Posts Tagged ‘confections’

Sunday, December 1st: It’s Buy Direct From The Local Producer At Your Ballard Farmers Market Sunday!

November 30, 2013
Wreathe assembly at Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wreathe assembly at Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know when it starts snowing on the blog for your Ballard Farmers Market that we have arrived in the holiday season. We all experienced the once-in-a-lifetime convergence of Thanksgiving and Chanukah this past week, and now we look ahead to Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Zappadan, Christmas, New Year’s, my buddy Jimmy’s birthday and anniversary, or whatever you might celebrate. It’s time to get festive all up in here, people. This year, let’s make it special. Let’s make it unique. Let’s make it beautiful and delicious. Let’s make it local. And let’s do it all right here at your Ballard Farmers Market!

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

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

Let’s get it started with one of these fresh, fragrant holiday wreathes from Alm Hill Gardens. Made from a variety of fresh cuttings of gorgeous plants right on the farm, they will last for months, even indoors, and they smell amazing. I got to visit Clayton and the gang on Wednesday up in Everson, and I witnessed the farm crew assembling these beauties (see top photo). They come in various sizes, so whether you live in an apodment with a tiny door, or in a McMansion, they’ve got a wreathe that is perfect for you. They also have garlands and such for dressing up your mantle and your dining room table. And while you are in the festive spirit, keep in mind that if you open a new checking account at HomeStreet Bank on Crown Hill (at 15th & 83rd) between now and December 7th, they will donate $50 to the Ballard Farmers Market Fresh Bucks program, but you have to remember to tell them that’s where you want that $50 to go. And thanks in advance!

Sesame loaf (left) and whole grain sandwich bread from d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sesame loaf (left) and whole grain sandwich bread from d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is getting darker and colder each day, as we march headlong into the Winter Solstice, and that means we all want to devour the nearest breads and cakes. That can be frustrating for folks who require a gluten-free diet. Lucky for you, though, nuflours gluten-free bakery makes some of the most incredible baked goods you’ll find anywhere — not just great gluten-free products, but stuff anyone would happily inhale. Just take a look at this bread. Have you ever seen gluten-free bread that looked that gorgeous? Stop by and try out their cookiescakessweet and savory breadspastries and more!

Sheets of salt at San Juan Island Sea Salt. Photo courtesy San Juan Island Sea Salt.

Sheets of salt at San Juan Island Sea Salt. Photo courtesy San Juan Island Sea Salt.

Yes, it is getting chilly outside, but this is not ice. This is salt from our own Salish Sea. What you are looking at is sheets of sea salt that have formed atop the solar-powered evaporation ponds in the greenhouses of San Juan Island Sea Salt. This salt is amazing. I cooked the best chicken of my life using it this past week. See, this salt tastes of where we live. Like the terroir of wine and cheese, and the merroir of oysters, sea salt tastes of the place from which it comes, and that means it makes everything taste just a little more special. So give some a try today. And it comes in some lovely packages that make for great gifts!

Herbal teas from Harbor Herbalist. Photo copyright 2013 by Ben Chandler.

Herbal teas from Harbor Herbalist. Photo copyright 2013 by Ben Chandler.

While your are treating yourself, or stuffing the stocking of someone special, you can’t go wrong with any one of the many flavors of herbal teas from Harbor Herbalist. They handcraft a tea for your every mood. Stop by and check them all out, give them a smell, and bring home some soul-warming deliciousness.

Shaving kit from Brown Butterfly. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Shaving kit from Brown Butterfly. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

With all the bearded men around Ballard these days, one might think, “who needs a shaving kit?” Well, I do, for one. See, some of us still enjoy a clean shave. If the special guy in your life likes a clean, close shave and healthy skin, pick him up one of these wonderful shaving kits from Brown Butterfly Aromatherapy this holiday season. (Of course, you might pick one up for your bearded fellow, too, if it’s just plain time.)

Hand-forged blue steele pans from Blu Skillet. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hand-forged blue steele pans from Blu Skillet. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Carbon steel pans are great for searing and caramelizing – and they make fantastic over-easy eggs! They are similar to cast iron, but forged rather than cast. This makes the pans lighter and easier to handle, as well as less porous and quicker to season.  They can take high temperatures, and they can go from stove top, to oven, to table – where they make a beautiful addition!” Sometimes, it is just easier to quote the vendor’s website, you know? Especially when it is as well-written as is the site for Blu Skillet Ironware. Patrick Maher and Caryn Badgett make these gorgeous pans right here in Ballard.

When I got my first pan from them back in June, I wasn’t sure if it would pull me away from my beloved vintage Revere Ware stainless steel pans, but it has. I use it every day now. It browns and sears great. It cleans easily. And best of all, it is made right here in Ballard! Yup, one more thing you don’t need Corporate America to do for you anymore! Booyah!

A personal-sized still from Daily Bird Pottery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A personal-sized still from Daily Bird Pottery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Daily Bird Pottery makes lovely naked pottery, as in it is not glazed, that makes all your foods and beverages taste better. Seriously. See, there is a special chemical reaction that takes place between the clay and your food and drink that results in less bitterness and great flavor. They’ve got cups and shot glasses, tableware and ovenware, ornamentals, and even these cool, little personal stills, in case you know someone who would like to join the local craft distillery craze.

Gingerbread from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gingerbread from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gingerbread, anyone? This time each year, our friends at Ballard’s own Tall Grass Bakery start making various bready holiday treats, like this wonderful gingerbread. Enjoy it while you can, as it’ll only be around for a few short weeks!

Handmade beaded necklaces from Gypsy Beaded Creations. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Handmade beaded necklaces from Gypsy Beaded Creations. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These beautiful beaded necklaces are handmade by Gypsy Beaded Creations right here in the Market on many days. Corrine has a bunch of new designs for this season, and with a great selection, you’ll be sure to find one that you, or someone you love, will adore.

Beautiful, hand-turned wooden tableware from Vern Tater. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beautiful, hand-turned wooden tableware from Vern Tater. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

What table would not benefit from one of these stunning turned wood creations from Vern Tater, Woodturner. Vern makes everything by hand, from salad bowls to bottle stoppers to salt & pepper mills, all using gorgeous pieces of local wood.

Slinging veggie quesadillas at Patty Pan Grill. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Slinging veggie quesadillas at Patty Pan Grill. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of no longer needing Big Corporate America, did you know that Patty Pan Grill has ditched Big Ag cooking oils in favor of using Camelina Gold cooking oil from Ole World Oils. Available right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, this local cooking oil is high in anti-oxidents, is non-GMO, tastes incredible, can withstand very high heat — 475 degrees! — and is produced in Ritzville from camelina seed grown in Ritzville. Boom!

Berry cream confections from Jessie's Berries. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Berry cream confections from Jessie’s Berries. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These delicious little sweets are berry cream confections from our own Jessie’s Berries. Perfect for gifts and holiday parties, they make them with their own berries! Stop by and try some today! You can thank me later. (Please note that Fishing Vessel St. Jude, with their local albacore tuna, will not be here today, but will instead be hear next Sunday, December 8th.)

Judy & Gil receive recognition by the King County Council for Wallingford Farmers Market. Photo courtesy Councilman Larry Phillips office.

Judy & Gil receive recognition by the King County Council for Wallingford Farmers Market. Photo courtesy Councilman Larry Phillips office.

On November 18th, Wallingford Farmers Market, our sister market, was honored by the King County Council. It was just the latest recognition for what is easily the most beautiful market in the area, located in Meridian Park at N. 50th Street and Meridian Avenue N. Earlier this year, it was declared Washington State Farmers Market of the Year by the Washington State Farmers Market Association. It is open from the end of May through the end of September on Wednesday evenings. We hope you’ll join us there next summer!

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, December 30th: Everything You Need For A Perfect New Year’s Eve Par-tay!

December 30, 2012
Wines from Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wines from Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Happy New Year, good people of Ballard! 2013. Can you believe it? We weren’t even supposed to be here now. Good thing the Mayans are smarter than us. Well, tomorrow night, we’re gonna party like it’s 1999. Um, well, never mind. If I recall, that was about the lamest New Year’s Eve party in Seattle — maybe anywhere — ever. It was a month after WTO, some guy had just tried to smuggle explosives in from Canada on a ferry to Port Angeles, and then Mayor Paul Schell, scaredie pants that he was (not to mention his inability to manage public safety in this town), cancelled Seattle’s millennium celebration. We were the laughing stock of the world. After Seattle’s finest kicked us out of Seattle Center at 6:30 p.m., we were, err, “treated” to three minutes of fireworks “magic” from the Space Needle that amounted to one enormous pffft, and people by the thousands were heard chanting disparaging things against the mayor all over the city, followed by the mayor failing to even make it through the primary in September — the first since the 1930s. I can still remember the Tonight Show making fun of Seattle, showing big parties all over the world, and then Seattle, with three old guys sitting around in an otherwise dark, empty room in their boxers, blowing on noise makers. Then, there was the January 2nd banner headline on the front of the Sunday Seattle Times that read, “Schell: ‘I’m Not A Wuss’.” Oy. (BTW, these are lovely wines from Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery.)

Head cheese from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Head cheese from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Of course, back then, we also expected the world to come to an end. Our electric grid would screech to a halt come the turning of the calendar to the year 2000, and all of our computers would burst into flames. We all filled our bathtubs with water before going out to party that night, and we all had plenty of ready-to-eat canned food, bottled drinking water, first aid kits and gas masks. Mind you, I think most of us got the gas masks more in response to the WTO being in town than the threat of Y2K meltdowns, but in any case, we all woke up the next morning with throbbing heads, tubs full of tepid water, and plenty of regularly scheduled bowl games on perfectly functioning televisions. We all felt more than a little silly, because unlike this year’s Mayan calendar mania, in 1999, a lot of us really expected the new year to greet us with calamity. Humans is such stupid animals. (Mmm. Tasty head cheese from Sea Breeze Farm.)

Bloody Mary Mix from Zane & Zack's World Famous Honey Co. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bloody Mary Mix from Zane & Zack’s World Famous Honey Co. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know, your Ballard Farmers Market was born in the year 2000. It was that summer that the farmers left the Fremont Sunday Market, back when Fremont was being completely redeveloped, and set up shop in the parking lot of the U.S. Bank at 56th & 22nd, now, the location of the Ballard branch of the Seattle Public Library. And this time 12 years ago, we were in the midst of a grand experiment — the city’s first year-round neighborhood farmers market. The winter of 2000-2001 was miserable, wet and cold, and many Sundays saw just our Market Master, Judy, and Anselmos Farm out there, sticking it out for a very loyal core of Ballard customers. (Bloody Mary mix and pho sauce from Zane & Zack’s World Famous Honey Co.)

Pickled salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pickled salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hard to believe that what we see every Sunday on Ballard Ave now had such humble beginnings, but there it is. So perhaps we should wish you into the new year with this thought: start small, but dream big, because you can make it happen. A handful of people dreamed of a great market in Ballard, and today, Ballard Farmers Market is the highest sales volume market in the state, world renowned, and one of Seattle’s top tourist destinations. In 1998, the Ballard Chamber of Commerce said it wanted a Sunday farmers market, because the neighborhood was empty on Sundays. Ballard Ave was loaded with empty storefronts. While the rest of Seattle boomed, it seemed Ballard had gone bust. Today, it is challenging to find parking in Ballard on Sunday, Ballard Ave has blossomed with dozens of new businesses, many of which were lured to the neighborhood by the success of Ballard Farmers Market. The neighborhood is perhaps the strongest in the city, and Seattle’s finest chefs fight for locations near Seattle’s finest farmers market. And your Ballard Farmers Market could not be more proud. (Pickled keta salmon from Loki Fish.)

Fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Soda. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Soda. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

So we’ve got plenty to celebrate. Let’s party like we’re happy, folks, not like we’re expecting the end of days. Your Ballard Farmers Market has everything you need to make for a great party… well, except for fireworks. But for that, you still have the Space Needle. I know you’ve been riveted by every word I’ve written here so far, but please take the time to notice all the delicious photos above and below of all sorts of wonderful, local goodness that’ll help you ring in the new year in style, while supporting good, local, living-wage jobs, and in so doing, will help continue to build Ballard’s robust economy. Like these fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Soda Company. And did you know that these fresh sodas, made with great, local ingredients, are available for you to take home in half-gallon growlers, for you to serve to the designated drivers and minors at your whoopdeedoo, or, if you desire, for you to mix with an adult beverage of your choice.

Delicious handmade caramels from Jonboy Caramels. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Delicious handmade caramels from Jonboy Caramels. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Of course, we’ve got local wine (up top), superb charcuteriemixerspickled salmon and sweets! Like these irresistible caramels from Jonboy Caramels. Made right here in Ballard from local ingredients, these are some of the finest caramels you will find anywhere, and they will make your guests very happy.

Raw & vegan snacks from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Raw & vegan snacks from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You’ll need crackery and snacky things for munching, crunching and dipping, and why not make them raw and vegan while your at it, so none of your more high maintenance guests will complain. Visit our own House of the Sun, also born right here in Ballard, for these amazing crackers and kale chips, as well as some great hummus, too. They please any palate, vegan or not!

Eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eggs? What do eggs have to do with a New Year’s Eve party, you ask? Simple. Two words: deviled eggs. Yeah, baby. I mean, I suppose they could symbolize fertility — the birth of a new year ripe with new opportunities — but seriously… deviled eggs are like garlic — there is no such thing as too much. Am I right? That said, you may also want to have eggs for breakfast the next afternoon, too. Stop by Stokesberry Sustainable Farm for some of these beautiful, pastured eggs from happy chickens down in Olympia. (If those chickens only new what else happens down there, they might not be so happy.)

Pickled Golden Beets from Gaia's Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pickled Golden Beets from Gaia’s Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is hard to have too many pickles, either. They make every gathering more delicious. Have you checked out the newly expanded selection of pickliciousness from Gaia’s Natural Goods lately? They are making pickles, like these pickled golden beets, from produce they grow on their own farm! Not only tasty, they are good for you, too, but don’t let that discourage you from enjoying them on New Year’s Eve.

A variety of soups by Got Soup? Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A variety of soups by Got Soup? Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Whether you want to impress your guests with an elegant Crab Bisque, or settle in for a day of watching football in your jammies on New Year’s Day with some Curried Cauliflower, Got Soup? makes it easy. They’ve got a great lineup of locally-produced gourmet soups made with ingredients from Market vendors, conveniently packaged in frozen quart containers. All you do is take ’em home, heat ’em up, and lie to everyone else about how long you spent slaving over a hot stove recreating it from your grandmother’s long lost recipe.

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.

Nothing makes a party a party like fresh oysters on the half shell from Hama Hama Oyster Company, the oyster company so nice they named it twice. They’re delicious. They’re an aphrodisiac. Heck, they’re even loaded with zinc, to help you ward off, or fight off, that nasty cold that’s been going around. And they’ve got pickled and smoked oysters, too, plus shucked jar oysters.

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You’ll need crusty, artisan breads to soak up the party juice tomorrow night. Plus, it makes a great foundation for cheese, smoked salmon, hummus, what have you. Check in with Ballard’s own Tall Grass Bakery for breads like their Pain au Levain (left), Baker Street Sourdough, and Avery’s Pumpernickel. And did you know that Tall Grass got its start with us over in Fremont in the late 1990s, using other bakeries’ kitchens at first, before growing in the storefront you see today on 24th Ave?

Peanut brittle from Pete's Perfect Butter Toffee. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Peanut brittle from Pete’s Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of sweets, nobody makes them better than Pete’s Perfect Toffee. Stop by for a sample, then load up on toffeefudge or some of this peanut butter brittle. Just make sure you get enough for everyone at your party, so no fights break out. Heck, just stash it in your closest and eat it all yourself on New Year’s Day!

Smoked king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Smoked king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ooh. Smoked salmon. Local smoked salmon from Wilson Fish, in fact. They catch their fish off the coast of Washington. And you’d be hard-pressed to find better smoked salmon anywhere. Just get here early to get yours, because last week, they were sold out before noon! It’s that good!

Honey Crisp Apple Cider from Rockridge Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Honey Crisp Apple Cider from Rockridge Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rockridge Orchards bottles a variety of sweet apple ciders, great anytime, but also perfect as a mixer, or for your designated drivers and minors, at your New Year’s Eve party. Of course, keep in mind that they have plenty of the high-octane stuff, too — hard ciders and berry wines — to please you and your guests!

Samish Bay Cheese makes a variety of delicious farmstead cheeses. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Samish Bay Cheese makes a variety of delicious farmstead cheeses. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Blessed are the cheese makers. And you will need cheese tomorrow night. If you haven’t tried the incredible selection of artisan, farmstead cheeses made by Samish Bay Cheese, you are missing something special. Several are award winners from the American Cheese Society, and they are quite unique styles of cheese here in the Northwest. Stop by and sample some today, even if you think you remember them from before. Because they’re not making gouda anymore, folks. This stuff is in an entirely different league!

Please be safe out there tomorrow night, have a great time, and please don’t drink and drive. We want to see you back here again next Sunday.

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, November 11th: Eating Local For Thanksgiving Begins With Your Ballard Farmers Market!

November 11, 2012

Chef Jason Stonerburner of Bastille at his 2011 Eat Local For Thanksgiving cooking demonstration at Ballard Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Thanksgiving, or “Thanks for the Land Day,” as I like to think of it sometimes, is less than two weeks away, or put more simply, there are only two Market days before it. Yes, it is very early this year — November 22nd! Time to get planning your menu and to stock up on local deliciousness from your Ballard Farmers Market. It is time again to Eat Local For Thanksgiving. And with all the amazing ingredients available from local farmers, fishers, ranchers and food artisans right here, not only have you no excuse to not build your holiday menu around local food, you’d be foolhardy not to. Besides, what better way to give thanks for our great local food producers than to serve their products for Thanksgiving dinner? But perhaps you are still a little nervous. To help you relax a bit, we have brought back our annual tradition of Eat Local For Thanksgiving Cooking Demonstrations for the next two weeks. This week, we feature Ballard’s own Chef Jason Stoneburner of Bastille from 12-1 p.m. Bastille was intentionally built next to, and around, Ballard Farmers Market. It has a garden on its roof. And Chef Jason not only builds his menu around what is available from Market vendors, but he actually used to be one of them! Who better to give you some tips on cooking simple deliciousness from local goodness. (Next week, look for Chef Dustin Ronspies of Art of the Table.)

Fresh, local cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This is the year to stop talking about making fresh cranberry sauce and actually make fresh cranberry sauce! And Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm has fresh, local cranberries ready for you for just that purpose. Available for just a few weeks each year, they are hoping to have them through next week. But they are not sure. So if this is, in fact, your year, get those cranberries today!

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

My Thanksgiving dinner table wouldn’t be complete without some Boistfort Valley Farm rutabagas steamed and mashed with Golden Glen Creamery butter. Simple, delicious, and oh, so complimentary to everything else on the menu, and for me, it is a lovely reminder of my Irish roots. (Did you see what I did there?) Of course, Scandinavians here in the Peoples Republic of Ballard will feel kinship to them, as well.

Red Sunchokes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This week, we celebrate the return of another perennial fall and winter favorite, sunchokes, a.k.a., Jerusalem artichokes. Neither from Jerusalem, nor an artichoke, sunchokes are a member of the sunflower family, and native to North America. They were cultivated and used by native peoples long before the first arrivals of Europeans. Sunchokes make for great soups, sauces, root roasts, home fries and much, much more. These tubers are delicious, nutritious, and will sustain you throughout the cold, dark, wet months. Stoney Plains Organic Farm just started harvesting these red sunchokes (above). In the spirit of the original Thanksgiving feast, when Indians kept the Pilgrims alive and made them feel welcome with the local bounty, why not add sunchokes to your Thanksgiving menu, much like them may have been 500 years ago.

Porcelain Doll Winter Squash from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm has an amazing variety of heirloom winter squash and pumpkins right now, like these really cool looking, and tasty, Porcelain Doll winter squash. Squash is a necessity for your holiday table, and how about making this year’s pumpkin pie from scratch, too, eh?

Brussels sprouts from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another must on my Thanksgiving menu is Brussels sprouts, like these beauties from One Leaf Farm. Normally, I like them sauteed with Sea Breeze bacon and some Alvarez shallots, and finished off with some white wine. But since my folks don’t eat pig these days, these still are plenty good without the bacon. And a good substitute for shallots is cippolini onions

Cippolini onions from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And your source for those aforementioned cippolini onions is Port Townsend’s own Colinwood Farms. Cippolinis caramelize beautifully, coming out sweet and silky, and making for a perfect accent to many meat and poultry dishes, and Brussels sprouts, of course. They also fry perfectly for shoestring onions to top a chicory salad.

Fresh, whole, Puget Sound Keta salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Today is the last day for fresh Puget Sound Keta salmon from Loki Fish, as the season has come to a close. Swing by Loki for fillets or whole fish. They also have fish trim, like bones, collars and wings, for making stocks or smoking, and even skeines, ready for curing into ikura. But fresh only this week! After that, it’ll still be available frozen, cured, smoked, etc. Enjoy!

Root Vegetable Crackers with Kim Chee from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

House of the Sun raw and vegan foods has introduced another great cracker to its delicious lineup — Root Vegetable Crackers with Kim Chee. Loaded with beet goodness, they are packed full of flavor and nutrients. Try them with one of their great spreads!

Bread & Butter pickles from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Please welcome the newest vendor to your Ballard Farmers Market, Purdy Pickle. Purdy Pickle makes an amazing array of pickliciousness from great, local ingredients direct from our local farms, like these Bread & Butter pickles, above. Purdy Pickle is one of our mainstay vendors at our weekday markets in Wallingford and Madrona over the summer season. Now, they bring their goodness to Ballard. Woohoo!

A variety of truffles from Trevani Truffles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another recent addition to your Ballard Farmers Market is Trevani Truffles from Renton. Trevani’s confections are made using lots of local ingredients, too, and they will add elegance to many a holiday gathering, be it large or small. Or just treat yourself on your way through the Market!

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, April 25th: Billy’s, Bluebird, Magana & Sequim Prairie Star Return; A Visit To OlyPen Farms.

April 25, 2010

Whole grains from Bluebird Grain Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bluebird Grain Farms returns to your Ballard Farmers Market today with their renowned, organic, heirloom grains and grain products. Bluebird’s emmer/farro is prized by top chefs up and down the West Coast who say it is as good or better than any they can get from Italy. And their fresh-milled flours, cereals and mixes are delicious and nutrient dense. Why get a bag of flour at the Big Box Store that was milled who knows when? Bluebird can tell you exactly when their flour was milled — usually in the past week or two.

Asparagus from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2008 by Zachary D. Lyons

Magana Farms from Sunnyside, Washington makes its 2010 season debut today with fresh asparagus. And in short order, they will have sweet onions. Billy’s Organic Produce from Tonasket, Washington is back at your Ballard Farmers Market today, too.

Sequim Prairie Star Enterprises worm tea. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sequim Prairie Star is one of eight Ballard vendors I visited this past week on the Northern Olympic Peninsula. With gardening season upon us, it is good to have them back at your Ballard Farmers Market. They have a variety of worm compost products to help your plants thrive, and their vegetable starts are as healthy as they get. Visiting their little farm, I now understand where they get their name. They are located on a windswept bit of prairie on the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Sequim, where they enjoy spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains, and some of the best star gazing imaginable. And because they are under the “Blue Hole” caused by the rain shadow of the Olympics, they receive much more sun, and much less rain, than most places in the U.S., making it a pretty perfect place to operate a couple of greenhouses and a healthy composting operation. Plus, the prairie grasses around them make for great worm food.

A crew at Nash's Organic Produce harvests green garlic and leeks for Ballard Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another farm I visited this week was Nash’s Organic Produce. Nash’s is singlehandedly keeping hundreds of acres of prime agricultural lands in service in Clallam County, sparing it from developers. Nash’s grows a broad selection of fruits, vegetables, grains, flowers, livestock and more on almost 400 acres of land spread across more than a half dozen farms. Situated in Dungeness, a little town just north of Sequim on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Nash’s cultivates some of the richest soils found anywhere. Which perhaps makes that fact that Colinwood Farms in Port Townsend has even richer soil almost impossible to comprehend.

Jessie Hopkins from Colinwood Farms sits atop the farm's antique, horse-draw potato planter. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Colinwood Farms soil is so fertile, it is almost black. And they take full advantage of their position in the Olympic rain shadow, harvesting beautiful, tender salad greens and mustards all winter long from their greenhouses when such crops wouldn’t have a prayer of surviving in other parts of the state. Their network of large greenhouses also gives them a head start getting crops out into the fields in the spring when the soil warms up, and then they serve to raise tomatoes and peppers all summer long in their preferred hot, balmy conditions.

Purple sprouting broccoli from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm returned to Ballard Farmers Market last Sunday. Luke told me months ago, “We will return when we have tomato plants and purple sprouting broccoli.” Well, here is the photographic evidence that he was good for his word. (Okay, wisenheimers, I do have a separate photo of the tomato plants, so back off!)

Local vinegars from Rockridge Orchards. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is our mission here at Ballard Farmers Market to find farmers and food artisans to bring you as close to everything you might ever need in your kitchen as is possible in our climate, so that you really will have no excuse to have to go to the Big Box Store to buy stuff they have hauled in from who knows how far way. And that includes vinegar. Yep, vinegar. Rockridge Orchards produces four different flavors of apple cider vinegar. This stuff is used by many of Seattle’s best chefs. Pick some up today, and add one more product in your pantry to your “locally produced” list.

Fresh beef, left, and pork from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The bottom line is, I think good meat is beautiful. Don’t you? I mean, just look at this display of gorgeous, fresh beef and pork in Sea Breeze Farm’s refer case. And it eats as good as it looks.

Dogs chews from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Every time Olsen Farms processes a beef, it produces a small amount of smoked beef tendon dog chews that will please your favorite pooch for hours. But they go fast, and then you have to wait weeks for the next bunch. Olsen humanely raises its livestock. But it will be you who is guilty of animal cruelty if you deprive Fido of these yummy treats.

Jim Robinson of Phocas Farms shows how his saffron crocuses have multiplied over the winter. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It bears repeating: Phocas Farms grows saffron in Port Angeles. Above, Jim Robinson shows how they just keep multiplying and multiplying. And he will separate out the bulbs and expand his acreage of them. Now, some folks figure saffron would be harvested this time of year, because this is when crocuses bloom. Not all crocuses, however. Saffron crocuses bloom in the fall. I visited Jim at Phocas Farms this past week, and I learned that what you see in the photo above is the saffron crocus at the end of its annual growth cycle. Its leaves are beginning to yellow in preparation for its summer slumber. Jim harvests thousands of tiny saffron threads for weeks every fall, and he spends much of the spring and summer separating the new bulbs and expanding his crop. Stop by and pick up a packet of saffron from Jim today, and find out why it is favored by the chefs at The Herbfarm, Art of the Table and Elliott Bay Cafe.

Hot Cakes cakes in bags and jars. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I found myself wondering what kind of music video Justin Timberlake would make about Hot Cakes’ Cake In A Bag. I just cannot look at Autumn Martin’s latest creation of deliciousness without that SNL sketch (you know the one I’m talking about) rattling around in my brain. But hey, that was perhaps the funniest SNL sketch in years, right? And this is perhaps the tastiest little cake you will ever bring home. So I suppose it fits. (If you’ll pardon the expression.)

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.