Posts Tagged ‘bok choy’

Sunday, February 15th: Spring Has Sprung In Seattle… A Month Early!

February 14, 2015
Bok choy and baby bok choy from Kirsop Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Bok choy and baby bok choy from Kirsop Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

We hit 60 degrees again Saturday in Seattle. Crocus, daffodils and cherry trees are in bloom. Meanwhile, it is snowing again in Boston. In fact, Boston has a bigger snowpack than the Cascades. That might cause trouble for us in August, but for now, Boston can keep their Super Bowl trophy… and their blizzards! Because while they can’t even find their cars under snowbanks, we have these fresh, gorgeous greens… what up!? Yes, Kirsop Farm has already begun to harvest a new crop of bok choy and baby bok choy on their farm in Tumwater. This time last year, we were just thawing out from a deep freeze, and fresh, tender greens like these would not be seen until April. Hey, we still love our Hawks, but we love us some fresh veggies and shirtsleeve weather in February, too!

Daffodils from Children's Garden at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Daffodils from Children’s Garden at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Yes, I did say daffodils! Children’s Garden just started harvesting them over in Fall City. Brighten up your home on this beautiful long weekend with these harbingers of spring!

Spicy salad mix from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Spicy salad mix from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Last year, it was so cold in early February that Colinwood Farm’s famous salad mix was pretty much all collards and kale. This year, it is loaded with arugula, spinach, mizuna, mustards and more, as well as collards and kale. It is spicy and crisp and incredible!

Nash's red kale from Nash's Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s red kale from Nash’s Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Did you know that the good folks at Nash’s Organic Produce have been developing their own varieties of crops that will thrive on the North Olympic Peninsula? One such crop is this wonderful Nash’s red kale. Again, this time last year, we didn’t even have kale around. Yikes! But it is young, tender and delicious right now. Woohoo!

Shiitake mushrooms from SnoValley Mushrooms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Shiitake mushrooms from SnoValley Mushrooms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And even though these shiitake mushrooms from SnoValley Mushrooms are grown indoors, they still are rocking right now. Plus, imagine tossing some of these in with some of that baby bok choy from Kirsop. That’s what I’m talking about!

New jams and jellies from Soda Jerk Fresh Sodas at Ballard Farmers Market. Photo courtesy Soda Jerk Fresh Sodas.

New jams and jellies from Soda Jerk Fresh Sodas at Ballard Farmers Market. Photo courtesy Soda Jerk Fresh Sodas.

Finally, how about some fresh jams and jellies from Soda Jerk Fresh Soda? Yes, now you can spread the same quality of deliciousness on your toast that you’ve been enjoying by the glassful for the last couple of years!

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, May 27th: Sea Beans, Cardoon, Olympia Oysters, “Baby” Bok Choy, Pea Vines & Other Stuff That’ll Make You Go, “Hmm?”

May 27, 2012

See Beans from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sea beans are not beans at all, but instead are a type of succulent that grows in saltwater marshes. They are also brinilicious. Foraged & Found Edibles gathers these for us from the wilds this time of year. And rumor has it that, finally, they will have a bunch of morel mushrooms today, too, as well as watercress and a few porcinis, while they last.

Cardoon from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cardoon is from the artichoke family, and these are the leaf stalks. They are good stewed or in soup and impart an artichoke-like flavor. Needless to say, the Italians, who are obsessed with artichokes, have many fine recipes for them. This was the perfect winter for growing them, and Oxbow Farm has them right now.

Pea vines from Gaia’s Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pea vines may not be all that unusual, especially if you’ve ever eaten the “seasonal vegetable” in a Chinese restaurant around here. But truth be told, many people are intimidated by them. Baffling, really. Few vegetables could be simpler to prepare. Slice up some green garlic, which is abundant now, and start it sauteing in some olive oil. Once it begins to soften, toss in the pea vines and sauté until they wilt. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You’ll want to cut off and discard any woody ends, of course, and cut the vines into 4-6″ strands to make them easier to eat. See, now you can order something else at the Chinese restaurant. Get your pea vines today from Gaia’s Natural Goods.

