Posts Tagged ‘chevre’

Sunday, April 20th: Farmers Market Dinner & Auction, and More Farmers Return!

April 19, 2014

auction

 

Tickets are on sale now for our Farmers Market Dinner & Live Auction to support our Fresh Bucks Program on May 13th in the Hotel Ballard Rooftop Pavilion! Chef Jason Stoneburner of neighboring Stoneburner Restaurant and his kitchen crew will expertly prepare a amazing menu built around fresh ingredients from your Ballard Farmers Market, and Jason T. Haynes, who many of you know from Alm Hill Gardenswill perform a live auction as only that good ole Kentucky boy can! All proceeds benefit our Fresh Bucks Program that extends the benefits of those on Food Stamps when they use them here at the market, as well as nutritional and cooking classes for kids. Buy tickets now, or simply make a donation, at Brown Paper Tickets. Looking for more details about Fresh Bucks, and the Farmers Market Dinner & Auction? Click here! (And if you’d like to post one of our posters in your business or office, or you just think it’s pretty, click on it to download it.)

Radishes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Radishes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Well, after a winter of Sundays dominated by either bad weather or Seahawks games, we welcome the fifth straight Sunday in a row of lovely spring weather at your Ballard Farmers Market. And with this gorgeousness comes more and more spring produce. Like more radishes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm! I have been going radish crazy for the last couple of weeks, after months living without them. And hey, maybe your Easter egg hunt got rained out yesterday, but today, you can enjoy some wonderful Easter egg radishes (top left of photo, above). Enjoy!

It's asparagus time again! Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s asparagus time again! Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And more asparagus! Yes, our friends at Magana Farms return today after their winter hiatus, meaning we now have three farms with asparagus at your Ballard Farmers Market. I suspect they may also bring with them some spring onions, too, if they are true to past history.

Fresh Herbs de Provence & Garlic-Parsley Chevre in new packaging from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh Herbs de Provence & Garlic-Parsley Chevre in new packaging from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Twin Oaks Creamery from Chehalis returns today with all sorts of cow’s milk and goat’s milk deliciousness. You’ll find fresh, pasteurized, bottled cow’s milkfresh chevre (goat cheese), cheese curds (cow cheese), goat yogurtgoat feta and likely some aged raw milk cheeses. Woohoo!

Over-Wintered Cauliflower in the field in Sequim from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Over-Wintered Cauliflower in the field in Sequim from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Over-wintered cauliflower is in the house! Go Nash’s! It’s your birthday! Go Nash’s! It’s your birthday! (Sorry. Lost it a bit there.) This image is, in fact, cauliflower in the field at Nash’s Organic Produce. And when it’s made it through a tough winter, it is oh, so sweet now! They’ve also got a bunch of over-wintered leeks today, too. And I hear they are sending me a recipe to make some awesome soup with the two, so stay tuned.

Camelina oil from Ole World Oils. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Camelina oil from Ole World Oils. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Camelina oil is back today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Produced by Ole World Oils on their farm yonder in Ritzville, this is your local cooking oil. It has a very high smoke point (475 degrees), is high in beneficial omega-fatty acids, with a perfect 2:1 omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, and it is stable, so you don’t need to refrigerate it. It has a wonderful, nutty flavor great for both cooking and as a finishing oil. And I love tossing cauliflower in it and roasting it in a 425 degree oven until just fork tender. The flavors compliment each other well. And best of all, it is priced competitively with olive oil.

Early spring rhubarb from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Early spring rhubarb from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

There is still plenty of time to crank out your first rhubarb crumble of the season before the rest of the family shows up for Easter supper. Just grab some of this fresh rhubarb from Alm Hill Gardens today, and go home and get your crumble on! Just get here early, both because it will sell out, and because it will lower your stress level whilst making your holiday feast.

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

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

Looking for that last-minute Easter ham? Stop by Sea Breeze Farm! They will have plenty today… depending on your definition of “plenty.” Of course, if you are the slacker that rolls in after 2 p.m. today looking for it, you might find that our definition of plenty and yours are at odds. Oh, they will have some fresh lamb today, too!

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

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

When you think about Belgian ales, you think of monks, right? And besides making great beer, what else do Belgian monks do? That’s right! They practice Catholicism. And since this is Easter Sunday, it only follows that you should grab a bottle or three of this holy beverage from our newest vendor, and our first-ever brewery, Propolis Brewing, from Port Townsend. Using malted Washington grains and many local, seasonal ingredients to give each variety its unique flavor, this is the first brewery to qualify to sell at your Ballard Farmers Market, because we actually require all of our alcoholic beverage producers to use at least 95% Washington-grown ingredients. Enjoy!

Easter kugelhopf from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Easter kugelhopf from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This is Easter kugelhopf from Tall Grass Bakery. “This rich buttery flavored golden coffee cake with a rich, buttery flavor is named after the pan with which it is made-kugelhopf pan,” says iFood.tv on its list of the top 10 Easter breads. (Who knew?) It is a German specialty bread, and our friends at Tall Grass Bakery make it extra special. Plus, they will have some hot cross buns (#2 on the list. Kugelhopf is #1.) today, too, and maybe a few other surprises to round out your Easter festivities.

A happy child at Whidbey Island Ice Cream. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A happy child at Whidbey Island Ice Cream. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey, kids (young and old)! Whidbey Island Ice Cream is back at your Ballard Farmers Market! Boy Howdy!!! 2013 was kind of a roller coaster for them, but they’ve settled into their new production facility, and it is time again to get our ice cream on, folks. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

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

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

We’ll finish this week’s epistle — not a Papal epistle, but a farmers market epistle — with this lovely image of Easter’s past from our buddies at Olsen Farms. These are their Easter potato bunnies surrounded by Easter potato eggs. And if you need spuds still for today’s Easter feast, they’ve got those, too. As well as a bunch of freshly smoked hams!

There is plenty more local deliciousness waiting for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Just check What’s Fresh Now! for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now.

Please remember bring your own bags every Sunday, as Seattle’s single-use plastic bag ban is now in effect. Also, please take note of our new green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Ballard Farmers Market, and please make an effort to use them correctly. Each container has what’s okay to put in it pictured right on the lid. Please do not put the wrong materials in, because that drives up the cost of recycling and composting, and it can result in the entire container being sent instead to a landfill. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.

Sunday, July 28th: Juicy Melons, Heirloom Tomatoes, Ginormous Zucchini, Donut Peaches & Ladybugs!

July 27, 2013
A ladybug on a thistle flower from The Old Farmer. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A ladybug on a thistle flower from The Old Farmer. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When’s the last time you saw a ladybug crawling around on flowers at a Big Box store? Round about never, I’d imagine. But ladybugs are common here at your Ballard Farmers Market! This one is on some beautiful thistle flowers from The Old Farmer. And this year, you will find bouquets of flowers here like never before, because so many kinds of flowers are in bloom all at the same time!

Cantaloupe melons and Yellow Doll watermelons from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cantaloupe melons and Yellow Doll watermelons from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Lyall Farms has the first melons of the season today! They just started harvesting these cantaloupes and Yellow Doll watermelons this week. And yet again, their arrival is the earliest we’ve ever recorded. So dive in, folks! This summer is awesome, and who knows when we’ll get the next one like it.

Heirloom tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Heirloom tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One Leaf Farm has been teasing us for the last couple of weeks with their first heirloom tomatoes of the season, and the early birds got them. Well, now, the teasing is over, and we all are in the tomatoes! This is the scene from their tables at our sister Wallingford Farmers Market this past Wednesday. Oh, yeah, baby!

Donut peaches from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Donut peaches from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah. My favorites peaches. These are donut peaches – Saturn donut peaches, to be precise — from Tiny’s Organic Produce. I remember when I first encountered these back in 1999. They were just then beginning to be grown significantly by orchardists here in Washington, and as such, they began making their first appearances in local farmers markets. I came across them when I was visiting the Yakima Farmers Market for the first time — it opened that year. I stayed at a B&B just up Highway 12 in Naches, and that B&B was surrounded by orchards, one of which was full of these funny looking fruits. My hosts offered me one, and I fell instantly in love. They are sweet, juicy, have a tiny, easily removed stone, and are nice and small, so I found them easier to eat, and a lot less messy. And they are delicious. My hosts sent me home with an entire box of them! If you haven’t tried them yet, today’s a great day for them. They are excellent picnic food, and they are great for hikes, too!

Fresh, Washington coastal red king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh, Washington coastal red king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It continues to be a spectacular year for grilling, and that means you’ll need some of this beautiful wild Washington coastal king salmon from Wilson Fish for the barby. I recommend picking up some alderwood smoker chips, too, or better yet, cut some fresh alder branches off of your tree — get ones that are pinky to index finger in diameter and cut them 3-4″ long — and toss them on your hot coals before putting your fish on the grill. The alder smoke with make for absolutely amazing flavor in your salmon!

Slinging fish tacos at Los Chilangos. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Slinging fish tacos at Los Chilangos. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of fishliciousness, how’s about fish tacos from Los Chilangos right here at your Ballard Farmers Market? They use fresh rockfish from our own Wilson Fish, and cook it up to order for you. Sure, you can find fish tacos other places, but can those places tell you the name of the people who caught that fish, let alone be able to direct you just a few feet up the street to where they are standing selling their fish?

Summer chanterelle mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer chanterelle mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wow. Yet another crop arriving earlier than we’ve ever recorded. These are wild summer chanterelle mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. And when I took this photo last week, they also still had morel mushrooms. Yet again, the spring meets the fall in the middle of summer in this extraordinary year we call 2013!

Hericot vert green beans from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hericot vert green beans from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Mmm. Hericot vert green beans from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Okay, franco-snobs, I do realize that the name of these beans I just typed is redundant. It’s like saying “chevre fresh goat cheese.” But some people studied Spanish in grade school, so please… Anywho, these most delicate of green beans — they are very slim and cook quickly — are a true summer treat. I love to do a quick sauté of them with some pearl onions, or the little purple onions Stoney Plains has, and some nice bacon. (I used some of Olsen Farmsjowl bacon Friday night with them — yummers!)

Fresh chevre from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh chevre from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of the department of redundancy department, have you tried one of the several flavors of chevre (fresh goat cheese) fromTwin Oaks Creamery? They are wonderful, with a nice bit of sweetness and tang. Grab a loaf of bread from Tall Grass Bakery, tear off a hunk, slather some of this on it, and you are all set! And don’t forget to try out their fresh goat yogurt and goat and cow milk, too.

Sangiovese from Kitzke Cellars. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sangiovese from Kitzke Cellars. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Kitzke Cellars returns today to your Ballard Farmers Market… hopefully with some of this lovely sangiovese. And if we’re lucky, they’ll have some more of their recently bottled rosé, too. Cuz it has been some serious rosé weather this summer!

Pickles from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pickles from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look, kids! It is a fresh batch of whole dill pickles from Purdy Pickle! Woohoo! And lucky for them… and us… pickling cucumber season started waaay early this summer, which means so too does pickle season. Grab a jar and get your pickle on today!

Huge zucchini from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Huge zucchini from Children’s Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And finally, I promised you ginormous zucchini, and here they are! No, that is not an optical illusion. They are bigger than Chai’s head. You could hunt moose with them. Or make a lot of zucchini bread. Back in my days at Olympia Farmers Market, a lifetime ago, we called zucchini this big “Norwegian trout” for some reason, though I cannot now recall why. “Viking battle club” might make more sense.

There is plenty more local deliciousness waiting for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Just check What’s Fresh Now! for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now.

Please remember bring your own bags every Sunday, as Seattle’s single-use plastic bag ban is now in effect. Also, please take note of our new green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Ballard Farmers Market, and please make an effort to use them correctly. Each container has what’s okay to put in it pictured right on the lid. Please do not put the wrong materials in, because that drives up the cost of recycling and composting, and it can result in the entire container being sent instead to a landfill. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.

Sunday, February 10th: Sweets for the Sweet, And Then Some!

February 9, 2013
Red and berry wines from Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red and berry wines from Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey, kids! It is time for the greatest of all Hallmark holidays, but don’t think that using the fact that a greeting card company created it is going to get you off the hook if you fail to be at your charming best this coming Thursday. I recommend that you go simple, yet go large, and by all means, go local! Here’s a recipe for a perfect Valentine’s Day dinner for two you can make at home, courtesy of your Ballard Farmers Market. Start out with a nice bottle wine or two from Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery. They have a great selection of award winning white, red and berry dessert wines.

Beautiful, non-toxic candles from Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beautiful, non-toxic candles from Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Next step: light some of these beautiful, non-toxic candles from Ascents Candles. Made right here in Ballard, they are made using ingredients that will not, well, kill you. And they come in a wonderful variety of scents made from natural essential oils. Find the one that will set the mood you are aiming for!

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.

Next, break out that oyster knife and get shucking! Yes, you need some of Hama Hama Oyster Company’s live, wild-crafted oysters. They are delicious. They are an aphrodisiac. And they contain lots of zinc, so they will help you fend off the various plagues circulating around here right now!

Fresh tulips from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh tulips from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oh, and you’d better have a stunning bouquet of fresh-cut tulips from Alm Hill Gardens, or all bets are off! I know. You’re thinking, if I get them Sunday, they’ll be done by Thursday. Nope. Alm Hill cut them late Saturday, when they were still a day or so out from blooming. That means that come Thursday, they will be in full, spectacular bloom! As will you… And what the heck. Stack the deck a little. Get two bouquets. One for tonight, and one for Thursday. See, now you’re a genius! (You can thank me later.)

Fresh goat cheese from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh goat cheese from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, it’s time for a little fresh goat cheese from our newest farm, Twin Oaks Creamery. They have it plain or in any number of delicious flavors you will love. And what is sexier than fresh goat cheese, eh? Well, aside from those oyster, that is.

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

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

Don’t forget a nice loaf of artisan bread from Tall Grass Bakery on which to spread that fresh goat cheese. I think these amazing baguettes are the best vehicle for delivering said cheese to your kisser. That said, it probably won’t last until Thursday, for one of two reasons. You’ll either eat it too fast, or it’ll dry out. Solution? Eat one with some cheese tonight, and get another one fresh on Thursday straight from the bakery on 24th. They bake them all day long!

Beef steaks from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beef steaks from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now that you’ve got things warmed up, how about a delicious steak dinner, featuring steaks from Skagit River Ranch. They’ve got all different delicious cuts of grass-finished, pasture-raised beef, from New Yorks to fillets to ribeyes, and more. And since Thursday’s forecast looks lovely, you can dust off the grill and cook ’em up right — over fire!

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A perfect accompaniment to your perfectly grilled steaks will be some of these sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Sweets for the sweet, as it were. And these sweets are awesome! Roast them whole in the oven, or cut them up and roast them under high heat with olive oil and salt, and they will soften and crisp up and be, well, awesome-er. Or you could go Oaxacan on them, and steam them, then mash them with garlic, chipotles and adobe sauce.

Brussels sprouts from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Brussels sprouts from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As your other accompaniment, I recommend these Brussels sprouts from Nash’s Organic Produce. Cut them in half, and then pan-roast them with bacon and shallots. Start with the bacon and shallots, rendering out and browning the former while you sweat and brown the latter. Then toss in your sprouts, letting them get browned in all that bacon-shallot deliciousness. When the sprouts get bright green and just start to get a bit tender, deglaze the pan with some white wine. As the wine cooks down, it also will loosen all the tasty brown bits stuck to the pan, and they will soak into and coat your sprouts. Salt and pepper to taste, and BOOM! You have just blown your sweetie away.

Bacon from Crazy Farmer George at Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bacon from Crazy Farmer George at Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Of course, that means you will need bacon. To the end, head on over to Sea Breeze Farm and load up on some of their amazing, freshly-smoked bacon from their own forest-raised pigs out on Vashon Island. And don’t fear Farmer George while you are there. His bark is worse than his bite… most of the time!

D'Anjou Pears from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

D’Anjou Pears from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For a sexy dessert, how about something with these D’Anjou pears from Martin Family Orchards? You could wine-poach them, or you could bake them. Hmm. You could stuff them with some goat cheese, I suppose. Get creative. The fact that you tried something different will make as big an impression as anything else during your romantic dinner. Besides, you will have a backup plan, right?

Chocolates from Trevani Truffles. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chocolates from Trevani Truffles. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just in case… or just because, you should load up on these stunningly decadent confections from Trevani Truffles. Made by hand using many local ingredients, these artisan chocolates are truly spectacular, and if you don’t hit a home run with these, that nut was not for cracking! So have fun with it, and here’s hoping you have a lovely evening.

Please remember bring your own bags every Sunday, as Seattle’s single-use plastic bag ban is now in effect. Also, please take note of our new green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Ballard Farmers Market, and please make an effort to use them correctly. Each container has what’s okay to put in it pictured right on the lid. Please do not put the wrong materials in, because that drives up the cost of recycling and composting, and it can result in the entire container being sent instead to a landfill. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.

There is plenty more local deliciousness waiting for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Just check What’s Fresh Now! for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now.

Sunday, April 8th: Easter Breads & Pastries, Flowers For Your Tables & Many Spring Greens!

April 8, 2012

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

Happy Passover and Easter, fine people of Ballard! I’m getting a late start with this week’s epistle, as I found myself absorbed, as I do every year at this time, by that Hollywood classic, The Ten Commandments, starring a cast of thousands, in which Charlton Heston frees the Hebrew slaves from bondage under the cruel rule of  Egyptian pharaoh Telly Savalas. You know, I pick up something new each year during ABC’s four-and-a-half hour presentation of this film. For instance, I had no idea that the Occupy Movement took its signature means of communicating through large crowds without an amplifier from Moses, who was the first to say, “Hear, O Israel, Repeat After Me…” But I regress. Something else that happens only once a year is that Grateful Bread Bakery makes hot cross buns and brings them to your Ballard Farmers Market. Luckily, I captured some in pixels (above) last year on Easter. I can almost smell them now. Mmm. Grab some for a true taste of the season.

Fresh flowers from Pa Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You’ll find plenty of fresh, local flowers throughout the Market today, like these from Pa Gardens. Grab a bouquet to brighten up your table for Easter supper, or to bring with you to grandma’s house. It is finally spring. Let it show with fresh daffodils and tulips!

Award winning wines from Lopez Island Vineyards. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pick up a bottle of Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery’s award-winning wines to accompany your meal to celebrate ancient beliefs. After all, wine is one of the oldest forms of food preservation. Back in biblical times, they had no refrigerators or freezers to preserve fruit harvests year-round, but juice it and ferment it, and it kept for months and years! Few things truly make we humans feel like the really smart monkeys we are like wine.

Fresh chevre from Port Madison. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of ancient forms of food preservation, blessed are the cheese makers! And one such cheese maker returns after their winter hiatus today: Port Madison Farms. The kidding season has passed, and all the little baby goats are now bouncing around the farm over on Bainbridge Island, and their moms are now producing some amazing milk that Port Madison turns into some delicious goat cheese. Another example of ancient human ingenuity, and another great addition to your feast!

Miners lettuce from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s tawk spring greens, eh? After a very long, cold, dark winter — and aren’t they all — it pleases me no end to now be adding stuff back into the “vegetables” page under “What’s Fresh Now!” every week. Like this wonderful miners lettuce from Stoney Plains, for instance. It gets its name from the fact that miners used to live off the stuff. It grows wild all over the place here, but it is also cultivated. It is like watercress, crunchy yet tender, full of nutrients, with a slightly lemony flavor to it. And it makes for the most amazing spring salads, simply dressed with a few radishes, some pine nuts, some seasoning, olive oil and lemon juice.

Mixed kale raabs from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This time of year, as the days grow longer, all the over-winter crops want to bolt. Yup, it’s mating season for them, too, and the kales, chards, Brussels sprouts, collard greens and cabbages all just want to flower and spread their seed. But before they do, they have this wondering in-between period when their tender, budding tops, called raab, are just plain delicious and sweet as can be. Given the cold winter we’ve had, all the raabs, like this mixed kale raab from Colinwood Farms, are especially sweet. See, cold weather elicits a kind of defensive response in these leafy greens of sweetness — nature’s anti-freeze! Enjoy!

New lettuce from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Your eyes do not deceive you, and neither do I. This really is lettuce! That’s right. Children’s Garden wins the award this spring for being the first farm to bring lettuce to your Ballard Farmers Market. In this photo, you see butterhead and green leaf lettuce. I’ve been enjoying some of the butterhead lettuce with lettuce wraps this past week. So step away from that Arizona lettuce from the Big Box store and start eating it local again!

Cabbage raab from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, for today anyway, some more raab — red cabbage raab to be precise, from Nash’s Organic Produce. Besides the fact that I just love the light in this photo, you should know that this is perhaps the sweetest form of cabbage you can eat. It truly is a completely different way to enjoy it. In the immortal words of John Lennon, give raab a chance!

Hey, there is plenty of 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.