Posts Tagged ‘clams’

Sunday, September 9th: Sweet Potatoes, Winter Squash, Black-Eyed Susans, Saffron Corms & Some Folks Taking A Break After Today’s Market, So Stock Up!

September 9, 2012

Black-eyed Susans from Pa Garden. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I don’t usually start off with flowers in my weekly blog posts, but I also don’t usually have a photo of these stunning black-eyed susans from Pa Garden. They just scream September, don’t they? You know, ever since I first began working with farmers markets like a century ago — okay, it was 1991, but still… — I have come to recognize that our seasons are color-coded. And at no time of year is this more evident than right now, as we begin our shift from summer to fall crops. Think about that as you continue on reading this week’s epistle, and enjoy it in all its splendor as you walk through your Ballard Farmers Market today. Because we have now entered the highest of the high season — September is peak season for local produce, and at no other time of year will you find more different crops on our farmers’ tables than right now!

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

Look, kids! It’s sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms at your Ballard Farmers Market. Yeah, baby! Sweet, nutritious tuberous deliciousness! And an early taste of fall. Only one local farm grows sweet potatoes to sell at Ballard Farmers Market. Most in Seattle come from far, far away. Enjoy these. They are wonderful!

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

Right now is also peak season for fresh king salmon from Wilson Fish. Why? Because right now, the salmon are beginning to swim from the Washington coast, where they’ve been fattening themselves up for months now, through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and into the Frasier River, where they will make one of the longest journeys of any fish on earth, deep into Canada to eventually spawn until they die. See, once they leave the ocean and enter the River, they stop eating, so they need to have stored a lot of fat up before they start that journey. Add to that that we are seeing big returns of four and five year kings this year, and the result is fish that are much larger and loaded with flavorful fat, making them the best of the year. And add to that that the Washington coastal salmon season ends in just a couple of weeks, and the answer is that now is the time to enjoy incredible, local salmon!

Saffron corms from Phocas Farms. Photo courtesy Phocas Farms.

“This will be the second of three, possibly four, Market Sundays at which I’ll have saffron corms available for purchase,” says Jim Robinson of Phocas Farms. They are sustainably grown with OMRI approved nutrients in an herbicide and pesticide free environment. Many know Phocas Farms for their spectacular collection of succulents, and some know them for the saffron they produce in Port Angeles. The problem lately is that they are a victim of their own success, having all of their saffron harvest pre-sold to many of Seattle’s top chefs. That means, if you want some of Jim’s saffron, your best bet is to get some of these saffron corms today and grow it yourself! (For more information about saffron cultivation, visit

Varnish clams from Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These little clams are affectionately called varnish clams by the good folks of Hama Hama Oyster Company because of the color of their shells. They are tasty, and you should eat as many of them as you can, because in reality, they are an invasive species brought here from the East Coast many years ago. So, you’ll actually being doing yourself and Hama Hama a favor by gorging yourself on them! (Don’t you just love mixing virtue with gluttony?)

Winter squash from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of an early taste of fall, how’s about winter squash from Stoney Plains Organic Farm? Yuppers, they’ve got it already. Deeply sweet with a divine texture, you gotta love ‘em. And keep in mind that they store really well, so even if you are not quite in the mood for it now, get some for later. Because we’ve only got four more weeks left in the season for your Ballard Farmers Market. Just store them in a cool, dark, dry place, and be sure to let the stems fully dry out without molding, and whatever you do, don’t remove the stem!

Award-winning jersey cow yogurt from Silver Springs Creamery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The good news is that this is the best yogurt in America. This jersey cow yogurt from Silver Springs Creamery is rich and creamery and absolutely amazing, and it won Best Yogurt at the 2010 American Cheese Society Awards. Their jersey cow milk and goat milkyogurt and cheese are great as well. The bad news is that this will be their last week at your Ballard Farmers Market for a while, as Farmer Eric is taking a bit of a rest break, due to doctors orders. So, stock up on yogurt and cheese today, as it keeps, and get your last fix of their milk for a while.

Peppers from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of rocking the fall colors, how’s about these peppers from Colinwood Farms. They’re on fi-wuh, as Elmer Fudd would say. These babies vary in intensity, so do as questions, so you’ll get what you’re looking for. I am loving grill-roasting peppers right now. Their sweet meatiness combined with the grill’s smokiness are simply delicious.

Celery from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Celery seems so un-sexy, especially amidst all this magnificent late summer color, but fall is a season that begs for good celery — for making soups, roasts, salads, stuffings and more. And no one grows better celery than Boistfort Valley Farm. Seriously, if you’ve only ever experienced celery from the Big Box stores, you are in for a real treat. This celery is fresher, sweeter, tastier and more nutritious. I know. You’ve been hearing all that anti-organic propaganda lately saying it is no more nutritious than conventionally-grown produce, right, and that it still has pesticide residues. Well, perhaps someone should have suggested that the folks down in Palo Alto at Stanford University take the time to actually compare conventionally-grown crops, and large-scale organic crops, for that matter, to freshly-harvested local crops at farmers market. Because the reality is that the crop diversity, care for the soil and the fact that crops are harvested usually within 24 hours of coming to market makes the crops on the tables of the small, local, family farms at your Ballard Farmers Market more nutritious. The better the soil, the better the crop variety, and the fresher it is, the more nutrients are packed in them. Just sayin’.

Lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now, there’s some fall color, eh? Wild lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles! These dense, earthy mushrooms are incredibly flavorful, easy to work with, and make for an excellent accompaniment to meat, fish, pasta and more. And we are blessed with an extra early, long season for them this year, so enjoy!

Julianna from Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

If you are looking for non-toxic candles made from natural, essential oils, you must check out our own Ascents Candles at your Ballard Farmers Market. Think about it. You are likely burning candles in your home, right? But most candles are made from materials that, when burned, release toxic gases into the air… meaning into your house. I’m thinking you probably don’t want to be doing that, right? Solution: get your candles from Ascents Candles. Simple. Except that Julianna is about to take a month-long break from the Market after today. So stock up! You’ll find lots of great prices today, too!

Cucumbers from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look! Even the cucumbers are getting in on the colorful action today! Just take a gander at this collection of the fruity vegetables from Full Circle Farm. From slicers to lemon cukes to picklers, they’ve got a cucumber for every occasion, and I’m not even sure what that means.

Sunrise apples from Jerzy Boyz. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another sure sign of the waning days of summer is the return of Jerzy Boyz with their gorgeous organic orchard fruit, like these sunrise apples. They grow a number of heirloom varieties not grown by any other orchardist at your Ballard Farmers Market, from peaches to apples to pears. Stop by, welcome them back, try a sample or two and pick up some fruit for the week!

Finally, another reminder to please bring your own bags today, and 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, May 22nd: Summer Run Returns, Pea Vines, Green Garlic, Rhubarb & Oysterliciousness

May 22, 2011

Lovely lettuce from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids, another one of our bedrock farms returns today for the 2011 season: Summer Run! Catherine always has the most amazing — and huge — lettuce to start of the year. And we can likely expect to see other gorgeous greens and some plants from the farm, too.

You know, this past week has been a big one for us here at Seattle Farmers Market Association, the folks who operate your Ballard Farmers Market year-round. See, besides opening up two of our four seasonal markets this week — Madrona Farmers Market (Fridays) & Georgetown Farmers Market (Saturdays) — we also announced the new location of the Olympic Sculpture Park Farmers Market, which had to relocate due to budget cuts at the Seattle Art Museum. We are happy to introduce to you to Interbay Farmers Market as our new Thursday market. Located in front of the Whole Foods store on 15th Avenue W, it will continue to serve the residents of North Belltown and Lower Queen Anne, while it also will serve commuters headed by car, bus or bike from Downtown to Ballard and Magnolia! That’s you guys!!! So you’ll now have mid-week access to many of your favorite Ballard vendors. How cool is that? Interbay Farmers Market opens Thursday, June 9th at 3 p.m., and will operate every Thursday, 3-7 p.m., through the end of September.

Pea vines from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Holy binding tendrils, Batman! It’s pea vines from Oxbow Farm! (Must I say more?)

Alm Hill has the first green garlic of the season. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, if you have never enjoyed green garlic, a.k.a., spring garlic, please do yourself the favor of trying it now. Alm Hill Gardens is just one of several farms offering it now. Basically, green garlic is a lot like green onions. It looks like scallions, and it is basically the garlic (like with onions) before it forms the familiar bulb that most of us think of as garlic. But it is tender, sweet and grassy, and at a time of year when the storage garlic is all sprouting or rotting in our root cellars (or cabinets), green garlic gives us our garlic fix with a milder flavor, no peel to, um, peel, and it cooks up beautifully with greens or asparagus, or just toss it on the grill. Me, I like tossing it with spring onions, morel mushrooms, asparagus and some olive oil, salt and pepper in a baking dish and roasting the lot for about 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Simple. And a little bit of spring heaven!

Rhubarb from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I have to admit it. I am grooving to KC & The Sunshine Band as I write this epistle. I have no idea what that has to do with this lovely rhubarb from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. I just thought I’d share. Maybe I’m a bit bandy from all the big doings this past week. I am certainly sleep deprived. But I’m not so far gone as to be unable to appreciate how good this rhubarb would be in a nice rhubarb crisp, with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. (“Shake, shake, shake your booty.” – KC)

Live oysters & clams from Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know what would go well with some KC? Oysters from Hama Hama Oyster Company, that’s what! Shuck, shuck, shuck. Shuck your oysters, baby. But hey, maybe your not into shucking. Then get yours pickled or smoked! And if you’re just not into oysters, get a bag of the clams. I’m just sayin’… (More cow bell, baby, yeah!)

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.

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, August 22nd: The Finest Local, Healthy, Sustainably-Produced Meat, Seafood & Poultry

August 22, 2010

Cans of albacore tuna from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Reason #34,872 why you should vote right now for your Ballard Farmers Market as America’s Favorite Farmers Market before the voting closes at midnight on August 31st: 11 different vendors selling meat, seafood and poultry they produce sustainably directly to you. You won’t get quality animal proteins like this anywhere else, unless you find it elsewhere from these very producers. But then, why would you do that? Why not give these good folks all the money, right? Cut out the middle man! And let’s start by saluting Fishing Vessel St. Jude and its superb Washington coastal albacore tuna. Did you know that albacore tuna spawn in the icy waters of the North Pacific? Yup. And St. Jude catches them as teenagers swimming south to tropical waters, which means the fish are still very low in mercury and very high in omega fatty acids, making this tuna, be it fresh loins, canned, smoked or jerkied, the best friggin’ tuna you’ve ever tasted, and tuna that ain’t gonna kill you, either.

Fresh ducks from Stokesberry Organic Poultry. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Stokesberry Sustainable Farm raises organic chicken, duck and beef, and even the occasional rabbit I hear. What they produce is so good that you will find in on the menus of many of the most celebrated restaurants in Seattle. I love that they actually cut up their chickens into parts so I can just get a couple of legs or a bag of giblets without having to get the whole bird, though I can get the whole bird if I want to. (In fact, I think I saw Jerry Stokesberry giving me the bird once. Perhaps I said something inappropriate, or cut him off in traffic.)

Rib steaks from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Olsen Farms may be known for its extraordinary selection of heirloom varieties of potatoes, but they also produce some amazing beef, lamb and pork, too. And besides steaks, roasts and chops, they offer sausage, salami, bacon, ham, smoked hocks, and even the odd dog chew. And I hear their animals sometimes get to eat some of their potatoes, too. The cool thing about that is, when you cook their bacon, you don’t need hash browns. But you should probably have some anyway, made from Olsen potatoes, of course.

David of Wilson Fish is despondent while Pete of Pete's Perfect Butter Toffee sobs over the fact that the fish is sold out at 11:30 a.m. on May 24, 2009. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

At Wilson Fish, they like to say, “If our fish was any fresher, it would be from the future.” In most cases, the salmon, halibut, rockfish and true cod you pickup from them at your Ballard Farmers Market was swimming the day before. These guys are catching this fish on the Washington coast, bringing it back to Olympia the same day, filleting and bagging it, and bringing it to you the next day, and mind you, they are doing this usually after another farmers market the previous day. If you haven’t tried their fish, you are really missing out on something special. Just don’t get here too late!

A beautiful pastured chicken from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Years ago, I drove out to Growing Things Farm in Carnation to pickup one of their chickens for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. My family has not eaten a Thanksgiving turkey since. Honestly, it was the best chicken we’d ever tasted. Trust me, if you have never had a truly farm fresh, pastured chicken — if you are still eating chicken you buy at the Big Box Store, regardless of whether it is labeled “organic” or “free range” or whatever — you simply must try one. Once you do, you will never go back. Consider yourself warned!

Another beautiful case of fresh, local meat, straight from the farm, from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Who doesn’t love standing in front of the refrigerator case at Sea Breeze Farm, thoroughly examining each of this week’s offerings of beef, pork, lamb, veal, chicken, duck, sausage, pate, stock, bacon, and on and on. It is magnificent, is it not? It is also incredible. The meat is extraordinary. And the sausages are nothing short of masterful. (And, I have discovered, they are also addictive.)

Lard from Samish Bay. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Samish Bay is best know for its cheeses, which, by the way, you must stop by and try. But they also raise great grass-finished beef and pastured pork. And hey, if you are going to use lard in your recipes, don’t you really want to know where it comes from? I mean, the stuff in those cans at the Big Box Store… do you really trust it? And besides, the fat of pastured pigs ain’t gonna kill you quite so quickly, and it’ll make your pies taste better, too.

Fresh whole keta salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pete Knutsen, owner of Loki Fish, is one of the great rabble-rousing heroes of local fishers here in Seattle, battling the brain trust at the Port of Seattle for many years to protect our beloved Fishermen’s Terminal as something that is for working fishers, and not for the yachts of rich tourists and Microsoft millionaires (not that there’s anything wrong with rich tourists and Microsoft millionaires, but they can park their @#$%@#$!!!ing yachts in Shilshole Bay or on Lake Union, not at Fishermen’s Terminal, for the love of Mike!), and he has suffered the Port’s retribution for it. But without Pete, I am not sure we would still have Fishermen’s Terminal at all. So lift a pint to Pete tonight, and pickup for dinner some of the amazing salmon he and his family bring to your Ballard Farmers Market every week. They catch five different species of salmon in Alaska and Washington waters, and they handle it with tremendous care. Besides fresh and smoked salmon, they offer salmon lox, jerky, patties, sausage, roe, canned salmon and a bunch of other salmon goodness.

A Mother's Day 2009 visit to Ballard Farmers Market from the entire family Vojkovich of Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Writer Michael Pollan has made farmer Joel Salatin, who farms in Virginia, into this folk hero who as hit the speaking circuit now himself. And sure, Salatin deserves it, I suppose. But if I want to hear someone wax poetic, and scientific for that matter, about farming and animal husbandry, I would just as soon spend an afternoon with Farmer George (a.k.a., George Vojkovich) of Skagit River Ranch. Honestly, I have never met anyone more chock full of knowledge about raising livestock sustainably than George. Indeed, I spent a day with George on the ranch, and I learned all about how he cares for his animals to an almost obsessive degree, from caring for the soil out of which their forage grows, to tending that forage, to whistling and calling the herd from one pasture to the next all by himself — not even with a dog. I even got to see the mobile slaughter unit in action on the farm, a system of dispatching the animals right on the farm in a lower-stress environment that the USDA inspector onsite told me was the most humane method he has ever seen. So if you want healthy, guilt-free meat and poultry from animals that live happy lives, visit the Vojkovichs today at your Ballard Farmers Market for chicken, beef, pork, sausage, ham, bacon, and more.

A crown of goat from Quilceda Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Goat is the most commonly eaten meat on earth. It is just we Gringos that don’t eat it. Gee, could it be because we are uptight Americans? I mean, even the French and British eat goat. It is lean with a flavor a touch milder than lamb. I love the stuff. Quilceda Farms in Marysville produces delicious goat meat. They offer it in steaks, chops, roasts, shanks, sausages and more, and they conveniently provide a huge collection of recipes you can choose from to help break you in.

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

Oyster Bill Whitbeck of Taylor Shellfish is one of truly large personalities at your Ballard Farmers Market — a genuine legend in his own time. He has played a key role in connecting us all to the wonders of Washington shellfish over many years of hard work. Each week, he brings to Market some of the best oysters, clams, mussels and geoduck one can expect to find anywhere on earth, and yet it comes from right here!

Indeed, it is somewhat of an embarrassment of riches we enjoy at our beloved Ballard Farmers Markets. Think about it. How often do you hear some tourist or visiting relative or friend wandering through the Market commenting that they don’t have markets like this in their state. Okay, maybe you haven’t been to farmers markets in other states, so you think this is the way it is everywhere. Heck, it is isn’t even this way at other markets in this city, let alone other states! 11 different vendors selling their meat, seafood and poultry — 12 in the winter, when we are joined by Cape Cleare Fishery. And then there’s the six cheese makers, two grain growers, the honey, the bakeries, the foragers, the flowers, the cider and wine makers and all that incredible produce. Not to mention all the camera crews from around the world we have to negotiate around. Honestly, are you telling me you still haven’t voted for Ballard Farmers Market as America’s Favorite Farmers Market? Please, vote now. We’ve only got nine more days!

And remember, there is plenty more for you to find today at your Ballard Farmers Market. But before you click on the What’s Fresh Now! pages to see what all else is in season right now, please do take a moment to vote for Ballard Farmers Market in American Farmland Trust’s America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest. And thank you!