“Baby” bok choy from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nothing particularly unusual about bok choy, either, except that this is baby bok choy. No, not baby bok choy, which is a separate plant unto itself. This is simply young bok choy. Confusing, isn’t it? But while the two plants look similar, they taste quite different. And baby bok choy usually has a light green stalk, while bok choy has these white stalks. This is bok choy, from Alvarez Organic Farms. Its sturdy stalk hold up well to stir-frying. Cook it up with some marinated tofu and some chili sauce. Yeah, baby!

Gluten-free brownies from Dolce Lou. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sure, these look like any ordinarily delicious fudge brownies, right? And frankly, they taste like them, too. But these brownies are gluten-free!!! Seriously! Dolce Lou makes all manner of gluten-free spectabulousness that will delight anyone on a gluten-free diet who has been suffering with, well, crap that tastes like sawdust. And people who aren’t on a gluten-free diet will love Dolce Lou’s goodies because, well, they’re good!

Stunning succulents from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, so succulents aren’t so unusual around here. (Heck, this is the second time this post I am writing about them!) But the guy who raises them at Phocas Farms is. In a Market full of characters, Jim stands out nevertheless! And let’s face it, they look pretty cool this time of year, especially in this particular photo. Fun with depth of field. woooOOOO! WOOOooo!

Bunch carrots from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Carrots? What’s unusual about carrots? Well, I’m glad you asked! What’s unusual about carrots is that we haven’t had any at the Market much lately. That is, until now. These beautiful bunch carrots are from Colinwood Farms. And they are absofrigginlutely fantabulous. (Okay, WordPress spellcheck… you actually think “fantabulous” is a word? Fascinating.)

Tiny Olympia oysters from Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These tiny oysters are called Olympia oysters, and they are Washington state’s only native oyster. And that is not an optical illusion. They really are as small as that penny. But their flavor is enormous. Hama Hama Oyster Company has one of the few remaining commercial Olympia oyster beds. Give ’em a try, if Dan has some today.

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

Okay, I admit it. There is nothing at all unusual about spinach. Although this spinach from Nash’s Organic Produce is unusually delicious! So get your Popeye on, get some of this spinach, munch it down, and then go pick up a Volkswagen, or better yet, a Buick! That oughta impress Olive Oil.

Hey, there is plenty of 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, August 28th: Last Chance to Vote For Ballard Farmers Market & Lots of Sexy Photos of Produce and Stuff!

August 28, 2011

Roy Nettlebeck, owner of Tahuya River Apiaries, has something sweet to smile about -- honey! Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I know. I told you last week of the triumphant return to your Ballard Farmers Market of Tahuya River Apiaries, but it bears repeating. See, in this whacky year we’ve all been enduring, even the honey bees have been thrown off kilter. The wildflowers they depend on to make honey have all come into bloom very, very late this year — the latest Roy Nettlebeck, owner of Tahuya River Apiaries, can remember. Yup, honey is seasonal! But that smile on Roy’s face, above, means he, and his honey, are back, baby, so it’s time to load up on those natural sweets for the sweet!

Oh, and it is also time to vote for your Ballard Farmers Market in the 2011 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest.  The deadline is August 31st. That is this coming Wednesday. And our vote count is way below last year’s! What are you waiting for? Vote now! Do it for us. We ask so little, and give so much. (Sorry, if I sound like your parents.)

Patriotic spuds from Nature's Last Stand. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nature’s Last Stand always has fun mixing up the red, white and blue potatoes they harvest. And you can have fun with them, too! Why not bring some red, white and blue potato salad to your Labor Day picnic this year, eh? That’ll get your friends talking!

Orange & purple carrots from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of colorful, check out these gorgeous orange and purple carrots from Boistfort Valley Farm. And they’re as tasty as they are beautiful. Hey, few things satisfy like a sweet, fresh, crunchy carrot, am I right people?

