Posts Tagged ‘miner’s lettuce’

Sunday, April 8th: Easter Breads & Pastries, Flowers For Your Tables & Many Spring Greens!

April 8, 2012

Hot Cross Buns for Easter from Grateful Bread Bakery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Happy Passover and Easter, fine people of Ballard! I’m getting a late start with this week’s epistle, as I found myself absorbed, as I do every year at this time, by that Hollywood classic, The Ten Commandments, starring a cast of thousands, in which Charlton Heston frees the Hebrew slaves from bondage under the cruel rule of  Egyptian pharaoh Telly Savalas. You know, I pick up something new each year during ABC’s four-and-a-half hour presentation of this film. For instance, I had no idea that the Occupy Movement took its signature means of communicating through large crowds without an amplifier from Moses, who was the first to say, “Hear, O Israel, Repeat After Me…” But I regress. Something else that happens only once a year is that Grateful Bread Bakery makes hot cross buns and brings them to your Ballard Farmers Market. Luckily, I captured some in pixels (above) last year on Easter. I can almost smell them now. Mmm. Grab some for a true taste of the season.

Fresh flowers from Pa Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You’ll find plenty of fresh, local flowers throughout the Market today, like these from Pa Gardens. Grab a bouquet to brighten up your table for Easter supper, or to bring with you to grandma’s house. It is finally spring. Let it show with fresh daffodils and tulips!

Award winning wines from Lopez Island Vineyards. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pick up a bottle of Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery’s award-winning wines to accompany your meal to celebrate ancient beliefs. After all, wine is one of the oldest forms of food preservation. Back in biblical times, they had no refrigerators or freezers to preserve fruit harvests year-round, but juice it and ferment it, and it kept for months and years! Few things truly make we humans feel like the really smart monkeys we are like wine.

Fresh chevre from Port Madison. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of ancient forms of food preservation, blessed are the cheese makers! And one such cheese maker returns after their winter hiatus today: Port Madison Farms. The kidding season has passed, and all the little baby goats are now bouncing around the farm over on Bainbridge Island, and their moms are now producing some amazing milk that Port Madison turns into some delicious goat cheese. Another example of ancient human ingenuity, and another great addition to your feast!

Miners lettuce from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s tawk spring greens, eh? After a very long, cold, dark winter — and aren’t they all — it pleases me no end to now be adding stuff back into the “vegetables” page under “What’s Fresh Now!” every week. Like this wonderful miners lettuce from Stoney Plains, for instance. It gets its name from the fact that miners used to live off the stuff. It grows wild all over the place here, but it is also cultivated. It is like watercress, crunchy yet tender, full of nutrients, with a slightly lemony flavor to it. And it makes for the most amazing spring salads, simply dressed with a few radishes, some pine nuts, some seasoning, olive oil and lemon juice.

Mixed kale raabs from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This time of year, as the days grow longer, all the over-winter crops want to bolt. Yup, it’s mating season for them, too, and the kales, chards, Brussels sprouts, collard greens and cabbages all just want to flower and spread their seed. But before they do, they have this wondering in-between period when their tender, budding tops, called raab, are just plain delicious and sweet as can be. Given the cold winter we’ve had, all the raabs, like this mixed kale raab from Colinwood Farms, are especially sweet. See, cold weather elicits a kind of defensive response in these leafy greens of sweetness — nature’s anti-freeze! Enjoy!

New lettuce from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Your eyes do not deceive you, and neither do I. This really is lettuce! That’s right. Children’s Garden wins the award this spring for being the first farm to bring lettuce to your Ballard Farmers Market. In this photo, you see butterhead and green leaf lettuce. I’ve been enjoying some of the butterhead lettuce with lettuce wraps this past week. So step away from that Arizona lettuce from the Big Box store and start eating it local again!

Cabbage raab from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, for today anyway, some more raab — red cabbage raab to be precise, from Nash’s Organic Produce. Besides the fact that I just love the light in this photo, you should know that this is perhaps the sweetest form of cabbage you can eat. It truly is a completely different way to enjoy it. In the immortal words of John Lennon, give raab a chance!

