Local albacore tuna loins from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.
Wow! It’s already the first Sunday in June! Besides the fact that we are charging headlong into summer — and the fact that today’s weather actually feels like summer — it also means that today is tuna day! That’s right. Today, we get our monthly visit from Fishing Vessel St. Jude with their amazing albacore tuna. Better yet, they have a new catch of tuna today cut for you. See, they freeze their tuna at sea after catching it to preserve its quality. Then they cut and wrap it in loins and portions on land for Market. Wait, what? Portions? Yes! They will have, for the first time in months, those smaller portioned sizes many of us have been missing. See, one or two people cannot necessarily get through a 2-3 pound lion all by themselves, but the smaller portions of St’ Jude’s sashimi-grade albacore tuna are the perfect size for anyone!
Salad mix from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.
There are so many ways to enjoy local albacore tuna, and one of my favorites is to cut a few steaks off of a loin, pan-sear them simply with a little olive oil — they don’t need much, because of their abundant natural oils — salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, so they are mostly raw inside, and then lay them over the top of a big, beautiful salad. In fact, I did just that on Saturday night, using as my base some of this extraordinary spicy salad mixed, complete with edible flowers, from Colinwood Farms. A mix of lettuces, mustards, arugula, spinach, mizuna and more, and topped off with colorfully delicious edible flowers, I garnished it with some of Colinwood’s carrots, some pink beauty radishes and Japanese wax turnips from One Leaf Farm, and some garlic chives from Children’s Garden. Yeah, baby!
Hard ciders from Eaglemount Wine and Cider. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.
Eaglemount Wine & Cider has returned to your Ballard Farmers Market on a regular basis now, and we couldn’t be more excited! Eaglemount and Finnriver Farm & Cidery now both bring excellent artisan ciders and fruit wines to you every Sunday from the Jeffereson County on the Olympic Peninsula — a region becoming a center for Washington’s burgeoning old-world cider-making industry. Grab a bottle or two today, and get a taste of one of the oldest forms of food preservation!
Strawberries from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.
More strawberries! Woohoo! These lovelies are from Alm Hill Gardens (a.k.a., Growing Washington) from up on the Canadian Border in Everson. They just started harvesting them a week ago, so numbers are still a little on the low side. You’d better get here early, if you want some today. But never fear. By this time next week, we’ll have at least six farms in your Ballard Farmers Market with strawberries! (BTW, Sidhu Farms has also started harvesting strawberries, and will have some today.)
Red leaf lettuce from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.
Got lettuce? Summer Run Farm does! This is some of their gorgeous, and humongous, red leaf lettuce. Their heads of lettuce are so big, they are often twice as big as your own head (or two-thirds as big as mine)! So, get your lettuce on today at your Ballard Farmers Market!
Japanese wax turnips from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.
Hey, look! It is some of those aforementioned Japanese wax turnips from One Leaf Farm. They are as tasty as they are beautiful. I love to eat them raw, like a radish, on their own, or sliced up in a salad. Or you can do a quick sauté on them. And don’t forget to toss in those greens when you sauté them. You are getting two veggies for the price of one, so don’t waste those greens, people! They also have some awesome spicy salad mix of their own, plus collard greens, frisee and more!
Sugar snap peas from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.
It is sugar snap pea season, folks, and our buddies at Alvarez Organic Farms have a ton of these sweet, crunchy and delicious spring treats just waiting for you to devour them. Throw them into your salad. Dip them in some hummus from House of the Sun. Munch them on their own at the beach, right out of the bag. Lightly sauté them. You cannot go wrong. Enjoy!
Artisan bread loaves from Grateful Bread Baking. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.
While you are having your picnic at the beach and inhaling an entire bag of sugar snap peas, or you are enjoying your big, beautiful salad topped with tuna, you will need some of this magnificent artisan bread from our friends at Grateful Bread Baking. Oh, and be sure to pick up some butter from Golden Glen Creamery, or some fresh goat cheese from Twin Oaks Creamery to smear on it, while you’re at it!
Green garlic from Pa Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.
Whatever you are roasting, sautéing, grilled — eating — this time of year, you must add some green garlic to the mix! Green garlic is the immature form of the garlic heads we will see later in the summer. Farms like Pa Garden thin their garlic fields this time of year to allow their garlic to be able to bulb out, and they bring the green garlic they thinned out to market for us to enjoy. You can eat the whole thing, as long as the greens are still green and you’ve cleaned it thoroughly. Cut it up like you would a green onion or scallion and toss it in the pan with your favorite greens, or in with your veggies before they go in the oven, and douse it with some olive oil and grill it alongside your protein. Yummers!
Whole grains from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.
Looking for some local whole grains to mill for flour, roll for cereal, or cook whole for a lovely base or side to many recipes? Nash’s Organic Produce has whole grain red wheat and whole grain rye available for you right now. They also have it milled into flour, so you don’t have to do all the work! Nash’s works very closely with WSU organic grain researcher Dr. Stephen Jones, and they are helping him with field trials of various grains, to identify those that will grow best here in Western Washington. See, it used to be, before the advent of modern industrial agriculture, that all grain was local, and each community relied upon the grains that grew in their region. That’s what folks like Nash’s and Dr. Jones are striving to return us to. Pretty cool, eh?
Tummy Tonics from Firefly Kitchens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.
Whether you use them as a cocktail mixer, to dress a salad or enhance your slaw, or you just like to ingest it by the shot glass, your palate and your body will love Firefly Kitchens‘s line of Tummy Tonics. These tonics are actually the residual juices left over from the fermenting process when they make their award-winning krauts and kimchis. When they bottle them, they also bottle the brine left at the bottom of the fermenting vat. There isn’t a lot of this stuff, so you can pretty much only get it here at the Market. Try some today. You can thank me later!
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.