Posts Tagged ‘berries’

Sunday, September 2nd: Westside Sweet Corn, Bartlett Pears, Soft Pretzels, Padron Peppers, Turkish Eggplant & Some Very Large Stories!

September 2, 2012

Sweet corn from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I cannot remember a year in which sweet corn from Western Washington came into season this late. What a bizarre year this has been. And now, we are in what seems like an endless summer pattern in which we are well positioned to break the record for the most consecutive days without rain. Huh? Weren’t we just whining about too much endless rain?  Wasn’t July the wettest one ever? Well, we’re heading into El Nino, folks, and according to the weekend weather woman on Fox News, that means it’s likely to be a warmer, drier fall than normal, so things may be coming on late, but hopefully they will stick around longer, too. Anyway, this is all to say, enjoy some Westside sweet corn from Stoney Plains Organic Farm today at your Ballard Farmers Market.

Oh, and while you’re at it, please vote right now for your Ballard Farmers Market in the 2012 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest. See, voting closes tomorrow, and we need at least 200 more votes to finish where we did last year, in the top 10, though 400 more would put us up in the top 3. Now, I know about 1,500 people are going to read this today. Voting only takes about 30 seconds. Click the link, click on “Ballard Farmers Market”, and then vote. Simple. Please don’t be the person who figures that the other people with vote, so you don’t have to. If they think the same way, then who’s gonna vote? I mean, we know you love your Ballard Farmers Market, since you read these words of, ehem, wisdom every week. Please share that love with the world with your vote! Thanks!

Fortuna plums & Bartlett pears from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s plum and pear season, folks! Woohoo! Check out these gorgeously delicious Fortuna plums and Bartlett pears from Collins Family Orchards. The plums will certainly satisfy the making a mess of your face and shirt requirements for this weekend, and those pears will easily pack with you in your lunch box next Wednesday when you head back to school, bringing with you a little yummy reminder of the wonderful summer we’ve had.

Meadowfoam honey from Golden Harvest Bee Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This Meadowfoam honey from Golden Harvest Bee Ranch comes with a bigger story than most honey, and that’s saying something, because all honey comes with a big story. In this case, this honey is the product of the bees of Tom Schioler, the man behind the tables of honey you see every week at the Market, in front of Bastille, and he and the bees both have found themselves in a bit of a squabble with some apparently not so neighborly neighbors. On paper, it’s a squabble over property lines and land use issues, but in the end, what’s at issue is Tom’s bees, and the meadow on his property upon which they dine, and from which they produce this Meadowfoam honey. See, some people still just don’t get the importance of bees, and they see them as a nuisance. And one person’s beautiful meadow for bees is another person’s unkempt lawn that would do well with a nice application of Roundup. But without bees, a huge percentage of the food we eat would simple disappear, as it depends of the bees to pollinate it. The full story here is long and complicated, but ultimately, what you need to know is Tom’s bee ranch is under siege, requiring him to need to mount a legal response and hire a surveyor in order to set things straight and protect his bees. And you can help simply by purchasing this Meadowfoam honey. Oh, and I imagine Tom would be happy to give you the unabridged story, too, if you ask him!

Serrano peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah, pepper season. And to say Hilario Alvarez of Alvarez Organic Farms is proud of his pepper crop is an understatement. He should be proud. He grows around 200 different varieties of peppers, some of which he has developed himself. An immigrant farmer from Mexico, Alvarez worked for years as a farm laborer for other farms in the Yakima Valley, eventually working his way up to being a foreman, the entire time squirreling away his wages and slowly investing in land of his own. Now, he is one of the most renowned organic farmers in the nation, Hispanic or otherwise, and his pepper fields are the stuff of legend. During the harvest season, these fields look much like the tulip fields of Skagit County during the spring Tulip Festival, awash in a rainbow of colorful peppers. For the next two to three months, we get to enjoy these peppers at your Ballard Farmers Market, in every color and intensity imaginable, from the mild gypsy sweet peppers, to the pleasantly spicy serrano peppers pictured about, all the way up to the notoriously hot ghost chili. Plus, they have their beautiful pepper wreathes and garlands to brighten up your home!

Soft pretzels from Grateful Bread Bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are Grateful Bread Bakery’s new soft pretzels, and they are perfectly soft, salty and chewy. They made this Philly ex-pat a little homesick, in fact. Seriously. The only thing they lack is some yellow mustard. Lots of yellow mustard! Nuff said.

Suncrest peaches from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are the big, juicy peaches dreams are made of… and messy shirt fronts! These are Suncrest peaches from Martin Family Orchards. Several years ago, I visited a Serbian restaurant in Milwaukee, and the owner told me this amazing story of fighting with the Yugoslavian resistance during WWII, and how he and his two brothers escaped Yugoslavia in 1956 by climbing over the Alps into Austria when the Soviets invaded Hungry, as the Yugoslavian military left the border along the Alps open as they scrambled to the Hungarian border. He told me that they then joined their father in Milwaukee at his restaurant, which he had named Three Brothers in just the hope his three sons would eventually join him there in freedom. It was one of the great life stories I’ve ever heard. But when he heard I was from Washington, all he wanted to talk to me about was these big, beautiful, juicy peaches!

Padron peppers from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Padron peppers are beloved in Spain, where they like to flash fry and salt them and snack on them. They serve them this way right down Ballard Avenue at The Walrus & The Carpenter, in fact. But not too many folks grow them around here. One farm that does is our own Full Circle Farm from over in Carnation. These peppers are mild, with a lovely, green flavor, though it seems that due to some weird genetics, one in 10 of them turns out spicy hot. It makes eating them a little bit of an adventure!

Heirloom tomatoes from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of “finally on the Westside”, how’s about these heirloom tomatoes from Oxbow Farm? Again, I cannot recall a year in which these came into season so late. Confounding, really. But here they come, so dive in and enjoy them while you can. Go tomato crazy! Because they’ll be gone again soon enough.

Berries from Hayton Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Berry season seems to keep plugging along, though. Seems like it may go on forever, and I can live with that. Especially when Hayton Berry Farms keeps bringing this dazzling, colorful collection of berries for us to enjoy. Just remember, alway get twice as many berries as you think you’ll need. Trust me on this.

Turkish eggplant from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These stunning fruits are Turkish eggplant from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Sure, you may know Tiny’s for all the amazing kinds of tree fruit they grow, but they also grow some fruits of the vegetable persuasion. Fruits like cucumbers and eggplant. And not the ordinary varieties either. They grow an amazingly collection of heirloom varieties of these two crops. You know, sometimes I think that Tiny’s uses three criterion to choose what crops they plant — they have to be delicious, stunningly beautiful and have a really cool name and story behind them!

Early gala apples from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These early Gala apples from ACMA Mission Orchards are a little less sweet and a little more tart than their winter counterparts, making them perfect for adding to salads. And they are wonderfully fresh and crisp right now, providing a satisfying crunch when you bite into them.

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.

Seafood Fest & Colorful Food

August 2, 2009
A beautiful, and busy, day at Ballard Farmers Market on July 26th. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A beautiful, and busy, day at Ballard Farmers Market on July 26th. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sunday, July 26th brought another spectacular, sunny day to the Ballard Farmers Market… and the Ballard Seafood Festival. So I thought it appropriate to capture this image of the throngs of Market faithful from a perch atop one of Wilson Fish’s coolers. Seafood Fest certainly filled the neighborhood and parking, and it clogged Ballard streets. It was fun, but it did make it challenging for some to visit the Market, so we will excuse you if you missed the Market on July 26th. Besides, it gave us an opportunity to introduce the Market to many new folks. And we look forward to seeing you back next time.

A gorgeous display by Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A gorgeous display by Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For those who braved the Seafood Fest crowds, you were rewarded by some of the most spectacularly colorful displays of food of the year. Just take a look at this display of bountiful deliciousness from Nash’s.

A rainbow of labels on cans of St. Jude tuna. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A rainbow of labels on cans of St. Jude tuna. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And Fishing Vessel St. Jude’s display of their canned tuna looks like a rainbow. St. Jude catches juvenile albacore as it swims south along the Washington coast, when it is still full of omega-fatty acids that protected it in cold North Pacific waters, and while it is still young and with little mercury, unlike its tropical adult elders. St. Jude comes to the Market every other week, so look for them next on August 9th.

Fresh, brilliant and fragrant lavender from Floating Leaves Lavender Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh, brilliant and fragrant lavender from Floating Leaves Lavender Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Floating Leaves Lavender Farm returned to Ballard Farmers Market for the 2009 season. The fresh lavender harvest is now at its peak on the North Olympic Peninsula, around Sequim, the lavender capitol of North America. With the 2009 Lavender Festival last week behind them, lavender farms like Floating Leaves and Moosedreams are back at the Market in all their glory. Enjoy this special Northwest harvest while you can.

Growing Things cheddar cauliflower. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things cheddar cauliflower. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Check out this aptly named cheddar cauliflower from Growing Things. Growing Things grows several varieties of cauliflower, including graffiti, which is purple, and this lovely stuff, which is probably really good with, um, cheese. (Sorry. I just couldn’t help being cheesy here.)

This magnificent display comes to us courtesy of Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This magnificent display comes to us courtesy of Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When I am coaching new vendors about how to improve their displays, the first place I send them is to Boistfort Valley Farm’s stall to study how they do it. This little snapshot of Boistfort’s display on the 26th accounts for maybe 15% of their total display, tops. It sings beauty, freshness, quality, variety, abundance and choice, just what we all are looking for at the Market.

Sunflowers from The Old Gardener. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sunflowers from The Old Gardener. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers. They are just so large and in charge. Well, it is sunflower season, and many farms have them now, like these from The Old Gardener, mid-market, near Wilson Fish.

A colorful mix of berries from Jessie's Berries. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A colorful mix of berries from Jessie's Berries. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Berries continue to brighten up the Market, like these mixed berry flats from Jessie’s Berries. For folks who want a potpourri of berries, this is definitely the way to go.

Chinese spinach from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chinese spinach from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Chinese spinach may in fact be the most beautiful vegetable on earth. Just look at this Chinese spinach from Children’s Garden. It’s incredible.

Lovely and edible garlic flowers from Red Barn. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Lovely and edible garlic flowers from Red Barn. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish our little journey down colorful lane with these wonderful garlic flowers from Red Barn Farm. If you have never seen garlic in the field when it goes into bloom, this is what its flowers look like. Picture, if you will, chives when they flower, then picture them a lot bigger, and you can imagine garlic flowers. Or, you can just go to Red Barn and see them… and eat them, too.

Seafood Fest is gone for another year. It is safe for you to return to Downtown Ballard. We’ll see you next time at the Market.