An impromptu bike rack erected by Olympic Health Club. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You may have noticed that our neighbors at the Olympic Health Club finally tore down that old garage next to their main gym in preparation for their expansion. And in the process, they erected a chain-link fence around the property for safety. But what really struck me last Sunday was how quickly all the bicyclists in the neighborhood recognized this fence for what it really is — a big, new bike rack! Yep. I mean, Ballard’s loaded with cyclists, and they love to ride to their Ballard Farmers Market. Problem is, Ballard lacks much in the way of proper bike racks. There had been talk between Sustainable Ballard and the City of Seattle about putting some of those high capacity bike racks in one or two of the current street parking spaces near the Market, but the City has back-burnered this plan during our economic downturn. Um, but wait! I thought the City was investing a whole lot in making Seattle more bicycle friendly, and now they want us to vote in November to add $60 per year to our car tab fees to pay for, in large part, improvements for transit, bicyclists and pedestrians. Hey, City of Seattle! You screwed us out of our monorail. You want us to vote for your tab fee? Then let’s see a guarantee that Ballard will finally get its share! We want bike racks and better transit service!

Golden raspberries from Hayton Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look, ma! It’s golden raspberries from Hayton Farms! Oh, think of the possibilities. Jam that’ll confuse your family at the holidays. Berry desserts with like four or five different colors in it. Oh, what fun! But their season is short. Get ’em now, while you can.

Baby bok choy (left) and bok choy (right) from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, I know some of you still don’t get the difference between baby bok choy and true bok choy, So I thought, with the help of the good folks at Nash’s Organic Produce, that I would give you a visual aid. See, they are two completely different plants. They look different. They taste different. They are different. Above, you will see baby bok choy on the left and bok choy on the right. Bok choy has white stems, and its leaves have white veins. Baby bok choy is a lighter green, and it is all green. Baby bok choy certainly bares a resemblance to bok choy, but so do lots of crops in the choi, or Chinese cabbage, family. It gets its name, “baby”, because of its smaller size at maturity. But, it is not the same.

Ginger gold apples from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is that time of year when the early apple varieties are coming in. And every week brings new varieties now, as these early varieties tend to have short seasons, and they also tend not to be grown in large numbers or have long storage lives. So, enjoy these ginger gold apples from ACMA Mission Orchards, and all the others, as you see them, because you won’t see them very long. Think of it as a game you can play, trying to sample every variety of apple there is as it comes into the Market. There are hundreds of kinds of apples. You will not get bored.

Cranberry beans from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah, shelling beans. These cranberry beans from Stoney Plains represent the very first shelling beans of the season. And while you are likely used to working with dried or canned shelling beans, you have not truly enjoyed them until you have had them fresh! They are so tender and full of flavor, and they make for some outstanding succotash, great side dishes, and fantastic salads. And you can shell them and freeze them to enjoy the taste of fresh shelling beans all winter, too!

Yellow Romano beans from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

But we’re not done with our green beans yet, and these yellow Romano beans from Oxbow Farm are a true treat of summer. They are big and crunchy and just waiting for you to take them home. Woohoo! So many beans, so little time!

Beautiful bouquets from Pa Garden. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget the flowers! We are getting into our late summer and fall flowers now, and Pa Garden has plenty of fabulous bouquets at great prices for you to bring home to brighten up the joint, or for you to brighten the day of someone special. Why spend money on flowers at the florist or Big Box store that aren’t fresh, aren’t from around here, and are too expensive, when you can get them fresh, local, affordable, and directly from the folks who grew them!

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check What’s Fresh Now! for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now. And please remember to vote for your Ballard Farmers Market in the 2011 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest!

Sunday, August 21st: Welcomes, Farewells, Requests, The New, The Spectacular, Sweetness, Rarity & The Absurd!

August 21, 2011

Honey from Tahuya River Apiaries. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tahuya River Apiaries, how we have missed your wildflower honey these many weeks. See, it turns out that honey is seasonal, too. I mean, duh. But who ever thinks about it? Honey is shelf stable, so it seems it is always around. Heck, it is one of the most shelf stable foods there is, because it is naturally anti-bacterial. There’s just one catch: honey still needs to be made by bees. And this year, with our cold, wet weather, that has not been easy, particularly for bees making wildflower honey. See, first off, bees need the air temperature to be warm enough for them to function, and with temps well below normal this year, the bees got a late start. Add to that our record snow pack in the mountains, which resulted in very late melt, and thus very late wildflowers. And since Tahuya’s bees do their work collecting pollen from wildflowers high up in the Olympic Mountains, they are way behind in honey production this year. And that meant Tahuya ran out of honey to sell at your Ballard Farmers Market for the first time in years. But finally, they have honey again, and they make their triumphant return today. Been missing your wildflower honey? Well, it’s back!

