Posts Tagged ‘King County’

Some Ballard Farmers Market Success Stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remembering Stoney Plains Organic Farm’s Bob Meyer

March 5, 2015
Bob Meyer of Stoney Plains Organic Farm working on his tractor. Photo courtesy Stoney Plains Organic Farm.

Bob Meyer of Stoney Plains Organic Farm working on his tractor. Photo courtesy Stoney Plains Organic Farm.

This is my last week as the official voice of your Ballard Farmers Market. My upcoming post for Sunday will be my last regular post. So I thought I would spend these last few days taking a walk down memory lane with you. I’d like to start off with the legendary Bob Meyer.

Bob Meyer founded Stoney Plains Organic Farm in Tenino in 1978. Around the same time, he also co-founded the Olympia Farmers Market. Later, he participated in the creation of the University District Farmers Market and the Pike Place Market Basket Program, and he also played a role in the formation of the Farmers Own Cooperative. Before his untimely death in 2002, he vended his produce at farmers markets throughout Thurston, Pierce and King counties.

Bob Meyer working in the greenhouse at Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo courtesy Stoney Plains Organic Farm.

Bob Meyer working in the greenhouse at Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo courtesy Stoney Plains Organic Farm.

Bob served on the board of Tilth Producers of Washington for many years, and as board president of the Olympia Farmers Market. He was recognized as an authority on organic farming, and he was always willing to lend a helping hand to up-and-coming organic farmers. Bob was also a pioneer in the development of farmers markets in Washington State, including the formation of the nation’s oldest statewide farmers market association here in Washington in 1979. Bob never shied away from sharing his opinion, and he always brought passion to every issue he faced, and every market he attended. In fact, before he began farming, Bob worked the better part of 30 years as a union organizer.

Bob Meyer Memorial Pickles made by me in 2013 using Stoney Plains organic pickling cucumbers. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Bob Meyer Memorial Pickles made by me in 2013 using Stoney Plains organic pickling cucumbers. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

But for Bob Meyer’s tireless energy on behalf of farming and farmers markets, many of us would not be here today. He indeed remains one of the great giants in the history of our community, and his legendary spirit lives on in all of us he touched. I share this photo, above, of pickles I made in 2013 from Stoney Plains cukes because it was Bob and his wife Pat who got me pickling back in my first year in the farmers market world in 1991 at Olympia Farmers Market. I think of Bob fondly every year as I make more of them.

Terry Meyer of Stoney Plains Organic Farm stands alongside garden starts. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Terry Meyer of Stoney Plains Organic Farm stands alongside garden starts at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Bob’s legacy continues through the hard work of his wife, Pat, and their sons and grandchildren, who still sell about many farmers markets in Western Washington today. Stop by and say ‘hi’ to son Terry, above, next time you visit your Ballard Farmers Market!

Sunday, March 1st: Nettles, Chard, Dandelion Greens, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Albacore, More Flowers & Street Pizza!

February 28, 2015
Nettles from Foraged & Found Edibles at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Nettles from Foraged & Found Edibles at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Just another sunny weekend in “winter” in the People’s Republic of Ballard, eh? Wow! And the spring crops are starting to come on with a vengeance now. Like these first of the year wild stinging nettles from Foraged & Found Edibles. Make yourself some tea or pesto, or whatever you like best, and enjoy a nice boast of healthful deliciousness! Oh, they’ve also got wild miner’s lettuce this week, too. High in vitamin C, it gets its name from being the wild green that helped keep many a miner alive when other greens, and any sources of vitamin C, were scarce at the end of winter. I love them simply dressed with a little oil and some lemon juice as a nice salad.

Chard from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Chard from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Yes, this is chard. No, this is not a file photo. I took this last Sunday, in fact. These gorgeous, tender, colorful leaves of chard are from the greenhouses of Colinwood Farm in Port Townsend. They also have the most amazing dino kale raab right now that tastes like broccoli, as well as spinachcollard greens and more!

Dandelion greens from Stoney Plains Organic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Dandelion greens from Stoney Plains Organic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Another sure sign of our early spring is these dandelion greens from Stoney Plains Organic Farm in Tenino. An intensely bitter green, you can make tea and soup with them, but I love to toss them with anchovies and avocado and make for one amazing and nutrient dense salad! Stoney Plains also now has green onionschickweed and other early spring delights!

