Posts Tagged ‘cookies’

Sunday, March 17th: Celebrating St. Paddy’s Day While Planning For Easter & Passover!

March 16, 2013
Shamrock cookies from Grateful Bread Baking. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Shamrock cookies from Grateful Bread Baking. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Happy St. Paddy’s Day from your Ballard Farmers Market! It is said that everyone claims a bit of Irish blood every year at this time, but truth is that there are plenty of us mixed in amongst the Scandinavians and Amazon.comians here in Ballard. And while the streets may run green with beer of questionable origins in other communities today, we Ballardites are more likely to cozy up this evening to a fine microbrew or snifter of Irish whiskey. Whatever your poison, get your day going right at your Ballard Farmers Market, perhaps with some of these shamrock cookies from Grateful Bread Baking, or get your greens on at any number of farms in the Market, as we are surprisingly greens-rich for this early in the year!

Smoked ham from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Smoked ham from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And in a year in which seemingly every Sunday has been some sort of holiday, in two weeks comes Easter Sunday. Your Ballard Farmers Market will be open for you that day, but you might want to lay claim to one of these hams from Skagit River Ranch today, as they are sure to be sold out two weeks from today. Now, if you prefer lamb, they may still have some today, too, and if you are planning for Passover, which begins next Monday at sundown, perhaps you are in the market for a chicken or a nice brisket. Skagit River Ranch has that covered, too!

Desiree potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Desiree potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You will need potatoes to go with your corned beef tonight, or your holiday meals in the coming weeks, and Olsen Farms has that covered and then some. For corned beef, I prefer these desiree potatoes, as they hold up well in the pot with the other ingredients, and they absorb the flavors nicely. However, with lamb, ham or chicken, you might have your own favorite. They’ve got many varieties, so you will be sure to find what you need. And Olsen, too, has lambbeef roasts and hams for Easter.

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

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

I also like to add rutabagas to my pot with my corned beef, like these from Nash’s Organic Produce. In Ireland, they call these “turnips” or “Swedes”, harkening back to their introduction to the Emerald Isle by the Vikings centuries ago before the Brits took over and ruled it with an iron fist for 700 years. Of course, I say this in the context of this day in which we celebrate St. Patrick, the patron saint of, well, Catholicism in Ireland who supposedly drove the “snakes” out of Ireland even before the Vikings showed up, though the only snakes in Ireland at the time were actually the Druids, who used the image of a snake in much of their symbolism. But I digress. I put my bagas in the pot up to an hour before its time to serve dinner. Because they are very dense, they cook slowly, but they beautifully absorb all to flavors and spices of your corned beef, and they become perfectly tender as they do.

GaiasGreensKailanKaleChardMustardsBeets

Gaosheng from Gaia’s Natural Goods holding (clockwise, from bottom left) kailan, a golden beet, kale, chard and mustard greens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Of course, your Ballard Farmers Market is full of greens for St. Paddy’s Day. This is Gaosheng from Gaia’s Natural Goods, and she holds in her arms several kinds of greens her family is currently harvesting up in Snohomish. In the lower lefthand corner, those flowery, light-green greens are kailan, an Asian green popular in China and Southeast Asian. Then there is kalechard and mustard greens on the lower right, as well as a golden beet peaking out in front of her right shoulder. Greens are coming on earlier this year than the past few, and that is worthy of holiday celebrations in and of itself, if you ask me.

Kids play at Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Kids play at Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just kidding. That’s what this kid is doing. Yup, this is one of the many adorable baby goats Gil and I got to meet last week on our visit to Twin Oaks Creamery in Chehalis. These kids have a good life, romping and roughhousing with each other in their playhouse. Meanwhile, their moms are producing wonderful goat milk which Twin Oaks is bottling, as well as making cheese and yogurt with it.

KaYing, a.k.a., The Old Farmer. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

KaYing, a.k.a., The Old Farmer. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

KaYing, a.k.a., The Old Farmer, returns this week with her beautiful flower bouquets. Also returning this week are Mee Gardens, Pa Gardens and Ia’s Garden. What this means for you is that, if you return home this evening without a bouquet of beautiful, fresh flowers from one of the six farms selling them at your Ballard Farmers Market, you might as well get yourself acquainted with your couch, cuz that’s where you will be sleeping tonight!

Mixed radish starts from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Mixed radish starts from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know it’s pretty darn near spring when the veggie starts show up at Stoney Plains Organic Farm. This is a flat of mixed radishes, ready for you to get your early spring garden going. After all, spring does start this coming week, right? And ain’t it about time? Of course, we now get to spend the next couple of weeks having to drive directly into the setting sun that is due west in the evening, but I think we’ll survive. Besides, odds are we won’t be able to see it anyway!

Sharon & Gary McCool from Rosecrest Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sharon & Gary McCool from Rosecrest Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rosecrest Farm returns to your Ballard Farmers Market with lots of their lovely Swiss cheeses today, after a one-week hiatus. Gil and I also visited Rosecrest last week during our trip to Chehalis. This is a photo of Sharon & Gary McCool in front of their Cheese Haus, which is housed in a very old shop adjacent to their 99-year-old historic barn. Gary manages the cows while Sharon makes the cheese. And did you know that their cheese is made from certified organic milk? Yup. In fact, whatever doesn’t go into making cheese ends up going in cartons from Organic Valley, to whom they sell some of the milk they produce. And you might wonder how Swiss Cheese factors into our holiday theme today. Well, I’m glad you asked! You may be surprised to learn that much of “Swiss” cheese in American deli cases — you know, that squared block of cheese with the big holes in it that is probably banned in Switzerland — is made by Kerrygold in Ireland! That’s right! Americans by the millions are making reuben sandwiches with Irish “Swiss” cheese. Seriously, you gotta love that!

An "Irish" marion berry pie from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

An “Irish” marion berry pie from Deborah’s Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let us finish this week’s epistolic tribute to St. Patrick, the Irish, and holidaze to come, with a shamrock-adorned marion berry pie from Deborah’s Homemade Pies. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again — Deborah quite simply makes the best pies on earth. But let’s face it. There’s a lot more fun going on here than just her pieliciousness. There is the shamrock itself, and then there is that fact that we just celebrated Universal Pie Day on March 14th. And my personal favorite is getting to make silly references to troubled Mayor Marion Barry of Washington, D.C. But in the end, what is most entertaining about this pie is eating it. Enjoy!

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, March 11th: Spring Forward With Shamrock Cookies, Goat Milk, Stinging Nettles, Filler-Free Burgers & Garden Starts

March 11, 2012

Shamrock cookies from Grateful Bread Baking. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The Ides of March approacheth, and that means Daylight Savings Time is here — that annoying, archaic leftover from the Industrial Revolution that was meant to save energy and make us more productive, but that really ends up scrambling all of our brains for a week or two every March, resulting in billions of dollars in lost productivity. (I love you, Ben Franklin, but was this really necessary?) Of course, it also means St. Paddy’s Day is upon us. Time for everyone to dress up in kelly green, pretend to be Irish, eat corned beef, drink green beer, and party in blissful ignorance that St. Patrick was the guy credited with crushing the last remaining Pagans of Ireland under the weight of the Roman Catholic Church way back in the 5th Century. (See, there were no snakes in Ireland. The snakes Patrick drove out actually refers to the Pagans.) But hey, like so many other holidays that I enjoy more for their tradition than their true origins, I do enjoy reveling in my own Irish roots with some corned beef made from Skagit River Ranch beef, some cabbage from Nash’s, some potatoes from Olsen Farms and some rutabagas from Boistfort Valley Farm… all washed down with a little Rockridge hooch. And why not finish it all off with some of these lovely shamrock cookies from Grateful Bread?

Fresh goat milk from Silver Springs Creamery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Up at Silver Springs Creamery in Lynden, just south of the Canadian Border, the goats have been kidding now for a few weeks, and that means that goat milkfresh chevre and goat yogurt are back, baby! No kidding! (Sorry.) So if you’ve been suffering woe these past two months without your goat dairy products, while the girls up in Whatcom County were taking their winter break, suffer no more!

Wild stinging nettles from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Go ahead. Stick your hand into these leaves. I dare you! (Okay, not really. Cuz your hands will hurt for hours.) Yup, its wild stinging nettles season again, boys and girls, and Foraged & Found Edibles has ’em for you today. Make tea, pesto, sauté them, do that voodoo that you do with them. Just de-sting them, first!