Lotsa pies from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We’ve also missed Deborah’s Homemade Pies for a couple of weeks. I don’t know if she was running for her life, of just for fun, but it seems every year around now she disappears to somewhere to run. See, Deborah is a marathon runner. She also makes the best flippin’ pies west of the Pecos. So get you one today, now that she’s back!

Download and print these signs to vote for Ballard Farmers Market.

Just 10 days left for you to vote for your Ballard Farmers Market in the 2011 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest. To vote, just click here now. Plus, you can click the image above to easily download a printer-friendly poster you can post just about anywhere, so everyone you know can just scan it with their smart phones to vote! Bring it to your office this week. Post in on your street. Put it up in the window of your shop. Help us win!

Salmon candy from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Loki Fish has brought back it’s salmon candy for the first time this year. Salmon candy is the smoked bellies of the salmon. The bellies are often trimmed off when the fish are filleted, but they are the fattiest part of the fish, and they are considered a delicacy amongst natives and fishers alike, who eat them smoked like candy, ergo the name.

Alice from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Farewell, sweet Alice of Oxbow Farm. Alice just headed off to Michigan for graduate school. She’s been a fixture here at your Ballard Farmers Market now for several years, first working for Full Circle Farm, and then Oxbow for the last two years. Alice, we’ll miss you. Come back and visit, and don’t forget to write!

Cherry tomatoes and okra from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

If you’ve seen me around the Market taking photos for this blog, then you know that the vendors let me move stuff around to enhance the images I get. After all, it is in their interest, as I am promoting them. And they trust me to be careful while handling their delicate produce. But let’s face it: the farmers often arrange their displays so perfectly that any manipulation by me would only detract from it. Case in point, this unadulterated display of cherry tomatoes and okra on the tables of Alvarez Organic Farms at our Wallingford Farmers Market this past Wednesday. Hey, if the first bite is with the eye, then a spectacular display goes a long way towards getting folks to buy one’s food, right?

Frenched rack of pork from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Also stunning is this Frenched rack of pork from Sea Breeze Farm. When you look at the meat they bring every week, and heck, once you’ve tasted it, the “meat” at the Big Box store simply cannot satisfy you anymore, regardless the price.

Big dog, little dog at Ballard Farmers Market on August 14, 2011. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Big dog, little dog! Your eyes do not deceive you. That is one enormous dog next to one tiny one. In fact, I think the little guy’s name is “Tiny.” I love how gentle the big lug was with the little one. I mean, he could eat and swallow the little dog in one bite. And yet, somehow, most dogs, when they encounter each other, seem to respect each other as equals. They don’t see huge disparities in size or appearance. They just see a fellow canine whose butt they need to sniff. You know, we humans could a lot from dogs.

Bok choy from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Seems we always have baby bok choy at your Ballard Farmers Market, but we rarely have bok choy. And yes, there is a difference! This is bok choy. It is a completely different plant from baby bok choy. Note the big, white ribs and the dark-green leaves. It is not just the grownup version of the baby stuff. Well, Nash’s Organic Produce has true bok choy now, so enjoy it while you can. It is wonderful stuff.

White nectarines from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These white nectarines from Collins Family Orchards are amongst the sweetest of all stone fruits. Their white flesh is very high in natural sugars that make them like candy. If you want to try a truly sweet, juicy fruit, these are not to be missed.

Pickling dill from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We finish this week’s installment with a necessity, if you plan on making any kind of dill pickles this summer: pickling dill. This pickling dill from Stoney Plains is what I rely on every year, along with their pickling cucumbers, to make my famous pickles. Now, if you are new to pickling, and you are wondering, “can’t I just use any dill and cucumbers?” Well, no, not really. See, the flowers on this dill are what pack the most intense dill flavor, and the skins on pickling cucumbers are more porous, allowing them to more easily soak up all the delicious herbs, spices, salt and vinegar you pack them with. Now, I could just give you my entire pickling recipe, but then, I’d have to kill you.

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check What’s Fresh Now! for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now. And please remember to vote for your Ballard Farmers Market in the 2011 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest!