Posts Tagged ‘cheesecake’

Sunday, October 14th: Hardy Kiwis, Carving Pumpkins, Holiday Hams, Celery Root, Cheesecake & More!

October 13, 2012

Hardy kiwis from Greenwater Farm. Photo courtesy Greenwater Farm.

The rains have returned, and frankly… yippee! Don’t get me wrong. I, too, enjoyed having a summer that, well, was a summer. But I wouldn’t live here if I didn’t like rain. And after 81 days without it, it is quite refreshing. The air smells cleaner. The dust is washing off of, well, everything. And I can hear each and every blade of grass cheering. Imagine how our beloved farmers are feeling! So, it really is October. Most farms have already felt a nip of frost by now, and your Ballard Farmers Market is awash in fall crops. Today, we celebrate the arrival of a particularly special Northwest fall crop, the hardy kiwi. These tiny jewels of sweet deliciousness are indeed kiwis, but they have evolved so that they thrive in a cool, temperate climate like we have here in Western Washington. Greenwater Farm grows them in Port Townsend, and they’ll only have them available for a few short weeks. If you’ve never tried them, avail yourself of this opportunity!

Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Halloween is fast approaching, and it is high time to get that perfect pumpkin and carve it. Grab one of these lovely Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins today from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Cut the top out. Scoop, wash and roast the seeds, and carve it up with some menacing looking face. Just be sure to let your kids pick out a pumpkin, too!

A holiday ham from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you ordered your holiday turkeys and hams yet? It’s not too early. Heck, it’s already October 14th! Thanksgiving is less than five weeks away. Seriously. It’s early this year — November 22nd. Swing by Skagit River Ranch today and place your order, so you’ll been sure to have a delicious, humanly-raised, local centerpiece for your Thanksgiving feast.

Celery root, a.k.a., celeriac, from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is by no means the most handsome of fall vegetables, but celery root, or celeriac, is an essential ingredient to many fall dishes. From soups to roasts to amazing mashes — think celery root, parsnips and potatoes! — you’ll need it. In fact, many have been asking about it for weeks. Well, One Leaf Farm, which returned to your Ballard Farmers Market just last Sunday, wins this year’s celery root sweepstakes, being the first farm to roll in with it this year. Woohoo!

Farm-fresh honey from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We’ve been a little short on honey this past year at your Ballard Farmers Market, so we’ve allowed some of our farmers to bring in honey produced on their farms for sale. This honey, from Boistfort Valley Farm, is made by their resident bees that also pollinate all their crops on the farm.

Kale and collard greens from Gaia’s Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gaia’s Natural Goods returns today to your Ballard Farmers Market will lots of tasty greens, like the above kale and collard greens. See, with a little nip of frost in the air recently, greens have gotten a lot sweeter, making this a great time of year to enjoy them. Plus, cooking them helps warm up your kitchen and takes the nip out of your house.

Bosc pears from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bosc pears from Collins Family Orchards are in their prime right now. Sweet, juicy, and wonderful to eat, they make for a great addition to junior’s lunchbox, a salad, or a snack at the office during your afternoon break. Enjoy this fall treat while you can!

A colorful fall display at Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just had to share this photo of the display at Nash’s Organic Produce last week. It comes under the heading of “spectacular displays.” Oh, the fall colors of goldenchiogga and Detroit beetsturnipscelery and arugula. Comforting veggies for cool fall days!

Daikon radishes from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And how’s about some daikon radishes from Colinwood Farms? They have a bright, clean, mild flavor, with just the slightest hint of spiciness. Add them to salads like any radish, shred them as a garnish or to use with sashimi, sauté them. These Asian delights are deliciously versatile!

Cheesecake from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

While you are ordering your holiday turkeys, roasts and hams, don’t forget about dessert! From sweet breads to pies to one of these amazing cheesecakes from Pasteria Lucchese, check in with your favorite Ballard Farmers Market dessert makers now to learn about what you’ll need to do to ensure you’ll bring the best dessert with you to whatever holiday festivities.

Finally, another reminder to please 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 19th: Delicious Local Fixins For Great Holiday Meals, Unique Gifts Hand-Crafted By Local Artists & Morris Dancers! Where Else But Your Ballard Farmers Market?!?

December 19, 2010

Whole emmer/farro from Bluebird Grain Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

(Note: Ballard Farmers Market will be open next Sunday, December 26th.)

I spent last week on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Okay, I hear you thinking, “lucky bastard,” but believe it or not, it was colder there on a few days than it was here, and just as stormy. With weather like that, if my parents didn’t live there, the place would hold no redeeming value for me at all. I bring this up to remind us all that we’re pretty friggin’ lucky to live here in the Pacific Northwet. Even when the weather is crappy, we’ve got plenty to keep us going. So I don’t wanna hear anymore whining about La Nina. Get on out to your Ballard Farmers Market today and get everything you need for a great holiday season direct from the local farmers, fishers, ranchers, food artisans and artists that help make this place the best place on earth to live, and visit all of our neighbors terrific shops, restaurants and watering holes. Invest in your local economy this holiday season instead of the Mall, and maybe by this time next year, we’ll all feel more comfortable. That said, Bluebird Grain Farms is here today with all of their magnificent organic heirloom grain products, from whole grain emmer/farro to cereal blends, flours, pilaf, mixes and more. Stock up today, as Bluebird likely won’t be back again for at least another month!

Various fish products from Cape Cleare Fishery. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cape Cleare Fishery is back today. They are the folks who peddle their bicycles all the way from Port Townsend to Ballard each week… except last week. Apparently riding face-first into a driving rain along flooded roads didn’t sound too attractive to them last week. Go figure. But they’re back today. So pickup some frozen-at-sea Alaskan salmon, maybe a nice package of lox, or perhaps some smoked salmon to impress your guests with this holiday season.

A display of FDA documents and U.S. Marshall postings from Estrella Family Creamery. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

If you are interested in learning more about the FDA seizure of Estrella Family Creamery, and efforts to help the Estrella family during this difficult time for them, a group of supporters and friends have set up a blog here on WordPress. It contains discussions of the situation and info on how you can help. There has also been setup a “Save the Estrella Family Creamery” Facebook page.

Pepper strands from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Today may be your last chance to get a pepper strand or wreath from Alvarez Organic Farms. These beautiful creations will liven up any home, and they make great gifts. And the best thing is, once they are dried, if you don’t want to leave them hanging, you can actually cook with the dried peppers. Of course, if you don’t want to break it up once it’s dried, why not pickup some dried peppers from Alvarez. They have several varieties of peppers dried this year. Stock up.

Winter squash from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things still has some lovely winter squash available this week, and of course, they also still have amazing pastured poultry, eggs, jams and soaps. Michaele makes an amazing variety of soaps, in fact, from spearmint — my favorite — to lemongrass to cinnamon. And she makes her soap from beef tallow and lard from her own animals, the old-world way.

Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Gluten-Free Bread from Platypus Breads. Photo courtesy Platypus Breads.

The bad news is, this is the last week for Platypus Breads at your Ballard Farmers Market. The good news is, Lindsay is here today with her amazing gluten-free breads for one last hoorah. Frankly, Platypus Breads is one of the most remarkable new vendors of 2010. Lindsay decided that people who must eat gluten-free products deserved to have just as good bread to eat as everyone else, and she set out to make it. And she succeeded. She proved that the terms moist, flavorful and gluten-free are not inherently mutually exclusive, if you just put some effort, thought and creativity into it. So thank you, Lindsay. You, and your bread, will be missed.

Shucked oysters from Taylor Shellfish make it easy to add fresh, local oysters to any recipe. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Shellfish. You need it. Lots of it. Especially during the holidaze. Think oyster stuffing or stew, baked oysters or oysters on the half-shell, sauteed mussels or clams, or even some geoduck ceviche. Whatever you decide to do with your shellfish, Taylor Shellfish has what you need. So visit Oyster Bill today for this week’s fix, and maybe put in a request for next week’s.

Holiday wreath from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alm Hill Gardens still has some of their beautiful holiday wreaths today. They handcraft these marvelous creations using foliage from their farm just for us. And they smell amazing! Oh, Alm Hill should have some saute mix, squash and other edibles today, too.

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

All the Northwet loves a tasty root roast this time of year, and what root roast is complete without parsnips, like these from Nash’s. Actually, you can also make soups, purees and mashes with parsnips, too, combined with celeriac and maybe potatoes. Parsnips are so wonderfully sweet and delicious, and they cook pretty quickly, so beware and don’t overcook them. Though they look like carrots, they are not nearly as dense as carrots. Enjoy!

Rutabagas from Boistfort Valley. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

On the other end of the root density spectrum, though equally loved by me, is the humble rutabaga, a.k.a., Swedes or Swedish turnips, like these from Boistfort Valley Farm, which will hopefully grace us one more time today with their presence. These giant-looking turnips are not really turnips at all. Their dense flesh has a deeply sweet, savory flavor that is great steamed and mashed with plenty of butter. Or toss them in the root roast, too. But remember, they will take the longest of any of your roots to cook, as they are the densest.

Family-sized cheesecake from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oh, I hope Sam & Sara of Pasteria Lucchese made some of their incredible cheesecakes this week. Have you tried one? Well, take it from this ex-pat New Yorker that they are the real deal, and you will want one, or three, on your holiday table. You can thank me later.

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check the What’s Fresh Now! listings in the upper right-hand corner of this page for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now. But please note that due to our recent cold weather, some crops may not be available as anticipated.

Sunday, April 4th: Head Lettuce, No Foolin’! And Other Ramblings On Farmers Market Deliciousness This Week.

April 4, 2010

New York-style cheesecake from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I don’t know about you, but I am a charter member of Dessert First! As such, I begin this week’s epistle with cheesecake. But I must issue a disclaimer before I continue. I grew up in New York, and as such, I am a cheesecake snob. When it comes to cheesecake, I am a purist. No berries. No lemon. No nothing but straight-up cheesecake. Heck, I have sent cheesecakes back to the kitchen in fancy-schmancy restaurant when it has been sent out to me with an unadvertised drizzle of berry syrup. So it was with more than a large dose of skepticism that I approached Pasteria Lucchese’s new cheesecake.

Sara Lucchese can attest — I grilled her. I read the label. I asked if it tasted of lemon. Mind you, I wasn’t going to trash talk their cheesecake if it didn’t meet my unreasonable standards. I was simply assessing whether I would want anything to do with it personally. Sara assured me that what little lemon juice their cheesecake contained was at worst subtle. She watched my eyebrows furrow with distrust. So she said. “How about you take one home and try it and let me know what you think?”

Honestly, I hadn’t been angling for a freebie this time, as I genuinely assumed in my snobbery that a freebie would be wasted on me. But I accepted Sara’s offer as a kindly challenge, and that she really wanted to know what my biased palate thought. So take one home I did, and guess what? Pasteria Lucchese’s cheesecake rocks! Lemon? What lemon? Now, I should note that, in the photo above, their cheesecake is resting atop the lid of a small plastic container, and when you see it in person, you are going to think, “That is really small.” Fear not. It is at least two servings. But now that I have let the cat out of the bag, I advise you to beeline it to them to get yours today, as they will undoubtedly run out early.

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

Foraged & Found Edibles brought wild knotweed to your Ballard Farmers Market last week. The young shoots of knotweed are edible and taste of rhubarb and asparagus.

Cape Cleare Fishery smoking samples of its sample at Ballard Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, how cool is this? Cape Cleare Fishery — you know, the folks from Port Townsend who ride their bicycles pulling trailers filled with coolers of fish to Ballard Farmers Market every Sunday — now has this awesome little pellet smoker attached to one of their trailers. The result? They are able to cook up some of their beautiful, flash-frozen at sea salmon for you to sample so that you can truly experience why their fish is so good. So stop by and try out their salmon this week, eh? Just leave some for me.

Green garlic on a bed of chickweed from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A-friggin-men is all I can say about the arrival of green garlic season. Green garlic looks a lot like green onions, and it can be used similarly, except as, well, garlic. Just clean it carefully (dirt hides inside its green shoot leaves, like with leeks), and cut it up to toss in with sauteed greens or oven-roasted morels and asparagus or whatever. Cooked, it is sweeter than mature garlic cloves, and it has a slightly grassy quality. I just love this stuff. To me, it is a true treat of spring.

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

Rhubarb season is now in full swing, too. You will find it throughout the market. Above is some from Alm Hill Gardens. Pickup your flour from Nash’s and your butter and whipping cream from Golden Glen to make the perfect rhubarb crisp.

Rack of lamb, saddle of lamb and standing beef rib roasts from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Olsen Farms continues is sale of its delicious rack of lamb, saddle of lamb and standing beef rib roasts this week. Aren’t these babies gorgeous? This past week, I made a lamb and pappardelle dish with Olsen’s lamb. It is amazing stuff — tender and full of deliciousness.

Goat yogurt from Port Madison. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Maybe you will need a little tsatsiki for that lamb? Make it with some of that green garlic and this fresh goat yogurt from Port Madison. Of course, you can also just inhale this yogurt straight out of the cup, too.

Cal-White potatoes from Colinwood Farms dwarf their other spuds. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Some rosemary potatoes will go well with that lamb, too. But use the cute, little guys for that. These mammoth Cal-White potatoes from Colinwood Farms will work better if your goal is mashed potatoes, or maybe a creamy potato soup.

Lovely leeks from The Old Farmer. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Maybe some creamy potato leek soup, eh? How about these lovely leeks from The Old Farmer. You will find them kitty-corner from Wilson Fish with these leeks, and lots of beautiful flowers to brighten your home.

Spelt bread from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you tried Tall Grass Bakery’s spelt bread? Spelt is an ancient grain that is an early ancestor of wheat. It is higher in protein and other nutrients and lower in gluten. This bread is a hearty, whole-grain bread. And the spelt is grown right here in Washington, too.

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

I heart radishes. And we are radish rich right now. Just look at these magnificent red radishes from Full Circle Farm. I love that radishes come in a broad spectrum of flavors and heat levels. I like to get a few different kinds and mix them up in my salads.

Pea starts from Growing Things. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Remember, despite our recent return to wintery weather, it is still a great time to plant many heartier vegetables in your garden. Check out these pea starts from Growing Things. Just imagine yourself harvesting delicious peas from your own yard come Memorial Day.

Baby cauliflower from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cauliflower is back at your Ballard Farmers Market. Nash’s Organic Produce has it, but it went fast last week. Get there early!

Fuji apples from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beautiful, crisp and sweet Fuji apples from Collins Family Orchards. Spring break is over. Stock up and send the kiddies to school with some.

Goose eggs from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One goose egg is enough to feed one, maybe even two, people. These puppies from Sea Breeze Farm are huge. I tell you, there is just something satisfying about making a big omelette with just one egg!

Fresh head lettuce from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I promised you lettuce. Well, here it is. Red leaf, butter, romaine. Lots of beautiful young lettuces from Children’s Garden… while they last, of course.

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.