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, April 17th: More Spring Goodies & Tales From The Worst “Farmers Markets” I’ve Ever Seen!

April 17, 2011

Fresh flowers from Pa Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I just got back from a trip to Florida. While there, I visited three so-called “farmers markets” — in Sarasota, Siesta Key and Miami. What I saw there dumbfounded me. Or should I say, what I didn’t see. I didn’t see any farmers. Not a one. I mean, for the love of Mike, Florida is the #2 producer of fresh produce — fruits and vegetables — in the U.S., behind California. You’d think they could scrounge up the odd orange or tomato grower to attend their farmers markets, you know? Nope. I have heard tales that there are some “farmers markets” in Florida with actual farmers, but even at these rare markets, most of the vendors are crafters and prepared food vendors, with some processors, and then a produce reseller or three. Here in Washington, the #3 state for production of fresh produce, even our worst farmers markets are better than Florida’s best, as best as I can tell. Heck, I even visited a market at a hospital in Miami — more like a mobile food court, if you ask me. I thought the purpose of having farmers markets at hospitals was to encourage healthy eating by eating local fruits and vegetable, not to offer a once-a-week lunch alternative for hospital workers and patients. I thought I’d share this with you, just to remind you we have something pretty darned special going on here at Washington’s #1 farmers market, your Ballard Farmers Market. Let us never take it for granted.

Miners lettuce from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey, it really is spring, again, in spite of the weather. My Italian prune tree is in spectacular full bloom. My lawn needs mowing. And Stoney Plains has miner’s lettuce! This is a truly native crop to the Northwest, and it can be found growing widely in the wild, but this (above) is the cultivated type. It is tasty and nutritious. I love it simply tossed with pine nuts, olive oil, some sea salt and a little lemon juice. Learn more about miner’s lettuce on our “What Is It?” post.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms are another powerhouse of goodness and deliciousness, and you’ll find them for a while longer at your Ballard Farmers Market, and nowhere else. In fact, these are the only locally grown sweet potatoes you will find anywhere in metro-Seattle.

Saffron tagliatelle from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Not many people can tell you where their saffron is from, but Pasteria Lucchese can. The saffron in their new saffron pastas comes from Phocas Farms in Port Angeles, Washington. Indeed, you can get the very same saffron, direct from the farmer, right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. But if you want this pasta, get here early, as Sam & Sara sell out of it fast!

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

Wild morel mushrooms are back, though their supply can be limited this early in the season, especially with it still snowing at low elevations. Check in with Foraged & Found Edibles early today if you want any. And if they’re out, never fear. More will be coming!

Kale raab from Nashs Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s raab season, folks! Yup, the season when all the over-wintered kales and collards and such want to bolt to flowers. And these bud-covered tender shoots are a sweet delicacy of early spring. Check out Nash’s Organic Produce to see what tasty vegetable flowers they have for you today!

Cupcake Luvs "Luvlys" being adorable. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Seriously, how many bakers can tell you what farms their flour came from? Well, Cupcake Luv can! Maybe that is why this little girl so adores these Cupcake Luv “Luvlys” — their cupcake miniatures made with flour from the Shepherd’s Grain farmer cooperative of Southeastern Washington. And that reminds me of one more thing about the three “farmers markets” I visited in Florida — the one thing all three markets have in common with our farmers market: Washington apples. Ha!

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, December 12: Pork Bellies, Paprika, Lamb Skins, Smoked White King Salmon, All The Kale You Can Eat (for a price), Great Holiday Gifts & Miner’s Lettuce (really)!!!

December 11, 2010

A Mother's Day 2009 visit to Ballard Farmers Market from the entire family Vojkovich of Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

See how good looking you can be when you eat nothing but the bounty found at your Ballard Farmers Market? Actually, Eiko (left), Nicole & George Vojkovich of Skagit River Ranch are in large part responsible for keeping us all healthy and good looking around here with all of their pasture-finished, certified organic beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and for my money, the best sweet Italian sausage around these parts. Are you looking for a special holiday roast? Click through to their website (or ask them at the Market) to see how to call them to pre-order your whole beef tenderloins, prime rib roasts, boneless hams and pork bellies now, and they’ll deliver them to you at the Market on December 19th.

Spicy and delicious paprikas from Some Like It Hott! Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Welcome back, Some Like It Hott! Just in time to put some kick into your holidays. Charlie Bodony got his itch for all things paprika from his Transylvanian ancestors, and now he raises, dries, smokes and grinds his own paprikas, in the style of his elders, in Port Townsend. His paprikas range from mild to atomic, with a wide variety of flavors and colors. And don’t be intimidated by those small bottles. A little goes a long way. Oh, and ask if he’s got any of his homemade liquid smoke. He makes it from the condensation created when he alder smokes his chili peppers.

Fresh, tasty miner's lettuce from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I suppose that, given how screwed up the growing seasons have been this year, we should not be surprised by the appearance of miner’s lettuce from Full Circle Farm in December, instead of February. Miner’s lettuce is native to these parts, and it got its name when miners foraged it for food back in the late 1800s. Still widely found growing wild all over Western Washington in the late winter and early spring, it is now also cultivated by many local farmers. It’s leaves have a spinachy toothsomeness to them, though the flavor is very mild, and it takes well to a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice with some pinenuts or sprinkled over a pizza or gratin raw after they’re done cooking.

Fun hair barrettes from Solstice Designs. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Solstice Designs has all manner of lovely items to pretty up  yourself, or that special someone, this holiday season. (Not that you need any prettying up, mind you.) You’ll find fun and inspired earrings, pendants, necklaces, and more, including these great barrettes that’ll have all your friends asking, “where did you get that?”

Gift sampler 3-packs of canned tuna from Fishing Vessel St. Tuna. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For the person who thinks they have everything, how about a gift 3-pack of canned tuna from Fishing Vessel St. Jude? They get three of St. Jude’s most popular versions of their canned tuna in a handy steel can, complete with colorful, decorative and informative label. And the tuna contained therein is, frankly, the best canned tuna they will find anywhere. Plus, it’s low mercury and high in omega fatty acids. Just don’t drain off the liquid. They don’t add water. That liquid is the delicious and nutritious fats from the tuna itself!

Sheep skins from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Olsen Farms has lotsa potatoes, beef, pork, lamb, bacon, sausage, ham, and right now, a limited number of sheep skins. These gorgeous sheep skins are soft, warm, and make for a cozy Hollywood moment with someone special in front of a crackling fireplace with a bottle of red wine from Sea Breeze or Lopez Island. And never fear, they are also washable, for when you ruin the moment by spilling that red wine on it. They’ve got about a dozen going for $120 each, and they go fast every year, so get yours early!

Dried fava beans from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Stoney Plains had a rockin’ year for fava beans, and lucky for us, they dried some of them. Talk about the ultimate year-round farm. Greens and beans all winter long! So enjoy this new addition to the dried bean lineup at your Ballard Farmers Market, and enjoy your fava beans all winter long.

Adam Lewis, from House Of The Sun raw & vegan foods, stands behind lots of Nash's kale. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

From the category of “a picture speaks a thousand words” comes this photo of Adam from House Of The Sun raw and vegan foods holding up their deliciously famous kale chips while he stands behind a huge pile of Nash’s kale that he will use to make more kale chips. It is one thing to be a local food processor who makes a great product. It is another to be one who makes that great product from local ingredients!

Red storage onions from Anselmo's. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Anselmo’s, your Ballard Farmers Market’s founding farmer, is always a great source for all things onions, shallots and garlic. Just take a gander at these beautiful red storage onions, for instance. Just think of the Christmas morning bagels and lox with a slice of one of these lovelies!

Goat milk soap from Harmony's Way. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Is your skin sensitive to many soaps? Are you looking for something milder? How about goat milk soap from Harmony’s Way in Chimicum? They raise and milk their own goats to make this wonderful soap, and they offer it in a variety of shapes, sizes, scents and designs. And while maybe a lot of the girlier looking and smelling bars won’t appeal to us manly men, these new standard-sized rectangular bars (above) with rugged, manly aromas will suit us just fine, so we can still look tough, even while pampering our delicate skin.

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

Are you entertaining an uppity bunch this holiday season — you know, the kind that will only accept the best nibbles laid out in front of them? Then pickup a side of smoked white king salmon from Wilson Fish. White salmon is the oiliest, most moist of all salmon, and when smoked, it is beyond divine. Lay one of these suckers out with your holiday spread, then scoff at your friends’ tables when you go to their parties!

Milk, cream and butter from Golden Glen Creamery. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen over the next few weeks preparing all sorts of delicious recipes that call for butter, cream and milk. Lucky for you, Golden Glen Creamery has you covered. Bottled in refillable glass bottles for superior flavor and a kindness to the environment, their milk and cream has few rivals, and their farmstead butter is the only farmstead butter made in Washington. But cream supplies are limited, so get there early!

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, March 7th: Miner’s Lettuce, Chickweed, Daffodils, Strawberry Starts & Other Undeniable Signs Spring Is Here To Stay!

March 7, 2010

Daffodils from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing up in Northern New York, we had daffodils this time of year, too. The problem was that they were imported from, well, here, probably, since it was still a frozen tundra there this time of year. Good thing I live here now, eh? While the rest of the country is still battling snow, we are thoroughly diggin’ this whole El Nino thing, aren’t we? To that end, do pickup a beautiful bouquet of fresh daffodils from Children’s Garden to brighten up your home without having to disrupt the explosion of yellow and white that yours are giving your yard.

Fresh, tasty Miner's lettuce from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another sure sign of spring that we lacked back East is Miner’s lettuce, a.k.a., claytonia or winter purslane. Native to our region, it gets its name because early miners would rely on it for an excellent source of nutrition after long, hard winters. Find cultivated Miner’s lettuce (above) from Full Circle Farm, or wild-harvested from Foraged & Found Edibles.

Fresh chickweed from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It was a pair of cockatiels that originally taught me to appreciate that chickweed is indeed a tasty treat. But it is Nash’s Organic Produce that I first saw actually bring it to market. Chickweed is a highly nutritious green, like Miner’s lettuce, that is perfect this time of year to give our bodies a kick-start out of the winter blues.

Strawberry starts from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As our ridiculously warm winter quickly heads officially into spring, many farmers are offering plant starts for your garden. Take these strawberry starts from Stoney Plains, for instance. Plant these puppies now, and you’ll be enjoying incredible strawberries right out of your own yard come June.

A trotter & a leg from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Not necessarily a sign of spring, a trotter and a smoked hock is a sign of pork-o-liciousness. Think of all the wonderful dishes you can enhance with these beauties from Sea Breeze Farm. And they are a sure sign that their case will also be full of other fresh, yummy cuts o’ fresh pig. Yay!

Fresh fudge from Pete's Perfect Butter Toffee. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And there is nothing I can do to tie this gorgeous fudge to spring, other than to say that any time of year is a good time for fudge. You’ll find this fudge at Pete’s Perfect Butter Toffee. You’ll find Pete there, too.

Spicy salad mix from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Back on the spring theme again, how about some tasty, peppy spicy salad mix from Alm Hill Gardens. Lucky for us, the warm winter has meant that salad mixes have returned with a vengeance to your Ballard Farmers Market, which makes our mouths and our bodies very, very happy.

Beef bacon from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Back off the spring theme again, how about some beef bacon from Olsen Farms. You know Olsen for the bazillion kinds of potatoes they grow in the NE corner of our fine state. They have a potato for every application you can think of, and for several you have yet to think of. They also have wonderful beef and lamb, and from that beef they make this beef bacon. We all need more bacon in our lives, so give some of this a try, eh?

Gala apples from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You will still find plenty of apples at your Ballard Farmers Market, like these gala apples from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Tiny’s also has a great line of jams. and dried fruit, too.

And remember, your Ballard Farmers Market is chock full of all sorts of goodness for  your kitchen, from meat, seafood, poultry, cheese, to all sorts of fruits and veggies, baked goods, sauces, confections, fresh-cut flowers and fresh milled flours, plants for the garden, wild mushrooms, and on and on. For a fuller accounting of what you’ll find at the Market today, go to “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner.