Posts Tagged ‘caramels’

Sunday, July 18th: Welcome Back Boistfort Valley Farm & Some Short Timers!

July 18, 2010

A beautiful Boistfort Valley Farm display. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you been missing these spectacular displays from Boistfort Valley Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market? Well, miss them no more, because today they make their triumphant return for the 2010 season. In a year when we have seen many crops come in late, Boistfort Valley, which is usually our last farm to come in each year, is coming in especially late. That’s because they don’t like to come into Ballard until they can come in big, and big is how they are coming in today! Woohoo!!! (Doh! Late update on Sunday… we’ll have to wait another week for Boistfort. Apparently they weren’t quite ready to come in big today, and someone forgot, but we won’t mention any names (my boss). But everyone else is here!)

Jerry Baxter, the man behind Got Soup? Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Of course, one side effect of the last of our regular farm contingent finally returning is that it makes for less room for other folks. Fortunately, with the absence of a few other farms briefly for a couple of weeks, the processed food vendors on the bubble have squeezed in a little extra time with us. But that reprieve is likely to expire soon, perhaps as soon as next week. So visit these folks now and stock up, while you can, lest you wait until fall for their return. Got Soup? is one such vendor on the bubble. Jerry’s making some amazing cold soups, perfect for hot summer days. I am a particular fan of the Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho, but I recommend you try them all!

Josephines from Hot Cakes. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hot Cakes is another one of our short timers. Can you really live without one of Autumn’s Josephines until fall? Better get your fix now! And while you’re at it, those molten chocolate cakes in jars actually freeze very well. So stock up on them. Then, all you have to do is thaw them and slide them in the oven whenever you are in the mood.

Fleur de Sel caramels from Jonboy Caramels. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Given the fresh nature of Jonboy Caramels, I’m not sure how much stocking up will serve you, but you can certainly get yourself a nice big fix of them, right? Honestly, I recommend that you eat nothing but caramels for the next three days, just to get it out of your system for the next couple of months. Of course, if you must have another dose of any of these three vendors goodies, as well as some other folks you may be missing, or even if you need a mid-week restock on veggies, we encourage you to visit us at our newest farmers market at the Olympic Sculpture Park on Thursday evenings from 3:30-7:30 p.m. This market is located in a spectacular setting, and offers cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and dancing lessons, too!

Hummus from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

House of the Sun makes delicious raw & vegan foods right here in Ballard. Besides this hummus, above, they make salads, crackers, snack bars, entrees, veggie chips, coconut juice and much more, right here in Ballard at a kitchen about a block from the Market. You can normally find them at some of our other markets, like Madrona and Georgetown, but today, for one day only, they are joining us at your Ballard Farmers Market. Come meet them, try out some of their products, find out where in the neighborhood you can get their stuff, and then let us know what you think. And if you are unfamiliar with the art of making raw and vegan cuisine, I am betting you will be blown away by what they can do without any cooking or animal products of any kind. Believe me, this is not rabbit food! It’s too good for that.

Kombucha from Communi-Tea. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When times are tough, so are regulators. And the latest victim of the regulatory machine is our buddy, Chris, and his Communi-Tea kombucha. It seems that the Washington State Liquor Control Board has been on the warpath with regards to kombucha lately, because the process of making it, which involves the fermentation of green tea, results in the production of a very minute amount of alcohol. Apparently, the limit is something like 0.25% alcohol content before the Man gets cranky, and since fermentation accelerates in the warm summer months, keeping the alcohol content that low gets a bit squirrelly. But come on. “Near Beer” sold to minors in some states has much more alcohol than that. The point of all of this is to say that Chris will be at your Ballard Farmers Market today, but only to answer your questions, not to sell his delicious, healthful kombucha. So stop by and have him explain more about this to you, so that we all can better understand how the oldest and one of the most restorative preservation methods known to human beings — fermentation — is something that the Man really doesn’t need to obsess over.

Pie cherries from Prana Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, back to the future. These are pie cherries. They are tart, not sweet. And that is why they make for great pies. They can stand up to the addition of sugar without ending up overwhelming sweet. They tend to have a very short season. Prana Farms has them right now, so run, don’t walk, to see Eric at Prana to get you pie cherries now!

Saskatoon berries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And these are Saskatoon berries from Foraged & Found Edibles. These wild-foraged berries that are related to the blueberry also have a short season, so stop by and try some now, while you can.

Rhubarb from Alm Hill. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Has this whacky weather year got you missing your rhubarb crisp? Good news! Rhubarb back with a vengeance. In fact, Clayton from Alm Hill tells me, “I was wandering the farm, and I found a whole field of rhubarb!” (Actually, it is kind of amusing just how many times he has told me something like that.)

Sweet peppers from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And how about some peppers? Yup, Colinwood Farms from Port Townsend wins the pepper sweepstakes for 2010 with the first ones of the year, right out of their greenhouses. I don’t know about you, but I will be grilling some of these alongside a nice piece of fresh king salmon from Wilson Fish later.

Beefsteak tomatoes from Magana. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Magana Farms is located in the Palm Springs of Washington — the Yakima Valley — and that means they grow a lot of hot weather loving crops. That includes these beefsteak tomatoes. Yes, it is BLT season! And just imagine that Skagit River Ranch burger with a slice of vine-ripened tomato on top. A-friggin-men!

Artichokes from Nash's. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

My final nod to all things deliciousness this week goes to Nash’s Organic Produce, and their new crop of artichokes. You know you want them. You must have them. You will be wrestling with your neighbors today to get them. But please, don’t get too out of control, and remember to pickup some butter from Golden Glen to dip them in.

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. Just type “Ballard” in the market search box, and it’ll take you right to the page where you can vote for us. And thank you!

Sunday, April 18th: Oxbow, Ayala & Red Barn Farms Returns!

April 17, 2010

Oxbow Farm's Luke Woodward proudly showing off his prized carrots. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm is just one of the several farms returning to your Ballard Farmers Market today for the 2010 season. Given the sassy tone of his recent emails, it sounds like Luke is chomping at the bit to be back at the Market today. Luke says he will have purple sprouting broccoli, some baby carrots, cauliflower rapini, tomato plants, and some other things they manage to liberate from the farm.

Ramon Ayala examines blossoms and young fruit on one of his cherry trees in Sunnyside. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ayala Farms is back at Ballard Farmers Market today with asparagus. Ramon Ayala has 120 acres of asparagus near Sunnyside, Washington, as well as fruit trees, like the cherry tree he is tending above, and he grows a wide variety of vegetables and melons, too.

Julie from Red Barn Farm examining some of her vegetable starts. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Back with gorgeous vegetable starts today is Red Barn Farm from Enumclaw. Red Barn is located in the shadow of Mt. Rainier on damp, fertile volcanic soil that produces spectacular food for our tables. In fact, I do believe the finest rutabagas I have ever eaten came from Red Barn.

A smoked ham hock and some lovely cheese from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Every week brings new deliciousness from Sea Breeze Farm. From fresh meat and poultry to charcuterie to milk, wine, eggs and cheese, Sea Breeze does it old school out of their refer cases. I like just checking out their cases every Sunday to see what surprises they hold, and then building a meal around them.

Ravishing radishes from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spring means some much rebirth and goodness at the Market, but perhaps above all else, spring means radishes, like these from Full Circle Farm. Radishes are beautiful, colorful, spicy, sweet, round, cylindrical, and just plain delicious. And unlike other root crops, they don’t like the cold, making them a true arbiter of spring, and as good a reason as any to soldier through any winter.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A holdover from fall, these sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms won’t be around for much longer. Lyall Farms was the first farm ever to bring Washington sweet potatoes to Ballard Farmers Market this past fall. And they are wonderful. I had some for dinner last night. Deeply sweet, they roast up beautifully in the oven, or you can cube and steam them , then mash them with canned chipotles in adobo sauce and a touch maple syrup for a peppy side to a steak.

Goat milk soap from Harmonys Way Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Harmonys Way Farm, on the Olympic Peninsula, makes goat milk soap from the milk of its own goats. Goat milk soap is very mild — perfect for people who have skin sensitive to stronger soaps. It is creamy and delicate. If you have been looking for a mild soap, treat yourself to some goat milk soap from Harmonys Way today.

Red cabbage starts from Sunseed Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sunseed Farm returned to Ballard Farmers Market recently with a fantastic selection of vegetable, herb and flower starts for your garden. Just imagine these red cabbage starts coming to maturity this summer, making a great cole slaw for that summer picnic. Take a look at all they have to offer today, and plant your own little Victory Garden.

Wild wood sorrel from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Our local forests continue to offer up more and more spring delicacies, like this wood sorrel. Find it, and other wild foods, from Foraged & Found Edibles.

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

Looking for some sweets for the sweet? How about some Jonboy Caramels. They make them from local cream and butter, and they rock. Stop by for a sample. And since my dentist told me I had to choose between my cap and J0nboy’s caramels, I ask you to enjoy as many of these lovelies as you can, so that I might still enjoy them, if only vicariously through you.

German, Italian and andouille sausages from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Olsen Farms has beef brisket on sale this week for $7/pound, and lamb loin chops for $19/pound. Oh, and they have a whole lot of sausages just waiting for you to enjoy, too. They even have some seed potatoes, if you want to grow some of your own. Got Soup? has the following soup offerings this week: Broccoli Cheese; Cioppino; Corn & Shiitake; and Orange & Cumin Sweet Potato.

And remember, your Ballard Farmers Market is chock full of all sorts of goodness for  your kitchen, from meat, seafood, poultry, cheese, to all sorts of fruits and veggies, baked goods, sauces, confections, fresh-cut flowers and fresh milled flours, plants for the garden, wild mushrooms, and on and on. For a fuller accounting of what you’ll find at the Market today, go to “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner.

Sunday, January 24th: More Greens, Field Peas, Paprika, Caramels & Hot Dogs

January 24, 2010

Colinwood Farms' salad mix is big and bold with spicy mustards and bitter mizunas. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Your eyes do not deceive you. Those are salad greens. Colinwood Farms from Port Townsend returns to your Ballard Farmers Market today with this lovely salad mix, spuds, onions, kale and more. Normally, we’d see them by late December, but a wind storm took out one of their greenhouses, and they are just now getting back up to speed. Good for them. Great for us!  Green things!!! Woo-hoo!!!!

Dried green field peas from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are dried green field peas from Nash’s Organic Produce. You probably encounter them most often in the form of split pea soup, and these would make some great soup, but they are a quite versatile and nutrient dense legume — a staple in the diets of cultures all over the world. The good folks at Nash’s will be happy to give you some ideas, and even some recipes, for preparing them.

The tiny Olympia Oyster from Taylor Shellfish Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As you can see from the photo above, the tiny Olympia oyster is not much larger than a quarter. But this little oyster more than makes up for its size with its big flavor. ‘Tis the season for Washington’s only native oyster, and Taylor Shellfish will be offering them for the next several weeks — just in time to build up your immune system and lebido for Valentine’s Day.

Peppers drying before being ground into paprika for us by Port Townsend's Some Like It Hott! Photo courtesy Some Like It Hott!

Saffron will be back next Sunday, but today we are pleased as punch to introduce yet another new farm with paprika to our diverse Ballard Farmers Market — Some Like It Hott! Charles Bodony’s family hails from Transylvania, where they know a thing or two about paprika, and he has put that genetic heritage to good work in Port Townsend, rounding up and growing the best peppers in the world, and drying and grinding them for fresh paprika. Yup. Yet another spice you no longer have to get from an importer. You can get it direct from a local farmer. How cool is that?

Baby arugula from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oh, happy day! Arugula is back. A-friggin-men. Full Circle Farm has glorious, and a bit spicy, baby arugula that will smack the winter blues right off of your sour puss. Just get there early enough to get some, as it sold out quickly last week, and the rest of us couldn’t stand another week of you being a sour puss. Really. Trust me.

Snacks Ballard Bodega, brought to us by Dante's Inferno Dogs, just down the street from the Ballard Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You may not have noticed it tucked away in the back of this little lot between King’s Hardware and Bop Street Records, by our favorite hot dog cart guy, Dante, has opened Snacks Ballard Bodego, a great place to get your favorite dog seven days a week, until late at night, and a great place to get lots of your other favorite farmers market goodies, from Rockridge cider to Pete’s toffee to St. Jude’s tuna to a Caveman Bar.

Just a sampling of the Ballard Farmers Market goods you'll find at Snacks all week long. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ballard Farmers Market has a long history of incubating local businesses. From Tall Grass Bakery to Anita’s Crepes to Veraci Pizza and more, many of the local storefront businesses you see around Ballard got their start at the Ballard Farmers Market and our sister market in Fremont. It makes us very proud to see Dante’s Inferno Dogs spawn its own storefront, right here on Ballard Avenue. But more than that, Dante, out of appreciation and respect for his Ballard Farmers Market roots, is selling many of the wonderful products from his fellow Ballard Farmers Market vendors in his store, so we can enjoy access to them all week long. Wander down to his little hideaway shop and support a local business that is itself dedicated to supporting local businesses. And check out Snacks’ Facebook page for more info.

Stokesberry Sustainable Farm eggs and chicken breakfast sausage. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know Stokesberry Sustainable Farm from Olympia for their great organic eggs (above), chicken and beef. Now they are offering organic chicken sausage in four varieties: maple breakfast patties (above), sage & garlic patties and hot and sweet Italian in bulk. They are all yummy. So give those eggs some company, eh? You’ll thank me later.

Bags of sweet, winter baby carrots from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s talk about sweet things for a bit now, like these incredibly sweet baby carrots from Stoney Plains Farm in Tenino. If there is one thing carrots, and most other roots and hearty greens, like, it’s a good freeze. As a defense to the cold, they actually produce more sugar, and the result is a sweeter carrot — much sweeter. If you haven’t enjoyed some over-winter carrots lately, well, plain and simple, you’re nuts! They are like candy.

More sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Seems the longer into the winter we get, the bigger the sweet potatoes get from Lyall Farms. Hmm. Think there’s a connection? (Yes, I know. You’re thinking I am going to leave this gig to become a rocket scientist, aren’t you?) In any case, they ain’t gonna last forever, so get ’em while you can.

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

Jonboy Caramels makes delicious, handmade caramels using butter and heavy cream from a Skagit Valley dairy. They make small batches of their fleur de sel and molasses ginger caramels, and hand-wrap them in parchment paper. It seemed fitting to round out my little trip down sweet tooth lane by visiting them. And you should visit them, too, for sample, and, of course, then a box full.

Chicken pies from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s wrap up this week’s epistle on all things (well, many things at least) Ballard Farmers Market with talk of pie. Not the sweet kind of pie, though Deborah’s Homemade Pies certainly has many great varieties of those. But I already finished my sweets talking for the week, so now I want to talk about savory meat pies. Oh, yeah, baby. Chicken pie. Deborah uses local and Market ingredients in her chicken pies, just like she does with her sweet pies. And, as you can see above, she makes them in two sizes, so whether you are feeding the whole fam-damily or just feeding yourself, she’s got you covered. So if you need the night off from cooking from scratch, grab a chicken pie from Deborah. Just get there early, as they always sell out. Oh, and don’t forget to grab some pie for dessert, too.

Remember, your Ballard Farmers Market is chock full of all sorts of goodness for your kitchen and beyond. For a fuller accounting of what you’ll find at the Market today, go to “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner.