Posts Tagged ‘cupcakes’

Sunday, May 13th: Happy Mother’s Day! Treat Mom Right With Local Flavors & Beauty With Soul!

May 13, 2012

A stunning bouquet of fresh flowers from Children’s Garden. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Mother’s Day is not a Hallmark holiday. It has far cooler, and more important, roots than that. In fact, Julia Ward Howe proclaimed the first Mother’s Day in 1870 as an anti-war holiday in response to the U.S. Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. She was tired of mothers having to bury their sons. Today, Mother’s Day is celebrated worldwide at many different times of year in different countries to honor the important role of mothers in our lives and societies. Heck, looking at the list of international dates, one could reasonably say that every day is Mother’s Day somewhere! Now, we know that round about all of you within the sound of my keystrokes plans to pick up flowers today from one of our six flower farmers at your Ballard Farmers Market. My advice is to arrive early for the best selection and to pack some patience with you, as there will be lines. But given our beautiful weather lately, the flower selection this year for Mother’s Day is better than it has been for years. So get mom some flowers that mean something. Get local flowers with a face behind them. She will appreciate what that means. After all, she gets that whole nurturing thing.

Clockwise, from left, is red king salmon, rockfish, marbled king salmon and halibut, from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And for everyone who has ever come home and yelled, “mom, what’s for dinner?!?”, how’s about you do the cooking for mom this evening? It is perfect weather for a picnic or backyard barbecue, and your Ballard Farmers Market has got everything you need to make your meal perfect. How about some fresh Washington halibut, king salmon or rockfish from Wilson Fish, for instance? Easy to fix, super fresh and delicious, and mom will dig it, maybe with a nice loaf of bread from Tall Grass or Grateful Bread, some grilled asparagus, and some salad mix from Colinwood Farms. And don’t forget the cheese from one of our six cheese makers. But again, get here early, as the fish will sell out fast, too!

Delicious purple sprouting broccoli from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Our buddies at Oxbow Farm returned last Sunday with all sorts of goodies, including an amazing selection of heirloom tomato plants. They’ve also got this beautiful, and yummy, purple sprouting broccoli. This stuff is a real spring treat, so enjoy it while you can!

Magnificent heads of lettuce from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Returning this week is Summer Run Farm, from just up the road from Oxbow. Summer Run is famous for their huge, crisp and refreshing heads of lettuce, but usually this time of year, they’ve also got tatsoibaby bok choidwarf sunflowers and more!

Spa Day Gift Box from Brown Butterfly. Photo courtesy Brown Butterfly.

Brown Butterfly bath, body and skin care products is offering a 10% discount on all gift boxes for Mother’s Day, including their Spa Day At Home (above) and Gardeners gift boxes. If you are still buying your soap and skin care products at the Big Box stores, you must give this stuff a try. I shave with their shaving soap, and my face is smooth as a baby’s bottom. So treat mom. Heck, surveys say the number one preferred Mother’s Day gift for American moms is a spa day. Why not bring the spa to her!

Strawberry plants from Red Barn Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Is your mom a gardener? Then your Ballard Farmers Market is nothing short of paradise for her! We’ve got plants everywhere you look right now, from more than a dozen farms! You’ll find fruit and veggie starts, bulbs, ornamentals, you name it. Just take a gander at these gorgeous strawberry plants from Red Barn Farm.

It’s green garlic season at Alvarez Organic Farms! Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And speaking of fragrant flowers, how about a little of the “stinking rose,” a.k.a., garlic? This is green garlic from Alvarez Organic Farms, and it is one of my absolute favorite things about spring! See, as the farmers thin their garlic fields to give the remaining plants enough space to grow nice, big bulbs, they bring the young, green, scallion-like garlic to market with them. This stuff is sweet and tender, and I use that entire thing, from the root hairs to the tips of their green leaves, save for the part right where the root hairs attach to the bulb, since that’s where the dirt hides, no matter how hard you try to wash it out. Toss green garlic with your asparagus as you roast it, or use it in place of cured mature garlic with your sauteed greens. If you have never used green garlic before, treat yourself. Once you try it, you will spend every winter waiting for it to arrive come spring!

Hard apple ciders from Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s gonna top 80 degrees today, and that might mean mom won’t be in a wine mood. Some nice, chilled hard cider from Finnriver Farm & Cidery is just the ticket. It will refresh her whilst its bubbles tickle her tongue, and she will be thrilled you thought outside of the box, without coming home with a half rack or gin!

Kiss The Pig mini cupcakes from Cupcake Luv. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Your Ballard Farmers Market has dessert covered, too! From pies to cookies to rhubarb just ready for being crisped, we’ve got the sweets for your sweet mommy! And if cupcakes are her thing, you can’t go wrong with, well, anything from Cupcake Luv, all made with local flour. From these savory Kiss The Pig mini-cupcakes that are like little BLTs, to their sweet cupcakes, including red velvet and carrot cake, to their whoopie pies, you are bound to find something to meet mom’s fancy. In fact, why not just get a variety pack, to be sure you get it right. Just remember to give mom the first choice!

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, January 29th: Greens, Carrots, Sprouts, Apples, Kohlrabi. Winter, Schminter!

January 29, 2012

Braised mix from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A week ago, Alm Hill Gardens, which is just a few miles south of the Canadian border in Whatcom County, was buried in snow and ice, as the wrath of Old Man Winter poured out of the Frasier River Valley and punished Western Washington. But the beauty of snow surrounding hearty winter greens is that it insulates them from the bitter cold, and when the thaw comes, the greens spring back to life. So swing on by your Ballard Farmers Market today for some of Alm Hill’s braising greens mix, some kale, heck, even fresh tulips. ‘Cuz winter ain’t got us beat yet!

Pink lady apples from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I heart pink lady apples, and Collins Family Orchards has some of the best pink ladies to be found anywhere. And this time of year, surprisingly enough, is the best time of year for them. Fresh out of storage, they are firm, crisp and sweet, and they will lift your spirits whilst you await longer, warmer, drier days in the months to come.

Carrots from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Last week, the only greens in the Market were from the greenhouses of Colinwood Farms, and few freshly harvested veggies were to be had, as the great thaw had just begun. But today, Growing Things Farm has some freshly-dug carrots, which are especially sweet now, as a result of the recent cold whether. See, veggies protect themselves from the cold by producing sugars that act as an anti-freeze for them. And we benefit from extra-sweet veggies! Oh, and don’t forget to pickup some eggs, chicken, spuds, Brussels sprouts, and a little farmstead soap while you’re at it.

Delicious, fresh pork from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sea Breeze Farm has plenty of stellar pork, chicken, sausage, and all manner of other deliciousness this time of year. Get yourself some of their raw milk, and learn why they wear t-shirts in the summertime that say, “Legalize Milk.” Learn to enjoy meat and dairy again, the way it’s supposed to taste!

Brussels Sprouts from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s Organic Produce was long on the roots and grains last week, as their farm was under 7″ of snow. But that’s all a distant memory now, and their kale, red cabbage, and these gorgeous Brussels sprouts survived the winter blast just fine – heck, better than fine! So come on down and get your veggie on!

Berry wines from Rockridge Orchards. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Last week, Rockridge Orchards couldn’t even make out of Enumclaw, let alone make it to your Ballard Farmers Market. They had lots of snow and ice, no power, and trees were down all over the place. It was one of the few Markets they have ever missed. And we missed them, too. But they’re back today with their awesome selection of sweet and hard ciders, fruit wines, and vinegars.

Purple kohlrabi from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And when is came to snow last week, Stoney Plains Organic Farm, from way down south in Tenino, took the big, err, prize with two feet! They weren’t going anywhere. But they, too, are back today, with all sorts of vegeliciousness. They have mastered the art of the year-round vegetable harvest, and a little — okay, a lot — of snow and ice isn’t about to stop them now. Swing by for greens, roots and legumes!

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

Welcome our newest vendor to your Ballard Farmers Market: Gaia’s Natural Goods. These pickled beets are made from beets from the family farm in Snohomish. And you can even take home a bottle of the pickling brine, great for dressing salads, as a marinade, or to do a little pickling of your own. Gaia’s Natural Goods celebrates beets as a superfood, nutrient dense with a laundry-list of benefits to one’s health. They pickle both golden and Detroit (red) beets. Serve them with a little fresh goat cheese for an extra special treat.

This boy knows a good thing when he sees it! Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The good people behind Cupcake Luv picked a wise couple of weeks to go home to tropical climes in Asian. This missed all our Winter Blast mayhem. I imagine they enjoyed a good snicker at our expense while watching us act like idiots on YouTube during the calamity. And who can blame them? We are a laughable lot when it comes to winter weather around here, are we not? In any case, they, too, return to your Ballard Farmers Market today with their lovable cupcakes. Mmm. Cupcakes.

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, November 6th: Did You Set You Clocks Back An Hour? Booth Canyon Orchards & Red Barn Farm Return, Plus Much More!

November 6, 2011

D'Anjou pears from Booth Canyon Orchards. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I hope you set your clocks back overnight, lest you show up at your Ballard Farmers Market at 9 a.m., thinking it’s 10 a.m., at which point our staff will undoubtedly giggle at you. And hey, join us in welcoming back Booth Canyon Orchards this week. Stina Booth grows beautiful fruit over in the Methow Valley, including these d’anjou pears. These pears are something special, so if you haven’t tried them, do seek them out today. A perfect eating pear, they are also wonderful poached.

Yukon Gold potatoes from Red Barn Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red Barn Farm also returns today to your Ballard Farmers Market with all kinds of great veggies from Enumclaw. Pick up some of these great Yukon gold potatoes and other deliciousness, from greens to garlic, and more.

Julie from Four Sisters Gourmet Sauces. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Four Sisters Gourmet Sauces produces excellent Vietnamese-style chili sauces from peppers grown by Alvarez Organic Farms. They’ve got five different varieties, as well as spring roll sauce and more. You know, I just got back from Louisiana, where I spent two weeks eating my way through New Orleans and Cajun Country. They know a thing or two about hot sauce down there, too, but what Four Sisters makes is an entirely different type of hot sauce from Louisiana hot sauces like Tabasco. Do give it a try. And if you find yourself in Louisiana, you can skip Tabasco’s “plant tour”, as it’s pretty lame. Spend your time elsewhere!

Fresh parsnips from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yay! It’s parsnip season at Colinwood Farm! Woohoo!!! I love parsnips. They are so sweet and versatile. Roast them. Steam and mash them with potatoes. Make soups with them. Add them to stews. It is fall. Enjoy the fall deliciousness!

Gala apples from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is the peak of apple season at Tiny’s Organic Produce now. And among their many varieties of sweet, crunchy apples are these gala apples, tree ripened and ready for adding to your kids’ lunches, or for a snack during the work day. And they still have some nectarines and pluots, too.

Pepper wreathes from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alvarez Organic Farms has just a few more weeks left in their 2011 market season. Be sure to pick up one of these beautiful pepper wreathes today to decorate your home for the holidays. They also still have onions, garlic, dried beans, peanuts, winter squash and more.

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

Always a treat is this fresh goat cheese from Port Madison Goat Farm & Dairy. It is great to add to your holiday platters. But enjoy it now, before Port Madison takes its annual winter hiatus, as their dairy goats switch from producing milk to producing baby goats.

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

Fishing Vessel St. Jude returns today for their monthly visit to your Ballard Farmers Market with the finest albacore tuna products to be found anywhere. They catch their albacore tuna as juvenile fish off the coast of Washington, as they travel from their spawning grounds in the North Pacific to tropical waters. Because they are young and have been in cold waters, they are low in heavy metals and high in beneficial omega fatty acids, and they are just plain amazing — like buttuh.

Luv Potion #1 cupcakes from Cupcake Luv. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And for dessert, how about some Cupcake Luv. They make their cupcakes, like these Luv Potion #1 cupcakes, using local flours from Shepherd’s Grain or Bluebird Grain Farms. And for my money, they are the best cupcakes in Seattle.

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 17th: More Spring Goodies & Tales From The Worst “Farmers Markets” I’ve Ever Seen!

April 17, 2011

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

I just got back from a trip to Florida. While there, I visited three so-called “farmers markets” — in Sarasota, Siesta Key and Miami. What I saw there dumbfounded me. Or should I say, what I didn’t see. I didn’t see any farmers. Not a one. I mean, for the love of Mike, Florida is the #2 producer of fresh produce — fruits and vegetables — in the U.S., behind California. You’d think they could scrounge up the odd orange or tomato grower to attend their farmers markets, you know? Nope. I have heard tales that there are some “farmers markets” in Florida with actual farmers, but even at these rare markets, most of the vendors are crafters and prepared food vendors, with some processors, and then a produce reseller or three. Here in Washington, the #3 state for production of fresh produce, even our worst farmers markets are better than Florida’s best, as best as I can tell. Heck, I even visited a market at a hospital in Miami — more like a mobile food court, if you ask me. I thought the purpose of having farmers markets at hospitals was to encourage healthy eating by eating local fruits and vegetable, not to offer a once-a-week lunch alternative for hospital workers and patients. I thought I’d share this with you, just to remind you we have something pretty darned special going on here at Washington’s #1 farmers market, your Ballard Farmers Market. Let us never take it for granted.

Miners lettuce from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey, it really is spring, again, in spite of the weather. My Italian prune tree is in spectacular full bloom. My lawn needs mowing. And Stoney Plains has miner’s lettuce! This is a truly native crop to the Northwest, and it can be found growing widely in the wild, but this (above) is the cultivated type. It is tasty and nutritious. I love it simply tossed with pine nuts, olive oil, some sea salt and a little lemon juice. Learn more about miner’s lettuce on our “What Is It?” post.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms are another powerhouse of goodness and deliciousness, and you’ll find them for a while longer at your Ballard Farmers Market, and nowhere else. In fact, these are the only locally grown sweet potatoes you will find anywhere in metro-Seattle.

Saffron tagliatelle from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Not many people can tell you where their saffron is from, but Pasteria Lucchese can. The saffron in their new saffron pastas comes from Phocas Farms in Port Angeles, Washington. Indeed, you can get the very same saffron, direct from the farmer, right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. But if you want this pasta, get here early, as Sam & Sara sell out of it fast!

Wild morel mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wild morel mushrooms are back, though their supply can be limited this early in the season, especially with it still snowing at low elevations. Check in with Foraged & Found Edibles early today if you want any. And if they’re out, never fear. More will be coming!

Kale raab from Nashs Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s raab season, folks! Yup, the season when all the over-wintered kales and collards and such want to bolt to flowers. And these bud-covered tender shoots are a sweet delicacy of early spring. Check out Nash’s Organic Produce to see what tasty vegetable flowers they have for you today!

Cupcake Luvs "Luvlys" being adorable. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Seriously, how many bakers can tell you what farms their flour came from? Well, Cupcake Luv can! Maybe that is why this little girl so adores these Cupcake Luv “Luvlys” — their cupcake miniatures made with flour from the Shepherd’s Grain farmer cooperative of Southeastern Washington. And that reminds me of one more thing about the three “farmers markets” I visited in Florida — the one thing all three markets have in common with our farmers market: Washington apples. Ha!

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.