Posts Tagged ‘fudge’

Don’t Forget the Sweet Delights and Beverages

April 5, 2015

This weekend is famous for the Extreme Sport of Easter Egg Hunting.  It’s a good idea to have something on hand that will replenish energy and lift your spirits before the day is over.

Ballard Farmers Market has what you need.

Jonboy Caramels – A Perfect Sweet Treat 

But be careful, you can’t stop at just one.

Jonboy Caramels.  A taste of bliss.

Jonboy Caramels. A taste of bliss.

*****

We can’t forget the Pies.

Deborah, and her pies at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Deborah, and her pies at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Ask Deborah about the marathons she runs every year.

These pies have local farm-sourced ingredients and the best Crusts.

*****

Pete’s Perfect Toffee

The Pete behind Pete's Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

The Pete behind Pete’s Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Share these toffee bark pieces with your loved ones. They will delight everyone.  All who savor this treat will smile as they whisper   “Yum” repeatedly. Or, you may want to take home a package of his signature “Perfect” toffee. A treasured heirloom recipe passed down by Pete’s grandmother, it can turn into a favorite for your family too. Pete will sample whatever you’d like to try.  When you taste Pete’s fudge, you’ll want to share it. And tell Pete a joke.  He loves them.

Pure bliss in a square called bark.  Pete's Perfect Toffee at Ballard Farmers Market.

Pure bliss in a square called bark. Pete’s Perfect Toffee at Ballard Farmers Market.

*****

Nuflours Gluten-free Bakery

Heavenly Brownies from Nuflours Bakery.

Heavenly Brownies from Nuflours Bakery at the Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Nuflours Bakery is 100% gluten free.  They have creamy macaroons, cupcakes, lemon bars, multi-grain bread, rolls, and much more.  All of it moist & delicious.

 *****

Whitehorse Meadows Blueberry Farm is Back

Stop at Valerie’s canopy to pick up a package or two of these wonderful berries.  Frozen fresh from last season, they are perfect little snacks for kids of all ages, and make nutrition fun.

Frozen blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. copyright by Zachary D. Lyons.

Frozen blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. copyright by Zachary D. Lyons.

*****

Truffles from Soulever Chocolates. Photo copyright by Zachary D. Lyons.

Truffles from Soulever Chocolates. Photo copyright by Zachary D. Lyons.

Handcrafted Vegan Truffles by Soulever Chocolates

*****

Remember the Liquid Refreshments

Soda Jerk Sodas 

Soda Jerk Sodas-Maker of handcrafteed sodas and mixed jellies

Soda Jerk Sodas-Maker of handcrafteed sodas and mixed jellies. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sodas are available in Growlers.  Cory makes pure Syrups and Fine Jellies too.  You can use these Syrups to create your own signature drinks.  Fun.  Delicious..

*****

Communi-Tea Kombucha

Fresh kombucha from CommuniTea at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh kombucha from CommuniTea at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Refreshing and nutritional.

 *****

Sunday, August 4th: It’s National Farmers Market Week! Tomatillos, Eggplant, Cherry Plums & All Manner Of August Localiciousness!

August 3, 2013
Farm-fresh honey from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Farm-fresh honey from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! It’s National Farmers Market Week! Yes, a special week proclaimed by dignitaries, elected officials and bureaucrats that actually celebrates something that matters to us. Go figure. But hey, sooner or later, it had to happen, right? So come celebrate with us today. Now, I won’t bore you with lots of proclamations from the governor, the county executive and the mayor — and trust me, they’ve all issued them — no let’s celebrate with all the amazing local products and people who bring us our precious Ballard Farmers Market week in and week out, year-round, in rain, sleet, snow, sun, wind, hot and cold. We are more reliable, after all, than the postal service. And let’s start this party by honoring perhaps the most important beings in our local, and global for that matter, food system: honey bees. Without them, we would all starve. Really. And yet we silly humans are creating environmental conditions that are killing honey bees by the millions. What can you do? Eat organic. Stop using pesticides. Raise your own honey bees. Pay attention. You wonder why we have less honey in our farmers markets today than we did five years ago? That’s why.

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

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

Your Ballard Farmers Market is loaded with lots of characters who, out of a labor of love, a love of creating delicious food and quality goods, and a love of community, come here every week at 0-dark-30 from all over Washington to set up their tents and tables while you are still asleep, just so you will be able to stock up on their seasonal goodness every Sunday. One such character is Jim Robinson from Phocas Farms in Port Angeles. Jim may be best known around the Market for his hundreds of varieties of succulents and his wild appearance, but he is best known by Western Washington’s finest chefs for the incredible saffron he grows.

Saffron? Yes. It is so prized by local chefs that his entire crop is pre-sold every year before it is even harvested. And yet Jimmy is quite tall — not the best physical characteristic for raising a crop that demands one to be hunched over down low most of the time. Plus, he and the sun don’t get along all that well. You may have noticed that he is always covered head-to-toe at the Market, save for his face, which is a ghostly white. That white is industrial strength sunscreen, because Jim has light-sensitive lupus. And yet, he busts his hump year-round raising beautiful plants and spectacular saffron, then stands under his tent — outdoors in the daylight — every Sunday with nary a whimper, but instead a laugh, a smile, a flirtatious expression and a firm embrace. Why? Cuz he loves what he does and where he does it — right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Kinda makes it hard not to love the guy, or this place. Oh, hey, speaking of saffron, Jimmy has saffron corms for you this week, and for the next few. The chefs in town may not have left any of his saffron for you, but you can still plant and grow your own. Get them in the ground this month, and you will have your very own saffron later this fall!

Japanese eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Japanese eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alvarez Organic Farms has their first Japanese eggplant today, along with about a half dozen other kinds of eggplant. They have also just begun harvesting tomatoes, okra and tomatillos, too. You know, it’s kinda funny, but some folks have been thinking that eggplant is late in arriving this year. In reality, it is right on schedule, and just everything else is early, making its arrival appear late by comparison. Go figure. I love grilling these beauties. I slice them down the middle and salt them about half an hour before I grill them to pull some of the bitterness out. And make sure to coat them well with olive oil. Mmm.

Janelle Stokesberry holding a chicken and a dozen eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Janelle Stokesberry holding a chicken and a dozen eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You ever wonder why the Seahawks are so much better lately than any of the other professional sports teams in Seattle? Is it maybe because they eat Stokesberry chickens, perhaps? It’s as good a theory as any, I suppose. Janelle & Jerry Stokesberry raise organic chicken, turkey and duckeggs, beefpork and lamb on their Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia. I can’t wait until they have stewing hens, because I love to make chicken soup with them. And their chickens and ducks, as well as their eggs, can be found on the menus of many of the best restaurants in Seattle. Have you tried the sausages made from their pork by Link Lab Artisan Meats? They are great. And I’ve personally visited their pigs happily slopping through the mud in the spring, little piglets chasing each other around all over the place. Hilarious. If you want your meat and poultry raised well by farmers who care about their animals, and that tastes good, too, they’ve got you covered.

Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. They are a domesticated wild huckleberry from the East Coast. The berries are small and full of flavor, and they remind me of the wild blueberries we used to pick while hiking up Cadillac Mountain in Maine’s Acadia National Park. I remember I used to eat my weight in them.

George Vojkovich out standing in his field... with a bunch of cattle. Photo copyright 2007 by Zachary D. Lyons.

George Vojkovich out standing in his field… with a bunch of cattle. Photo copyright 2007 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look! It’s Farmer George Vojokovich of Skagit River Ranch, out standing in his field. That’s him in the upper-lefthand side of the photo. And he is that. Outstanding in his field. His pasture alone in this photo can testify to that. It is lush and green and up to the shoulders of his cattle. And this photo was taken in August! He lets them eat it down to about 6″, and then he moves them to the next pasture. The idea is that the cattle will eat a diversity of forage, not just their favorite ones, and the pasture will recover faster and be healthier. That keeps them healthy, and tasty. And that’s what makes George a dirt farmer more so than a rancher.

Farmer George is also nothing short of a scientist — you really have to be in this business — and he tests his animals to make sure they are getting all the nutrients and minerals they need. After all, the Skagit River Valley is low in a number of key minerals. So, based on the reports he gets, he actually adds minerals either to the pastureland, so it is taken up by the forage, or he puts out self-service stations where the cattle can actually stock up on what they need. They’re a bit smarter than us when it comes to that. The result of all this is some of the best beef you can find around here, and certainly better than anything you’ll find in the big box stores. Better, and better for you and the cattle.

Copia heirloom tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

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

One Leaf Farm is really cranking out the heirloom tomatoes now in a whole host of varieties (see the photo spread on our Facebook page). Just take a gander at these gorgeous copia tomatoes for instance. They are a rainbow of colors and the big ones are all kinda weird looking, but hey, they taste absolutely incredible. To quote Chef Gordon Ramsay, “they are the most amazing, stunning tomatoes ever.” Okay, he didn’t really say that, but those seem to be the only two adjectives he knows, and I’ve been wanting to give him a hard time about it for a long time. Chef, get thee a thesaurus, for the love of Mike! You’re welcome. But do beeline it to One Leaf for tomatoliciousness right now.

Roberto Guerrero from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Nicole Reed.

Roberto Guerrero from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Nicole Reed.

Meet Roberto Guerrero of ACMA Mission Orchards in Quincy. He and his family grow a stunning variety of tree fruit, from apples to peaches to cherries to nectarines, on their beautiful farm just north of the Gorge Amphitheater. And just in the last two years, they secured organic certification for all of their acreage. How can you tell an orchard is organic? Simple. Look at the undergrowth under the trees. Do you see all that grass and brush? That’s the sign of an organic orchard. Seriously. They are overgrown under the trees, and most go through and mow and grind up brush just a few times each year. Then, they leave the debris right there to decompose, returning nutrients to the soil and keeping out undesirable weeds that conventional farms would have to sprayed. Plus, it helps keep the ground moist and cool when it’s really hot over there. You may see a jungle in this photo. I see a healthy orchard producing delicious fruit!

Honey Smoked Albacore from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Honey Smoked Albacore from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fishing Vessel St. Jude makes its monthly visit to your Ballard Farmers Market today. Woohoo! I often feel like Bubba Gump when I start to list off all the delectable forms in which you can acquire St. Jude’s albacore tuna. They have it cannedfresh-frozen, jerkied, and even honey-smoked (above). The canned comes in a myriad of wonderful flavors, too, and the frozen is sashimi grade. Stock up today. We won’t see them again until Labor Day Weekend!

Cardamom Zucchini Sweet Bread from NuFlours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cardamom Zucchini Sweet Bread from NuFlours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Name change alert! d:floured gluten-free bakery (my favorite saucy name for a bakery, mind you) has changed its name to nuflours. Apparently, someone else had their grubby paws all over their old name. So, many lawyers and much research later, they now have a new, not-so-saucy but equally functionally name, with the same logo and same great gluten-free products. Like this cardamom zucchini sweet bread that features zucchini from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. The point is, regardless of the name, you can still have your cake and your gluten-free diet, too.

Dragon's Tongue beans from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dragon’s Tongue beans from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things Farm is deep in the fresh beans right now. They have six different varieties, ranging from green to yellow wax to purple runner to these Dragon’s Tongue beans, above. And did you know that Dragon’s Tongue beans will eventually grown about to be shelling beans, too? Pretty cool, huh? And delicious! Oh, and they want to thank you for supporting their successful Kick Starter campaign, too.

Green bell peppers from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Green bell peppers from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s pepper season, and over the coming weeks, we will see an ever-increasing variety of peppers arriving at your Ballard Farmers Market. We start off with these humble green bell peppers from Lyall Farms, and we are already seeing some of the over 200 varieties of peppers grown by Alvarez Organic Farms starting to appear this week. 2013 is on pace to be an epic year for peppers!

Cherry plums from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherry plums from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

From the pages of the confused fruit handbook come these cherry plums from Tiny’s Organic Farm. But unlike so many other stone fruits that have been hybridized to create things like apriums, pluots, nectarcots, peachcots and more, cherry plums are actually a true plum, not a cross betwixt cherry and plum. They get their name from their small, cherry-like size and their color. But they have the flavor and texture of a plum. So mix it up this week and try yourself something new… or actually old, in this case.

Tropea onions from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tropea onions from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah. The lovely and divine tropea onion. I love these beauties. And I do recall hearing the lovely and divine Alice of Oxbow Farm (the growers of these onions) say that they are, in fact, her favorite onion. Named for the town of Tropea on the toe of Italy’s boot, these sweet onions are so popular in Italy that they are synonymous with “red onion” there, though that would be confusing here in the states, with the many red varieties we have. But if everyone just tried one of these, in salads, on the grill, sautéed or cooked down to make an awesome sauce or garnish, perhaps they would become synonymous with red onions here, too, because they may indeed be the best of the reds.

Chocolate-Coconut Fudge from Pete's Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chocolate-Coconut Fudge With Almonds from Pete’s Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pete’s Perfect Toffee has introduced yet another flavor of fudge, because after all, there is no such thing as too much fudge. The new flavor, pictured above, is chocolate-coconut fudge with toasted almonds. Oh, stop it, Pete! You’re killing me… with sweet deliciousness!

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

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

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

I do most of my cooking on stainless steel pans from Revere Ware. When they were first introduced in 1938, Revere Copper & Brass made a point of referring to them as exhibiting the best of both form and function, and that was important after the Great Depression. After all, if you were going to spend money on cookware, you want it to last, you want it to work, and you want something you can show off to your dinner guests. And today, as we limp our way out of the Great Recession (because even though it was, in fact, a depression, apparently it is not cool anymore to actually call it that), things are no different. We want quality, form and function. Blu Skillet gives us just that. I have been putting one of their 10″ pans through its paces for a week now, cooking everything from halibut to corned beef hash in it, and it works great. It is getting more seasoned with ever use. It browns and sears great. It cleans easily. And best of all, it is made right here. Yup, one more thing you don’t need Corporate America to do for you anymore! Booyah!

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, October 16th: Fall Flour, Sweet Potatoes, Seedless Grapes, Sunchokes, Ginormous Leeks, The Difference Between Celery & Celeriac, and One Final Farewell To Carrie!

October 16, 2011

Freshly milled flour from Bluebird Grain Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yuppers, it’s fall, good citizens of the People’s Republic of Ballard. And we are breaking out the layers. Brrr. But hey, Bluebird Grain Farms is just wrapping up their fall grain harvest, and that means they’ve got all sorts of freshly-milled flour with which you can warm up your house as you bake all manner of deliciousness. They specialize in growing the finest emmer in the country, but they also grow some rye and wheat, too, and it is super fresh right now. And you can get it whole, cracked, and in cereal and mix blends. Tis the season! Enjoy!

Canadice einset table grapes from Jerzy Boyz. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These canadice einset table grapes from Jerzy Boyz are sweet, juicy and seedless. That makes them perfect for turning into raisins. So break out the dehydrator, and stock up on these beauties. Of course, you can eat them fresh, too. Just don’t dilly-dally, as they’ll only be available for a couple more weeks.

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

Sweet potatoes are back at Lyall Farms. They are the only farm currently bringing local sweet potatoes into Seattle-area farmers markets. See, sweet potatoes like it hot, and Lyall Farms grows them in Sunnyside — about the hottest place in the state. These babies are deeply sweet. They are of the so-called “yam” school of sweet potatoes. Of course, they aren’t yams. Yams grow in Africa and Asian and are white, starchy things. The sweet orange and red tubers we call yams are sweet potatoes. Blah, blah, blah. Just get you some. You can thank me later!

Sunchokes from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

With our cool, fall weather and the plethora of root vegetables flooding your Ballard Farmers Market right now, it seems to me that it’s high time for a good, old-fashioned root roast. Some of those sweet potatoes, and some of these sunchokes (a.k.a., Jerusalem artichokes) from Summer Run Farm, will make a great start on that. Sunchokes make for an awesome alternative to potatoes in many recipes, including home fries and soups, too. So enjoy this North American native, tuberous vegetable that is from the sunflower family this fall. Eat like a pilgrim!

Celery (left) and celery roots (a.k.a., celeriac, right) from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, it’s time for a little visual aid. Above is a photo of celery (left) and celery root (a.k.a., celeriac, right) from Boistfort Valley Farm. Yes, they are closely related, but no, they are not the same plant. And you do cook with them differently. Now you know. That said, you will be hard-pressed to find finer examples of either anywhere else.

A dizzying variety of flower bulbs from Choice Bulb Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D Lyons.

Welcome a new farm to your Ballard Farmers Market — Choice Bulb Farms. Mind you, they are not new to farming, just new to our Market. They produce an extraordinary variety of flowering bulbs up in our own little Holland in Skagit County, the #2 bulb producing region in the world. And now is the perfect time to plunk some fresh bulbs into your garden, so that you can enjoy them all next year.

Bulk yellow carrots from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D Lyons.

Woohoo! More sweet, delicious roots! It’s yellow carrots from Colinwood Farm. These are awesome. And did y0u know that Colinwood Farm is right smack in the middle of the city of Port Townsend? Yup. It sits on 12 acres of fertile bottomland, surrounded by several neighborhoods, just a stone’s throw from downtown.

Monster leeks from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D Lyons.

No, those are not miniature ears of sweet corn from Nash’s Organic Produce. To the contrary, they are full-sized and delish. It’s just that they are dwarfed by Nash’s humongous leeks. I have heard rumors that these leeks, if left unsupervised, will, in fact, destroy Tokyo! Make soup from just one of these bad boys, and you could feed an entire army.

Maple-walnut fudge with chocolate from Pete's Perfect Butter Toffee. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D Lyons.

Pete’s been in the kitchen experimenting again. The result is this new maple-walnut fudge with chocolate — the latest addition to the Pete’s Perfect Butter Toffee lineup. And hey, you eat all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables all the time from your Ballard Farmers Market, right? The meat, seafood and poultry you consume is all sustainably produced and healthy. And you’re eating your share of fermented vegetables from Firefly Kitchens. So treat yourself! You’ve earned it!

Padron peppers from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D Lyons.

If you count yourself a foodie, you know that padron peppers are all the rage right now, especially since the good folks at The Harvest Vine in Madison Valley introduced many of us to them fried and salted. Full Circle Farm grew some this year, and if you are lucky, you will get to see David today before he sells out of them, so you can enjoy the deliciousness at home your own self.

Carrie disappears behind a mountain of roots from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo courtesy Clayton Burrows.

It’s time for one last, colorful, silly goodbye to Carrie Palk of Alm Hill Gardens, as she breaks our hearts and abandons us to return to her roots in Ohio. (Hey, ho, way to go…) In this photo, taken by Clayton Burrows last week, it’s as if Carrie is a setting sun behind a mountain of roots, and they are filled with all the colors of a spectacular sunset. Carrie, we’ll miss you, but it is good to know we’ve got a couch to crash on in Cincinnati.

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, March 7th: Miner’s Lettuce, Chickweed, Daffodils, Strawberry Starts & Other Undeniable Signs Spring Is Here To Stay!

March 7, 2010

Daffodils from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing up in Northern New York, we had daffodils this time of year, too. The problem was that they were imported from, well, here, probably, since it was still a frozen tundra there this time of year. Good thing I live here now, eh? While the rest of the country is still battling snow, we are thoroughly diggin’ this whole El Nino thing, aren’t we? To that end, do pickup a beautiful bouquet of fresh daffodils from Children’s Garden to brighten up your home without having to disrupt the explosion of yellow and white that yours are giving your yard.

Fresh, tasty Miner's lettuce from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another sure sign of spring that we lacked back East is Miner’s lettuce, a.k.a., claytonia or winter purslane. Native to our region, it gets its name because early miners would rely on it for an excellent source of nutrition after long, hard winters. Find cultivated Miner’s lettuce (above) from Full Circle Farm, or wild-harvested from Foraged & Found Edibles.

Fresh chickweed from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It was a pair of cockatiels that originally taught me to appreciate that chickweed is indeed a tasty treat. But it is Nash’s Organic Produce that I first saw actually bring it to market. Chickweed is a highly nutritious green, like Miner’s lettuce, that is perfect this time of year to give our bodies a kick-start out of the winter blues.

Strawberry starts from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As our ridiculously warm winter quickly heads officially into spring, many farmers are offering plant starts for your garden. Take these strawberry starts from Stoney Plains, for instance. Plant these puppies now, and you’ll be enjoying incredible strawberries right out of your own yard come June.

A trotter & a leg from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Not necessarily a sign of spring, a trotter and a smoked hock is a sign of pork-o-liciousness. Think of all the wonderful dishes you can enhance with these beauties from Sea Breeze Farm. And they are a sure sign that their case will also be full of other fresh, yummy cuts o’ fresh pig. Yay!

Fresh fudge from Pete's Perfect Butter Toffee. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And there is nothing I can do to tie this gorgeous fudge to spring, other than to say that any time of year is a good time for fudge. You’ll find this fudge at Pete’s Perfect Butter Toffee. You’ll find Pete there, too.

Spicy salad mix from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Back on the spring theme again, how about some tasty, peppy spicy salad mix from Alm Hill Gardens. Lucky for us, the warm winter has meant that salad mixes have returned with a vengeance to your Ballard Farmers Market, which makes our mouths and our bodies very, very happy.

Beef bacon from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Back off the spring theme again, how about some beef bacon from Olsen Farms. You know Olsen for the bazillion kinds of potatoes they grow in the NE corner of our fine state. They have a potato for every application you can think of, and for several you have yet to think of. They also have wonderful beef and lamb, and from that beef they make this beef bacon. We all need more bacon in our lives, so give some of this a try, eh?

Gala apples from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You will still find plenty of apples at your Ballard Farmers Market, like these gala apples from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Tiny’s also has a great line of jams. and dried fruit, too.

And remember, your Ballard Farmers Market is chock full of all sorts of goodness for  your kitchen, from meat, seafood, poultry, cheese, to all sorts of fruits and veggies, baked goods, sauces, confections, fresh-cut flowers and fresh milled flours, plants for the garden, wild mushrooms, and on and on. For a fuller accounting of what you’ll find at the Market today, go to “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner.