same time! It is kind of mind-boggling, but it also means they get to make some of the most extraordinary fresh flower bouquets, the likes of which we may never see again. So, please, I beseech you. Avail yourself of this unique summer!

Organic sweet corn from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic sweet corn from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wow! Fresh, organic sweet corn from Alvarez Organic Farms! And this bi-color variety is super sweet right now. Of course, they also have like a gagillion kinds of summer squash now. They’ve even got pickling cukes now, too! (Scroll down for your pickling dill source.)

Donut peaches from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Donut peaches from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Magana Farms won this year’s race for the first donut peaches of the season. And I so love donut peaches. They are cool looking. They are compact. They have a small, easily removed stone. They are delicious. And this year, they are a week earlier than we have ever seen before.

Oxbow Farm and Oxbow's Alice sporting carrots. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm and Oxbow’s Alice sporting carrots. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm is famous for their carrots, be they of the orange or the purple variety. And Alice of Oxbow is such a fan of carrots that she’s given them a place of permanent honor on her shoulder! This seems like an excellent time for some carrot trivia. Did you know that orange is not the original color of carrots? Carrots actually come in a rainbow of colors, from white all the way to black, and orange is the newest. And they have a history so rich that an entire British website is dedicated to them. If you love carrots, or food in general, I encourage you to check out this site.

Fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Sodas. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Sodas. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Soda Jerk Soda Company makes fresh sodas using local ingredients from Washington farmers, and their flavors change with the seasons, so it is worth visiting them every week for a taste treat! This week, they’ve got Blackberry Cardamom, Lemon Lavender & Cucumber Mint, from the left. The latter is wonderfully refreshing on a hot day, though I like them all. None are too sweet. Enjoy!

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

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

Jarvis Family Garlic Farm returns today to your Ballard Farmers Market. Located on the North Olympic Peninsula over in Clallam County, they grow a delicious variety of heirloom garlic. They range from hard necks to soft necks, mild to very hot, and long storage to use ’em now. And remember, there is no such thing as too much garlic!

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

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

Beefsteak tomatoes from Colinwood Farms are just waiting to adorn your burger, BLT or salad! Sure, I loves me some heirloom tomatoliciousness as much as the next guy, but sometimes I just need a nice slice of a hearty, humble, domesticated beefsteak mater on my sandwich. And please, by all means, do not let this of all seasons get by you without celebrating to exceptional volume, quality and earliness of local tomatoes!

A happy child at Whidbey Island Ice Cream. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A happy child at Whidbey Island Ice Cream. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of a hot, dry summer, we’ve all been missing our weekly Whidbey Island Ice Cream fix for the last few weeks. But they are back up and running again, and thus they are back here today with lots of great flavors of ice cream bars ready for you to devour!

Ginger Gold apples from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ginger Gold apples from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

2013 has seen the earliest arrival of apples at your Ballard Farmers Market since we started keeping track by a solid two weeks, and they are a full month earlier than normal. These organic Ginger Gold apples from ACMA Mission Orchards are actually now the second wave of apples already this year, and from here on out, we will likely see a new variety of apple every week. Rumor has it that the Early Galas may be only a week or two out. Amazing.

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

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

Just take a gander at these gorgeous beets from Gaia’s Harmony Farm — chioggaDetroit and golden beets, from the left. They are sweet, earthy, and they come with greens that make for a second dish for no extra charge! Oh, Gaia’s famous organic strawberries have made a return this week, too!

Huge heads of lettuce from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Huge heads of lettuce from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I know you’ve heard me prattle on about the ginormous heads of lettuce from Carnation’s Summer Run Farm. This week, I thought I’d give you some photographic evidence. Seriously. They are more than twice the size of Dana’s head!

Boysenberries from Jessie's Berries. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Boysenberries from Jessie’s Berries. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jessie’s Berries has just about every kind of berry legal in the state of Washington right now, I swear. These stunners are their boysenberries. I bet you just hurt your finger jamming it into your screen trying to reach for one, didn’t you? They’ve also got marionberries now, too. No, not the infamous former mayor of Washington, DC, but the blackberry cousin. Sheesh.

Coconut Curry Kale Chips from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Coconut Curry Kale Chips from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

House of the Sun raw & vegan foods has all sorts of deliciousness that everyone enjoys, and no one will ever miss the meat or the cooking. These newish Coconut Curry Kale Chips are packed with flavor, yet light, crunchy and full of goodness, and as one who is not a huge coconut fan, I found these to suit me just fine.

Radicchio from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Radicchio from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Boistfort Valley Farm specializes in heirloom varieties of both Italian and Asian crops. I know, it seems like an odd marriage, but it works for them… and for me! This colorful radicchio obviously falls in the Italian camp, along with artichokes and garlic right now.

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

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

I told you I had you covered for a source for pickling dill, didn’t I? This dill is from Alm Hill Gardens (a.k.a., Growing Washington), and I’ve been using it for years to do my pickling. The flowers are full of aromatic flavor to impart into your favorite vegetables. Yummers!

Flavor Supreme pluots from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Flavor Supreme pluots from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pluots are not only fascinating because of their hybridized genetics — part plum and part apricot. They are also way cool because of all the rad colors they come in, inside and out. Like these Flavor Supreme pluots from Tiny’s Organic Produce. What they lack in a creative name they make up for in flavor and appearance!

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 d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Do you require gluten-free products, or are you just convinced that they all taste like sawdust? Either way, you should be beating a path to d:floured gluten-free bakery, because they have built their business on the premise that everyone deserves really good bread and brownies. For instance, check out these two new sandwich bread loaves, above. They are moist, chewy, tasty and sliceable! On the left is their sesame loaf, which they intentionally developed to be a full-sized loaf of bread, perfect for a nice, big sandwich. On the right is whole grain, which while a stitch smaller, still makes for a fine PB&J. So now, you can have your gluten-free diet and your BLT, too!

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, October 21st: Parsnips, Brussels Sprouts, Heirloom Apples, Hardy Kiwis, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds & More!

October 20, 2012

The Loki fishing on Puget Sound. Photo courtesy Loki Fish.

“Eat Local. Eat Loki.” That’s the slogan for the Loki Fish Company, based at Ballard’s own Fishermen’s Terminal, and a long-time vendor at your Ballard Farmers Market. And it is this time of year that they truly bring the “local” home. That is because Loki just started fishing for Keta salmon on Puget Sound this week, and today, they will offer the first of the year catch fresh at the Market! Fish doesn’t come any more local than this. Above is a photo of the Loki out in the center of Puget Sound, not far from here, last October. Enjoy!

Heirloom Macoun apples from Booth Canyon Orchard. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Did you know that there are more that 7,500 known varieties of apples? Really. And Washington state, being the largest producer of apples in the U.S., is home to an enormous reservoir of heirloom varieties of apples, helping to preserve many hundreds of these heritage breeds of apples for future generations to enjoy. Right now, many of these stunning apples are available right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, including these Macoun apples from Booth Canyon Orchard. A cross between McIntosh and Jersey Black apples, they have been regarded as one of the finest eating apples in the world.

Golden beets from Gaia’s Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gaia’s Natural Goods is very proud of their stunning vegetables, which are actually hitting their prime right now for flavor and nutrition. Gaia’s puts an emphasis on the healthfulness of what they grow on their organic farm up in Snohomish. But you’ll keep going back for the flavor and freshness! Just look at these stunning golden beets they have now. Impressive, even amongst the Ballard Farmers Market family of farmers, eh?

Parsnips from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s parsnip season! Woohoo! These beauties are from One Leaf Farm. I love roasting them in a hot oven with some sweet potatoes or other roots, but they are also great in mashes with celery root and potatoes, or in soups, stews and more. Hey, so it’s dark, cool and wet again. So what. We’ve still got lots of awesome deliciousness coming into your Ballard Farmers Market every week!

Hardy kiwis from Greenwater Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hardy kiwis, like these from Greenwater Farm in Port Townsend, are one of the great, though rare, fruits of the Northwest. They are a true kiwi, but a lot smaller than their southern cousins, and frankly, a lot sweeter. They’ve been breed to thrive in our cool, damp climate. They are only going to be around for two or three more weeks, so get some while you can. Trust me, if you miss these, you will spend the entire next year listening to your friends raving about them until October rolls around again. Consider yourself warned!

Brussels sprouts from Summer Run. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, I do love this time of year, when so many of my favorite foods come into season. Like Brussels sprouts. You heard me. I love to brown some chunked up bacon while sweating some shallots, then tossing in the sprouts halved and sautéing them until bright green and just beginning to become tender. Hit the hot pan with some white wine to deglaze it, which will also finish braising the sprouts, and season with salt and pepper to taste. This recipe is guaranteed to win over the most skeptical eaters. Summer Run Farm wins the Brussels sprouts sweepstakes with the first of the season this year!

Roasted Oxbow pumpkin seeds from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This time of year, Pasteria Lucchese is making a lot of pumpkin ravioli with pumpkins from Oxbow Farm. That means they end up with a lot of pumpkin seeds, too. So, they roast them, simply. They are crunchy, delicious and satisfying, and they give you the ability to enjoy freshly roasted pumpkin seeds without getting your hands all slimy.

Salad mix from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sure, nights have gotten cooler around here, but there is still plenty of gorgeous salad mix coming from our local farms to your Ballard Farmers Market, and perhaps no salad mix is lovelier than this spicy salad mix with edible flowers from Colinwood Farms. This is one of those images that causes you to bang into your screen with your finger or your nose, just trying to get at the beautiful deliciousness, isn’t it?

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

These bags are the stuff of legend. 5-pound bags of Nash’s Best Carrots from Nash’s Organic Produce in Sequim. They are sweet and crunchy, make for great juice, additions to salad, or munched on their own, maybe dipped in some hummus. Grab a bag and enjoy!

Red storage onions from The Old Farmer. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These lovely red storage onions are from The Old Farmer. Perfect, aren’t they? I know, you’re thinking, “but I thought The Old Farmer only sold flowers.” Nope. They grow some veggies, too, and this year’s long, warm, dry summer has resulted in one of the best years for onions in memory — including these beauties!

Spinach gouda puffs from D:Floured. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish this week’s epistle with something irresistible — spinach gouda puffs from D:flloured. What makes them even better is that they are gluten-free, and yet they don’t taste like so many gluten-free products do. These are amazing, and you will love them, whether or not you are avoiding gluten. Trust me. When have I ever lied to you? (Okay, you can’t count April Fool’s Day.)

Finally, another reminder to please 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.

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.