Posts Tagged ‘kale chips’

Sunday, August 17th: Raspberries Are Back, Bag-O-Fish Returns, Funky Eggplant, Perfect Potatoes & More!

August 16, 2014
Wilson Fish's Washington-coastal coho salmon. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Wilson Fish’s Washington-coastal coho salmon. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! Bag O’ Fish returns today to your Ballard Farmers Market! Yes, this is the annual celebration of the Washington coastal Coho salmon fishery from Wilson Fish. Coho season on the coast is short, and Wilson catches them, cleans them, bags them, and offers them to you at a great price for a late summer feast!

Organic raspberries from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic raspberries are back today at your Ballard Farmers Market! After a brief hiatus, during which I’m guessing  they were catching their breath during this prolific year of berry production, the raspberry canes at Gaia’s Harmony Farm are once again bearing fruit for us to enjoy. Woohoo!!!

Purple Rain eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Purple Rain eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These princely beings are know as Purple Rain eggplant. They are just one of over a dozen varieties of eggplant grown by Alvarez Organic Farms. Eggplant comes in many shapes, sizes and colors, and more importantly, many textures, flavors and levels of bitterness which affects how you need to prepare them. These puppies do well being sliced ahead of time and then salted and allowed to sit for a bit to neutralize its bitterness and drawn out moisture. If you are cooking it in small pieces, the process time is reduced, of course.

Ginger Gold apples from Collins Family Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Ginger Gold apples from Collins Family Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Collins Family Orchards is rocking the Ginger Gold apples today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Ginger Golds are among the first apples we see each year here, and they are crisp, a bit tart, and make for fine apples crisps or just right off the core.

Sweet Snax carrots from One Leaf Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet Snax carrots from One Leaf Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Meet Sweet Snax carrots from One Leaf Farm. Beautiful, aren’t they? They are sweet and crunchy and delicious. These are just the babies, as they are thinning their fields to allow the rest to grow even longer and bigger.

Flavor Heart pluots from Tiny's Organic. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Flavor Heart pluots from Tiny’s Organic. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fruit names don’t get more blatantly obvious than Flavor Heart pluots.  I mean, just look at them. They are heart-shaped, they are packed with flavor, and they are pluots. Of course, they also have their romantic side, right? Sweet, juicy, and that whole heart-shaped business. Bottom line is, these organic beauties are delish, and you should beat a path to get some from Tiny’s Organic, while you can!

Rio Grande Russet potatoes from Olsen Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Rio Grande Russet potatoes from Olsen Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sure, there are plenty of more colorful potatoes with sexier names, but there is just something about a russet potato that comforts the American soul. These little fellers are Rio Grande russet potatoes from Olsen Farms. They are, like any russet, a great baker, masher and chipper. They’re are nice on the grill, too!

5 Cheese Blend from Glendale Shepherd. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

5 Cheese Blend from Glendale Shepherd. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Glendale Shepherd introduced its 5-Cheese Blend of shredded sheep cheeses last week at your Ballard Farmers Market, and it sold out in no time flat. I mean, think about it. Shreds of five of their most awesome sheep cheeses mixed together in one convenient package, ready for you to sprinkle on soups, salads, pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, eggs and more!

Basin 'R' Yellow sweet corn from Lyall Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Basin ‘R’ Yellow sweet corn from Lyall Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

The sweet corn just keeps on rolling this summer. This is Basin ‘R’ Yellow sweet corn from Lyall Farms. This is one of those super-sweet varieties with big kernels, and even bigger ears that will feed two. It is a corn developed to thrive in the Columbia Basin, and that it does!

Some of the hard cider lineup at Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Some of the hard cider lineup at Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

I had the good fortune to visit Finnriver Farm & Cidery on Thursday. They were busy bottling many bottles of their hard ciders and berry cordials. Indeed, their production has grown significantly since I last visited several years ago, and no wonder. Their products are excellent, and demand is high. And yet, they still produce it all right on their farm, supplementing their fruit with fruit from neighbor farms in the fertile valley around Chimacum. Stop by for a sample today, and then stock up for these last weeks of summer!

Kale, zucchini & collard chips from House of the Sun. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Kale, zucchini & collard chips from House of the Sun. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Has it been a while since you got your kale chips on with House of the Sun raw & vegan foods? Sheesh. You are missing out on the ultimate, guilt-free snack food! It is dried instead of fried or baked, it is made with ingredients from right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, and it is totally satisfying. Better yet, it makes for a great, lightweight trail snack for hiking. Enjoy!

Beefsteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Beefsteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Alm Hill Gardens is up to its earlobes in organic beefsteak tomatoes this summer. So get in on the action of the most prolific tomato season in recent memory. Make that BLT. Get your salad feeling complete. Make soup, salsa, whatever. Just don’t let this summer go by with enjoying the tomatoliciousness, cuz it will bum you out in January when you get served a lame tomato somewhere.

Chile peppers from Boistfort Valley Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Chile peppers from Boistfort Valley Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And hows about some chile peppers from, wait for it, Boistfort Valley Farm? Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? But because it has been so hot and so dry in Western Washington this summer, even the peppers on this side of the mountains are rip-roaring hot and delicious. Yay!

Cinnamon rolls from Tall Grass Bakery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cinnamon rolls from Tall Grass Bakery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, though I finish off this week’s epistle with cinnamon rolls from Tall Grass Bakery, I recommend that you start your Sunday with one… or two. They are sweet and chewy and de-lish. But if you can’t get down to your Ballard Farmers Market for breakfast, then come get one for an afternoon snack, for dessert tonight, or for breakfast tomorrow. We won’t judge you.

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, January 26th: Stock Up This Week For Big Game Next Week!

January 25, 2014
Awarding-winning sheep cheese from Glendale Shepherd. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Awarding-winning sheep cheese from Glendale Shepherd. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Our Seattle Seahawks aren’t the only local winners right now. In fact, while San Francisco’s 49ers were here last weekend, Glendale Shepherd was in San Francisco winning a Good Food Award for their Island Brebis aged sheep cheese. So it seems only poetic that you should stop by Glendale Shepherd today at your Ballard Farmers Market, and pick up a nice chunk of their winning cheese to enjoy while you watch the Seahawks win the Super Bowl next Sunday. And here are a few more ideas for game-changing deliciousness you should pick up this week to enjoy during the Big Game:

Bratwurst from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bratwurst from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Some delicious bratwurst from Skagit River Ranch will be a perfect addition to your game time snacks. These delicious sausages would be the pride of any Packers tailgating party, if the Packers had actually made it to the Big Game. But since they didn’t, and since the Meadowlands in New Jersey kinda looks and feels like Green Bay right now, why not celebrate our own northern team with these classics.

Caraway sauerkraut from Firefly Kitchens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Caraway sauerkraut from Firefly Kitchens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of classic, nothing goes better with a good brat than some caraway sauerkraut, and no one around here makes caraway sauerkraut better than Firefly Kitchens! So stock up, good 12s of Ballard. Oh, and speaking of the 2014 Good Food Awards, Firefly’s kimchi also won one. Woohoo!

Chili sauce with garlic from Four Sisters. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chili sauce with garlic from Four Sisters. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey, it may not be Frank’s, but this hot red chili sauce with garlic from Four Sisters Gourmet Sauces will certainly make for some tasty game time wings. Maybe not what they’re serving at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, but hey, when’s the last time the Bills were in the Big Game? We come from a city full of wonderful Vietnamese culture, so we can eat our wings with Vietnamese hot sauce! (BTW, would someone from Buffalo please explain to The Stranger what a Buffalo Wing is, and where they came from?)

Rainbow carrots from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rainbow carrots from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now, I don’t want to hear any talk of ranch dressing. It’s go bleu or go home in my house! But whatever you’re using for dip, be it hummus or onion dip, you’ll need lots of carrots to dip in it. These young, sweet rainbow carrots from Gaia’s Harmony Farm are the perfect size for dippers, and they look and taste incredible. Plus, you don’t have to spend a ton of time cutting them down to size!

Asian pears from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Asian pears from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, I am not exactly sure how Asian pears from Collins Family Orchards fit into the Big Game feasting, but when I walked past them last Sunday, they looked really good. And let’s face it — you have to eat the rest of the week, too, right? Why not pack some of these in your lunch bags?

Kale, zucchini & collard chips from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Kale, zucchini & collard chips from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Kale chips from House of the Sun, or just about anything else they make, will be perfect for game day. This crunchy, flavorful snack not only tastes great, but it’s good for you, it’s made from local ingredients, and it will satisfy your salty, crunchy snack needs well!

Collard greens from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Collard greens from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Mmm. Collard greens. That sounds kinda good alongside those ribs or that brisket you smoked for the game. Stoney Plains Organic Farm has lots of sweet, tender collard greens right now, and you don’t even have to tell your guests that collard greens are one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables around. It’ll just be our little secret!

Olive fougasse loaves from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Olive fougasse loaves from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I can eat an entire loaf of this football-shaped Olive Fougasse bread from Tall Grass Bakery in one sitting. It’s that good. But it also holds up for a few days without drying out, or — and this is what you really should do — it freezes really well, so you can thaw it out and warm it up in the oven next Sunday just in time for the game!

Chicken pies from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chicken pies from Deborah’s Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And did you know that Deborah’s Homemade Pies makes savory pies, too? Like these chicken pies. You don’t see them on her tables because they are frozen. She keeps them in coolers in the back of her stall, waiting for you to take them home and pop them in your own oven. You see what I’m driving at here? You can pick up one or six of these chicken pies, or her equally delish pork pies, this week, then keep it in the freezer until next week, when you just pop it in the oven, so it’s hot and ready for game time! Could we make your lives any easier, or tastier?

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, July 21st: Sunflowers, Organic Sweet Corn, Donut Peaches, Heirloom Tomatoes, Boysenberries, Gluten-Free Bread & So Much More!

July 20, 2013
Sunflowers from Pa Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

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

2013 is already an epic year for our farmers, and it is only mid-July. I hope you are taking full advantage of this historic year for local crops. Warm weather is not only causing crops to arrive earlier than ever, it is also resulting in record harvests and superb quality. And many crops are also hanging around later than usual, too. Take, for example, flowers from Pa Gardens. Right now, they have in season sweet peasgladiolasdahlias and sunflowers — all at the same time! It is kind of mind-boggling, but it also means they get to make some of the most extraordinary fresh flower bouquets, the likes of which we may never see again. So, please, I beseech you. Avail yourself of this unique summer!

Organic sweet corn from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic sweet corn from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wow! Fresh, organic sweet corn from Alvarez Organic Farms! And this bi-color variety is super sweet right now. Of course, they also have like a gagillion kinds of summer squash now. They’ve even got pickling cukes now, too! (Scroll down for your pickling dill source.)

Donut peaches from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Donut peaches from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Magana Farms won this year’s race for the first donut peaches of the season. And I so love donut peaches. They are cool looking. They are compact. They have a small, easily removed stone. They are delicious. And this year, they are a week earlier than we have ever seen before.

Oxbow Farm and Oxbow's Alice sporting carrots. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm and Oxbow’s Alice sporting carrots. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm is famous for their carrots, be they of the orange or the purple variety. And Alice of Oxbow is such a fan of carrots that she’s given them a place of permanent honor on her shoulder! This seems like an excellent time for some carrot trivia. Did you know that orange is not the original color of carrots? Carrots actually come in a rainbow of colors, from white all the way to black, and orange is the newest. And they have a history so rich that an entire British website is dedicated to them. If you love carrots, or food in general, I encourage you to check out this site.

Fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Sodas. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Sodas. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Soda Jerk Soda Company makes fresh sodas using local ingredients from Washington farmers, and their flavors change with the seasons, so it is worth visiting them every week for a taste treat! This week, they’ve got Blackberry Cardamom, Lemon Lavender & Cucumber Mint, from the left. The latter is wonderfully refreshing on a hot day, though I like them all. None are too sweet. Enjoy!

Polish hardneck garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Polish hardneck garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jarvis Family Garlic Farm returns today to your Ballard Farmers Market. Located on the North Olympic Peninsula over in Clallam County, they grow a delicious variety of heirloom garlic. They range from hard necks to soft necks, mild to very hot, and long storage to use ’em now. And remember, there is no such thing as too much garlic!

Beefsteak tomatoes from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beefsteak tomatoes from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beefsteak tomatoes from Colinwood Farms are just waiting to adorn your burger, BLT or salad! Sure, I loves me some heirloom tomatoliciousness as much as the next guy, but sometimes I just need a nice slice of a hearty, humble, domesticated beefsteak mater on my sandwich. And please, by all means, do not let this of all seasons get by you without celebrating to exceptional volume, quality and earliness of local tomatoes!

A happy child at Whidbey Island Ice Cream. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A happy child at Whidbey Island Ice Cream. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of a hot, dry summer, we’ve all been missing our weekly Whidbey Island Ice Cream fix for the last few weeks. But they are back up and running again, and thus they are back here today with lots of great flavors of ice cream bars ready for you to devour!

Ginger Gold apples from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ginger Gold apples from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

2013 has seen the earliest arrival of apples at your Ballard Farmers Market since we started keeping track by a solid two weeks, and they are a full month earlier than normal. These organic Ginger Gold apples from ACMA Mission Orchards are actually now the second wave of apples already this year, and from here on out, we will likely see a new variety of apple every week. Rumor has it that the Early Galas may be only a week or two out. Amazing.

Beets from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beets from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just take a gander at these gorgeous beets from Gaia’s Harmony Farm — chioggaDetroit and golden beets, from the left. They are sweet, earthy, and they come with greens that make for a second dish for no extra charge! Oh, Gaia’s famous organic strawberries have made a return this week, too!

Huge heads of lettuce from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Huge heads of lettuce from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I know you’ve heard me prattle on about the ginormous heads of lettuce from Carnation’s Summer Run Farm. This week, I thought I’d give you some photographic evidence. Seriously. They are more than twice the size of Dana’s head!

Boysenberries from Jessie's Berries. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Boysenberries from Jessie’s Berries. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jessie’s Berries has just about every kind of berry legal in the state of Washington right now, I swear. These stunners are their boysenberries. I bet you just hurt your finger jamming it into your screen trying to reach for one, didn’t you? They’ve also got marionberries now, too. No, not the infamous former mayor of Washington, DC, but the blackberry cousin. Sheesh.

Coconut Curry Kale Chips from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Coconut Curry Kale Chips from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

House of the Sun raw & vegan foods has all sorts of deliciousness that everyone enjoys, and no one will ever miss the meat or the cooking. These newish Coconut Curry Kale Chips are packed with flavor, yet light, crunchy and full of goodness, and as one who is not a huge coconut fan, I found these to suit me just fine.

Radicchio from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Radicchio from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Boistfort Valley Farm specializes in heirloom varieties of both Italian and Asian crops. I know, it seems like an odd marriage, but it works for them… and for me! This colorful radicchio obviously falls in the Italian camp, along with artichokes and garlic right now.

Pickling dill from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pickling dill from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I told you I had you covered for a source for pickling dill, didn’t I? This dill is from Alm Hill Gardens (a.k.a., Growing Washington), and I’ve been using it for years to do my pickling. The flowers are full of aromatic flavor to impart into your favorite vegetables. Yummers!

Flavor Supreme pluots from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Flavor Supreme pluots from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pluots are not only fascinating because of their hybridized genetics — part plum and part apricot. They are also way cool because of all the rad colors they come in, inside and out. Like these Flavor Supreme pluots from Tiny’s Organic Produce. What they lack in a creative name they make up for in flavor and appearance!

Sesame loaf (left) and whole grain sandwich bread from d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sesame loaf (left) and whole grain sandwich bread from d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Do you require gluten-free products, or are you just convinced that they all taste like sawdust? Either way, you should be beating a path to d:floured gluten-free bakery, because they have built their business on the premise that everyone deserves really good bread and brownies. For instance, check out these two new sandwich bread loaves, above. They are moist, chewy, tasty and sliceable! On the left is their sesame loaf, which they intentionally developed to be a full-sized loaf of bread, perfect for a nice, big sandwich. On the right is whole grain, which while a stitch smaller, still makes for a fine PB&J. So now, you can have your gluten-free diet and your BLT, too!

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, January 22nd: No Snow, We Promise! Instead, Find Collard Greens, Purple Top Turnips, Gala Apples, Beautiful Beef, Kimchi Brine, Buckwheat Flour, Crabapple Jelly & So Much More!

January 22, 2012

Just another gorgeous day at your Ballard Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Thought we could all use this warm, sunny image from last May. Ah, doesn’t that sunshine feel good? And just look at that blue sky! Well, the good news is that the muck, slop and slush are just about gone, and things are getting back to normal. The kiddies will be back in school tomorrow, finally, and you’ll be back at work. And you will need nourishment to get you through it. So many of you were scared off from attending your Ballard Farmers Market last week for fear of snow that I imagine many of you practically starved to death this past week. And that is a shame, since we didn’t have any snow at your Ballard Farmers Market last Sunday – none! We could see it falling on Queen Anne — where it belongs, frankly! — but here in the People’s Republic of Ballard, it was like a magic force field had been erected, and we remained snow-free, with a full compliment of vendors! And we’ll have close to a full house today, too.

Collard greens from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

So come on down support your local farmer, and get some delicious local food in your belly after that long last week. Like these spectacular collard greens from Colinwood Farms. They will absolutely recharge you. And Colinwood will have salad mix, braising mix, some righteous kale, parnips and more today, too!

Gala apples from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tiny’s Organic Produce will be in attendance today with lots of these gala apples, and a bunch of other organic apples, too. And given how many sniffles I heard while I was out and about on Saturday, you are gonna need some of these beauties in order to ensure that you keep the doctor away, right?

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

You know, being holed up in my house for a week, foraging out now and then for a brief walk in the frozen tundra of North Ballard, only to find almost every business, bank and library closed, I kinda started to develop a bit of a hankering for milder days, when I would fire up the barby on my deck to grill up a nice grass-finished beef steak from Skagit River Ranch. But this is Ballard, and a milder day simply means my Smokey Joe ain’t encased in ice. So grill I will tonight!

Purple top turnips from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I’m thinking a nice root roast, and some of those aforementioned collard greens, will side my steak nicely, eh? Full Circle Farm has these lovely purple top turnips now, ripe for the roasting, as well as some gorgeous celeriac, and plenty more.

Kimchi brine from Firefly Kitchens. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know what else those turnips would go well with? Some of this kimchi brine from Firefly Kitchens. You’ve had their outrageously good kimchi, right? Well, this is the juice left in the crock after the kimchi is fermented, then removed to be bottled. This stuff is incredible, and it’ll put some kick into all sorts of dishes. And like their various fermented foods, this stuff is alive with pro-biotics, and if I am anything, I am pro-biotic! Stop by and visit them for a sample taste. You will be going home with a bottle.

Gluten-free buckwheat flour from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Back in 1999, during my first year as Executive Director of the Washington State Farmers Market Association, we had our board retreat in the tiny little city of Waterville, perched high up above the Columbia River gorge on Highway 2, surrounded by wheat fields. We met there then because grain, one of Washington’s largest crops, was essentially unheard of at farmers markets, and we wanted to be reminded of that while we met. 13 years later, much like wine, meat and cheese, we cannot imagine our Ballard Farmers Market without local grain products direct from area farms, and lots of baked goods made with local flour. But what we still have not had, until now, has been gluten-free flour. That changes today! Welcome buckwheat flour from Nash’s Organic Produce. Yup. You heard right! Enjoy!

Lavender honey from Golden Harvest Bee Ranch. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Golden Harvest Bee Ranch was one of the few vendors unable to make it last Sunday due to weather. Seems Whidbey got the gift of snow on Saturday last week. Ah, the glories of the Convergence Zone. (I mean, do you ever find yourself talking to someone from outside the Puget Sound area, and you mention the Convergence Zone, and they have no idea what you are talking about? You can find it on weather maps, but not Google maps!) Well, they are back today, with their wide assortment of local honey flavors, like this lavender honey.

Kale, zucchini & collard chips from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I love these kale, zucchini & collard chips from House of the Sun. These guys make all sorts of great raw, vegan foods using local ingredients. But these chips baffle people. How do they make ’em with cooking ’em, folks wonder. Simple. They season them, and then they dehydrate them. Genius! Sure, we could do this at home, but it is so much simpler, and most likely tastier, to get some from House of the Sun at Ballard Farmers Market. And guess what? They no longer package them in plastic containers! That’s right. They’ve gone to fully compostable paper bags lined with natural cellophane!

Samish Bay Cheese makes a variety of delicious farmstead cheeses. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

“Blessed are the cheese makers.” Thank you, Monty Python, for that. And thank you, Samish Bay Cheese, for being one of those blessed cheese makers. Samish Bay makes quite a variety of cheeses these days, from mild to sharp, and seasoned with from chives to chocolate. This photos shows just six of them! Are you getting enough cheese?

Crabapple jelly from Deluxe Foods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rebecca tells me she found the crabapples for her Deluxe Foods crabapple jelly right here in the neighborhood, if I’m remembering the tale correctly. See, not a lot of crabapples are grown commercially around here, which is a shame. Cuz crabapples are seriously old school. You know, Deluxe Foods specializes in heirloom jam recipes like this, made with amazing local ingredients. Stop by for a taste today, and give your toast a little more class tomorrow morning!

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.