Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

Sunday, November 23rd: Eat Local For Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2014
Brussels sprouts from Nash's Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

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

It’s here, folks! The first really big holiday of the holiday season: Thanksgiving! Or as we call it in my family, “Thanks For The Land Day!” Whatever you and yours call it, this coming Thursday is a day to take a break, take stock, and express our thanks for what we have, and especially for the bounty that reaches our tables. For Thanksgiving, the first American holiday, ultimately commemorates when mighty, advanced indigenous peoples welcomed undocumented foreigners with open arms and saved them from starvation at Plimouth, so that they might make better lives for themselves in a new world.

We in the farmers market community encourage you to Eat Local For Thanksgiving this coming Thursday, and we have pretty much everything you’ll need to do so right here. We then ask you to give thanks for the many local farmers, fishers, ranchers and food artisans who bring you the best food on earth right here at your Ballard Farmers Market every Sunday, year round. This year, the best way you can do that is to make a public comment in opposition to unreasonably high permit fee increases on farmers markets and their vendors proposed for 2015 by Public Health – Seattle & King County. For a great discussion of the issues at hand, and what is at stake, check out this week’s Ballard News-Tribune article, and for more details on how to comment, please see this blog post from last week. And in return, we thank you!

Shallots from Alvarez Organic Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Shallots from Alvarez Organic Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

One of my favorite dishes for Thanksgiving is Brussels sprouts with bacon and shallots. There are plenty of Brussels in your Ballard Farmers Market right now, including those beauties up above from Nash’s Organic Produce. And several farms will have shallots, including this from Alvarez Organic Farms. I caramelize my shallots while browning and rendering out my chunked up bacon in a hot skillet. When the bacon begins to get browned, and the shallots caramelized, I drop in the Brussels, cut in half, and sauté them in the bacon grease until they get bright green and just beginning to get tender. At that point, I deglaze the pan with some white wine. The wine combines with the tasty browned pits, or fond, on the bottom of your skillet, reincorporating them back into the Brussels with delicious results. The Brussels finish cooking in this yummy wine sauce and the wine cooks down. The result is that your Brussels sprouts hating kin will ask for seconds!

And speaking of cooking tips, celebrated James Beard Award winning local chef, Ethan Stowell of Ethan Stowell Restaurants (including Ballard Ave’s Ballard Pizza Company, Chippy’s and Staple & Fancy) will preform an Eat Local For Thanksgiving cooking demonstration at 11 a.m. today.

Bacon from Skagit River Ranch at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Bacon from Skagit River Ranch at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

You’ll need some of this amazing bacon from Skagit River Ranch to complete your Brussels sprouts masterpiece this week, but get here early, as it’s sure to sell out. And speaking of things selling out, here are some shopping strategy tips for today’s Market:

  • Get here early, if you can.
  • Pack patience with you, as crowds will be big.
  • Maybe pack a cooler, too.
  • Purchase things like eggs, bacon, cranberries and other items likely to sell out early first.
  • If you don’t plan on watching any sporting matches today, you may prefer to shop after 1 p.m., when big games will thin out our crowds, though keep in mind that some prime items may be sold out by then.
  • If you do plan to watch either the Seahawks or Sounders games, do your shopping first, or during halftime, and watch the games on one of the many TV screens in bars and eateries up and down Ballard Avenue. It will likely be cool enough that, even without a cooler, your Market goodies will keep just fine in your trunk until after the big game!

Here is a list of where you may be able to watch the Sounders playoff game in the neighborhood at 2 p.m. today:

  • Bad Albert’s
  • Ballard Smoke Shop
  • Billy Beach Sushi & Bar
  • El Borracho (on Leary)
  • Kangaroo & Kiwi (on Market, soccer only)
  • Kickin’ Boot
  • Lock & Keel
  • Loft
  • Market Arms (on Market, soccer only)
  • Moshi Moshi
  • Patxi’s
  • The Gerald
  • The Noble Fir

Here is a list of where you will be able to watch the Seahawks, in addition to all of the places above:

  • Bastille (at the bar)
  • Bitterroot (in the bar)
  • Hattie’s Hat (at the bar)
  • Matador (at the bar)
  • Stoneburner (in the bar)

And that’s how you can have your game, and Eat Local For Thanksgiving, too!

Siegerrebe wine nestled in siegerrebe grapes at LIV (Lopez Island Vineyards). Photo courtesy LIV.

Siegerrebe wine nestled in siegerrebe grapes at LIV (Lopez Island Vineyards). Photo courtesy LIV.

Now, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that you use a bottle of Siegerrebe from LIV (Lopez Island Vineyards) to deglaze your pan whilst cooking up those Brussels, but it would be a nice accompaniment to your meal. It, or any of the many other award-winning wines from LIV. And try out their new raspberry dessert wine, too!

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

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

Another favorite of mine this week is steamed rutabagas mashed with lots of good butter. You’ll find these lovely little bagas at Alm Hill Gardens (a.k.a., Growing Washington), right at the bottom of the Market. Nummers!

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.

Winter squash from Boistfort Valley Farm will help sweeten up your holiday feast. They have many different varieties from which to choose, in many flavors, textures, colors, shapes and sizes. Ask for cooking tips. Roast your seeds. And remember, you can eat the skins on many squash varieties!

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

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

Looking to add a little taste of spring to your fall feast? How about some of these beautiful Japanese wax turnips from One Leaf Farm? They come complete with greens, meaning you get two dishes for the price of one! Or, better yet, cook them together! Cut the turnips in half, sauté them in butter or olive oil until tender and a bit browned. Then add the greens and some crushed garlic and toss together until the greens wilt. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Red Lasoda potatoes from Olsen Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Red Lasoda potatoes from Olsen Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And don’t forget the spuds! Olsen Farms has a couple dozen varieties of potatoes from which to choose, with one perfect for your needs. Some or white, others golden, and others red or blue. Some are waxy and others starchy. Some are better suited to baking, while others like roasting, and still others steaming or frying. Ask questions. Read tags. Have fun with your potatoes.

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

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

One thing you can do with your potatoes is mash them with some celery root and parsnips from Oxbow Farm. Talk about an elegant mash! You’ll want equal amounts of all three. I also like to cut up my parsnips into small chunks and roast them in a hot oven with some sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms cut into similar-sized pieces. When they’re tender, they’re done… in about 15-20 minutes. Toss them once, midday.

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

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

With all the meat, potatoes, sugary things, roots and such, you’ll want some roughage. Lucky for us, in spite of the recent cold weather, Colinwood Farm’s greenhouses are still cranking out some righteous spicy salad mix just for you! Slice up some of those turnips like radishes and add them to it.

Farmbox Greens' vertical farm in West Seattle. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Farmbox Greens’ vertical farm in West Seattle. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Oh, and add some superfood to your salad, too! This week, we welcome Farmbox Greens to your Ballard Farmers Market with these Seattle-grown microgreens. In their seedling form, they are little nutrient bombs, and they are packed with flavor, too. Garnish your soups, mashes, meats and more with them.

Arkansas Black apples from Tiny's Organic at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Arkansas Black apples from Tiny’s Organic at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Apples are good for all sorts of dishes, from salads to sauces to pies, during the holidays. I chose this particular photo of Arkansas Black apples from Tiny’s Organic because I recently returned from a trip to Arkansas, and I am here to testify that this apple is, in fact, the apple of Arkansas!

Cirrus cheese from Mt. Townsend Creamery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cirrus cheese from Mt. Townsend Creamery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cirrus cheese from Mt. Townsend Creamery is what they, and I, call a “Northwest camembert.” It is the perfect cheese for any occasion, great on a nice slice of local bread and topped with some ikura from Loki Fish. You’ll need some for your holiday festivities!

Kalamata olive bread from Snohomish Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Kalamata olive bread from Snohomish Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And here is a perfect local bread for that pairing: kalamata olive bread from Snohomish Bakery. It is all chewy and salty and delicious, and it keeps fairly well, so fear not picking it up today for later in the week. And if you are simply a worrier by nature, then pop it in the freezer today, then pop it in the oven around 300 degrees on Thursday for about 20-30 minutes. It’ll be like it just came out of the bakery’s oven!

Fresh Puget Sound Keta salmon fillets from Loki Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh Puget Sound Keta salmon fillets from Loki Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Loki Fish will have just a little bit more fresh Puget Sound Keta salmon today in fillet form before the Puget Sound season closes for 2014. They had one more brief opening on Thursday night, so this is super fresh. If you’re just not a turkey eater, or you are looking for something distinctly different for your other meals this week, here you go! But it will sell out early. However, they will have plenty of that aforementioned ikura, freshly cured and ready to pep up that cheese and bread, or your soup or salad.

Thanksgiving pumpkin pie from Deborah's Homemade Pies at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Thanksgiving pumpkin pie from Deborah’s Homemade Pies at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Why spend the entire day in  your kitchen on Thursday? Give yourself a bit of a break and get one of these amazing pumpkin pies from Deborah’s Homemade Pies, or apple or pecan. Not only will it lower your stress level, it will likely be better than anything anyone you know can bake! And if you are attending a feast at someone else’s house, and you’re supposed to bring dessert… here you go! Just grab a pinch of AP flour out of the cupboard before you leave home and dust yourself a bit. Everyone will believe you baked it yourself.

Green Dragon hummus from House of the Sun at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Green Dragon hummus from House of the Sun at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, we’d like to give one last shout out to Adam and House of the Sun Raw & Vegan Foods. Adam is retiring his company as of today’s Market, and he is moving to Portland. Stop by, wish him well, and grab yourself one last container of his awesome Green Dragon hummus for old times’ sake. Thanks, Adam! We’ll miss you!

Don’t forget to check out this week’s midweek blog posts (Tuesday & Thursday) for more information on what you’ll find today at you Ballard Farmers Market. And 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.

Wednesday, October 1st Midweek Teaser: Local Tuna, Black Currants, Artisan Cheese, Wild Mushrooms & More!

October 1, 2014
Canned local albacore tuna in a variety of flavors from Fishing Vessel St. Jude at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Canned local albacore tuna in a variety of flavors from Fishing Vessel St. Jude at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

As we enter October, we’ve decided to mix it up a little bit here at the blog for your Ballard Farmers Market. Instead of doing one epic post each Saturday evening, with a gagillion photos, we’re going to start splitting it up a bit, and to that end, we introduce a new midweek installment. It’s just a little something to stir your culinary imagination in the middle of the work week.

This coming Sunday is the first Sunday of the month, and that means a visit from Fishing Vessel St. Jude, with the finest canned and frozen albacore tuna you will find anywhere. It is sashimi grade and prized by top chefs all over Seattle. St. Jude catches younger albacore as they swim south toward tropical waters from the cold waters of the North Pacific, where they were born. Because of their youth, they are very low in accumulated heavy metals. Because they’ve been in cold water, they are very high in beneficial omega-fatty acids. And they are delicious!

Black currants from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Black currants from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

We get asked a lot if anyone here at your Ballard Farmers Market grows currants. Finally, we can say, “yes!” Booth Canyon Orchard has these gorgeous black currants right now, but just for another week or two. So for your sauces, jams, pies, or whatever you like to do with them, stop by Booth Canyon this Sunday and get you some!

Cipollini onions from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cipollini onions from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cipollini onions from Port Townsend’s Colinwood Farm are the perfect compliment to many fall dishes. They cook down and caramelize into a sweet garnish to meats. They make wonderful pickled onions. They’re great in soups. They just plain have a beautiful flavor that is prized by chefs and Italians alike! (And in some cases, even by Italian chefs!)

Seastack cheese from Mt Townsend Creamery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Seastack cheese from Mt Townsend Creamery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of Port Townsend, it is also the home of Mt. Townsend Creamery, one of Washington’s many great artisan cheese makers. They are partnered with a family-owned dairy farm in Sequim, just to their west, that produces all of the milk for their cheeses. Their Seastack cheese (above) has won multiple awards nationally, and it is a lovely, soft-ripened cheese perfect with a fresh baguette from Tall Grass Bakery and a little dollop of ikura from Loki Fish.

Wild matsutake mushrooms from Foraged & Food Edibles at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Wild matsutake mushrooms from Foraged & Food Edibles at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Matsutake mushrooms grow wild on the slopes of our local volcanos. And Foraged & Found Edibles harvests them there and brings them to us. They are highly prized for Japanese and Chinese cuisine, but they certainly are not limited to it. And they are nutrient dense, perhaps more so than many other mushrooms.

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

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

With the return of fall rains, the spearmint crop at Children’s Garden in Fall City has made a strong comeback. It is superb right now, waiting to perk up your water or tea, or to lay the foundation for amazing mojitos and juleps. It also opens up your senses, and is even said to help you breathe better at night. What’s not to love?

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 17th: Raspberries Are Back, Bag-O-Fish Returns, Funky Eggplant, Perfect Potatoes & More!

August 16, 2014
Wilson Fish's Washington-coastal coho salmon. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Wilson Fish’s Washington-coastal coho salmon. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! Bag O’ Fish returns today to your Ballard Farmers Market! Yes, this is the annual celebration of the Washington coastal Coho salmon fishery from Wilson Fish. Coho season on the coast is short, and Wilson catches them, cleans them, bags them, and offers them to you at a great price for a late summer feast!

Organic raspberries from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic raspberries are back today at your Ballard Farmers Market! After a brief hiatus, during which I’m guessing  they were catching their breath during this prolific year of berry production, the raspberry canes at Gaia’s Harmony Farm are once again bearing fruit for us to enjoy. Woohoo!!!

Purple Rain eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Purple Rain eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These princely beings are know as Purple Rain eggplant. They are just one of over a dozen varieties of eggplant grown by Alvarez Organic Farms. Eggplant comes in many shapes, sizes and colors, and more importantly, many textures, flavors and levels of bitterness which affects how you need to prepare them. These puppies do well being sliced ahead of time and then salted and allowed to sit for a bit to neutralize its bitterness and drawn out moisture. If you are cooking it in small pieces, the process time is reduced, of course.

Ginger Gold apples from Collins Family Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Ginger Gold apples from Collins Family Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Collins Family Orchards is rocking the Ginger Gold apples today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Ginger Golds are among the first apples we see each year here, and they are crisp, a bit tart, and make for fine apples crisps or just right off the core.

Sweet Snax carrots from One Leaf Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet Snax carrots from One Leaf Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Meet Sweet Snax carrots from One Leaf Farm. Beautiful, aren’t they? They are sweet and crunchy and delicious. These are just the babies, as they are thinning their fields to allow the rest to grow even longer and bigger.

Flavor Heart pluots from Tiny's Organic. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Flavor Heart pluots from Tiny’s Organic. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fruit names don’t get more blatantly obvious than Flavor Heart pluots.  I mean, just look at them. They are heart-shaped, they are packed with flavor, and they are pluots. Of course, they also have their romantic side, right? Sweet, juicy, and that whole heart-shaped business. Bottom line is, these organic beauties are delish, and you should beat a path to get some from Tiny’s Organic, while you can!

Rio Grande Russet potatoes from Olsen Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Rio Grande Russet potatoes from Olsen Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sure, there are plenty of more colorful potatoes with sexier names, but there is just something about a russet potato that comforts the American soul. These little fellers are Rio Grande russet potatoes from Olsen Farms. They are, like any russet, a great baker, masher and chipper. They’re are nice on the grill, too!

5 Cheese Blend from Glendale Shepherd. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

5 Cheese Blend from Glendale Shepherd. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Glendale Shepherd introduced its 5-Cheese Blend of shredded sheep cheeses last week at your Ballard Farmers Market, and it sold out in no time flat. I mean, think about it. Shreds of five of their most awesome sheep cheeses mixed together in one convenient package, ready for you to sprinkle on soups, salads, pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, eggs and more!

Basin 'R' Yellow sweet corn from Lyall Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Basin ‘R’ Yellow sweet corn from Lyall Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

The sweet corn just keeps on rolling this summer. This is Basin ‘R’ Yellow sweet corn from Lyall Farms. This is one of those super-sweet varieties with big kernels, and even bigger ears that will feed two. It is a corn developed to thrive in the Columbia Basin, and that it does!

Some of the hard cider lineup at Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Some of the hard cider lineup at Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

I had the good fortune to visit Finnriver Farm & Cidery on Thursday. They were busy bottling many bottles of their hard ciders and berry cordials. Indeed, their production has grown significantly since I last visited several years ago, and no wonder. Their products are excellent, and demand is high. And yet, they still produce it all right on their farm, supplementing their fruit with fruit from neighbor farms in the fertile valley around Chimacum. Stop by for a sample today, and then stock up for these last weeks of summer!

Kale, zucchini & collard chips from House of the Sun. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Kale, zucchini & collard chips from House of the Sun. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Has it been a while since you got your kale chips on with House of the Sun raw & vegan foods? Sheesh. You are missing out on the ultimate, guilt-free snack food! It is dried instead of fried or baked, it is made with ingredients from right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, and it is totally satisfying. Better yet, it makes for a great, lightweight trail snack for hiking. Enjoy!

Beefsteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Beefsteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Alm Hill Gardens is up to its earlobes in organic beefsteak tomatoes this summer. So get in on the action of the most prolific tomato season in recent memory. Make that BLT. Get your salad feeling complete. Make soup, salsa, whatever. Just don’t let this summer go by with enjoying the tomatoliciousness, cuz it will bum you out in January when you get served a lame tomato somewhere.

Chile peppers from Boistfort Valley Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Chile peppers from Boistfort Valley Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And hows about some chile peppers from, wait for it, Boistfort Valley Farm? Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? But because it has been so hot and so dry in Western Washington this summer, even the peppers on this side of the mountains are rip-roaring hot and delicious. Yay!

Cinnamon rolls from Tall Grass Bakery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cinnamon rolls from Tall Grass Bakery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, though I finish off this week’s epistle with cinnamon rolls from Tall Grass Bakery, I recommend that you start your Sunday with one… or two. They are sweet and chewy and de-lish. But if you can’t get down to your Ballard Farmers Market for breakfast, then come get one for an afternoon snack, for dessert tonight, or for breakfast tomorrow. We won’t judge you.

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 10th: Happy Farmers Market Week!

August 9, 2014

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Happy National Farmers Market Week! Check out this list of all the amazing benefits markets like your Ballard Farmers Market provide to your community. (You can download this image just by clicking on it.) And guess what else? Your Ballard Farmers Market just won Seattle Weekly’s Readers’ Choice Best Farmers Market Award for at least the fifth year in a row! (Honestly, we’ve lost count. And thank you!) Oh, hey, we’ll have great recipe cards for Farmers Market Week from Washington State Farmers Market Association today at the Market Information Desk, too.

Copia (top) and Brandywine tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Copia (top) and Brandywine tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One Leaf Farm is rocking the Brandywine and Copia tomatoes right now! The Brandywines (bottom) may not be the most flamboyant of tomatoes, but they are one of the most delicious — the perfect vehicle for salt and mayo, or on a BLT, or in a simple caprese salad. Copias, on the other hand, are quite flamboyant. Just look at all their different colors and stripes and shapes and sizes! Plus, they are awesome to eat, and they will add a ton of character to whatever creation they join!

Pan-roasted padron peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms by Chef Derek Ronspies of Le Petit Cochon. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pan-roasted padron peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms by Chef Derek Ronspies of Le Petit Cochon. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Padron peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms as pan-roasted by Chef Derek Ronspies of Le Petit Cochon last week during his cooking demonstration at our sister Wallingford Farmers Market. Consider this as enticement to visit today, AND as a recipe. Get your skillet nice and hot, with a high-heat oil, toss in the padrons and pan-roast until tender and a bit browned. Finish with a good sea salt. Eat. You’re welcome!

Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Organic Blueberry Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Organic Blueberry Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. They are a domesticated wild huckleberry from the East Coast. The berries are small and full of flavor, and they remind me of the wild blueberries we used to pick while hiking up Cadillac Mountain in Maine’s Acadia National Park. I remember I used to eat my weight in them.

A saffron crocus in full bloom at Phocas Farms. Photo courtesy Phocas Farms.

A saffron crocus in full bloom at Phocas Farms. Photo courtesy Phocas Farms.

Our pal Jimmy, from Phocas Farms, tells us that he’s still got some saffron crocus corms available today for you to plant to grow your own saffron, and that if you get them today, you still have time to get them in the ground so that you can harvest them this fall! Yep, these beauties bloom in the fall. See those gorgeous red threads in the flower above? That’s the saffron. So grab some today, and start your own little saffron plantation! Oh, and he’s got a little bit of last year’s saffron harvest left, too!

Lodi apples from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Lodi apples from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Guess what? It is already apple season! The first apples of the year are now arriving at your Ballard Farmers Market. They tend to be tart, green-skinned varieties, like Ginger Gold, Gravenstein, Shamrock, and these organic Lodi apples from ACMA Mission Orchards.

Carrots from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Carrots from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s Organic Produce is going carrot crazy this week! Besides these sweet and crunchy bunch carrots, they’ve got plenty of their five-pound bags of Nash’s Best Carrots, as well as big bags of juicing carrots. So get down with your bad, carrot-loving self today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Cherry plums from Tiny's Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherry plums from Tiny’s Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

From the pages of the confused fruit handbook come these cherry plums from Tiny’s Organic Farm. But unlike so many other stone fruits that have been hybridized to create things like apriums, pluots, nectarcots, peachcots and more, cherry plums are actually a true plum, not a cross betwixt cherry and plum. They get their name from their small, cherry-like size and their color. But they have the flavor and texture of a plum. So mix it up this week and try yourself something new… or actually old, in this case.

Baby cabbages from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Baby cabbages from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And under the heading of learning something new every day comes these little, baseball-sized baby cabbages from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. You see, after they harvest the full-sized cabbages in the field, they leave the cabbage plant there, and it grows a second, smaller head of cabbage… this cabbage. Who knew? So, if you need just enough cabbage for one serving of cole slaw, or perhaps you want to braise or grill little, individual servings of cabbage, this is for you!

Rosa-Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rosa-Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Free-stone peaches have arrived. There is a family of peaches, all with the word “Hale” in their names, and these are the big, yellow, sweet and juicy peaches for which Washington is famous. They come freely off of their pits, ergo the term “free-stone,” and that makes them ideal for cooking and canning, as well as just eating fresh. Think of the pies, cobblers, preserves, salads, and more! These particular peaches are Rosa-Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchards.

Soft-ripened Tallulah cheese from Glendale Shepherd. Photo courtesy Glendale Shepherd.

Soft-ripened Tallulah cheese from Glendale Shepherd. Photo courtesy Glendale Shepherd.

If you love stank cheese like I love stank cheese, then this cheese is for you! Meet Tallulah, a soft-ripened sheep’s milk cheese from Glendale Shepherd. This is the kind of character-rich cheese that would make a Frenchman weep. If you prefer to wrestle with your cheese instead of waltzing with it, you gotta get you some Tallulah today at your Ballard Farmers Market! Oh, and this just in: Glendale Shepherd as also begun packaging a five-cheese shredded blend of their sheep cheeses for easy sprinkling on pastas, salads, grilled sandwiches, roasted veggies and more.

Collard greens from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Collard greens from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I loves me some Oxbow Farm collard greens! Sautéed until just tender with some lovely bacon from Olsen Farms, Skagit River Ranch or Sea Breeze Farm, and some heirloom garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm, how can you go wrong? It is delicious and nutrient dense, and it makes a great side for so many proteins, or just build dinner around the collards themselves!

Canned salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Canned salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Do you have guests visiting from out of town who want to bring home a taste of Seattle’s famous salmon with them? Loki Fish makes it easy! Just get some of their canned salmon. It is self-stable, comes in a convenient, sturdy carrying case, and when they get it back to Dubuque, it’ll be better tasting than any other fish they can get there! (It ships well, too.)

Pain au Chocolat from Snohomish Bakery. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pain au Chocolat from Snohomish Bakery. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

There is just something about a chocolate croissant, you know? Flaky, buttery pastry wrapped around deep, dark chocolate… meow! I heart them! And Snohomish Bakery makes some lovely ones that they offer to you right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Grab one to snack on at the Market, and a few more for tonight’s dessert!

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.