Posts Tagged ‘lobster mushrooms’

Sunday, October 19th: Fall Foods & Food Day 2014

October 18, 2014

food-day_2014

National Food Day 2014 is this coming Friday, October 24th. Inaugurated several years ago, it is designed, like Earth Day in April, to get us talking about food. After all, it is the one thing we all have in common — the one thing we all cannot live without. Just to confuse you, though, the UN has held International Food Day on October 16th since 1979, but given that neither you nor I ever heard much about this, it made sense to start anew. You’ll find lots of things to do, and more info, at the Food Day website, and read on to learn about some cool stuff happening in New York City that we could easily replicate here.

Jessika Tantisook rounding up freshly harvested cranberries at Starvation Alley Farms. Copyright Giles Clement.

Jessika Tantisook rounding up freshly harvested cranberries at Starvation Alley Farms. Copyright Giles Clement.

Starvation Alley Farms has begun the harvest of the 2014 crop of organic cranberries out on Long Beach Peninsula. They’ll have them flash-frozen for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. And check this out from Wholesome Wave in New York City:

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) announced on October 16th the expansion of a program that allows doctors at HHC’s Elmhurst and Bellevue Hospital Centers to write fruit and vegetable “prescriptions” to children who are overweight or obese to help improve access to healthy food and promote overall health and wellness in the community.  First adopted by HHC hospitals in the South Bronx and Harlem last summer, the Wholesome Wave Fruit and Vegetable Prescription program (FVRx) proved successful in its first year when the program at HHC Harlem Hospital Center and HHC Lincoln Medical Center helped 40 percent of the enrolled children lower their Body Mass Index (BMI) and more than half of the families reported having more food to eat at home.

“A prescription for healthy food at an affordable price can be even better than a prescription for medicine,” said HHC President Dr. Ram Raju. “When doctors don’t just ask patients to eat more fruits and vegetables, but take concrete steps to make it easier for them and to demonstrate the benefits, patients listen. Obesity is a significant problem for children in New York City.  With HHC’s excellent primary care services and community collaborations like this one, we can help children learn at an early age that a healthy lifestyle and good food choices strongly affect their future health and wellbeing.”

… HHC selects pediatric patients for FVRx based on age and BMI eligibility. Over the course of four months, during farmers market season, patients receive a “prescription” to eat more fruit and vegetables. The prescription is designed to increase fruit and vegetable consumption for the entire family and is typically valued at $1 per day per household member ($28 per week for a family of four). This year, Wholesome Wave is piloting a $.50 incentive at two of the FVRx hospitals ($14 per week for a family of four). The prescription is exchanged on-site for Health Bucks, a city-wide Department of Health and Mental Hygiene program, which  can be used at all New York City farmers markets.

Gee, that sounds like something our local government and hospitals could do right here in Seattle in partnership with our farmers market Fresh Bucks Program.

Click image to download.

Click image to download.

And speaking of Fresh Bucks, the program has been extended through the end of December this year, so if you or someone you know receives SNAP benefits (a.k.a., Food Stamps), we will match the SNAP dollars you spend at your Ballard Farmers Market with Fresh Bucks, up to $10, each and every visit! Fresh Bucks can only be used for fresh fruits, vegetables and cut herbs, so use them to stock up on those items, and save your regular SNAP benefits to use for other food items, like eggs, grains, dried beans, honey, meat, pickles and such.

Fresh, whole, Puget Sound Keta salmon from Loki Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh, whole, Puget Sound Keta salmon from Loki Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

The commercial fishing season for Keta salmon on Puget Sound just opened, and that means Loki Fish should have the most local salmon you will ever find here at your Ballard Farmers Market today, as it is caught just a few miles from here in the heart of Puget Sound. Keta salmon used to be considered a trash fish, but in recent years, it has reemerged as a high-quality, affordable, local and wild salmon that also serves to maintain our local fishing economy. It is fresher, better tasting and generally less expensive than farm-raised salmon. It takes well to rubs, smokes and sauces. And unlike most farmed salmon, it is not on drugs and its color is natural. So enjoy some salmon tonight that actually hangs out in the same area code as you do!

Lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

This fall has been great for wild lobster mushrooms harvested by Foraged & Found Edibles in the forests of Western Washington. They get their name from their bright red color, and they are a sturdy, earthy mushroom that holds up well when you cook them. They make a great topping for that Keta salmon!

Freshly shucked oysters on the half shell from Hama Hama Oysters at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Lauren McCool.

Freshly shucked oysters on the half shell from Hama Hama Oysters at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Lauren McCool.

As the waters of Hood Canal cool down with fall rains and shorter days, now is the best time of year to enjoy fresh oysters from Hama Hama Oysters. You’ll find a few varieties of live in-the-shell oysters today, ready for you to shuck and slurp, as well as jars of pre-shucked oysters, pickled and smoked oysters, and live clams!

Arkansas Black apples from Tiny's Organic at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Arkansas Black apples from Tiny’s Organic at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These Arkansas Black apples from Tiny’s Organic turn almost black when in storage. It is a firm, tart apple good for fresh eating, cooking, juicing and making hard cider, and it will keep for two to three months.

Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins from Stoney Plains Organic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins from Stoney Plains Organic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

We talk a lot about cooking pumpkins here in the blog for your Ballard Farmers Market. There are so many varieties offered by our farmers, after all. But Halloween is less than two weeks away, so let’s talk about carving pumpkins today. Stoney Plains Organic Farm has a nice selection of carving pumpkins for you and the kids to turn into all manner of spooky creations. Pick out the best one for you today, and remember to roast these seeds!

Local granola from Marge Granola at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Local granola from Marge Granola at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cool, dark, often damp fall mornings call for a hardy breakfast, and for that you’ll find great granola in a variety of flavors from Marge Granola. Tall Grass Bakery also makes a great granola, or you can grab some muesli from Daddy’s Muesli. Besides being fine with milk or yogurt, they’re nice just heating up a little hot water, too.

Blackberries from Hayton Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Blackberries from Hayton Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Berry season is just about over, folks. We still are enjoying a few blackberries and blueberries from Hayton Berry Farms, but next week will be their last for 2014. So get your berry on one last time this year, and celebrate the epic berry season it was! (They go great with that granola and muesli, 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.

Sunday, August 3rd: Juicy Melons, Local Tuna, Lemon Cucumbers, Cascading Beans, Succulent Sausages & Gluten-Free Goodies!

August 2, 2014
Cantaloupe melon from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cantaloupe melon from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cantaloupe in the house! Woohoo! Washington produces an amazing diversity and quantity of melons, and our plant researchers and hybridists have developed some of the best melons anywhere. And yet, this humble, downright ancient, cantaloupe from Alvarez Organic Farms still remains a showstopper for flavor and juiciness. They are ripe and ready for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Local albacore tuna loins from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Local albacore tuna loins from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s the first Sunday of August, and that means it’s local albacore tuna day at your Ballard Farmers Market! Yes, Fishing Vessel St. Jude is here the first Sunday of every month with their sashimi grade frozen loins that are favored by chefs all over Seattle, as well as the best canned tuna you will ever taste… anywhere.

Lemon cucumbers from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Lemon cucumbers from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look kids! It’s time for lemon cucumbers from One Leaf Farm! Now, of course they get their name from looking like lemons, but I think this year’s crop might look so much like lemons that I might squeeze one into my iced tea by accident and then wonder why it tastes like cucumber.

A cascade of yellow wax beans from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A cascade of yellow wax beans from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things Farm grows lots of different kinds of beans, and their cascading displays of them are almost as delicious as the beans themselves. Like these yellow wax beans flowing like a waterfall out of this bucket. Their beans come in a rainbow of colors, some round and skinny, and others wide and flat, and a few that are speckled. Green bean season is always so short, and when they’re gone, they’re just plain gone. Enjoy them while you can!

Arctic Star nectarines from Tiny's Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Arctic Star nectarines from Tiny’s Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These white-fleshed, organic Arctic Star nectarines from Tiny’s Organic are very sweet. In fact, when I tried drying them one summer, I ended up with little slices that seemed more like candy than dried fruit.

Lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This past Sunday marked the earliest we’ve ever been able to capture wild lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles on pixels. Mind you, the fickle nature of, um, nature, and the ever-changing demands of local chefs do influence when we see wild, foraged foods at your Ballard Farmers Market more than cultivated crops. Heck, we aren’t even sure they’ll have these again today. But rest assured that Foraged & Found Edibles will have some delicious jewels of the wild waiting for you today, no matter what!

Cranberry shelling beans from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cranberry shelling beans from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cranberry shelling beans are in at Alm Hill Gardens a full three weeks earlier than we’ve every seen them before! Now it is proper succotash season! Cook these bad boys up whilst still fresh by boiling them in well-salted water for about 20 minutes, or until just tender. Then drain them and toss them in a skillet with sweet corn freshly cut off the cob, green onions, fresh garlicparsley and some bacon from Skagit River Ranch or Olsen Farms, and just heat it through. No need to cook it to death. Remember to render out the bacon before adding the other ingredients to the pan, and use the bacon fat as your cooking oil, and for flavor, of course!

Sausages from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sausages from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Did you know that Olsen Farms, the folks with all those amazing potatoes and meat, also make some great sausages? And because they come pre-cooked, they are great for picnics and camping, because you don’t have to worry about cross-contaminating your work space with raw meat. Made from animals the Olsens raise themselves, they are great on the grill, the stovetop, or simply on a stick over a campfire!

Rival apricots from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rival apricots from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We enjoyed the little apricots of early summer. Now, it’s time for the big, beautiful, delicious ones, like these Rival apricots from Collins Family Orchards. Think of the jams, the tarts, the messy shirt fronts! Rivals are a free-stone fruit, which means they release easily from their pit when you cut them in half, making them very easy to cook with!

Dukes blueberries from Jessie's Berries. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dukes blueberries from Jessie’s Berries. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These Dukes blueberries from Jessie’s Berries are plump, juicy, sweet and utterly blueberrilicious! I’ve been adorning my morning oatmeal with them for the last two weeks, in fact. See, I get a whole bunch of these puppies now, while they’re at their peak of flavor and abundance, give them a quick rinse, dry them thoroughly by rolling them around on a paper towel, and then pop them in waves into the freezer in a single layer in a glass baking dish. They freeze quickly — in just a couple of hours — and then I loosen them up and pour them into a gallon freezer bag so that I can enjoy them for weeks without worrying about them spoiling. I just grab out a handful at a time. They stay loose and good for months. Get enough, and you can enjoy them all winter long this way!

Zucchini Cardamom and Ginger Peach Mini Loaf from nuflours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Zucchini Cardamom and Ginger Peach Mini Loaf from nuflours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These Zucchini-Cardamom and Ginger Peach mini loaves from Nuflours Gluten-Free Bakery are so go, you won’t even notice that they are gluten-free. All you will notice is that you are out of cream cheese! But before that particular emergency befalls you, remember to stop by Mt. Townsend Creamery for some truffled fromage today, too.

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

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

Enjoy a snack of localiciousness, Mexican-style, today at your Ballard Farmers Market! Los Chilangos sources all of their animal proteins from vendors right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, like Olsen Farms and Wilson Fish. No mystery meat here! Enjoy some of their amazing tacos, or grab a breakfast burrito!

And remember, their plates, forks and napkins are all compostable. When you go to dispose of them, please take a moment to recognize our green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Ballard Farmers Market, and please make an effort to put your cup in the correct receptacle. Each receptacle 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. It’s easy. You already do it at home every day. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.

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, September 9th: Sweet Potatoes, Winter Squash, Black-Eyed Susans, Saffron Corms & Some Folks Taking A Break After Today’s Market, So Stock Up!

September 9, 2012

Black-eyed Susans from Pa Garden. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I don’t usually start off with flowers in my weekly blog posts, but I also don’t usually have a photo of these stunning black-eyed susans from Pa Garden. They just scream September, don’t they? You know, ever since I first began working with farmers markets like a century ago — okay, it was 1991, but still… — I have come to recognize that our seasons are color-coded. And at no time of year is this more evident than right now, as we begin our shift from summer to fall crops. Think about that as you continue on reading this week’s epistle, and enjoy it in all its splendor as you walk through your Ballard Farmers Market today. Because we have now entered the highest of the high season — September is peak season for local produce, and at no other time of year will you find more different crops on our farmers’ tables than right now!

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look, kids! It’s sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms at your Ballard Farmers Market. Yeah, baby! Sweet, nutritious tuberous deliciousness! And an early taste of fall. Only one local farm grows sweet potatoes to sell at Ballard Farmers Market. Most in Seattle come from far, far away. Enjoy these. They are wonderful!

Fresh, Washington coastal red king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Right now is also peak season for fresh king salmon from Wilson Fish. Why? Because right now, the salmon are beginning to swim from the Washington coast, where they’ve been fattening themselves up for months now, through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and into the Frasier River, where they will make one of the longest journeys of any fish on earth, deep into Canada to eventually spawn until they die. See, once they leave the ocean and enter the River, they stop eating, so they need to have stored a lot of fat up before they start that journey. Add to that that we are seeing big returns of four and five year kings this year, and the result is fish that are much larger and loaded with flavorful fat, making them the best of the year. And add to that that the Washington coastal salmon season ends in just a couple of weeks, and the answer is that now is the time to enjoy incredible, local salmon!

Saffron corms from Phocas Farms. Photo courtesy Phocas Farms.

“This will be the second of three, possibly four, Market Sundays at which I’ll have saffron corms available for purchase,” says Jim Robinson of Phocas Farms. They are sustainably grown with OMRI approved nutrients in an herbicide and pesticide free environment. Many know Phocas Farms for their spectacular collection of succulents, and some know them for the saffron they produce in Port Angeles. The problem lately is that they are a victim of their own success, having all of their saffron harvest pre-sold to many of Seattle’s top chefs. That means, if you want some of Jim’s saffron, your best bet is to get some of these saffron corms today and grow it yourself! (For more information about saffron cultivation, visit SaffronBulbs.com.)

Varnish clams from Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These little clams are affectionately called varnish clams by the good folks of Hama Hama Oyster Company because of the color of their shells. They are tasty, and you should eat as many of them as you can, because in reality, they are an invasive species brought here from the East Coast many years ago. So, you’ll actually being doing yourself and Hama Hama a favor by gorging yourself on them! (Don’t you just love mixing virtue with gluttony?)

Winter squash from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of an early taste of fall, how’s about winter squash from Stoney Plains Organic Farm? Yuppers, they’ve got it already. Deeply sweet with a divine texture, you gotta love ‘em. And keep in mind that they store really well, so even if you are not quite in the mood for it now, get some for later. Because we’ve only got four more weeks left in the season for your Ballard Farmers Market. Just store them in a cool, dark, dry place, and be sure to let the stems fully dry out without molding, and whatever you do, don’t remove the stem!

Award-winning jersey cow yogurt from Silver Springs Creamery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The good news is that this is the best yogurt in America. This jersey cow yogurt from Silver Springs Creamery is rich and creamery and absolutely amazing, and it won Best Yogurt at the 2010 American Cheese Society Awards. Their jersey cow milk and goat milkyogurt and cheese are great as well. The bad news is that this will be their last week at your Ballard Farmers Market for a while, as Farmer Eric is taking a bit of a rest break, due to doctors orders. So, stock up on yogurt and cheese today, as it keeps, and get your last fix of their milk for a while.

Peppers from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of rocking the fall colors, how’s about these peppers from Colinwood Farms. They’re on fi-wuh, as Elmer Fudd would say. These babies vary in intensity, so do as questions, so you’ll get what you’re looking for. I am loving grill-roasting peppers right now. Their sweet meatiness combined with the grill’s smokiness are simply delicious.

Celery from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Celery seems so un-sexy, especially amidst all this magnificent late summer color, but fall is a season that begs for good celery — for making soups, roasts, salads, stuffings and more. And no one grows better celery than Boistfort Valley Farm. Seriously, if you’ve only ever experienced celery from the Big Box stores, you are in for a real treat. This celery is fresher, sweeter, tastier and more nutritious. I know. You’ve been hearing all that anti-organic propaganda lately saying it is no more nutritious than conventionally-grown produce, right, and that it still has pesticide residues. Well, perhaps someone should have suggested that the folks down in Palo Alto at Stanford University take the time to actually compare conventionally-grown crops, and large-scale organic crops, for that matter, to freshly-harvested local crops at farmers market. Because the reality is that the crop diversity, care for the soil and the fact that crops are harvested usually within 24 hours of coming to market makes the crops on the tables of the small, local, family farms at your Ballard Farmers Market more nutritious. The better the soil, the better the crop variety, and the fresher it is, the more nutrients are packed in them. Just sayin’.

Lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now, there’s some fall color, eh? Wild lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles! These dense, earthy mushrooms are incredibly flavorful, easy to work with, and make for an excellent accompaniment to meat, fish, pasta and more. And we are blessed with an extra early, long season for them this year, so enjoy!

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

If you are looking for non-toxic candles made from natural, essential oils, you must check out our own Ascents Candles at your Ballard Farmers Market. Think about it. You are likely burning candles in your home, right? But most candles are made from materials that, when burned, release toxic gases into the air… meaning into your house. I’m thinking you probably don’t want to be doing that, right? Solution: get your candles from Ascents Candles. Simple. Except that Julianna is about to take a month-long break from the Market after today. So stock up! You’ll find lots of great prices today, too!

Cucumbers from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look! Even the cucumbers are getting in on the colorful action today! Just take a gander at this collection of the fruity vegetables from Full Circle Farm. From slicers to lemon cukes to picklers, they’ve got a cucumber for every occasion, and I’m not even sure what that means.

Sunrise apples from Jerzy Boyz. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another sure sign of the waning days of summer is the return of Jerzy Boyz with their gorgeous organic orchard fruit, like these sunrise apples. They grow a number of heirloom varieties not grown by any other orchardist at your Ballard Farmers Market, from peaches to apples to pears. Stop by, welcome them back, try a sample or two and pick up some fruit for the week!

Finally, another reminder to please bring your own bags today, and 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.

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, September 5th: Awarding Winning Market & Vendors! Of Firsts, Seconds, Thirds & Fourths!!!

September 5, 2010

A busy Ballard Farmers Market basks in golden smoky sunlight on August 1, 2010. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

According to the USDA, there are 6,132 farmers markets at present in the United States. And in the American Farmland Trust’s national 2010 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest, your Ballard Farmers Market finished #4 in the large market category. Not too shabby. Thank you, good folk of the People’s Republic of Ballard, Seattle and Washington state for voting for Ballard. And to those who didn’t vote for Ballard out of fear it would draw even more people to Ballard Avenue every Sunday, you can rest assured that those crowds are headed to Rochester, NY now. And if you believe that, I have some condos in Belltown I’d like to sell you!

Anthony Estrella of Estrella Family Creamery holds three ribbons from 2010 Amercian Cheese Society competition. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of contests, the 2010 American Cheese Society Convention & Competition was held here in Seattle just last week, and three Washington cheese makers that sell right here at your Ballard Farmers Market won awards. Estrella Family Creamery, out of Montesano, won three ribbons, including First in Class (smoked Italian styles category) for their Weebles cheese, First in Class (sheep or mixed milks category) for their Caldwell Crick Chevrette, and a Second Place Award was given to their Jalapeño Buttery in the Flavored, Peppers category.

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

Samish Bay Cheese, out of Bow, won four ribbons, including: First in Class for their Ladysmith cheese in Fresh Unripened Cow’s Milk Cheeses category; Second Place for their Aged Ladysmith in the Farmstead Cheeses up to 60 days category; Third Place fro their Ladysmith with Chives in Farmstead Cheeses with Flavoring category; and Third Place for their Yogurt Cheese (Labneh) in Cultured Products from Cow’s Milk category.

Cheese maker Matthew Day from Mt. Townsend Creamery in one of his four cheese caves in Port Townsend. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And Mt Townsend Creamery, from Port Townsend, won First in Class for their Seastack cheese in the Soft Ripened category. Congratulations to all the great cheese makers of Washington, who have so impressed the rest of the world over the last 5-10 years that they drew this major national cheese event to Seattle this year. And don’t forget that three more of those great Washington cheese makers — Golden Glen Creamery, Port Madison and Sea Breeze — also sell great cheese at your Ballard Farmers Market. Blessed are the cheese makers, indeed!

Fresh Frasier River Sockeye from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The boats of Loki Fish have returned to Washington waters from Alaska after a long summer fishing up north. Now, they are harvesting Frasier River sockeye salmon just south of the Canadian border, and you can get some of this amazing fish fresh today.

Wild lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Though we may be bemoaning the summer that never completely arrived this year, as we rapidly descend into fall, one thing we can celebrate is an early and vibrant fall wild mushroom season. Just look at these spectacular lobster mushrooms Foraged & Found Edibles has right now. And if you still don’t know why they are called lobster mushrooms after seeing this photo, you need to either adjust the color on your monitor, or you need to look up what a lobster looks like after it’s been steamed.

Cippolini onions from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cippolini onions are another of those wonderful heirloom Italian crops that so many farmers around here enjoy growing. Cippolini onions, like these from Oxbow Farm, are kinda squat in appearance, more disc-like than bulbous. They caramelize magnificently. Just imagine them on some crostini, or over a nice steak.

San Marzano tomatoes from Pipitone Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another great Italian crop is San Marzano tomatoes, like these from Pipitone Farms. These are the tomatoes of Naples, growing in the rich volcanic soil of Mt. Vecuvius. They are prized for their rich, thick, meaty flesh that produces what many consider the finest tomato sauce on earth.

Colorful spices from Seattle Spice. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for spices and rubs? Check out Seattle Spice. They offer a huge selection of spices, blends and rubs to accent the Market fresh goodness you’ll take home tonight. Stop by and just enjoy the aroma of the sample tins.

Caroline raspberries from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sidhu has a fresh wave of raspberries coming on from their fields in Orting. Above are their big, juicy and tangy Caroline raspberries. They also have ever-bearing raspberries now. And they still have plenty of blueberries and blackberries, too.

Many beans from Growing Things. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just look at all these beans from Growing Things Farm! Green beans. Dragon Tongue beans. Yellow wax beans. Purple beans. I’m thinking pickles. Or casseroles. Maybe sauteed with bacon and pearl onions. How about a nice stir fry with pork or shrimp. Or perhaps a bean salad. Ah, beans!

Ailsa Craig onions from Prana Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ailsa Craig onions are not only one of my favorite onions to eat, they are also one of my favorites to say — Ailsa Craig! (Say it with your inner Scot.) These beautiful heirloom onions hail from Scotland originally. These are a sweet onion with a wonderful flavor, great sauteed, caramelized, roasted, grilled and raw. Prana Farms grows them for us here, along with many other heirloom crops.

Hot chilis in every color from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alvarez Organic Farms grows more than 150 varieties of peppers, some of which are varieties they have developed themselves. Above is just a small sampling of the many hot chili peppers they grow, in all their colorful glory. Peppers vary widely in flavor and heat, so experiment with them to find which ones you like the best.

And 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!