Posts Tagged ‘food’

Reasons to Celebrate: March is National Soup Month and Ides of Spring is Upon Us

March 14, 2015

Jerry Baxter, the man behind Got Soup? Copyright by Zachary D. Lyons.

Soup is nutritious, delicious, and makes everyone feel better, no matter what the day is like.  We are proud to have Jerry Baxter bringing his handmade soups, always made from local and organic ingredients, every week. Got Soup? has what you need for this Spring weather. This week’s selections are Thai Peanut and Chicken, and four Vegan Soup Choices:  Hot & Sour Mushroom, Green Risotto, Vegetable Chili Verde, and Coconut Red Lentil Dal, and Broccoli & 3 Cheeses. A hint from our busy market master is to “Be sure you have one or more of these soups in your freezer for those times when everyone comes home hungry, tired and needing to eat right away.”  These are real meals, made from local farm produce that are ready in no time at all.  And while the soup is heating, you can add a hearty side dish, such as Cornbread with Caramelized Apples and Onions with Thyme.  Find it on our website at sfmamarkets.com in the Recipes section.   This is an easy, elegant and yet quick answer to those moments you need a dinner fast.  They are also excellent for those times, like the Ides of March, when only comfort food will do.

Washington-grown saffron from Phocas Farm in Port Angeles. Copyright by Zachary D. Lyons.

Under the heading of, “We continue to bring everything of the highest quality that you could possibly need for your kitchen table from local producers” category, how about local Saffron? This herb adds a perfect and sumptuous flavor to feed your soul and body.  Ballard Farmers Market is proud to be the exclusive outlet for Jim Robinson, who grows this delicate herb at his farm in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains in Port Angeles, Phocas Farm. This is superb saffron that has become a favorite with many of the best chefs in Seattle. Why buy Iranian-grown saffron marketed as “Spanish” in the Big Box stores, when you can get better saffron locally?  Use it to flavor your chicken & rice soup and experience greatness.


Speaking of Chicken!

Are you feeling a bit windblown and dreary these recent damp Spring mornings?  Maybe a little grey, or mossy,  or perhaps even chilled? Ballard Farmers Market has the cure for that.  Chicken broth made lovingly out of these products from our impeccable farms.  Place the washed bird into a deep pot, add water, a chopped onion, garlic, a dash of salt, and dry herbs you love.  Bring to a gentle simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, or until it begins to fill your home with comforting aromas.  Turn off the heat, let sit until you can place the pan into your fridge.  Let it get cold.  Remove the meat from the bones and put back into your broth.  Add any great veggies you love, roots first, and simmer again. Coarsely chop greens and add to the pot about 10 minutes or less before you want to eat.  Serve with a garnish of your choice.  Try finely sliced Swiss Chard or spinach from Colinwood Farm, shredded cabbage, collards, or kale from Nash’s,  Growing Washington, Stoney Plains Farm, or Kirsop Farm, and garnish with mint or cilantro from Children’s Garden.  You get the idea, Ballard is seeing more of these leafy gems appearing every day.

If you need some chicken broth immediately, stop at the Stokesberry Sustainable Farm to pick up a nice cup of the warm and soothing broth that they make at the farm.  You’ll be glad you did.

Check out all of the fine choices available from the local farms at Ballard Farmers Market.

Whole pastured chicken from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

SeaBreeze Farm at Ballard Farmers Market.  Copyright Zachary D. Lyons

SeaBreeze Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons

Skagit River Ranch. Copyright by Zachary D. Lyons.

Skagit River Ranch. Copyright by Zachary D. Lyons.

Stokesberry Sustainable Farm Copyright Zachary D, Lyons

Stokesberry Sustainable Farm –  They also offer hot broth at the Market or frozen and ready to take home.  Copyright Zachary D, Lyons


Fuji apples from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Copyright by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yes, these beautiful Fuji apples, and a great variety of other wonderful fruit, including dried fruit, can be found at Tiny’s Organic Produce. These are perfect for an energy boost or as an added ingredient in cornbread.  Check out our recipe pages at sfmamarkets.com  Just in case you want to mix it up a little, you can also find a very easy and delicious recipe for Potato and Leek Soup while you explore the recipes. 

Your Ballard Farmers Market is chock full of all sorts of goodness for your home, from  all the freshest fruits and veggies, meats, seafood, poultry, cheese, to baked goods, sauces, confections, fresh-cut flowers and fresh milled flours, plants for the garden, wild mushrooms, and on and on.

Wednesday, March 11th: Oysters, Holiday Hams and Spring Flowers! Yeah, Spring is Coming!!!

March 11, 2015

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

Did you miss oysters at your Ballard Farmers Market this past Sunday? Welcome back Hama Hama Oyster Company after their little hiatus last week.  This family business has been farming oysters since 1922, and they provide some of the finest, sweetest oysters you will find anywhere. Plus, they pickle them and they smoke them. Yes, today is a happy day indeed. Oysters are back, baby!

 

A holiday ham from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s time to order that ham for Easter Sunday. Can you believe that Easter will be here in only three weeks? Time does fly!  Stop by Skagit River Ranch, Olsen Farms, Sea Breeze Farm or Samish Bay Cheese to place your order.  They’ve got them on sale right now, and getting an order in to your favorite grower is the best way to assure you have one ready to go when April 4th comes around.  You know these are some of the best hams you can find anywhere, so don’t miss your chance.

KaYing, The Old Farmer, arranging one of her beautiful bouquets of flowers. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now, it may be early but it sure looks like spring!  Alm Hill Garden tulips and all of our favorite Hmong farmers with their variety of spectacular flowers have returned to Ballard Farmers Market. Welcome them all back and pick out one of their fabulous bouquets to brighten your day, or the day of someone special.

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market.   Plan on visiting the goodness this coming Sunday.

Sunday, March 8th: Just A Few Of My Favorite Product Photos & My Farewell!

March 7, 2015
A heart-shaped tomato from Around The Table Farm at Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

A heart-shaped tomato from Around The Table Farm at Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to combine my three passions into one gig over the last eight years. I managed to find a job in which I got to help develop our local food system while at the same time writing about it and photographing it. What a blessing! I have been working with farmers markets since 1991, and I have served on the board of Seattle Chefs Collaborative since 1999. I also served as executive director of Washington State Farmers Market Association from 1999-2005, and in 2006, I co-authored the Washington State Farmers Market Manual for Washington State University. I have loved all this work, and I am proud of all we’ve accomplish here, leading the nation in local food. So even though I am leaving my farmers market job after today, I will still be around.

For this last official regular blog post for your Ballard Farmers Market, I’d like to revisit with you some of my favorite photos from over the years. Like the one above, taken at Wallingford Farmers Market last summer. This naturally-occuring heart-shaped tomato was grown by Poulsbo’s Around The Table Farm. Yet one more reason to love vine-ripened, farm-fresh tomatoes over homogenous, boring tomatoes from the Big Box stores, if you really needed another reason.

An explosion of carrots from Gaia's Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

An explosion of carrots from Gaia’s Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

While the previous photo was copied all over the intertubes, it is this photo that actually circled the globe. Yes, this is my single-most plagerized photo ever, and I say that with pride (and a little bit of annoyance — please don’t republish photos without permission or giving credit!). I took this photo of baby rainbow carrots that look like an exploding firework not long before Independence Day in 2012. These carrots were grown by Gaia’s Harmony Farm in Snohomish. I published this photo across all of our markets’ blogs and Facebook pages for the 4th that year, and it just spread across the interwebs from there. Imagine how far it would have travelled had a vision of the Virgin Mother be visible in it?

Fresh sausages from Sea Breeze Farmat Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh sausages from Sea Breeze Farmat Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

I’ve taken a lot of nice photos of Sea Breeze Farm’s meats over the years, but I’ve always liked this one of their sausages best. The sausages are all uniform in size and stacked perfectly, highlighted by the wooden butcher block below them. But what sets them off is that they are three such distinctly different colors. Kinda makes you want some right now, doesn’t it? And that is what makes this photo so special.

Rutabagas from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Rutabagas from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Rutabagas are one of my favorite vegetables. I must owe that to my Irish heritage. My family eats them every Thanksgiving. Indeed, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without them. Then my Aunt Joyce taught me to add them to the corned beef pot on St. Paddy’s Day. (You need to add them 15-30 minutes before your potatoes, as they’re much denser.) They absorb all the flavors of the spices and meat. Nummers. I’ve also always found rutabagas to be quite beautiful, with their deep yellows and purples. And of all my lovely photos of rutabagas — indeed, of all the thousands of images I’ve taken of markets over the years — this one of rutabagas from Boistfort Valley Farm, spread out randomly in a wooden farm box, is one of my absolute favorites.

Framed cabbage from Full Circle Farm at Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Framed cabbage from Full Circle Farm at Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

This wonderful photo of symmetrically-arranged cabbages in a wooden box was taken back in 2010. They are from one of the gorgeous displays that Big Dave used to erect for Full Circle Farm at Wallingford Farmers Market. The image quality suffers a bit from my old camera’s inferior technology, but the image is still nice, don’t you think?

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

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

One Leaf Farm is known for growing lots of deliciously bitter members of the chicory family. They are quite beautiful, too, and in 2012, I managed to capture this image of escarole, treviso radicchio and Palla Rosa radicchio here at your Ballard Farmers Market. This image is now used on One Leaf’s own website, which pleases me every time I visit it.

Romanesco from Full Circle Farm at Madrona Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Romanesco from Full Circle Farm at Madrona Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Another of the most stunning vegetables — one that magically grows in perfect fractals — is this romanesco, a member of the cauliflower family. And my favorite photo is of this romanesco from Full Circle Farm at Madrona Farmers Market back in 2011. This photos has served as the cover photo for Madrona’s Facebook page ever since.

Chinese spinach from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chinese spinach from Children’s Garden. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

But for my money, the most beautiful vegetable of all is this Chinese spinach. With its purple and green leaves, it is just flat-out stunning. Only two farms bring it to your Ballard Farmers Market each summer: Mee Garden and Children’s Garden. This image is of some from Children’s Garden from 2011. And in fact, before I published this photo and waxed poetic about the virtues of this gorgeous leafy green, these two farms were hard-pressed to sell any of it. Now, they can’t harvest enough of it. And for that, I love you, good people of Ballard Farmers Market! You are willing to be adventurous in the name of eating local!

Broccoli in the field at Alm Hill Gardens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Broccoli in the field at Alm Hill Gardens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Most people probably don’t even think about what broccoli looks like growing in the fieldThis is what it looks like! That’s the developing floret right there in the center surrounded by all those lovely, and edible, mind you, leaves. That’s why I’ve always loved this photo from Growing Washington in Everson — it surprises people. No, milk doesn’t just magically come in a carton, and yes, broccoli does have leaves!

Winter squash from Summer Run Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter squash from Summer Run Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter squash is also very photogenic. And this photo of delicata and carnival squash from Summer Run Farm taken just this past fall happens to be my favorite. The colors are simply explosive, aren’t they? No wonder so many restaurants will use their squash as decorations around the dining room for weeks before cooking them!

Cauliflower in every color from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cauliflower in every color from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Did you know that cauliflower comes in so many colors? Just it this photo you’ll see purple, yellow, green, white and green romanesco from Growing Things Farm. Seriously, aren’t farmers markets so much more fun in every way than a boring Big Box store, where you’ll only get white cauliflower, and it won’t be remotely as sweet as this stuff is?

Viking purple potatoes from Olsen Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Viking purple potatoes from Olsen Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally… and this is the big finally… in honor of Ballard’s Scandinavian roots, and because this photos has actually been republished in national print magazines, let’s finish off my celebration of my favorite product photos, and my role as Blog Master, with these Viking purple potatoes from Olsen Farms. Their magnificent purple skin belies snow white flesh that makes them a perfect masher.

Thank you for joining me week in and week out for all these years, as I have brought you the news of the day as to what’s fresh now at your Ballard Farmers Market, with a sprinkling of snark and commentary. If at times my tone has seemed revolutionary, that is because the revolution starts here, on your fork. Know that I won’t be too far away, and that you’ll likely still see me around the Market on Sundays. Hopefully, I’ll contribute the odd guest post in the future. And now that I have the time, I’ll be whipping my personal blogs into shape with tales of food and adventure from near and far. You can find my blogs via mayoroffoodtown.com, though give me a couple of weeks to spit-polish them a bit, as they’re a bit tarnished from years of neglect. (If you have need for a skilled writer, photographer or event organizer, contact me through that site.) And I won’t turn down hugs today, either. (Unless you’re sick. Just got over norovirus, and that stuff is just plain nasty.)

xoxo Zach

Some Ballard Farmers Market Success Stories

March 6, 2015
Autumn Martin returns today with her Hot Cakes! Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Autumn Martin with her Hot Cakes at Ballard Farmers Market back in 2009. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

In the People’s Republic of Ballard, and especially at your Ballard Farmers Market, we know great, local food and drink. So it is no wonder your Ballard Farmers Market has been home to, and indeed a launching pad for, many now very familiar and celebrated names in the local food and beverage industry. And as I continue my personal countdown to retirement from this blog, today I celebrate just a fraction of the extraordinary folks with whom we have shared the street over the years, and the success they have so deservedly achieved.

Like Chef Autumn Martin of Hot Cakes, now with her own storefront just a block up from the Market. Most days, there is a line out the door there to eat her delicious chocolatey creations, but did you know Hot Cakes got its start right here on the street at your Ballard Farmers Market? Yep. We couldn’t be more proud of you, Autumn. And just look at all of the press, from all over the world, she’s getting!

Veraci Pizza co-owner Marshall Jett being interviewed by Food Network Canada. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Veraci Pizza co-owner Marshall Jett being interviewed by Food Network Canada. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This photo is from 2010, when a camera crew from Food Network Canada arrived at your Ballard Farmers Market to feature Veraci Pizza on their street food show, Eat Street. You probably see Veraci’s mobile pizza ovens all of town — heck, all over the Northwest. Besides their storefront on Market Street, they have a depot on 15th Avenue on Crown Hill will dozens of the trailers. You will also find them in Spokane, in Oregon and in Idaho. But did you know that they got their humble beginnings right here with us many years ago? Back then, they just had one, and then two trailers. Wow. We just love a great success story!

Kimchi, Krauts & more from Firefly Kitchens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Kimchi, Krauts & more from Firefly Kitchens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Firefly Kitchens got its start in a shared kitchen space in Frelard in 2010, introducing Seattle to what has now become one of the biggest trends in food: fermentation. They gathered up local veggies from area farmers and allowed them to naturally ferment with delicious and nutritious results. We liked them so much, we directed them to the Good Food Awards in San Francisco in January 2011, and low and behold they won! And they’ve been winning ever since! And while you can now find their products at finer grocery stores throughout the area, the finest grocery store for them is still right here at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Farhad from Tall Grass Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Farhad from Tall Grass Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Yes, we all still miss us some Farhad, who retired from Tall Grass Bakery last September. So I thought I’d pay homage to him one more time whilst also reminding all y’all that Tall Grass Bakery also got its start with us, way back when your Ballard Farmers Market was wedged into the Fremont Sunday Market at 34th & Fremont, before Fremont was redeveloped and the Market moved to Ballard in 2000. They, too, shared a kitchen with another bakery back in the late 1990s. Now, they make some of the best bread in Seattle out of their storefront on 24th Avenue NW and bring it to you here at your Ballard Farmers Market, as well as other markets and restaurants all over King County.

Market Master Judy Kirkhuff with Nash & Patty Huber of Nash's Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Market Master Judy Kirkhuff with Nash & Patty Huber of Nash’s Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

In 2008, American Farmland Trust gave Nash Huber of Nash’s Organic Produce in Dungeness their annual, national Steward Of The Land Award. It is just one of many awards Nash has won over the years for the hundreds of acres and many farms he has not only kept in farm production in Clallam County, but that he has rejuvenated, rebuilding the soils, working with the local climate, and developing his own varieties of seeds that would thrive there. The result is a farm that is at its peak of production all winter long while many other local farmers are home reading seed catalogs or vacationing in Mexico. And like Bob Meyer, whom I saluted yesterday, Nash, too, has pioneered organic agriculture in Washington and helped many an up-and-coming farmer along the way!

Don Hilario Alvarez holding hot chile peppers at Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Don Hilario Alvarez holding hot chile peppers at Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Today, it is hard to imagine a farmers market around Seattle in August and September without the dozens of varieties of organic peppers from Mabton’s Alvarez Organic Farms (currently prepping their soil for the 2015 growing season!). Don Hilario Alvarez, the farm’s patriarch, is a classic American success story — a true example of an immigrant who pulled himself up by his own bootstraps, scrimping, saving and investing, until he became one of the most admired organic farmers in the nation. Way back in 2004, ATTRAnews, the newsletter of the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, celebrated him in a feature story in their issue about Latino farmers.

Roger Wechsler of Samish Bay Cheese. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Roger Wechsler of Samish Bay Cheese. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Back in 2010, Seattle was host to the American Cheese Society Awards, and frankly, our Market vendors mopped up the floor with its competition. And the winningest of all of your Ballard Farmers Market’s cheese makers was Samish Bay Cheese, taking home four separate awards. Stop by and take a tasting tour on any Sunday right here, and you will understand why!

Janelle & Jerry Stokesberry of Stokesberry Sustainable Farm support I-522. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Janelle & Jerry Stokesberry of Stokesberry Sustainable Farm support I-522. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ever wonder what makes the Seahawks and the Sounders play so well? We like to believe it is because they eat eggs and chickens from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Need I say more?

Tacos from Los Chilangos. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tacos from Los Chilangos. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oscar Mendez comes from a family of great Mexican cooks, and our markets are proud to have fostered them. Now, Oscar’s Los Chilangos lays claim to being the only mobile taco stand sourcing its animal protein locally. He get it directly from local, sustainable and humane farmers, fishers and ranchers right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. He gets rockfish from Wilson Fish, beef and pork from Olsen Farms, and eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Best of all, his food is wonderful!

Brent Charnley, winemaker at Lopez Island Vineyards, hold the new release of his Wave Crest White table wine. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Brent Charnley, winemaker at Lopez Island Vineyards, hold the new release of his Wave Crest White table wine. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And I round out this tribute to the achievements of the many vendors we quite frankly consider our family… heck, our children… with neither the last nor the least of our award-winning, storefront opening, international media starring market heroes. This is Brent Charnley from LIV (a.k.a., Lopez Island Vineyards). One of our state’s oldest wineries, the fact that it is certified organic makes it even more unique. Rarer still, it is located in the Puget Sound Appellation, Washington’s coolest, dampest wine-grape growing region, producing many Germanic varieties of grapes, and a few French, that just simply won’t grow elsewhere in Washington. And the list of awards their wines have won over the years is, frankly, almost embarrassing. Stop by for a taste to find out for yourself, and then take a great bottle, or three, home this Sunday!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,502 other followers