Posts Tagged ‘duck’

Sunday, October 27th: Fresh Cranberries, Apple Cider, Old World Cooking Oil, Ornamental Gourds, Sweet Potato Chips & More!

October 26, 2013

We are sad to report the loss of one of our longtime vendors over this past weekend. Jaroslav “Jerry” Makovicka, of Little Prague European Bakery, passed away suddenly on Saturday, October 19th. He was a fixture at Ballard Farmers Market for many years, selling his wife Marie’s famous Czech pastries. He always had a smile and a joke to share through his thick Czech accent. Our thoughts are with Marie and his family and friends. (A memorial service will be held next Tuesday, October 29th at noon in Lynnwood. For info, or if you wish to share a memory, you can also do so at this link. If you wish to make a cash contribution to help the family with expenses at this time, you can do so at the Market Information Desk this Sunday at Ballard Farmers Market.)

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

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

It is fresh cranberry season at your Ballard Farmers Market! Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm, from Olympia, returns today with their beautiful fresh cranberries. Time to make that homemade cranberry sauce, cranberry juice and all manner of cranberriliciousness. But they are only around for a few weeks, so get them now, while you can!

Fava bean leaves from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fava bean leaves from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Stoney Plains Organic Farms has fava bean leaves now, for a few weeks. Yes, fava bean leaves. Fava beans grow a lot like peas, and like peas, you can eat the leaves, too. Try giving some a quick sauté for dinner tonight!

Camelina cooking oil from Old World Oils. Photo courtesy Old World Oils.

Camelina cooking oil from Ole World Oils. Photo courtesy Old World Oils.

Please welcome a new farm vendor to your Ballard Farmers Market: Ole World Oils and their Camelina Gold cooking oil. Camelina is an ancient seed oil crop that is non-GMO, high in omega-3 fatty acids. packed with antioxidants, and has a very high (475 degrees) smoke point. It is cold-pressed and unrefined. The Greenwalt family was among the original homestead farmers in Eastern Washington in the late 1800s, and they have been farming just west of Ritzville for over 110 years. Not only does camelina, a member of the mustard family, make for great cooking oil, it also helps the farm maintain healthier soils, allowing them to farm more sustainable.

Fresh apple cider from Jerzy Boyz.  Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh apple cider from Jerzy Boyz. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! Jerzy Boyz has fresh apple cider! This stuff is like the old-school cider you remember as a kid, before everything had to be cooked to death. Mind you, this is pasteurized. It has to be now. But it is minimally processed, and it is fabulous! (Oh, and it’s organic, too.)

FreshBucks_LogoDo you have WIC or Senior Farmers Market Checks or Fresh Bucks coupons that are about to expire on October 31st? Be sure to use them today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

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

Fresh ducks from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Stokesberry Sustainable Farm has fresh ducks this week, and they should have more next week. They are certified organic, and they are delicious! But here’s a tip: if you try to buy one this week and they are sold out, be sure to reserve one for next week!  Mmm. Fresh duck.

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

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

These beautiful, big shallots are from One Leaf Farm, and they have plenty of them. 2013 was a stellar year for onions, garlic and shallots, and besides tasting wonderful, these foods are full of essential nutrients to keep the doctor away, and lots of other things, too!

Taylor's Gold pears from Booth Canyon Orchard. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Taylor’s Gold pears from Booth Canyon Orchard. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This week’s heirloom pear of the week from Booth Canyon Orchard is Taylor’s Gold pears. Originally from New Zealand, these organic lovelies are grown in the Methow Valley in the North Cascades. Booth Canyon has a limited supply of these, and of all of their fruit, this year due to late summer storm damage, and to that end, they will miss the next two weeks of your Ballard Farmers Market, so stock up now, while you can!

Sweet potato chips from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet potato chips from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know and love sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms, right? Well, now you can also get these sweet potato chips from Lyall Farms! They are offering them with a couple different types of seasonings, from sweet to savory. Try something a little different — a local chip that also comes with all the goodness and flavor of local sweet potatoes!

Sweet peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is last call for sweet peppers and all things nightshade from Alvarez Organic Farms. The nights have gotten colder over in Mabton, and that means the peppers and eggplants are done producing. Enjoy them this week for one last time!

New fall flavors from Soda Jerk Sodas. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

New fall flavors from Soda Jerk Sodas. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Soda Jerk Sodas has rolled out some new fall flavors, like this Theo Chocolate soda (left), just in time for Halloween, Lemon Lavender and Sour Apple (right). The sun is back today. Celebrate with a fresh, local soda! (And please remember to vote. Every vote will be critical this year, and several items on your ballot will directly affect your Ballard Farmers Market.)

Ornamental gourds from Alm HIll Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ornamental gourds from Alm HIll Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dress your house up for fall with these ornamental gourds from Alm Hill Gardens (a.k.a., Growing Washington). Not only do they complete your Halloween display, but they will round out your Thanksgiving table, too!

A fall flower bouquet from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A fall flower bouquet from Children’s Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And while you are gussying up your house, hows about a gorgeous bouquet of fall flowers from Children’s Garden? You won’t find a bouquet like this at any Big Box store, and these are local, fresh, unique and fit the season perfectly!

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, March 24th: Spring Has Sprung, Bringing Fiddleheads, Easter Hams, Plants For Your Garden & More!

March 23, 2013
Easter hams from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Easter hams from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Easter is in one week, and churches all over are handing out palm fronds today. Time to get you a ham! Olsen Farms has plenty of freshly smoked hams for your holiday feast at your Ballard Farmers Market today. But if a beef or lamb roast is more your speed, they’ve got those waiting for you, too. But do pick it up today, so you are ready to go next Sunday, eh? And it’s not too late to pick up some lamb or a nice brisket for Passover, too, though you’ll want to start it thawing as soon as you get home today. After all, Passover begins at sundown Monday.

Lady Fern Fiddleheads from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ladyfern Fiddleheads from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I know I’ve been talking about signs of spring for weeks now, but this past Wednesday, spring actually finally arrived. If the 12 hours of daylight didn’t give it away, certainly the snow showers and wind storms should have. Ah, March in the Pacific Northwet. Well, as if to formally pronounce the arrival spring, Foraged & Found Edibles brings the first Ladyfern fiddleheads to your Ballard Farmers Market today. Woohoo! And if that weren’t enough, they’ve got wood sorrel and stinging nettles today, too!

Blueberry plants from Cascadian Edible Landscapes. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Blueberry plants from Cascadian Edible Landscapes. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

April approacheth, the sun is out, and it is time to get back into the garden! And Cascadian Edible Landscapes has returned to help us in that endeavor. They’ve got a tremendous selection of vegetable starts and berry plants. Like these beautiful blueberry plants. Imagine stepping out your backdoor to enjoy blueberries from your very own blueberry bush for years to come. Sounds pretty nice, eh? Well, get ’em now, and get ’em in the ground, while it is still the rainy season. That way, they’ll get their roots established before things dry out this summer.

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

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

Stoney Plains Organic Farm has sorrel of the domesticated variety this week. This is Red Vein sorrel, though they also have regular sorrel, too. This regenerative, herbaceous leafy green is just what the doctor ordered, perhaps literally, for spring. Stoney Plains also has plenty of garden plants, too, including strawberry plants. Get them in the ground now, and enjoy your own berries come June!

Tulips from Pa Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tulips from Pa Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Did you notice how full the Market was last week? We had five farms return last week, including all of our Hmong flower farms. And if that ain’t an harbinger of spring, I don’t know what is! Of course, this week, they were probably harvesting flowers in the snow in the Lower Snoqualmie Valley. Stop by today, and grab some of these lovely tulips from Pa Garden. Fresh from the field, they are ready to burst open in brilliant color in a vase on your table!

Kale Raabs from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Kale Raabs from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The start of spring also signals the approaching end of kale season. Yeah, I know. Around here, it is always kale season. But the fact is, this time of year, kale wants to reproduce, just like any other healthy species. So, the kale plants in the field, as well as the collards, cabbages and many roots, start to bolt, sending out their flowers in pursuit of procreation. The result is raab. Yes, this time of year, we get to enjoy any number of different kinds of raabs as these plants reach the end of their lifecycle and get on with the job of producing the next. Raabs, those tender, flowery tops of these plants, are lovely simply sautéed with some garlic, and they can be great grilled, too. And Nash’s Organic Produce has a whole bunch of them right now!

Gil holds ducklings at Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gil holds ducklings at Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Here is this week’s installment of This Photo Is Almost Disturbingly Cute. This is our own Gilbert holding three adorable, fluffy ducklings at Stokesberry Sustainable Farm during our visit there a few weeks ago. I suppose the cuteness factor may trouble some folks, but for those who enjoy duck, know that these little guys will enjoy a happy, healthy and loved life before they come to Market. That’s just the way the Stokesberry’s roll.

Dandelion greens from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dandelion greens from Children’s Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of regenerative greens for a spring tonic, how’s about some of these tasty dandelion greens from Children’s Garden? These quite bitter greens may make you pucker a bit, but dress them with some anchovies, olive oil and some of that Twin Oaks goat feta, and maybe a drizzle of some balsamic vinegar, and you’ve got one delicious, nutritious salad. Or you can make soup, tea, or even juice them, and grilling them is not out of the question. Your liver will thank you!

Succulents from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Succulents from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget the ornamental side of your garden. And if you’re lazy, like me, these succulents from Phocas Farms are for you! Get them in the ground now, and let them get their roots well established while it’s still rainy, and they will reward you all summer long by being draught tolerant… and gorgeous! Just look at all these colors. Phocas Farms propagates more than 200 varieties of them. So get a whole bunch of them, and make for a colorful summer without all that watering.

Red mustard greens from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red mustard greens from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

More scrumptious greens for spring — these being red mustard greens from Colinwood Farms. These are great lightly wilted with olive oil and garlic, or raw in a nice, spicy salad, as they are very tender. Colinwood has lots of other greens now, too, as well as new carrots. Enjoy!

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

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

With Passover and Easter looming ahead this week, you need eggs! Lots of eggs!!! For your seder plate or your Easter egg hunt, for your famous deviled eggs to bring to the Easter gathering at Grandma’s house, or for that extraordinary brunch you’ll be cooking up next weekend. We’ve got an abundance of eggs in your Ballard Farmers Market right now, and these are the best eggs you’ve ever tasted. Seriously. The eggs above, for instance, are from Growing Things Farm, and the farm is renowned for their amazing eggs. They have hard shells and big, beautiful, richly yellow yolks, and they are laid by happy chickens that get to run around outdoors and hang out with roasters. I know. I’ve seen them. So, stock up!

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 4th: Meat, Seafood, Poultry, Dairy: Local, Sustainable & Humanely-Raised Animal Protein!

November 3, 2012

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

This week, we pay tribute to the many farmers, fishers and ranchers at your Ballard Farmers Market who produce animal products. And we start with a farm that epitomizes why we all love to get our meat and poultry here: Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. See, they put it right in their name: sustainable. And it is important to note that sustainable is about more than just the environment. It is about how the animals are treated, what impact their meat will have on your health, how the farm and its animals impact the land they are on and the communities they are in, whether the business, and your support of it, are contributing positively to the local economy, and even the relationship one has with the farm… in this case, a direct one. It matters that the people who grow our food have real, actual faces. They are real, actual people. We come to know them over weeks and months and years, and we trust them like we would our doctor, lawyer or mechanic. All of this is part of sustainable. And part of your Ballard Farmers Market. Just some food for thought as you pick up a dozen eggs, a duck and some chicken fat today from Stokesberry.

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

Olsen Farms travels farther than any other farm in the state to sell at farmers markets. They hail from the tiny town of Aladdin, so far up in the northeast corner of the state, it is almost in Alberta. Olsen may be best known for the 20+ varieties of potatoes they grow, but they also produce beef, pork and lamb. They’ll have these gorgeous holiday hams soon, and fall tends to be a good time to get sheep skins from them, too. And, of course, they make a nice selection of sausages, as well.

Tarantella, or belly tuna, from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fishing Vessel St. Jude, based at Ballard’s own Fishermen’s Terminal, catches adolescent albacore tuna off the coast of Washington as it swims south from the North Pacific, where it spends its first year of life. Because it is still young, and because those cold northern waters are a little cleaner, they are very low in heavy metals. And that cold water also means they are higher in fat content, and thus rich in beneficial omega fatty acids. And the fattiest part of the fish is its belly. That’s what this Tarantella comes from. Canned tuna doesn’t get much more amazing than this!

Fresh sausages from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Mmm. Fresh sausages. Fresh from George and the gang out at Vashon Island’s Sea Breeze Farm. Sea Breeze raises cattle, pigs, lamb, veal calves, chickens, ducks, the odd goat, and other tasty animals. They sell their meat from their refrigerated cases at your Ballard Farmers Market, and lovely charcuterie made at their Vashon butcher shop, as well as the aforementioned sausages, bacon, ham, and even raw milk products, cheese and wine.

Lard from Samish Bay Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Lard is making a comeback, especially when it comes to fresh lard straight from the farm from happy, healthy, pastured pigs. This ain’t 1970s lard. And with the holidays will come baking season, and for the fluffiest biscuits and the flakiest pie crust, you will need lard. Well, Samish Bay Farm, perhaps best known for its cheese, also raises pigs and cattle. That means they offer pork, beef, yogurt, and yes, lard. Now, go make the best apple pie ever!

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

For a real fall treat, try out some pickled keta salmon from Loki Fish. Loki is also based out of Fishermen’s Terminal, and the Knutsen’s fish for all five Pacific salmon species in Alaska by summer, and in the fall, they fish for keta and pink in Puget Sound. In fact, they have fresh Puget Sound keta salmon available right now! And they have the other species available flash frozen, smoked, canned, loxed, in burgers and sausages, and more! Oh, but the pickled keta. Yummers. Bring this to a holiday party, and you will be the hero of the day.

Fresh, local butter from Golden Glen Creamery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

There is just something special about good butter, am I right? And this time of year, so many things just scream out for butter — from spuds to toast to hearty breads. Lucky for us, we’ve got really good butter — indeed, farmstead butter — right here at your Ballard Farmers Market from Golden Glen Creamery. They have it plain (salted and unsalted), as well as in a variety of fun flavors, from savory to sweet. Of course, they’ve also got plenty of great cheese still, too.

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

Sometimes, you just need a good steak. So how’s about one of these beauties from Skagit River Ranch? They’re grass-finished and raised on lush, natural pastures, and they never see grain in their diets nor the inside of a truck. Skagit River Ranch also raises pigs and chickens and turkeys and more… all on their happy ranch along the Skagit River in Sedro-Woolley. It is worth the trip up there to see it, if you can. In the meantime, enjoy the delicious products of their hard and passionate work right here at your Ballard Farmers Market! (And don’t forget to order your holiday turkeys and hams now!)

Smoked whole sides of white king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The season may be over for fresh Washington coastal, troll-caught king salmon from Wilson Fish, but they still have plenty of it smoked and frozen. And if you haven’t tried their smoked king salmon, you do yourself a disservice. It is so rich and delicious, and frankly, unsurpassed. Imagine your holiday party with a side of smoked king like this on a platter in the middle of the table. Your guests will think you a god. Oh, and Wilson will likely have other local fresh fish, like rockfish, ling cod, true cod and others on and off through the winter!

Seastack cheese from Mt. Townsend Creamery. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Mt. Townsend Creamery, from Port Townsend, makes about a dozen different kinds of amazing cheeses. Just ask the American Cheese Society, with whom several of Mt. Townsend’s cheeses placed first, second or third in America in recent years. You can try them for yourself, right here, at your Ballard Farmers Market, because they will let you sample most of their cheeses. And you’re going to need lots of cheese over the next few months, right? Just don’t get here too late in the day, as many varieties will sell out before 3 p.m.

Oysters on the half-shell, on the beach at Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo courtesy Hama Hama Oyster Company.

Now is a great time of year for fresh oysters, be they raw on the half shell (above), jarred for frying or making oyster stew, smoked or pickled. And Hama Hama Oyster Company has you covered for all your oyster needs. Plus, they’ve got Manila clams, Dungeness crab, crab cakes and more!

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

Let’s finish our stroll through all things animalicious this week with one of the most delectable chickens you will ever taste. Heck, my family eats these instead of turkey for Thanksgiving! Seriously. If you are still buying factory farmed chickens at the Big Box stores because they’re cheap, and you didn’t know that “free range” just means they get a little more room to move around inside a cage in a building for their entire lives, then you owe it to yourself to spend a little extra money for a real chicken from Growing Things Farm. Trust me. There really is a huge difference, and once you try one, you will never buy a Big Box store chicken again!

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, July 22nd: Colorful Cauliflower, Nectarcots, Loganberries, Rainbow Carrots, Kraut Juice, Native Potatoes, Raspberry Jam, Beefsteak Tomatoes & The Return Of Boistfort Valley Farm!!!

July 22, 2012

Purple graffiti cauliflower from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Today’s epistle is a tale of many colors and hybrids, of summers delicious bounty and the return of one of Washington’s finest family farms to your Ballard Farmers Market. Let’s start with a splash of color, though, in the form of this wonderful purple graffiti cauliflower from Oxbow Farm. Besides being delicious, cauliflower is one of those weirdly beautiful vegetables that kinda defies logic. And we are now coming into the peak of summer cauliflower season. Woohoo!

Cheddar cauliflower from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We will enjoy at least five different varieties of cauliflower at your Ballard Farmers Market this summer, from the white titan cauliflower we saw arriving from Oxbow last week to this stunning cheddar cauliflower from Growing Things Farm. And soon, we’ll also see green cauliflower and romanesco, the only vegetable that grows in fractals! Each has its own unique qualities and flavor. I like to steam romanesco, then grate some fresh parmesan cheese over the top of it. I like roasting the white and cheddar in a hot oven, simply tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, though you can dial it up a notch with other spices. Try giving cumin a shot. And try grilling it, too!

Heidi Peroni of Boistfort Valley Farm holding some of their ginormous heads of lettuce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

If you’re anything like me, first off, let me give you the number of a good therapist! That said, you’ve probably been missing Boistfort Valley Farm from, well, Boistfort. You know, we kinda gauge just how late a year it is for Westside farmers based on how late Boistfort Valley comes into your Ballard Farmers Market, and I do believe this is the latest they ever have. Now, if you are unfamiliar with Boistfort Valley Farm, let me tell you a little about them. Farmer Mike Peroni has been farming in Southwest Washington and selling at the Olympia Farmers Market for almost 25 years. He grew up in an Italian family in Pennsylvania with an Italian’s healthy appreciation of food. He specializes in growing Italian and Asian heirloom varieties of vegetables, and his market displays are so legendary that he is regularly called upon to give workshops to other farmers on how to set up one’s market stall. Indeed, Boistfort Valley Farm is one farm to which some of the most admired farms in Washington aspire to be. Thus I say, so what if they’re late coming in. They’ll be with us now through Christmas, and we’ll get to enjoy their splendor! Welcome back Mike and Heidi, and your crew. We’re all ready to fall in love with you all over again!

Nectarcots from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, every year, when the nectarcots from Collins Family Orchards arrive at your Ballard Farmers Market, I cannot help but ponder the absolute explosion in stone fruit hybrids over the last 10-15 years. From donut peaches to pluots to apriums to peachcots, it seems the made scientist orchardists are having just too much fun playing pin the pollen on the other tree’s flower and see what we get. The good news is that this madness has resulted in many more kinds of fruit for us to enjoy, and made it available for much more of the year. I mean, remember back when you had two kinds of cherries, one peach, one nectarine and one apricot? How boring does that seem now? Seriously yawnsville, right? Then again, I am still holding out for the introduction of the nectareach, that mythical hybridization betwixt nectarine and peach. I suspect the delay in this particular fruit has something to do with trying to keep the genes from favoring the juicy, watery interior of the nectarine surrounded by the fuzzy exterior of the peach. Yikes!

Ozette potatoes from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ozette potatoes are the closest thing to a native potato that Washington has. Truth is, all potatoes originated in South America. But did you know that almost all potatoes in the United States travelled from South America to Europe before coming here? Yup. However, there are a few notable exceptions. See, in the late 1700s, the Spanish, who, with the Portuguese, are largely responsible for transporting South America’s most famous tuber to the rest of the planet, sailed up the Pacific Coast of North America from South America back in the 1790s looking for more ports to call home. You didn’t think the Strait of Jan de Fuca  was named by the Brits, did you? The Spaniards set up trading posts in several northern ports, including our own Neah Bay, and they brought with them, direct from South America, potatoes — beautiful fingerling potatoes, to be exact. They plunked their flags down in Neah Bay in 1791, and by 1793, they figured out that the weather here kinda sucks, and they scarpered off back to Mexico. But lucky for us, they left behind with the Makah Indians those potatoes, and the Makah continue to cultivate them to this day. Indeed, the Ozette potato is one of the few potatoes to travel directly from South to North America, and now it is our potato, cool and dampness hardy, dense and starchy and delicious — absolutely brilliant roasted, great steamed, smashed and slathered with butter, or grill-roasted in a foil pouch in butter and herbs. Alvarez Organic Farms has them today. Enjoy!

Loganberries from Jessie’s Berries. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Berries exhibit another exercise in diversity and color this time of year. Take the humble loganberry from Jessie’s Berries, for instance. Big, juicy, sweet and tangy. Perfect for jams, pies, topping ice cream, adding to salads or even dressing up salmon and pork. And just look at that astonishingly beautiful color, eh? You know, when I post photos like this one on our Facebook page, I often find myself blindsided by people from all over the world commenting on the photos and expressing how they wished they could be in Ballard with us to enjoy this absurd bounty we have here. We are pretty darned lucky to live here and to have access to all that our local farmers have to offer us. Take a moment to reflect on that, take a moment to thank the farmers today as you shop at your Ballard Farmers Market, and please, show your appreciation for this special market by voting for it in the 2012 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest.

Shelling peas from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nothing goes together quite like peas and carrots, right? They’re like a marriage made in vegetable heaven… or was it a market research laboratory at Green Giant’s headquarters in Blue Earth, Minnesota? Whatever the case, if you still eat peas from a bag you got out of the freezer case of one of the Big Box stores, I beg you to indulge me and dive into fresh shelling peas from Stoney Plains Organic Farm right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Besides how amazing they are straight out of the pod, I personally find it worth the effort to load up on these babies and shuck pounds of them. I’ll enjoy some fresh now, but more importantly, I will fill a couple dozen pint freezer bags with them, packing four pint bags to a gallon freezer bag, and cram the whole lot into my freezer. Then, when I want frozen peas this winter, so I can make one of my favorite pasta dishes with some of Pasteria Lucchese’s pappardelle and Wilson Fish’s smoked salmon, all I have to do is grab one of those pint bags, empty the contents into the pot with the pasta about 30-60 seconds before the pasta is done, drain, and then toss the lot with the salmon, and bam!, I’ve got the best friggin’ frozen peas ever. Ever! You don’t need to blanch them first. Just shuck ’em and freeze ’em. Ever! Bam! You can thank me in January.

Rainbow carrots from Gaia’s Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Like peas and carrots, baby! Pea and carrots!!! And how’s about yet another rainbow of vegetative color? Rainbow carrots from Gaia’s Natural Goods. Simply awesome, eh? But carrots are orange, and raspberries are red, and cauliflower is white, and tomatoes are red, and, and, and… only if you shop at the Big Box stores, baby! Here at your Ballard Farmers Market, we use the jumbo pack of Crayola crayons, and with it, we get more flavor, more nutrients, more goodness, more life!

Tummy Tonic caraway sauerkraut brine from Firefly Kitchens. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I am so glad that a couple of years ago, I lobbied hard for Firefly Kitchens to keep making their caraway sauerkraut. It is the perfect accompaniment for a nice bratwurst, you know? And with most brands of kraut in the Big Box stores these days being cooked to death or laden with preservative sulfiting agents, having access to this beautiful, fresh, living kraut made with local cabbage is such a gift. And now, they are even bottling the caraway kraut brine left after the kraut is all jarred for sale. This is a potent living tonic that’ll make your body purr, and it’s also got all the deliciousness of the kraut itself. But stock up soon, because we are hitting peak season now at your Ballard Farmers Market, and all our farms are back and needing multiple spaces for all their fruits and veggies, and that’ll mean Firefly Kitchens will be taking its summer hiatus soon to make room for them all.

Beefsteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Clayton from Alm Hill Gardens has been teasing us with hints of the imminent arrival of beefsteak tomatoes from their greenhouses for a couple of weeks now, but today, they are finally here. Indeed, this photo was taken at our Wallingford Farmers Market this past Wednesday. It is time for real tomatoes again, ripened on the vine and picked at their peak — juicy, delicious and ready to take your burgers, your salads, your soups and sauces to new heights! Can I get an amen?

Fresh duck from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh duck in the house! Okay, truth be told, I don’t know for sure if Sea Breeze Farm will have fresh ducks in their case this week or not. They did last week, and I got me some and pan-roasted it. Yummers! Of course, that game of “what will they have this week” is half the fun of Sea Breeze Farm. You can always count on them having a great array of raw jersey cow’s milk products and a nice selection of artisan sausages, but from week-to-week, you never quite know if it is going to be a fresh chicken and veal week, or maybe lamb and pork. Will they experiment with a new pate? Will the ham being simply salted and smoked, or will the rub contain black pepper and cloves? Will they have cheese? Whatever the case, you can count on it being some of the best meat and dairy you’ve ever encountered anywhere. So stop by today, and see what George has got in the case this week! (Oh, and grab a bottle of their wine, while you’re at it.)

Raspberry jam with thyme from Deluxe Foods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wow. I think this is the longest post I’ve ever written. And it’s been one big bang after another. So it seems only fitting that we end this week’s installment with one last big bang — raspberry jam with thyme from Deluxe Foods. They make this stuff with raspberries from Hayton Berry Farms and Ballard-grown thyme. If you have not tried the many heirloom, artisan jams and jellies made with local ingredients and love by Deluxe Foods, you really don’t know what jam can taste like. Yes, I know it is my job to be a relentless cheerleader for all things deliciousness at your Ballard Farmers Market, but seriously, my job is ridiculously easy, given what I have to work with. I mean, when have I steered you wrong, eh? So today, go by Deluxe Foods stand, and systematically sample each and every flavor she’s got, and it you don’t walk away thinking it’s the best jam you’ve ever tasted, well then, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle! (Stop snickering, Clayton. I know you already think I’m a monkey’s uncle.)

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.