Daffodils from Mee Garden at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Daffodils from Mee Garden at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Mee Garden has returned to your Ballard Farmers Market up on the 22nd Ave end. They have beautiful fresh-cut daffodils right now, as well as dried flowers and more!

Albacore tuna loin portion from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Albacore tuna loin portion from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is the first Sunday of the month, and that means it is local albacore tuna day at your Ballard Farmers Market. Yes, Fishing Vessel St. Jude joins us today with cannedsmokedjerkied and frozen albacore that is high in beneficial omega-fatty acids and low in heavy metals. It is sashimi grade, and it is the finest tuna you will ever taste!

Purple sprouting broccoli from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D, Lyons.

Purple sprouting broccoli from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D, Lyons.

For a very limited time, you will find this purple sprouting broccoli from Nash’s Organic Produce! It has a very short season, so get it while you can. They also have leekscollard greensNash’s red & green kale and red Russian kale, and even a few more carrots! They are also featuring dried Diana fava beans this weeks. “These tasty little nuggets are perfect in soups and stews, offering a hearty, meaty, delicious taste,” says Devon. “With 23% protein (the highest of any legume we grow on the farm), they’re sure to fill you up, too!”

Loading pizza in the mobile oven at Veraci Pizza at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Loading pizza in the mobile oven at Veraci Pizza at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

We finish this week’s epistle with the news that Veraci Pizza has been told to “hit the bricks” from the private side lot next to the Ballard Inn they’ve called their Sunday home for many years. So hit the bricks they did. Currently, they are setting up in the Market itself, on the bricks up at 22nd Avenue. They will hang out there at least until we hit peak season for farmers.

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, February 22nd: Sprouts, Greens & Springy Things!

February 21, 2015
Microgreens from Kirsop Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Microgreens from Kirsop Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Spring continues its early advance this week, as we in Seattle enjoy the best weather in the country. (It was warmer here than it was in Fort Meyers, Florida the other day!) All the cherry trees in Seattle are in bloom, and all the shrubs are pushing out leaves. Heck, they are already talking about the pollen count on local weather reports! We will enjoy this in the form of deliciousness like these yummy microgreens from Kirsop Farm, great in salads, on sandwiches, as a garnish for soups and many dishes and more.

Nash's Best Carrots from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s Best Carrots from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And with the onslaught of our early spring, some of our winter crops are on the way out early, too. For instance, this is the last week for carrots from Nash’s Organic Produce for a while. But they are just beginning to harvest their over-wintered leeks, purple sprouting broccoli, collard greens, red russian kale, and even possibly flat leaf parsley.

Braising mix from Stoney Plains Organic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Braising mix from Stoney Plains Organic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter greens kinda took a hit in November and December freezes, but they’ve come roaring back. Stoney Plains Organic Farm has these great braising greens right now with lots of tender young leaves of collard greens and various kales. Nummers!

Pink Lady apples from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pink Lady apples from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One fall crop is still going strong: Pink Lady apples from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Pink Lady’s are a terrific eating apple — crisp and sweet — and they are an excellent keeper, which means they are great deep into the late winter and early spring!

Pork chops from Olsen Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Pork chops from Olsen Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

For a year-round crop, how’s about some delicious, pasture-raised pork from Olsen Farms. These pork rib chops are beautifully marbled, and they grill up wonderfully. Of course, they also have yummy spuds for you, too, in many varieties. Potatoes are almost a year-round crop, themselves.

Hazelnut oil and butter from Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hazelnut oil and butter from Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

You already know that Lynden’s Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards grows and sells amazing hazelnuts. But did you also know that they make hazelnut butter and hazelnut oil from those hazelnuts, too?

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

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

Spread some of that hazelnut butter on a slice of one of these incredible loaves of artisan breads from Ballard’s own Tall Grass Bakery. The various earthy breads in the image above are all perfect vehicles for hazelnut butter… or oil: HominyOat & HoneyPain au Levain and Compagnon.

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.