Posts Tagged ‘celery’

Thanksgiving Update For Thursday, November 20th: Let’s Tawk Stuffing!

November 20, 2014
Stuffing mix from Tall Grass Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Stuffing mix from Tall Grass Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s talk stuffing. You’ll find most everything you’ll need for an Eat Local For Thanksgiving stuffing right here at your Ballard Farmers Market this Sunday! Let’s start with this amazing stuffing mix from Tall Grass Bakery. A mixture of dried, seasoned croutons of several of their best artisan breads, it is all ready for you to mix together with many of the other delicious items below to make a memorable holiday stuffing. But quantities are limited, and it is known to sell out early!

Schmaltz, a.k.a., chicken fat, from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Schmaltz, a.k.a., chicken fat, from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Before you add the stuffing mix to your pot, you will need to sauté your onions and celery. For a real treat, skip the butter and sauté them with some schmaltz, or chicken fat, from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. This is the butter of Jewish mothers and grandmothers for centuries. It will impart amazing flavor into your stuffing while actually being less heavy than butter.

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

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

You will need onions for a proper stuffing. Like these lovely yellow onions from Kirsop Farms, or even some of their red cipollini onions. They sweeten up as they cook, to add a nice, rich flavor. And for more flavor, and texture…

Celery from Stoney Plains Organic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Celery from Stoney Plains Organic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

… you’ll need some celery, like this celery from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Now, I’ll warn you. Celery took it hard during the recent freeze, so quantities will be extremely limited this Sunday. Most farmers harvested as much celery as they could in advance of the freeze, but they weren’t all successful. Now, don’t let the fact that it was harvested a week or so ago worry you. It’ll still be fresher and better tasting than most celery at the Big Box stores. And in the worst case scenario, your Ballard Farmers Market will have plenty of celeriac (a.k.a., celery root) available from multiple farms.

Chesnock red garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Chesnock red garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And garlic. You’ll need lots of garlic. Not just for your stuffing, but for just about everything else, especially your bird! Stop by Jarvis Family Garlic Farm and check out all the different varieties of heirloom garlics they have, including this classic Chesnock red garlic.

Stock from Sea Breeze Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Stock from Sea Breeze Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

A good stock makes for delicious stuffing. And while we never really know for sure what our buddies George & Rose from Sea Breeze Farm will show up with at your Ballard Farmers Market from week to week, hopefully this week will include some of their various meat stocks, which will moisten and richly flavor your stuffing.

Sno-Valley Mushrooms' Rowan and shiitake mushrooms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sno-Valley Mushrooms’ Rowan and shiitake mushrooms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

If you like mushrooms in your stuffing, be sure to stop by Sno-Valley Mushrooms early to pick up some of their shiitake or oyster mushrooms. They grow them over in Duvall in a state-of-the-art facility, and the result is delicious and nutritious local mushrooms that will make your stuffing sing!

Smoked, pickled & shucked oysters from Hama Hama Oyster Company at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Smoked, pickled & shucked oysters from Hama Hama Oyster Company at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, if you like oysters in your stuffing, Hama Hama Oysters has you covered with shucked oysters in various sizes. They are fresh and brinylicious, and will make for a truly luxurious stuffing. But again, get here early, as they will sell out.

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Sunday, October 12th: Hawaiian Apples, Ozette Potatoes, Wildflower Honey, Heirloom Pears & More!

October 11, 2014
Hawaiian apples from Tiny's Organic Produce at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hawaiian apples from Tiny’s Organic at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hundreds of varieties of apples grown here in Washington. But for some reason, I always get a kick out of when these Hawaiian apples from Tiny’s Organic arrive each fall. I mean, it’s fall! Not exactly Hawaiian weather around here. All those old English and New York varieties make more sense to me. But hey, if we’ve learned anything in this state, it is: if it grows, someone will grow it. So give them a try. They are crisp, firm and sweet… a good eating apple! (And don’t forget to check our Wednesday post for even more info about today’s Market.)

Celery and celeriac (celery root) from Boistfort Valley Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Celery and celeriac (celery root) from Boistfort Valley Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Celery root and celery from Boistfort Valley Farm. Yes, they are different beasts, though they are closely related and similarly flavored. Celery root, also known as celeriac, is not actually just the root of common celery. It is actually bred specifically for its root. See, while celery is rather fibrous and crunchy raw, and holds up in cooking, celery root will get nice and soft, making it great for soups, purees, mashes and broths. And you’ll need plenty of both for your favorite fall recipes.

Ozette potatoes from Alvarez Organic Farms at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Ozette potatoes from Alvarez Organic Farms at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

The Ozette potato is the closest thing to a native potato that we have here in Washington. See, potatoes originated in South America, and all but a handful travelled to Europe before being brought to North America by European settlers. But a few varieties travelled up the West Coast with the Spanish in the 1790s, during their brief attempt at colonization here, long before Lewis and Clark ever arrived. The Spanish established one outpost at Neah Bay amidst the Makah Nation in 1791, and it only took two Northwest winters for them to give up and sail back down to California in 1793. They left this potato behind. So eat a bit of Washington history. These Ozettes from Alvarez Organic Farms are great steamed and mashed with a good butter, but I like to toss them with some camelina oil from Ole World Oils, and hit them with a nice, course sea salt and maybe some thyme, and then roast them in a 425 degree oven until they are nice and crunchy on the outside. Nummers.

Fireweed honey with a hint of blackberry from Golden Harvest Bee Ranch at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fireweed honey with a hint of blackberry from Golden Harvest Bee Ranch at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Tom tells me that really, this honey from Golden Harvest Bee Ranch is mostly fireweed honey, with just a hint of blackberry, despite the label. (See, honey bees do not simply follow orders and only pollinate one flower species at a time.) So, if you like a nice, big local wildflower honey, stop by for some of this stuff today!

Clara Frijs pears from Booth Canyon Orchard at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Clara Frijs pears from Booth Canyon Orchard at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Meet Clara Frijs pears from Booth Canyon Orchard in the Methow Valley. Danish in origins, they date back to the 1850s, and they are an excellent dessert pear. They will keep for up to a month, are not messy eaters, have a great texture, and they are delicious!

Rainbow chard from Nash's Organic Produce at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Rainbow chard from Nash’s Organic Produce at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s Organic Produce is rocking the rainbow chard right now, and few things are as comforting on a crisp fall night than some wilted chard tossed with garlic. And just look at how gorgeous it is right now! Seriously, this epic year for weather and produce has, in the case of rainbow chard, manifested itself in the most spectacular leaf color I’ve ever seen on chard.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet  potatoes from Lyall Farms return today to your Ballard Farmers Market. Now, it’s really fall, am I right? I kinda like roasting them in a hot oven with parsnips. Yeah, baby.

English shelling peas from Growing Things Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

English shelling peas from Growing Things Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Another pleasant anomaly in this spectacular year that is 2014 is the reemergence of peas this fall. We saw Boistfort Valley Farm return with snow peas recently, and now Growing Things Farm has a new crop of English shelling peas. And sure, the pods may not be the prettiest. But the peas they hold inside are some of the best shelling peas I have ever tasted!

Winter squash from Summer Run at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter squash from Summer Run Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

We finish this installment with a lovely collection of winter squash and pie pumpkins from Carnation’s Summer Run Farm. Did you know that you can eat the skins of many winter squashes? Delicata, for instance, has edible skin when oven roasted, or when you pan roast thin slices of it. No need to cut the skin off or scoop it out. And don’t forget to roast those seeds!

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, September 14th: Signs Of The Changing Seasons, In Spite Of The Thermometer!

September 14, 2014
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.

Sorry I’m late getting this week’s post up. I was waylaid by the wonderful wedding of Chefs Dustin and Shannon of Art of the Table. Short on ceremony. Long on merriment and amazing local food, much of which came from the farmers right here at your Ballard Farmers Market! (Heck, some of those farmers were even there.) Congrats, kids! But let’s get down to bidniz here, as there is plenty of it. We are seeing strong signs of fall’s approach on our tables this week, in spite of what today’s weather forecast looks like. And cooler, longer nights (and a few epic gully washers) have brought water temps down enough for Hama Hama Oysters to be able to harvest from their oyster beds again. Says Lauren, “We’ll have Hama Hama and Blue Pool oysters again this weekend. Oyster season is back on!”

Suncrest peaches from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Suncrest peaches from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And I love it when our vendors make it easy for me by writing copy and sending it to me. Text like this from Stina of Booth Canyon Orchard:

We have TONS of Italian prunes this year. We will have them at Ballard Farmers Market for at least the next 3-4 weeks. Also this week, very special Crandall BLACK CURRANTS. Not sure what one does with them, but European baker types rave about them. This week also: Sweet 16 apples, Orcas pears (this week only), and more Suncrest peaches (pictured above… last week for those).

And if you have a favorite use for those Crandall Black Currents, do share. (And thanks, Stina!)

Black turtle shelling beans from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Black turtle shelling beans from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things Farm’s lovely displays of green beans have given way to displays of shelling beans now. See, that’s what many of those green beans do. They mature into these shelling beans. It’s like “green onions” and “green garlic.” It’s the immature fruit of the plant. And these black turtle shelling beans are the mature fruit. If you like black beans, these are them, fresh from the field. Pop open the pod, and those beans are black as night! And they will taste better than any dried beans you’ve ever had, too.

Italian prunes from ACMA Mission Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Italian prunes from ACMA Mission Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of Italian prunes, ACMA Mission Orchards has them right now, too. But aren’t these really plums, you ask? Aren’t all prunes dried plums? Actually, all plums are members of the family Prunus. These are proper prunes, with a more oval shape, to a plum’s round shape. And all prunes are freestones, meaning they come easily off of their pit for easy eating, drying and cooking. Think of the sauces, chutney and jams! This is an extraordinary year for these prunes, like so many other crops, so enjoy it while you can.

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

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

It’s getting deep into celery season folks. Nothing like some crisp celery on a crisp night. Besides, you are cooking more now, and your heartier fall recipes call for lots of this super food. Lucky for you, One Leaf Farm has some gorgeous celery right now, grown just a few miles from here in Carnation!

Gene Panida of Wilson Fish holding a whole wild Washington king salmon at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Gene Panida of Wilson Fish holding a whole wild Washington king salmon at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

The Washington coastal king salmon fishing season closes on September 15th — that’s Tuesday. And it means that you have just this Sunday and next to get some of this amazing fresh, local king salmon from our friends at Wilson Fish. And don’t forget their amazing smoked king salmon, too!

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

Belgian-style ales from Propolis Brewing at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Piper from Propolis Brewing reports that they have a few new releases today, and the return of their award-winning Litha, their chamomile golden saison. Their three new releases include:
  • Salmonberry Sour 7.5% ~ a tart, creamy, woodsy, can’t-put-your-finger-on-it…wild salmonberry ale… Ridiculous…and very limited…
  • Erthe 4.5% ~ a crisp golden saison brewed with thyme (classic refreshing Golden Saison)
  • Gardin 7.5% ~ an amber herbal saison aged in a beautiful Eaglemount Syrah barrel
And it’s last call for Corona Farms Borage ~ a borage flower ale with delicate cucumber, floral, marmalade champagne notes.
Coriander from Oxbow Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Coriander from Oxbow Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Here is something we don’t see very often at your Ballard Farmers Market: coriander! But given this summer’s heat, many a farmer’s cilantro crop bolted. And a few patient farmers just let it go to seed. And what is the seed of cilantro called? That’s right, it’s called coriander. If you are in the market for the freshest coriander you will ever encounter, stop by Oxbow Farm today and grab a bunch. Oh, and they’ll have some righteous strawberries today, too, as well as some lovely table grapes.

Concorde pears from Tiny's Organic at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Concorde pears from Tiny’s Organic at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Big, beautiful and delicious Concorde pears from Tiny’s Organic are in at your Ballard Farmers Market. These giants of the pear world are the quintessential pear, a cross between the great ancient Conference and Comice varieties, developed in England years ago. They enjoy a superior flavor, texture and a dramatic, classical pear shape. They are only around for a month or two each fall, so enjoy them while you can!

Winter squash from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter squash from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Holy season changes, Batman! Winter squash is in the house at your Ballard Farmers Market! Yup. Several farmers today will have the sweet, delicious gourds favored for the cold, dark, wet months. With our nights longer and cooler, it is time to crank up the oven and roast you some squashy deliciousness, filling your whole home with its aroma before you devour it mercilessly. These particular beauties come from Boistfort Valley Farm.

Sweet corn from Alm Hill Gardens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet corn from Alm Hill Gardens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

More Westside sweet corn has arrived at your Ballard Farmers Market. You’ll find these big, beautiful, sweet ears of corn from Alm Hill Gardens in Everson.

Here is a tip for chosing corn:instead of pulling open the top to see if it is filled out, simply run your thumb over the outside of the husk. You can easily feel the mature kernels inside. See, when you actually tear the corn open, you are actually ruining it either for yourself or the next person, because the minute you do that, all the delicious sugars in it that make it so sweet begin to turn to starch. So please, never tear open the husk to examine it before you buy it. If you need help choosing the best ears, just ask. Our farmers are more than happy to lend you a hand.

Kimchi, Krauts & more from Firefly Kitchens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Kimchi, Krauts & more from Firefly Kitchens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Look who’s back today at your Ballard Farmers Market! It’s Firefly Kitchens, and their awesome selection of naturally fermented vegetables made with great local ingredients. Choose from their award-winning kimchi, their Yin-Yang carrots, or any of their krauts, from the classic kraut that is the friend of hot dogs everywhere, to the brilliant caraway kraut that pairs perfectly with any of the various bratwursts from the farmers in the Market.

Rainbow carrots from Nash's Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Rainbow carrots from Nash’s Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

You may recall that 2013 was a great year for many crops, but a lousy year for carrots. And the carrots for which Nash’s Organic Produce is famous took a particularly bad beating last year. So this year, to hedge their bets, Nash’s planted a lot more carrots. Of course, as Murphy’s Law would have it, 2014 turned out to be a great year for carrots. The result is, Nash’s has lots of their famous carrots now, and they are offering them at a special price today.

Sweet peppers from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet peppers from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Colinwood Farm is harvesting a bunch of beautiful peppers from their greenhouses in Port Townsend this summer. They have these colorful sweet peppers as well as a great selection of hot peppers. And while it is true that Westside peppers tend not to be as hot as Eastside peppers, even the Westsiders are toasty this year. See, hot peppers get their heat enhanced by the sun. More sun and more heat means hotter peppers. Their poblano peppers are particularly good right now. Enjoy!

Young reishi mushrooms from Ascended Grounds at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Young reishi mushrooms from Ascended Grounds at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

This is a block of fresh, young reishi mushrooms that were ground by Cascadia Mushrooms for Ascended Grounds. Ascended Grounds then takes these wonderfully medicinal fungi and makes beverages and tinctures that are both delicious and darn good for you. I’m not sure I am versed well enough to do it justice, but they say, “Ascended Grounds transforms what it means to drink a cup of coffee. Using the ascended health practices of ancient masters, we are awakening your mug and your consciousness to upgrade your health and quality of life. Let us introduce you to the incredible synergy of medicinal mushrooms and coffee. Your ‘morning cup of joe’ will never be generic again!” Stop by today for a taste, and for the whole story, at your Ballard Farmers Market!

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 31st: Ginormous Juicy Melons, Adorable Summer Squash, Charming Cherry Tomatoes, Glorious Gala Apples & Saying Sayonara To Succulents… For Now, Anyway.

August 30, 2014
Succulents in late summer light from Phocas Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Succulents in late summer light from Phocas Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! September begins… tomorrow! And that means our buddy, Jimmy, from Phocas Farms, has to retire to his farm in Port Angeles to tend to his saffron crop, which is beginning to spring to life now. So today is your last chance until early next year to stock up on succulents and saffron corms to plant in your own yard. Stop by today, get what you need, and wish Jimmy a happy fall and a bountiful saffron harvest!

Ginormous melons from Lyall Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Ginormous melons from Lyall Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Lyall Farms has lots of these ginormous, delicious, juicy melons right now at  your Ballard Farmers Market. They grow all different kinds of melons, some all too familiar, and others downright strange. But they are all great and just waiting to make a mess out of your best shirt!

A rainbow of carrots from Oxbow Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

A rainbow of carrots from Oxbow Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm is rocking the carrots right now, in a rainbow of colors. They’ve got ’em white, orange and purple at present, each with their own particular levels of sweetness, some suited best for roasting, while others are best raw. So stop by and get your carrot on now! And if you want to learn more about carrots than you ever thought there was to know about them, check out the World Carrot Museum online, where you’ll learn, for instance, that orange is a relatively new color for carrots.

Late summer strawberries from Sidhu Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Late summer strawberries from Sidhu Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sidhu Farms has a fresh crop of late summer strawberries for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Gorgeous, aren’t they? These are from a class of strawberry varieties known as “ever-bearing,” which means they will keep producing blooms and fruit until it gets too cold and dark to do so. Spring varieties are known as “June-bearing,” which means they are naturally genetically preset to bloom and produce fruit for only a specific period of time, usually 10-14 days in and around June, after which they go dormant again until next year. See, aren’t you glad you tuned in to your Ballard Farmers Market blog this week?

Baby summer squash from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Baby summer squash from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Meet baby squash, little summer squash that are so sweet and so beautiful, and the perfect size for sautéing whole. See, Growing Things Farm sorts their summer squash by size — baby, toddler, adolescent… even tiny ones with full blossoms attached — so that you can get the perfect ones for your special meal… which ends up being every meal, when you eat them!

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

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

These are Gala apples from Martin Family Orchards, just in time for packing in the kiddies lunch bags. (Yikes! Tomorrow is September!) And in case you haven’t noticed, this year has seen the fruit trees of Washington put out record fruit sets of the most delicious fruit ever, earlier than ever. See, global warming does have its up sides.

Celery from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Celery from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s celery season, good people of Ballard! Wait, what? Celery season, you ask? I get it. You still get your celery at the Big Box store, and they have it all year-round. But that celery cannot hold a candle to this celery from Boistfort Valley FarmThis celery is fresh, firm, crisp and, believe it or not, sweet. Yes, sweet. That’s because of its freshness and how it is grown. See, the celery you are getting from the Big Box store was harvested a week or two ago and shipped here from thousands of miles away. This celery was harvested yesterday afternoon in Thurston County. If you have never had farm-fresh celery, you owe it to yourself to try some today. You will never look at Big Box celery the same again!

Early Italian prunes from Magana Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Early Italian prunes from Magana Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

I heart Italian prunes. Yes, prunes. Not plums. These are early Italian prunes from Magana Farms. Prunes are a free-stone stone fruit, meaning they release easily from their pit. They have a denser, sweeter flesh than plums, which are not free-stone, and they take well to cooking and drying, though I love them fresh, too. Of course, the Corporate Agribusiness Yahoos at the California Prune Board would have you believe that these are plums. Why? Because they are about marketing, not about food, and they worry that “prune” is too closely associated with keeping ones bowels regular. And I won’t lie to you… they will do just that. But that should not be a reason to rename them. I mean, why are we so afraid of stuff that is good for us, to the extent we will avoid it even though it is also delicious? How stupid have we become? Well, if you go ask Sam at Pasteria Lucchese what he thinks, he will tell you that he and his fellow Italians are still proud to call these what they really are: prunes! Celebrate them! Eat them! Sauce them! Syrup them! Dry them! Just don’t call them plums!

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

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

Another true love of Italians everywhere (and especially in Italy, for some reason) are fresh artichokes. They steam them. They grill them. They toss them with pasta, make them into soup, put them on pizza. They are crazy for them! If you are, too, now is your time. Get thee to Nash’s Organic Produce with all due haste and enjoy these beautiful artichokes today!

Cherry tomatoes from Gaia's Harmony Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherry tomatoes from Gaia’s Harmony Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Gaia’s Harmony Farm has lots and lots of these spectacular cherry tomatoes today! But wait, don’t they just sell berries and juice, you ask? Nope. So come get you some of these wonderful, organic cherry tomatoes today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Nothing like a nice, chewy loaf of crusty artisan bread from Tall Grass Bakery to make your meal complete. From pain au levain, a lovely, sour loaf made with whole wheat, to hominy, made with, um, hominy, to their just plain comforting oat and honey bread, Tall Grass has set the standard for great bread in Seattle since their humble beginning with our market organization almost 20 years ago.

These organic estate wines come from Wilridge Winery in Madrona. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These organic estate wines come from Wilridge Winery in Madrona. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget a nice bottle of wine from Seattle’s original winery: Wilridge. These bottles, above, in fact, are their estate wines, made from grapes they grow themselves in the tiny Naches Heights appellation, just west of Yakima in the foothills of the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains. Stop by their tent for a sample today, then grab a bottle of Washington winemaking history from right here in Seattle to enjoy tonight!

A bee enjoying a sunflower from The Old Farmer at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

A bee enjoying a sunflower from The Old Farmer at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Let us finish this week’s epistle with this image of a happy little honey bee on freshly cut sunflowers from The Old Farmer, just across the isle from Oxbow Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Ballard is home to lots of honey bees, many of which reside atop restaurants like Bastille. And on Sundays, they get to enjoy the wonders of the Market just like you do!

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.