Rhubarb plants from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is time to start thinking about gardening again, and Stoney Plains Organic Farm already has garden starts for you — stuff you can plant right now that’ll make you so happy in May! Like these lovely rhubarb plants. Mmm. Homemade rhubarb crumble, strawberry-rhubarb jam, rhubarb ice cream.

Ground beef from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

At your Ballard Farmers Market, we offer you access to grass-finished beef direct from the farmer, like this ground beef from Skagit River Ranch. You will never find any “pink slime” added to their meat. Live life free of “pink slime”. Eat real meat from local farms at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Someone asked over on our Facebook page what “grass-finished” means. Sometimes you will see the term “grass-fed” associated with beef. However, use of the term “grass-fed” does not guarantee that the cattle were never fed a grain diet. In fact, much “grass-fed” beef is “finished” on grain in order to increase marbling. However, feeding cattle grain also increases cholesterol, saturated fat and the acidity in their stomachs, which in turn increases the likelihood of the presence of dangerous forms of E-coli in their digestive tracts. “Grass-finished” beef is from cattle that eat a diet of grasses and other leafy forage their entire lives. Their meat is lower in cholesterol and saturated fats, higher in beneficial omega-fatty acids, and as their digestive tracts stay in their natural alkaline state, they are less able to pass along to most dangerous forms of E-coli that thrive in an acidic environment, which includes human stomachs. Eat Wild is a great source for more info on the benefits of raising beef on natural grasses.

Baby leeks from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And just because they are so gosh-darned cute, let’s finish off this week with these baby leeks from Colinwood Farms. I mean, don’t you just want to give them a hug? Okay, maybe not, but they are delicious. And Colinwood has got all sorts of goodies coming out of their greenhouses right now. Stop by for a taste of the Banana Belt!

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.

Sunday, April 10th: Nothing Says Spring Like Garden Starts, Easter Hams, Baseball, Radishes & Lard!

April 9, 2011

Baseball cookies from Grateful Bread. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

So let’s root, root, root for spring to show up. If it doesn’t, it will be a shame. But hey, ignore the forecast, as it’s spring at your Ballard Farmers Market right now! And that means, among other things, baseball cookies from Grateful Bread. You’ve just gotta love the creativity of these folks. I mean, have you seen the alligator loaf?!

Vegetable starts from Sunseed Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rain or not, if you plan on having a garden, now’s as good a time as any to start planting you some veggies. Sunseed Farm returned to your Ballard Farmers Market last Sunday with all manner of organic veggie starts. So get out the slicker, boots and trowel, and get planting!

Easter hams from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, now that’s a proper photo of Olsen Farms’ holiday hams, just in time for Easter. Much better than last week’s photo of ham hocks, don’t you think? Skagit River Ranch has hams, too, and Olsen is offering up leg of lamb this week, as well. Or, get a chicken from Growing Things or Stokesberry Sustainable Farm — perfect for Passover.

Ravishing red radishes from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ravishing radishes just radiate spring. Just imagine dipping them in some butter and truffle salt, slicing them over a beautiful salad, or just eating them all before you even get home. These lovelies are from Full Circle Farm.

Spicy salad mix from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And speaking of salad, spicy salad mix has returned to the tables of Alm Hill Gardens. Woohoo! May your taste buds and colon rejoice!!! Get you a big ol’ bag, and a few bunches of them radishes, and just eat yourself silly!

Shucked, smoked & pickled oysters from Hama Hama Oyster Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you met our new shellfish farm yet? If not, meet Hama Hama Oyster Company. They’ve got a few varieties of oysters in the shell, as well as the above shucked, smoked and pickled oysters, and they’ve got some gorgeous manila clams, too. If you’ve been missing your oysters & clams, stop by for your fix. These sweet, briny bivalves will absolutely make your day!

Bluebird Grain Farms Orange Hazelnut Farro Salad. Photo courtesy Bluebird Grain Farms.

Bluebird Grain Farms returns today, with the plan of coming back now every week. So come on down and pick up some emmer, a little flour, and maybe a bag or two of biscuit mix. Oh, yeah.

Strawberry starts from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Strawberry starts from Stoney Plains Farm. Plant them now. Eat berries from them in June! ‘Nuff said.

Pork lard from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And finally this week, nothing says spring like, um, lard? Oh, what the heck. You are going to make pie for Easter, right? Then why not make it right, with the most incredibly flaky crust ever? Well, that will require some of this beautiful lard from Sea Breeze Farm, it will. (Um, not the best choice for that Passover pie, but then again, such a pie would like be made of matzoh meal and eggs anyway, right?)

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, March 13th: Bring On St. Paddy’s Day!

March 13, 2011

Shamrock cookies from Grateful Bread. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s a big week, folks. We start it off with Daylight Savings Time, which pretty much means we’ll all feel like zombies all week long, and billions of dollars in productivity will be lost, because all of our body clocks will be screwed up. But hey, it’ll be light an hour later, so it’s worth it, right? Then, on Tuesday, comes the Ides of March. Gee, are there some dictators with whom we can dispatch this Ides of March? Let me think… Finally, on Thursday, comes the NCAA Basketball Tou… no… I mean, St. Patrick’s Day — that day when everyone claims to be Irish, drinks green beer, eats corned beef, and remains largely blissfully unaware that the holiday in actuality celebrates the demise of Pagan culture in Ireland at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church. Woohoo!!!

Beef roasts from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I would suggest you pickup some corned beef from one of our vendors today, except none of them will have any. And if you wanted to get any beef to have corned for you, you’d be living it a little on the late side, as brining takes about 10 days. See, that’s what I do every year. Right now, I’ve got about 10 pounds of Skagit River Ranch beef soaking in a nitrate-free brine over at Golden Steer Meats in Bellevue. The good news for you is, they actually have plenty more over there. But if you want the nitrate-free stuff made with natural beef, you’d better call and have them reserve you some now. And tell ’em you’re from the People’s Republic of Ballard. They’ll appreciate that.

Savoy cabbage from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now, you will find plenty of cabbage today. Personally, I prefer using savoy cabbage, like this from Full Circle Farm, when I cook corned beef. You see, corned beef is the ultimate one-pot meal, and when you add the cabbage at the very end, you want it to soak in all the spices from the broth. Savoy cabbage, with its many nooks and crannies, is perfect for this, as the broth works its way in between the leaves. Delish!

Red Lasoda potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And how about some beautiful red lasoda potatoes from Olsen Farms? These you’ll want to add to the pot about 45-60 minutes before the meat is done cooking, so they, too, will soak up the brothy goodness and be ready to mash with some good butter. I also like to use desiree potatoes with corned beef. It’s a little waxier than the red lasodas. And remember, it is good to have lots of leftover potatoes and corned beef for hashing and for sandwiches.

Rutabagas from Nash's. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We call ’em rutabagas. In Scandinavia, they call them Swedes. But in Ireland, they call them turnips. Regardless of what anyone calls them, though, they are also a staple of the traditional corned beef meal. Cut them up into 2-inch chunks and toss them in the pot just before the potatoes. They are very dense and will take some time to become tender, but they, too, will absorb all the spices of the broth and will be ridiculously good. And lucky for us, Nash’s harvested a whole bunch of fresh rutabagas, just in time for our feasts this week.

Golden Glen butter. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We are fortunate around here to have access to delicious farmstead butter from Golden Glen Creamery, and if there is one holiday that requires lots of good butter, it is St. Patrick’s Day. Butter is sacred in Ireland. Indeed, they have an entire class of fairies dedicated to butter. The butter of Ireland is rich and yellow, made from the milk of cows that eat the green grasses and forage that give the Emerald Isle its name. And the climate in Western Washington is not dissimilar to that of Ireland — damp, drizzly and green — so Golden Glen’s cows live much the life, and produce much the same kind of butter, as the cows of Ireland. So grab a bunch to slather onto your red potatoes and your brown bread, and just to eat by the spoonful like you’re Elvis.

Two more award-winning wines from Lopez Island Vineyards. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And what St. Paddy’s Day would be complete without some booze? Might as well make it some high-class hooch, you know? Like these two most recent award winning wines from Lopez Island Vineyards. The Malbec 2009 just won a Platinum medal at the 2011 Winemaker Challenge International, and the Madeleine Angevine 2009 won a Gold medal there as well.

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.