Posts Tagged ‘goat’

Sunday, December 18th: Frenzied Final Purchases, Fond Farewells, An Amazing & Unusual Year!

December 18, 2011

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

Holy holiday hams, Batman! Yup, Olsen Farms has a slew of freshly smoked hams for your holiday table. Be it for Solstice, Christmas, Festivus, Zappadan, Kwanzaa, or Chanukah… okay, maybe not Chanukah… but these beauties are awesome, and you can tell your guests it came straight from the farm! Yeah, they took a little longer to get here this year, but that’s okay, right? I mean, you know why it takes so long to smoke a ham, don’t you? Cuz it’s hard to keep them lit! (Can I get a rimshot?)

Julianna from Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We know you are scrambling to get all your holiday shopping done now, and there is no place better than your Ballard Farmers Market for that. Lotsa local loveliness and deliciousness to be had. Like these fragrant candles from Ascents Candles. They are made using the finest essential oils and oils that do not produce toxic smoke in your home. Of course, you can also get beautiful odorless candles, too, for your table during your holiday feasts, so the scent doesn’t interfere with your ability to taste everything. And Julianna has got some gift boxes of votives and some cool new sizes of candles this year.

"Mistlefaux" from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids, it’s that holiday favorite, mistlefaux, from Alm Hill Gardens. Since the real stuff doesn’t grow around here, we’ve got the next best thing! BTW, now’s as good a time as any to remind you that we will be taking a holiday break for the next two weeks, since both Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Sundays this year. The staff and vendors of your Ballard Farmers Market will be spending those days with friends and family, or eating Chinese and going to the movies, but we’ll be right back here on Sunday, January 8th. So remember to stock up on food stuffs from your favorite farmers today!

Holiday breads from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How about some sweet holiday breads from Tall Grass Bakery? Some almond bread and stollen will brighten up any holiday feast. Of course, they’ll have their full line of baked deliciousness today, too, so stock up for the holiday break. It freezes great!

A pear gift box from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Everyone is getting in the holiday marketing spirit around your Ballard Farmers Market. Even those crazy cats at Collins Family Orchards. They’ve rolled out several different gift boxes, like this one full of pears. If you’re gonna give someone a box of fruit, shouldn’t you at least make it truly special by including the name of the farm that grew it? Otherwise, it is just another box of fruit!

Japanese knotweed honey from Tahuya River Apiaries. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It was kind of an off year for the bees this year, since the snow level was so low so late into spring. We got to learn from Tahuya River Apiaries this year that honey, too, is seasonal. But one flower in abundance for the bees to pollinate in the Olympic Mountains was Japanese knotweed, and the result is this beautiful, dark wild Japanese knotweed honey from Tahuya. Now, wouldn’t that be a sweet stocking stuffer! Think of the charoset! And hey, it’ll boost your immune system, too!

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

You know why it takes so long to smoke a salmon? Wait, have you heard this one before? Well, in any case, Wilson Fish has smoked whole sides of king salmon they caught off the coast of Washington this past summer. Blow the roof off of your New Year’s Eve party when you bring a platter covered with one of these!

Lizzie from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For several years now, we’ve all had the pleasure of working with Lizzie from Lyall Farms. She has kept us in apples and sweet potatoes and then some, always with a blinding smile on her face. But alas, while Lyall Farms will be back with us come January 8th, Lizzie will not. She is heading out on a major life adventure to a great city that straddles two continents, half a world away. For our sake, we hope to see her return someday off in the future, but for now, we wish Lizzie happy, safe journeys fertile with years of grand stories. Stop by Lyall Farms today, load up on sweet potatoes for the holidays, and wish Lizzie well. Hey Lizzie, send us a post card, eh?

Terry from Quilceda Fars. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We also bid a fond adieu to Terry Whetham and Quilceda Farm. Terry has been bringing us delicious goat meat for years, teaching us of its nutritional value, giving us recipes, and helping us to understand why it is the most commonly eaten meat on earth. Well, Terry has decided to pack it in. No kidding. (Uh, sorry.) Yes, Terry is retiring. He’s heading off to greener pastures. (Again, my apologies.) Actually, I think he’d expect nothing less than a good razzing sendoff from me. Perhaps what I will miss about Terry the most is how much good-humored grief he would give me every week. Just ask any of the vendors around him. They will testify to the back-and-forth we had. So stop by with a gold watch for Terry, and make one last purchase from him. After all, he’s got your goat!

Jerry Pipitone from Pipitone Farms out standing in his field. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another of the true characters of the farmers market world is Jerry Pipitone of Pipitone Farms, a.k.a., the Rock Island Brand. For more than 30 years, Jerry has cranked out some of the finest apricots, peaches and Italian prunes, as well as garlic, shallots, jams, dried herbs, heirloom Italian tomatoes and more. He has been a great leader in both the farmers market and organic farming communities, and he has been quite simply a hoot to have around, always with a bad joke or a crusty story. Well, Jerry, too, is retiring. I had the pleasure of visiting him at his farm on Rock Island, just down river from Wenatchee, this past spring, where I captured this photo of him out standing in his field. I look forward to visiting him again out there, in retirement, and maybe taking in a game of bocce ball with him.

And as we honor these wonderful folks as they leave us for their next stages of life, let us take a moment to remember two lovely ladies who graced us with their musical talents many times over the years here at your Ballard Farmers Market — Arwen and Teresa Morgan. Arwen and Teresa (Arwen’s mother) played together in their family’s band, The Cutters, but they also individually busked at the Ballard Farmers Market, Arwen playing fiddle, and Teresa playing hammer dulcimer. Sadly, we lost both of these lovely, talented women in 2011 — Arwen in July and Teresa in late November. You can learn more about both women, and share your own thoughts via this Facebook page, which includes information on a memorial service being held this evening for Teresa in Magnolia.

Brunching on the Garden Patio at Bastille. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, let us look back with fondness on what has been, perhaps remarkably, a remarkable year here at your Ballard Farmers Market, and for Ballard in general. As the Market keeps getting bigger and better, Ballard itself continues to grow in international prominence as a food mecca, and just generally a cool place to be. Your Ballard Farmers Market won “Best Farmers Market” again from both the Seattle Weekly and Seattle Magazine, and we came in a respectable #8 in the America’s Favorite Farmers Market contest, garnering the most votes of any market on the West Coast. And we got to watch our influence continue to spread over Ballard with the opening of seemingly countless new eateries, bars and food related businesses. Remember 10 years ago, when we first moved the Market to Ballard Avenue? There were tumbleweeds blowing down the street on Sundays. Now, during the worst economy in 80 years, Ballard is booming, and all the celebrated chefs of Seattle want to open up shop here. National and international magazines cannot mention Seattle without mentioning Ballard. And the beauty of it is that we’ve built a robust local economy here in Ballard around small, local businesses. Heck, our friends and neighbors at Bastille built their restaurant around the Market, and they built their menu around its farmers. Thank you, Ballard, for being so kind to us, for supporting our vendors, and for embracing the spirit of local upon which this Market stands. And here’s to a great 2012!

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, September 18th: $30 Fish In A Bag, The World’s Most Beautiful Vegetable, The Most Commonly Eaten Meat On Earth, Tomatoes From Mt. Vesuvius & Washington’s Native Potatoes!

September 18, 2011

Whole coho salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The salmon fishing season along the Washington coast ended on Thursday, September 15th, and Wilson Fish has the last of their fresh Washington king and coho salmon today at your Ballard Farmers Market. In fact, Gene tells me theyhave 49 whole coho — their famous Fish In A Bag deal — today for just $30 each! But they will go fast. So get here early!

Dinosaur egg pluots from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Kids love dinosaurs, right. So why not add some dinosaur egg pluots to their lunch box? They are sweet, juicy and delicious, and they look as cool as their name. Your kids will be the ones bragging about having fresh fruit in their lunch at school. And Tiny’s Organic Produce has plenty of them right now!

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

For my money, Chinese spinach is the most beautiful vegetable on earth. And Children’s Garden expects to have it through the end of September. It’s a bit late coming into season this year, but then again, what hasn’t been? And don’t let this stuff intimidate you with its beauty. It’s simple to cook. Just sauté it quickly with some garlic!

Bee pollen from Golden Harvest. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For a limited time, Golden Harvest has local bee pollen. But they only have a small supply each year, which is available right now, so if you have been looking for local bee pollen, swing by today and get you some at your Ballard Farmers Market.

Goat meat from Quilceda Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Goat is the most commonly eaten meat on earth. It is just we Gringos that don’t eat it. Gee, could it be because we are uptight Americans? I mean, even the French and British eat goat. It is lean with a flavor a touch milder than lamb. I love the stuff. Quilceda Farms in Marysville produces delicious goat meat. They offer it in steaks, chops, roasts, shanks, sausages and more, and they conveniently provide a huge collection of recipes you can choose from to help break you in.

San Marzano tomatoes from Pipitone Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

San Marzano tomatoes are prized for their dense flesh and deep, rich flavor. These are the tomatoes of Naples, growing in the rich volcanic soil of Mt. Vecuvius. If you’ve ever been to a Neapolitan-style pizzeria, odds are the sauce on your pizza was made from these tomatoes. These San Marzano tomatoes are grown by Pipitone Farms in the rich volcanic soil of the Yakima River Valley.

Italian prunes from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Leave it to the spin doctors in California to try to change the name of prunes to plums, apparently because the name “prune” has negative connotations in their market research studies. Whatever! These are Italian prunes from ACMA Mission Orchards, and they are perhaps the finest stone fruit there is, for my money. They are deeply sweet and flavorful. Eat them fresh. Make jam, sauces and pies with them. Dry them. They are easy to work with as their flesh comes right off the pit. However you enjoy them, respect them with their proper name: prune!

Yellow cippolini onions from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cippolini onions, like these from Oxbow Farm, are those kinda flat onions, like someone sat on them. But they are amazing onions — the pride of Italy — and they caramelize incredibly well. Don’t know them? Ask about them at Oxbow today, and bring some home to play with.

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

Ozette potatoes, like these from Olsen Farms, are the closest thing we’ve got to a native potato here in Washington, the potato producing capitol of the United States. See, all potatoes originated in South America. And almost all potatoes now in North America are descendants of potatoes that first traveled to Europe before coming here. But there are a very few exceptions. The Ozette, along with three other fingerling potatoes, were brought up the West Coast by the Spanish in 1791 and planted near their ports from Northern California to Vancouver Island. The Ozette was brought to the area inhabited by the Makah Nation out near Neah Bay. But the Spanish couldn’t hack our Northwest weather, so in 1793, they buggered off back down the coast, leaving behind these potatoes. So, pick up a little bit of local, and potato, history today. Oh, they taste pretty good, too!

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

Scrapple is exactly what it sounds like it is: scraps. Well, usually, anyway. Scrapple originated in southeastern Pennsylvania in colonial times, and it is generally associated with the Amish. It traditionally is made from the leftover scraps of the pig after butchering, in order to use the entire animal without waste, which is then cooked down and combined with corn meal and seasoned, and then shaped into a loaf. It is then generally sliced and fried, as a side meat for breakfast. I loved the stuff when I went to school in the heart of it’s birthplace near Philly. But, of course, that whacky bunch at Sea Breeze Farm had to go gussy it up. Apparently snouts and ears just aren’t good enough for them (okay, it ends up in their head cheese), so they made theirs with pork belly. As if. But hey, I had to try it, for my youth, and for all of you, right? Well, it’s pretty darn good, if not a bit gourmet for a food called “scrapple”. Personally, I would add a bit more pepper, but I suppose I can forgive that. Wanna try scrapple made without the scraps? Stop by Sea Breeze today!

Snow peas from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s late September, and yes, we still have peas at your Ballard Farmers Market — snow peas, in fact. These beautiful snow peas are from Boistfort Valley Farm, and they are just ready for you to toss them into a stir-fry, where they will brighten and sweeten up wonderfully. Yeah, baby!

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, February 20th: 10 Years of Market Meat

February 20, 2011

George Vojkovich of Skagit River Ranch moving his herd of beef cattle from one pasture to another. Photo copyright 2007 by Zachary D. Lyons.

10 years ago, you could not purchase meat, seafood or poultry at farmers markets in King County. Today, we rely upon farmers markets for the highest quality meat, seafood and poultry produced by true artisans who care about the products they produce and the animals they husband.

Rib steaks from Olsen Farms being prepared for a cooking demonstration at Wallingford Farmers Market by Chef Seth Caswell of emmer&rye. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

In February of 1999, during the annual Washington State Farmers Market Conference at Pike Place Market, a workshop was convened to discuss how to make meat, seafood and poultry sales possible at farmers markets. Attendees at this meeting including USDA inspectors, state food safety regulators, King County health officials, market managers, ranchers, and myself, the newly appointed Executive Director of the Washington State Farmers Market Association. As workshop facilitator, I began the discussion with two instructions: that we were there to figure out how to bring meat, seafood and poultry to farmers markets; and that we would not accept “no” as an answer. The USDA inspectors in attendance refused to speak — they would not answer a single question yes, no or maybe. But everyone else seemed enthusiastic.

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

Interestingly, later that year, I found myself in a conversation with a member of King County Health Department’s meat inspection program — yes, King County is one of the few counties in the U.S. that has one — at the University District Farmers Market. In this conversation, the County staffer said to me she thought people shouldn’t eat animals unless they were willing to travel out to the farm and look the animals in the eyes first. In response, I pointed across the street to the University District Safeway store, and I told her that every Saturday, after they got their fruits and vegetables at the farmers market, many people walked across the street to Safeway to purchase factory-farmed meat. These city folk were very unlikely to ever go to a farm to meet their dinner, I told her. So, if people are going to eat meat anyway, why shouldn’t we give them the option of purchasing that meat directly from farmers who are treating their animals with care and are producing a healthy product?

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

In June 2000, King County Executive Ron Sims, at the request of farmer Michaele Blakely of Growing Things Farm and Chris Curtis of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance on the King County Agriculture Commission, convened the King County Farmers Market Health Regulation Task Force. At its first meeting, County inspector Jim Thompson, who had participated in the 1999 workshop, presented what he thought was a regulatory solution to allow meat sales at King County markets by adapting language in the mobile meat sales code. His proposal was enacted with only minor revisions by the King County Board of Health in August 2001.

Goat shoulder steaks from Quilceda Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Then, in late 2001, the first ever USDA inspected Mobile Slaughter Unit (MSU) came on line. Based in Bow, it was built by the Island Grown Farmers Cooperative using USDA grant funding in order to address the extraordinary stress put on both farmers and their animals when transporting animals from the San Juan Islands to processing facilities on the mainland. Consider that Washington had only five such facilities at the time in the entire state that would accept less than 50 animals for processing at one time, and the two in Western Washington were both significantly far south of Seattle. The MSU, by contrast, was designed to be able to travel from farm to farm, and to fit on ferries, so that farmers could humanely dispatch their animals right on the farm, reducing the stress on farmer and animal alike. And it offered the additional benefit of allowing farmers to compost byproducts from the process right on the farm, instead of it being added to feed and pet foods via rendering plants.

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

With the new King County code in place, and the MSU online, a revolutionary shift took place at King County farmers markets. Indeed, it changed the way all of us will look at farmers markets forever. The idea that farmers markets could offer more than just fruits and vegetables seemed unthinkable to many before 2001, and yet now, farmers markets are rife with all manner of farm products, from cheese and milk to grain and flour, from fermented foods to wine. Wine was not legal at farmers markets in Washington until 2003. The first grain products entered King County farmers markets in 2007. And yet it is hard to imagine our dear Ballard Farmers Market without these products today.

Fresh whole keta salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Today, Washington has four MSUs, half of all those nationwide. Farms are investing in infrastructure for on-farm processing of all manner of poultry. Fishing vessels no longer must serve at the mercy of large canneries and low prices. And we get to benefit from the pride and care these passionate, hard-working people put into their products, giving us the highest quality meat, seafood and poultry most of us have ever eaten. And they have helped us grow our Ballard Farmers Market into the #1 farmers market in the state, around which an extraordinary food-centric neighborhood has blossomed, from one end of Ballard Avenue to the other.

Lamb rib roasts from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

So today, when you pickup your beloved local meat, seafood and poultry direct from the producer, think about that day back in February 1999, when in essence a sort of Lexington & Concord event took place in the local food movement — when a group of people told, instead of asking, the USDA and local regulators that we wanted local meat at our markets. Because the rest, as they say, is now history!

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check the What’s Fresh Now! listings in the upper right-hand corner of this page for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now. But please note that due to our recent cold weather, some crops may not be available as anticipated.

Sunday, October 3rd: Winter Squash, Heirloom Apples, Shelling Beans, Fresh Peanuts,

October 2, 2010

Winter squash from Nature's Last Stand. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you noticed that the sunny days we do get are just a little crisper these days, and once the sun goes down — a lot earlier, mind you — the evening air chills much faster? It is definitely fall, no matter what our screwy 2010 weather is telling us. Let’s enjoy it! Let’s cook like it’s fall. Winter squash, like these beauties from Nature’s Last Stand, are truly one of the joys of the return of fall each year. Think of the soups, the roasts, the sautes, the salads, the pies! Imagine it roasting in your oven while the whole house warms up. Summer is wonderful for play… most years, but fall is just plain homey. It’s like a big cosmic hug.

Pink pearl apples from Jerzy Boyz. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The leaves on the huge black walnut tree in my back yard are starting to turn gold. In days, the tree will look like its ablaze, and then it will dramatically dump all its leaves at once — just sorta push them all off. I heard a scientist once say fall should really be called “push” or “shove” because leaves don’t usually just fall off of trees. The trees actually go through a process of pushing them off. How cool is that? I love looking out my big picture frame window in my kitchen at that big black walnut as it lights up the neighborhood in gold every October. I can just picture making some applesauce with these pink pearl apples from Jerzy Boyz, cutting the apples, stirring the pot, and running them through my mill, while watching the torrent of leaves cascading down from that tree. You know, pink pearl apples may be the most commonly eaten apples in the U.S. you’ve likely never heard of. That’s because most of them make their way in applesauce. They are sweet-tart, and you have to admit, they’re pretty darned cool looking, too.

Cannellini, pinto & cranberry beans from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah, shelling beans — fresh ones — already shelled from Alm Hill Gardens. You know, once shelling beans fully dry, they are not the same as when they are fresh like this. The cooking and the taste both change a bit. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I particularly like the flavor, and the ease, of fresh shelling beans.

Celery roots, a.k.a., celeriac, from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I bet a lot of your fall recipes call for celery root, a.k.a., celeriac. Boistfort Valley Farm has some for you right now, so you can enjoy those fall recipes without delay!

Fresh peanuts from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh peanuts. They’re only available for a few weeks each fall from Alvarez Organic Farms. And yes, they do grow them. I’ve seen the plants. Do you love boiled peanuts and miss them from the South? Grab some fresh peanuts, get your stock pot filled with good, salty water — maybe some chili peppers for spice — and boil those peanuts. You can also roast them in your oven, before boiling, or after, if you want them salty as well.

Celery from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

More and more farms around here are growing celery, finally. I mean, it must be the most underrepresented staple crop at farmers markets, don’t you think? Then again, it is a bit dicey to grow. But Stoney Plains is growing it.

Red-leafed beets from Nash's. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Aren’t these red-leafed beets from Nash’s cool looking? I know, you are thinking, “aren’t most beets red?” Well, yes, the beets are. But not so much the stems and leaves, which tend toward green. And if you aren’t eating your beet greens, shame on you. I mean, heck, you are getting a 2-for-1 deal on those beets, what with the roots and the greens, and you are throwing one meal away! Beet greens are delicious, nutritious, and quick and easy to cook. Treat them like chard, which is a cousin of theirs. Me, I like them simply sauteed in olive oil and fresh garlic. Yummers!

Goat meat from Quilceda Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s roasting season! Time to stock up on some delicious goat roasts from Quliceda Farm. You know, goat meat is the most commonly eaten meat on earth. Really. Personally, I love the stuff. It is a bit milder than lamb, very lean, and just plain satisfying. And Quilceda helps us out by supplying a huge selection of recipes, too. Try some. You’ll thank me later.

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check the What’s Fresh Now! listings in the upper right-hand corner of this page for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now!