Posts Tagged ‘caramels’

Sunday, December 15th: Just 10 Days, or 2 Farmers Markets Until Christmas!

December 14, 2013
Smoked whole sides of white king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Smoked whole sides of white king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I’m listening to the classic Andy Williams Christmas Album as I write this holiday installment of your Ballard Farmers Market blog, getting myself in the spirit to get you in the spirit. Just think of all those hep bright, primary color sweaters and matching slacks Andy and his family used to wear during their annual TV specials, and how could you not get bitten by a festive mood? There’s just something about Andy singing, “hoopdeedoo, and dickery dock, and don’t forget to hang up your sock…” that makes it impossible not to smile, unless you have a Grinch-sized heart. And what person wouldn’t be happy at the sight of an entire side of smoked white king salmon from Wilson Fish, either? I’ve sure love to find one of these beauties under the tree with my name on it, or on the party buffet table. Well, Santa and your helpers, the good news is, Wilson’s elves (yes, David is an elf!) have prepared many of these for you… if you’ve been good, that is.

Non-toxic candles made with natural essential oils from Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Non-toxic candles made with natural essential oils from Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

“They’re’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting and caroling out in the snow…” And you will need candles. Candles of every color and scent to set every mood, and even a few with no scent at all, so as not to interrupt the flavor of your food. Yes, Ascents Candles returns today, after a two-week hiatus, with their wonderful non-toxic candles made with all-natural ingredients and wonderful pure essential oils. Besides brightening your house, they make for great stocking stuffers!

Holiday wreath from Pa Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Holiday wreath from Pa Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One of these wonderful holiday wreathes from Pa Garden is a must to complete the season’s decor of your home, and they come in sizes to fit any door, be it palatial or pedestrian. Made from greenery from around their farm in the Snoqualmie Valley, and some of their dried flowers, these are stunning!

Mediterranean-style dips and sauces from Uncle Eyals. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Mediteranean-style dips and sauces from Uncle Eyals. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

“From the top of the chimney to the top of the wall, dash away, dash away, dash away all…” And why not celebrate this holy season with sauces and dips from the Holy Land? Uncle Eyal’s joins us today with their amazing hummus, mint sauce, tahini and more. This is the food that brings Christians, Jews and Muslims together in peace around the dinner table, and as such, it is perfect for this season in which so much homage is paid to peace on earth.

Winter Luxury pumpkins from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter Luxury pumpkins from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I do hope One Leaf Farm has a last few of these aptly named Winter Luxury pumpkins today at your Ballard Farmers Market. They are the ultimate eating pumpkin, and they are really cool looking, too! And this is the last week for One Leaf until next spring, so avail yourself while you can!

Pink Lady apples from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pink Lady apples from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I swear, you add a little holiday music, and suddenly the festive nature of Pink Lady apples from Tiny’s Organic Produce just kinda smacks you upside the head. They’re red and green, and they make for so many yummy treats, or just a good, crunchy snack. My father made an amazing pie with them at Thanksgiving, and he proudly said, “and I didn’t even have to use any sugar!” Boom.

Produce pendants from Metal Wing Studio. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Produce pendants from MetalWing Studio. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s wearable art meets farmers market produce meets a beautiful gift that your someone special will love and never take off. Yup, these are veggie pendants from MetalWing Studios, made right here in Ballard! They, too, were on a brief hiatus for a holiday gift show, but they are back today with all manner of Northwest-inspired metal arts, from ornaments to pins to earrings and more! And with the recent deep freeze, that golden chard on the right might be all the chard you’ll see today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Absinthe & Black Salt caramels from Jonboy. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Absinthe & Black Salt caramels from Jonboy. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How’s about some absinthe & black salt caramels from Jonboy Caramels to sweeten up the season? That, and Christmas with the Beach Boys. “Oooooh, Merry Christmas St. Nick (Christmas comes this time each year)…” Made with local cream and butter, they are sure to please. Just let them warm up a bit indoors before you chomp down on them!

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

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

You’ll be doing lots of cooking over the next few weeks, so why not make things a little easier on yourself with this braising mix from Colinwood Farms in Port Townsend. It is ready to sauté or toss into a casserole, and nothing says “Happy Holidays” like kale!

Goat milk soaps from The Fay Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Goat milk soaps from The Fay Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The Fay Farm on Whidbey Island raises Nubian goats. They milk those goats and make these lovely soaps with that milk. They also grow a lot of the herbs used to scent the soaps. They offer them in bar and liquid forms, and they are very gentle on one’s skin. And needless to say, though I will anyway, they make great stocking stuffers. And let’s face it, soap is a gift you give to everyone in your household, and to yourself, when your household bathes.

Whole chickens from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Whole chickens from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Every good holiday feast requires a roast holiday beast, be it a ham or a Tofurky. Or perhaps a chicken, like these lovely beasts from Skagit River Ranch. They have a new harvest of chickens now, while they last, so get ’em while the gettin’s good. Of course, they also have some lovely roasts of other beasts, like beeflamb and pork, and maybe even a stray ham or two!

Pies and more from Simply Soulful. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pies and more from Simply Soulful. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Get your soulful holiday season on with undoubtedly the best sweet potato pie you have ever tasted, made from scratch, crust and all, using sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms and no added sugar, from Simply Soulful Pies & Catering. Of course, they’ve got other pies, too, and even some soul food sides, like collardsred beans & rice and more!

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

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

Winter squash warms up your kitchen and your soul. It is sweet, colorful and delicious. It comes in many shapes, sizes, textures and varieties to appeal to any palate, or to be able to enjoy it every day of the week without repeating it. And it is versatile. Make soups or stews, roast it, sauté it, steam it, even stuff it. Make pasta or pie with it. And you’ll find a great selection of it in many festive colors at Alm Hill Gardens today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Nut Crunch from Pete's Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nut Crunch from Pete’s Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and everyone was gorging themselves of this spectabulous Nut Crunch, and all things toffeefudge and brittle from Pete’s Perfect Toffee. Why? Because we can, and because this is the best stuff around. Look, it’s cold outside. We need extra energy. And it’s the holidays, right? Let us get our sweet on! And you know, Pete’s little packages of deliciousness fit perfectly into any stocking, though let’s be honest with each other here… you are sooo going to eat it all while wrapping presents, and it will never makes its way into anyone’s sock. Hmm. Maybe you should buy twice as much, then!

Michael Pinckney from Pinckney Cookies. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Michael Pinckney from Pinckney Cookie Café. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

“You’re going to love these cookies.” Hey, it says it on their website, and I believe everything I read on the intertube. But seriously, meet Michael Pinckney and Pinckney Cookie Café. Michael makes some seriously good cookies, and I can attest… you will, in fact, love these cookies. They come in four flavors: The Pinckney Original, Dark Chocolate Oatmeal, Bing Bling! and Classic Chocolate Chip. They are chewy and delicious, and they are made with local Shepherd’s Grain flour. What? You are gluten-intolerant? Never fear! All four flavors come in gluten-free versions, too! Happy Holidays, indeed.

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, March 31st: Happy Easter! Get Your Ham, Wine, Flowers, Greens & Even Hot Crossed Buns!

March 30, 2013
Freshly smoked hams from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Freshly smoked hams from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Happy Easter! What? You didn’t get your ham yet? Never fear! George tells me he’ll have plenty of these lovely, delicious, freshly smoked hams from Sea Breeze Farm today at your Ballard Farmers Market. No thawing required. And even if you’re not hosting the Easter feast, you should get you some of this ham. Just look at the way it mesmerizes the public in this photo. And it tastes even better than it looks!

Brent Charnley, winemaker at Lopez Island Vineyards, hold the new release of his Wave Crest White table wine. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Brent Charnley, winemaker at Lopez Island Vineyards, hold the new release of his Wave Crest White table wine. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And let’s just say you’re going to someone else’s feast this afternoon or evening. Don’t show up empty handed! Be an instant hero with a bottle of wine from Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery, made by this guy — Brent Charnley. He holds in his hands his latest release, Wave Crest White Puget Sound Table Wine, and he has a nice selection of award-winning whites and reds running the flavor spectrum. Enjoy!

Tulips from Ia's Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tulips from Ia’s Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t you dare show up at Grandma’s house today without some fresh flowers. Your Ballard Farmers Market is awash in spring flowers right now, like these gorgeous tulips from Ia’s Garden. And with all six of our regular flower farmers in now, plus the spring arrival of Choice Bulb Farm, there is no excuse not to celebrate the holiday, or just the fact that it’s spring, sunny and in the 60s, with some beautiful blooms.

Cabbage greens from Stoney Plains Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cabbage greens from Stoney Plains Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How about some spring greens for your Sunday dinner? These cabbage greens from Stoney Plains Organic Farm are a spring treat. See, as the over-wintered cabbage plants start to bolt, they throw out these sweet and tender little leaves. I enjoyed some last night, simply sautéed in olive oil — not even any garlic. Just a little salt to taste. They are just plain lovely.

Spicy salad mix from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spicy salad mix from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of easy, if you are expected to make the salad for tonight’s feast, or any night really, I recommend you grab some of this spicy salad mix from Colinwood Farms. It is a wonderful mixture of mustard greens, mizuna, arugula, kale and a whole bunch of other stuff. It’ll make your body and mouth happy, and everyone will compliment you on the awesome salad you worked so hard to assemble!

Easter fun from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Easter fun from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s time for the Easter Spud Bunnies at Olsen Farms to bring you a rainbow of potatoes for your holiday table. It’s an annual tradition at Olsen to make these fun displays at Easter. This one’s from last year. Olsen also has freshly smoked hams ready to go today, too.

Hot Cross Buns for Easter from Grateful Bread Bakery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hot Cross Buns for Easter from Grateful Bread Bakery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hot Cross Buns anyone? These are from Grateful Bread Bakery, and Tall Grass Bakery should have some today, too. They are a traditional European Easter treat — a brioche dough filled with dried berries and such, and capped with the sugary sign of the Cross in honor of the Big Guy. Look for other traditional Easter baked goods at both bakeries, too!

Goat eating pant leg at Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Goat eating pant leg at Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Or perhaps you would prefer some pants for dinner. Apparently, this goat at Twin Oaks Creamery thought mine would make a nice snack. You can enjoy the product of this goat’s hard work (when she’s not eating my trouser leg) producing delicious milk in the form of bottled goats milkgoat cheese and goat yogurt, all available right here at your Ballard Farmers Market from Twin Oaks.

Molasses ginger caramels from Jonboy Caramels. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Molasses ginger caramels from Jonboy Caramels. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How about some sweets for the sweet on this spectabulous spring day? Jonboy Caramels are as good as they get, are made right here in Ballard, and are made using many local ingredients! Above are their molasses ginger caramels. Sorry. I know that just made you drool on yourself. It happens. But get down here on the double before you look like a Newfoundland on a hot summer’s day!

Incan Berry (left) & Dark Chocolate Tortes by House Of The Sun. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dark Chocolate Torte by House Of The Sun. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And for dessert, how’s about a raw, vegan dark chocolate torte from House of the Sun? Raw? Vegan? How do they do that? How can it be good? Stop asking so many questions and try one… or three. They are really good! Have I ever lied to you? (Okay, this time last year, my entire post was lies for April Fool’s Day, but today, I speak the truth!) Oh, and grabs you some kale chips while you are there. Bam! You can thank me later.

Tacos from Los Chilangos. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tacos from Los Chilangos. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, today we welcome our newest vendor, Los Chilangos. This mobile taqueria is the first new prepared food vendor at your Ballard Farmers Market in years. They will offer breakfast and lunch tacosburritostortas and huaraches, made fresh with many ingredients from local farmers. Come check them out today!

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.

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, December 30th: Everything You Need For A Perfect New Year’s Eve Par-tay!

December 30, 2012
Wines from Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wines from Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Happy New Year, good people of Ballard! 2013. Can you believe it? We weren’t even supposed to be here now. Good thing the Mayans are smarter than us. Well, tomorrow night, we’re gonna party like it’s 1999. Um, well, never mind. If I recall, that was about the lamest New Year’s Eve party in Seattle — maybe anywhere — ever. It was a month after WTO, some guy had just tried to smuggle explosives in from Canada on a ferry to Port Angeles, and then Mayor Paul Schell, scaredie pants that he was (not to mention his inability to manage public safety in this town), cancelled Seattle’s millennium celebration. We were the laughing stock of the world. After Seattle’s finest kicked us out of Seattle Center at 6:30 p.m., we were, err, “treated” to three minutes of fireworks “magic” from the Space Needle that amounted to one enormous pffft, and people by the thousands were heard chanting disparaging things against the mayor all over the city, followed by the mayor failing to even make it through the primary in September — the first since the 1930s. I can still remember the Tonight Show making fun of Seattle, showing big parties all over the world, and then Seattle, with three old guys sitting around in an otherwise dark, empty room in their boxers, blowing on noise makers. Then, there was the January 2nd banner headline on the front of the Sunday Seattle Times that read, “Schell: ‘I’m Not A Wuss’.” Oy. (BTW, these are lovely wines from Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery.)

Head cheese from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Head cheese from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Of course, back then, we also expected the world to come to an end. Our electric grid would screech to a halt come the turning of the calendar to the year 2000, and all of our computers would burst into flames. We all filled our bathtubs with water before going out to party that night, and we all had plenty of ready-to-eat canned food, bottled drinking water, first aid kits and gas masks. Mind you, I think most of us got the gas masks more in response to the WTO being in town than the threat of Y2K meltdowns, but in any case, we all woke up the next morning with throbbing heads, tubs full of tepid water, and plenty of regularly scheduled bowl games on perfectly functioning televisions. We all felt more than a little silly, because unlike this year’s Mayan calendar mania, in 1999, a lot of us really expected the new year to greet us with calamity. Humans is such stupid animals. (Mmm. Tasty head cheese from Sea Breeze Farm.)

Bloody Mary Mix from Zane & Zack's World Famous Honey Co. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bloody Mary Mix from Zane & Zack’s World Famous Honey Co. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know, your Ballard Farmers Market was born in the year 2000. It was that summer that the farmers left the Fremont Sunday Market, back when Fremont was being completely redeveloped, and set up shop in the parking lot of the U.S. Bank at 56th & 22nd, now, the location of the Ballard branch of the Seattle Public Library. And this time 12 years ago, we were in the midst of a grand experiment — the city’s first year-round neighborhood farmers market. The winter of 2000-2001 was miserable, wet and cold, and many Sundays saw just our Market Master, Judy, and Anselmos Farm out there, sticking it out for a very loyal core of Ballard customers. (Bloody Mary mix and pho sauce from Zane & Zack’s World Famous Honey Co.)

Pickled salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pickled salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hard to believe that what we see every Sunday on Ballard Ave now had such humble beginnings, but there it is. So perhaps we should wish you into the new year with this thought: start small, but dream big, because you can make it happen. A handful of people dreamed of a great market in Ballard, and today, Ballard Farmers Market is the highest sales volume market in the state, world renowned, and one of Seattle’s top tourist destinations. In 1998, the Ballard Chamber of Commerce said it wanted a Sunday farmers market, because the neighborhood was empty on Sundays. Ballard Ave was loaded with empty storefronts. While the rest of Seattle boomed, it seemed Ballard had gone bust. Today, it is challenging to find parking in Ballard on Sunday, Ballard Ave has blossomed with dozens of new businesses, many of which were lured to the neighborhood by the success of Ballard Farmers Market. The neighborhood is perhaps the strongest in the city, and Seattle’s finest chefs fight for locations near Seattle’s finest farmers market. And your Ballard Farmers Market could not be more proud. (Pickled keta salmon from Loki Fish.)

Fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Soda. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Soda. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

So we’ve got plenty to celebrate. Let’s party like we’re happy, folks, not like we’re expecting the end of days. Your Ballard Farmers Market has everything you need to make for a great party… well, except for fireworks. But for that, you still have the Space Needle. I know you’ve been riveted by every word I’ve written here so far, but please take the time to notice all the delicious photos above and below of all sorts of wonderful, local goodness that’ll help you ring in the new year in style, while supporting good, local, living-wage jobs, and in so doing, will help continue to build Ballard’s robust economy. Like these fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Soda Company. And did you know that these fresh sodas, made with great, local ingredients, are available for you to take home in half-gallon growlers, for you to serve to the designated drivers and minors at your whoopdeedoo, or, if you desire, for you to mix with an adult beverage of your choice.

Delicious handmade caramels from Jonboy Caramels. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Delicious handmade caramels from Jonboy Caramels. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Of course, we’ve got local wine (up top), superb charcuteriemixerspickled salmon and sweets! Like these irresistible caramels from Jonboy Caramels. Made right here in Ballard from local ingredients, these are some of the finest caramels you will find anywhere, and they will make your guests very happy.

Raw & vegan snacks from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Raw & vegan snacks from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You’ll need crackery and snacky things for munching, crunching and dipping, and why not make them raw and vegan while your at it, so none of your more high maintenance guests will complain. Visit our own House of the Sun, also born right here in Ballard, for these amazing crackers and kale chips, as well as some great hummus, too. They please any palate, vegan or not!

Eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eggs? What do eggs have to do with a New Year’s Eve party, you ask? Simple. Two words: deviled eggs. Yeah, baby. I mean, I suppose they could symbolize fertility — the birth of a new year ripe with new opportunities — but seriously… deviled eggs are like garlic — there is no such thing as too much. Am I right? That said, you may also want to have eggs for breakfast the next afternoon, too. Stop by Stokesberry Sustainable Farm for some of these beautiful, pastured eggs from happy chickens down in Olympia. (If those chickens only new what else happens down there, they might not be so happy.)

Pickled Golden Beets from Gaia's Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

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

It is hard to have too many pickles, either. They make every gathering more delicious. Have you checked out the newly expanded selection of pickliciousness from Gaia’s Natural Goods lately? They are making pickles, like these pickled golden beets, from produce they grow on their own farm! Not only tasty, they are good for you, too, but don’t let that discourage you from enjoying them on New Year’s Eve.

A variety of soups by Got Soup? Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A variety of soups by Got Soup? Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Whether you want to impress your guests with an elegant Crab Bisque, or settle in for a day of watching football in your jammies on New Year’s Day with some Curried Cauliflower, Got Soup? makes it easy. They’ve got a great lineup of locally-produced gourmet soups made with ingredients from Market vendors, conveniently packaged in frozen quart containers. All you do is take ’em home, heat ’em up, and lie to everyone else about how long you spent slaving over a hot stove recreating it from your grandmother’s long lost recipe.

Oysters on the half-shell, on the beach at Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo courtesy Hama Hama Oyster Company.

Oysters on the half-shell, on the beach at Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo courtesy Hama Hama Oyster Company.

Nothing makes a party a party like fresh oysters on the half shell from Hama Hama Oyster Company, the oyster company so nice they named it twice. They’re delicious. They’re an aphrodisiac. Heck, they’re even loaded with zinc, to help you ward off, or fight off, that nasty cold that’s been going around. And they’ve got pickled and smoked oysters, too, plus shucked jar oysters.

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You’ll need crusty, artisan breads to soak up the party juice tomorrow night. Plus, it makes a great foundation for cheese, smoked salmon, hummus, what have you. Check in with Ballard’s own Tall Grass Bakery for breads like their Pain au Levain (left), Baker Street Sourdough, and Avery’s Pumpernickel. And did you know that Tall Grass got its start with us over in Fremont in the late 1990s, using other bakeries’ kitchens at first, before growing in the storefront you see today on 24th Ave?

Peanut brittle from Pete's Perfect Butter Toffee. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Peanut brittle from Pete’s Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of sweets, nobody makes them better than Pete’s Perfect Toffee. Stop by for a sample, then load up on toffeefudge or some of this peanut butter brittle. Just make sure you get enough for everyone at your party, so no fights break out. Heck, just stash it in your closest and eat it all yourself on New Year’s Day!

Smoked king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Smoked king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ooh. Smoked salmon. Local smoked salmon from Wilson Fish, in fact. They catch their fish off the coast of Washington. And you’d be hard-pressed to find better smoked salmon anywhere. Just get here early to get yours, because last week, they were sold out before noon! It’s that good!

Honey Crisp Apple Cider from Rockridge Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Honey Crisp Apple Cider from Rockridge Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rockridge Orchards bottles a variety of sweet apple ciders, great anytime, but also perfect as a mixer, or for your designated drivers and minors, at your New Year’s Eve party. Of course, keep in mind that they have plenty of the high-octane stuff, too — hard ciders and berry wines — to please you and your guests!

Samish Bay Cheese makes a variety of delicious farmstead cheeses. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Samish Bay Cheese makes a variety of delicious farmstead cheeses. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Blessed are the cheese makers. And you will need cheese tomorrow night. If you haven’t tried the incredible selection of artisan, farmstead cheeses made by Samish Bay Cheese, you are missing something special. Several are award winners from the American Cheese Society, and they are quite unique styles of cheese here in the Northwest. Stop by and sample some today, even if you think you remember them from before. Because they’re not making gouda anymore, folks. This stuff is in an entirely different league!

Please be safe out there tomorrow night, have a great time, and please don’t drink and drive. We want to see you back here again next Sunday.

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.

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, August 8th: Rochester Fights Back… Rather Weakly. Also, Smoky Sun Photos & Gluten-Free Bread!

August 8, 2010

A busy Ballard Farmers Market basks in golden smoky sunlight on August 1, 2010. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As you all know, I’ve been beseeching you all to vote for Ballard Farmers Market in the 2010 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest for the last several weeks. Voting is open through August 31st, so you need to get on this. Currently, Ballard continues to rank near the top, behind markets Rochester, NY and Davis, CA. And all three of our markets are putting on a full-court press to pile on votes as quickly as possible. That means we still need each and every one of you to vote for your Ballard Farmers Market. Since no other market in Washington is anywhere close to being in the running here, you can shed any silly Seattle guilt you might have about choosing one market over another here as your favorite. Look, we all know Seattle has the best market system in the country. We also know Ballard is the best of the best. So vote not just for Ballard, but for Seattle… for Washington! This is about showing our pride in the best gosh-darned local food system in the America. And if you are not yet convinced to take the 30 seconds to vote, check out what we received from Rochester, NY on Friday…

A spooky golden hued sunlight bathes Boistfort Valley cabbage. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Apparently the folks in Rochester are concerned about us out here in Seattle, and they are reading the Ballard Farmers Market blog. Really. In fact, one Evan Lowenstein of Rochester, New York, was kind enough to share this bit of enlightened commentary on my recent partisan rants in the America’s Favorite Farmers Market campaign. Evan wrote:

Hey dude, here’s a little friendly response to your posts mentioning Rochester. I’m from Rochester, and it’s not fair or informed to suggest that all we’ve offered the world is “Kodak and Pyrex.” Rochester’s nicknames have been both “The Flour City” and “The Flower City” because of its significant agricultural and horticultural heritage. We don’t like being hinged completely to Kodak in the minds of the uninformed, because there’s so very much more to Rochester; and Pyrex was invented in Corning, about 100 miles from here, not in Rochester. What’s more, you associate us with one of the two “biggest states”, one of the Goliaths that David Washington needs to beat for all to be right in the world. The truth is that the Seattle region is about three times more populous than Greater Rochester. So who’s really the big bully here?

George Page of Sea Breeze Farm all lit up in gold. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wow. Thanks for clarifying that for us, Evan. Pyrex is from Corning. Rochester, Corning, Utica. Whatever. Ah, but the culinary masterpiece, the Garbage Plate is from Rochester! (This may be one reason why Rochester’s population is less than Seattle’s.) I am sure the city’s founders with all their flour and flowers are very proud. And what strikes me first about our dear Evan is that he must be the only person in Upstate New York who lacks a sense of humor.  I mean, sheesh! Has this guy ever heard of a spirited razzing by the opposition? Heck, has he ever seen the Mariners (or any other baseball team, for that matter) play in Yankees Stadium? Here in polite Seattle, we banned “Yankees Suck!” t-shirts in Safeco Field, but in New York, it seems the ushers must be handing out projectiles for Yankees fans to hurl onto the field at visiting teams’ outfielders. Look, I grew up in Upstate New York myself. And it sounds to me like Evan would be more at home out here, writing the Uptight Seattleite column in the Weekly. So come on, people, are we really gonna sit on our butts and let Rochester beat us in this contest? Hell, no! Vote now!

Salad amaranth from Nash's bathed in golden sun. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And let us examine some of Evan’s “facts”. He says that Big Bully Seattle should not pick on itsy, bitsy little Rochester. Oh, boo-hoo. But let’s look at the numbers. Seattle has three times the population that Rochester does. However, Seattle has four times the number of farmers markets that Rochester has. Ballard Farmers Market is only 1 of 17 markets in Seattle proper, while there are only four in Rochester. And the Rochester Public Market (which allows reselling of food products and the sale of general merchandise, according to their website, and offers a garage sale and flea market on Sundays), is open four days a week, to Ballard’s one day. Hmm. Gee, Evan. Them numbers would seem to favor you guys, not us. And that is to say nothing about the fact that the Rochester Public Market is owned and operated by the City of Rochester. Gosh, it sure would be nice to have those deep pockets backing us here in Ballard. And Rochester has a permanent structure for its market. We have to set up in the street. On further reflection, perhaps it is Evan that is uninformed. (Oh, snap!) But now that you are better informed, please, vote for Ballard!

Treviso radicchio in gold from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Evan also wrote

I also noticed that you are encouraging folks to vote using every email address that they have. That’s not exactly fair now, is it? I know that those promoting the contest here in Rochester are asking voters to play it fair, one vote per person… that we want to win this thing fair and square. It’s disheartening to know that our competition isn’t doing the same thing.

Oh, lighten up, Evan. Have you ever heard of exaggeration? I believe I also encouraged people to get their cats, dogs and parole officers to vote. It’s called humor. That said, does anyone believe that the kind, honest, hypersensitive people of Rochester, New York are carefully spreading the word to everyone to cast one vote per person, and that they want to win this thing fair and square? Sure, maybe they think that, but they’re not saying it. Heck, the very act of saying it imparts to people that they can vote more than once anyway. I mean, really, Evan, who are you kidding? But I must at least thank Evan for helping me illustrate why it is so important for you to vote for your Ballard Farmers Market now. (And Evan, before you have an aneurysm, please take a chill pill and accept the reality that by writing to us, you only served to present yourself on a silver platter. I do hope you didn’t ask your friends and family to check out our blog. Consider it a life lesson.)

Billy's peaches spectacular in the golden sunlight. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey, enough beating up on poor Evan. Have you been enjoying all the photos above that are tinged with the golden hue of last Sunday’s wildfire smoke filtered sunlight? Yeah, that weird looking sky we had last Sunday was courtesy of the wildfires in British Columbia. It made for the most spectacular light for photography. I didn’t screw with the coloring on these photos at all. That’s natural light. I think the one up top of George Page from Sea Breeze Farm is the most striking. Pretty cool, huh?

Gluten-free breads from Platypus Breads. Photo courtesy Platypus Breads.

Hey, please welcome Platypus Breads to your Ballard Farmers Market. Lindsay bakes some of the most incredible gluten-free breads I have ever encountered. They are moist and flavorful — two words one generally does not associate with gluten-free bread. If you have been looking for really good gluten-free bread, stop by and check out Platypus. You will find Lindsay sharing a tent with House of the Sun, which joined us once before, back on Seafood Fest weekend. House of the Sun specializes in raw and vegan foods, and the stuff they make is outstanding. So today, you can meet two upstart local food artisans who are creating incredible products that address the dietary needs of many of us in Ballard. But we are not sure how often we will be able to squeeze these folks in, so do check them out today, and grab a business card from them, so you can followup with them in the future.

Whole fresh sockeye from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I love how gorgeous these fresh, whole sockeye salmon from Loki Fish look. They just sparkle, don’t they? Dylan Knutsen tells me that when they catch fish in Alaska, they quickly clean and bleed them, then they pack them in ice right away and send them on a temperature controlled barge down to Seattle. He says it’s much better than flying the fish down, as it is kept better. That’s not how all fish is handled, but it is how Loki does it.

Empire Ice Cream. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It has always been hard for me to get a decent photo of actual Empire ice cream. It is always on dry ice at the Market, and at home it just doesn’t last long enough. So I decided I would just take a photo of my Empire Ice Cream shirt instead. My purpose here is to call your attention to some absolutely superb ice cream. Tom makes his ice cream using local ingredients, from the cream and milk he gets from South King County to the sugar he sources from Idaho to the chocolate from Fremont to the many flavorings he mixes in from his fellow Ballard Farmers Market vendors. You’ll find no stabilizers, no additives, no extra crap in Tom’s ice cream. What you will find is the only mint-chocolate chip ice cream I have ever tasted that I like, because he uses fresh mint leaves instead of mint oil. Stop by for a taste, a cup, heck, a pint or three today!

Absinthe & Black Salt caramels from Jonboy. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jonboy Caramels is back at your Ballard Farmers Market for another brief appearance today, and they bring with them their newest caramel flavor: Absinthe & Black Salt. Oh, this stuff is goooood. You must come try some.

A drawing of river otters for me by Lilly Crosby. Art copyright 2010 by Lilly Crosby. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, I must give a shout out to Lilly Crosby, a young artist extraordinaire who spent the day with Alm Hill Gardens two weeks ago knocking out brilliant drawings like this one (above) for me of river otters at play… in about two minutes, I might add. It was amazing to watch. Lilly even asked me when I asked for otters if I wanted river otters or sea otters. It blew me away, and then she created this playful work of art at the snap of a finger. Lilly did all this for a greater good, too. She was taking donations for her drawings to support Hope For Horses and PAWS. Of course, you can still contribute to these worthy causes of Lilly’s just by clicking through to their websites. Or, the next time you see Lilly with her pens at the Alm Hill tables, toss her a few bucks and take home a work of art!

Lilly Crosby drawing my river otters at the Alm Hill stand on July 25, 2010. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And remember, there is plenty more for you to find today at your Ballard Farmers Market. But before you click on the What’s Fresh Now! pages to see what all else is in season right now, please do take a moment to vote for Ballard Farmers Market in American Farmland Trust’s America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest. And thank you!