Posts Tagged ‘mussels’

Sunday, December 19th: Delicious Local Fixins For Great Holiday Meals, Unique Gifts Hand-Crafted By Local Artists & Morris Dancers! Where Else But Your Ballard Farmers Market?!?

December 19, 2010

Whole emmer/farro from Bluebird Grain Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

(Note: Ballard Farmers Market will be open next Sunday, December 26th.)

I spent last week on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Okay, I hear you thinking, “lucky bastard,” but believe it or not, it was colder there on a few days than it was here, and just as stormy. With weather like that, if my parents didn’t live there, the place would hold no redeeming value for me at all. I bring this up to remind us all that we’re pretty friggin’ lucky to live here in the Pacific Northwet. Even when the weather is crappy, we’ve got plenty to keep us going. So I don’t wanna hear anymore whining about La Nina. Get on out to your Ballard Farmers Market today and get everything you need for a great holiday season direct from the local farmers, fishers, ranchers, food artisans and artists that help make this place the best place on earth to live, and visit all of our neighbors terrific shops, restaurants and watering holes. Invest in your local economy this holiday season instead of the Mall, and maybe by this time next year, we’ll all feel more comfortable. That said, Bluebird Grain Farms is here today with all of their magnificent organic heirloom grain products, from whole grain emmer/farro to cereal blends, flours, pilaf, mixes and more. Stock up today, as Bluebird likely won’t be back again for at least another month!

Various fish products from Cape Cleare Fishery. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cape Cleare Fishery is back today. They are the folks who peddle their bicycles all the way from Port Townsend to Ballard each week… except last week. Apparently riding face-first into a driving rain along flooded roads didn’t sound too attractive to them last week. Go figure. But they’re back today. So pickup some frozen-at-sea Alaskan salmon, maybe a nice package of lox, or perhaps some smoked salmon to impress your guests with this holiday season.

A display of FDA documents and U.S. Marshall postings from Estrella Family Creamery. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

If you are interested in learning more about the FDA seizure of Estrella Family Creamery, and efforts to help the Estrella family during this difficult time for them, a group of supporters and friends have set up a blog here on WordPress. It contains discussions of the situation and info on how you can help. There has also been setup a “Save the Estrella Family Creamery” Facebook page.

Pepper strands from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Today may be your last chance to get a pepper strand or wreath from Alvarez Organic Farms. These beautiful creations will liven up any home, and they make great gifts. And the best thing is, once they are dried, if you don’t want to leave them hanging, you can actually cook with the dried peppers. Of course, if you don’t want to break it up once it’s dried, why not pickup some dried peppers from Alvarez. They have several varieties of peppers dried this year. Stock up.

Winter squash from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things still has some lovely winter squash available this week, and of course, they also still have amazing pastured poultry, eggs, jams and soaps. Michaele makes an amazing variety of soaps, in fact, from spearmint — my favorite — to lemongrass to cinnamon. And she makes her soap from beef tallow and lard from her own animals, the old-world way.

Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Gluten-Free Bread from Platypus Breads. Photo courtesy Platypus Breads.

The bad news is, this is the last week for Platypus Breads at your Ballard Farmers Market. The good news is, Lindsay is here today with her amazing gluten-free breads for one last hoorah. Frankly, Platypus Breads is one of the most remarkable new vendors of 2010. Lindsay decided that people who must eat gluten-free products deserved to have just as good bread to eat as everyone else, and she set out to make it. And she succeeded. She proved that the terms moist, flavorful and gluten-free are not inherently mutually exclusive, if you just put some effort, thought and creativity into it. So thank you, Lindsay. You, and your bread, will be missed.

Shucked oysters from Taylor Shellfish make it easy to add fresh, local oysters to any recipe. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Shellfish. You need it. Lots of it. Especially during the holidaze. Think oyster stuffing or stew, baked oysters or oysters on the half-shell, sauteed mussels or clams, or even some geoduck ceviche. Whatever you decide to do with your shellfish, Taylor Shellfish has what you need. So visit Oyster Bill today for this week’s fix, and maybe put in a request for next week’s.

Holiday wreath from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alm Hill Gardens still has some of their beautiful holiday wreaths today. They handcraft these marvelous creations using foliage from their farm just for us. And they smell amazing! Oh, Alm Hill should have some saute mix, squash and other edibles today, too.

Parsnips from Nash's Organic. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

All the Northwet loves a tasty root roast this time of year, and what root roast is complete without parsnips, like these from Nash’s. Actually, you can also make soups, purees and mashes with parsnips, too, combined with celeriac and maybe potatoes. Parsnips are so wonderfully sweet and delicious, and they cook pretty quickly, so beware and don’t overcook them. Though they look like carrots, they are not nearly as dense as carrots. Enjoy!

Rutabagas from Boistfort Valley. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

On the other end of the root density spectrum, though equally loved by me, is the humble rutabaga, a.k.a., Swedes or Swedish turnips, like these from Boistfort Valley Farm, which will hopefully grace us one more time today with their presence. These giant-looking turnips are not really turnips at all. Their dense flesh has a deeply sweet, savory flavor that is great steamed and mashed with plenty of butter. Or toss them in the root roast, too. But remember, they will take the longest of any of your roots to cook, as they are the densest.

Family-sized cheesecake from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oh, I hope Sam & Sara of Pasteria Lucchese made some of their incredible cheesecakes this week. Have you tried one? Well, take it from this ex-pat New Yorker that they are the real deal, and you will want one, or three, on your holiday table. You can thank me later.

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, August 22nd: The Finest Local, Healthy, Sustainably-Produced Meat, Seafood & Poultry

August 22, 2010

Cans of albacore tuna from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Reason #34,872 why you should vote right now for your Ballard Farmers Market as America’s Favorite Farmers Market before the voting closes at midnight on August 31st: 11 different vendors selling meat, seafood and poultry they produce sustainably directly to you. You won’t get quality animal proteins like this anywhere else, unless you find it elsewhere from these very producers. But then, why would you do that? Why not give these good folks all the money, right? Cut out the middle man! And let’s start by saluting Fishing Vessel St. Jude and its superb Washington coastal albacore tuna. Did you know that albacore tuna spawn in the icy waters of the North Pacific? Yup. And St. Jude catches them as teenagers swimming south to tropical waters, which means the fish are still very low in mercury and very high in omega fatty acids, making this tuna, be it fresh loins, canned, smoked or jerkied, the best friggin’ tuna you’ve ever tasted, and tuna that ain’t gonna kill you, either.

Fresh ducks from Stokesberry Organic Poultry. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Stokesberry Sustainable Farm raises organic chicken, duck and beef, and even the occasional rabbit I hear. What they produce is so good that you will find in on the menus of many of the most celebrated restaurants in Seattle. I love that they actually cut up their chickens into parts so I can just get a couple of legs or a bag of giblets without having to get the whole bird, though I can get the whole bird if I want to. (In fact, I think I saw Jerry Stokesberry giving me the bird once. Perhaps I said something inappropriate, or cut him off in traffic.)

Rib steaks from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Olsen Farms may be known for its extraordinary selection of heirloom varieties of potatoes, but they also produce some amazing beef, lamb and pork, too. And besides steaks, roasts and chops, they offer sausage, salami, bacon, ham, smoked hocks, and even the odd dog chew. And I hear their animals sometimes get to eat some of their potatoes, too. The cool thing about that is, when you cook their bacon, you don’t need hash browns. But you should probably have some anyway, made from Olsen potatoes, of course.

David of Wilson Fish is despondent while Pete of Pete's Perfect Butter Toffee sobs over the fact that the fish is sold out at 11:30 a.m. on May 24, 2009. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

At Wilson Fish, they like to say, “If our fish was any fresher, it would be from the future.” In most cases, the salmon, halibut, rockfish and true cod you pickup from them at your Ballard Farmers Market was swimming the day before. These guys are catching this fish on the Washington coast, bringing it back to Olympia the same day, filleting and bagging it, and bringing it to you the next day, and mind you, they are doing this usually after another farmers market the previous day. If you haven’t tried their fish, you are really missing out on something special. Just don’t get here too late!

A beautiful pastured chicken from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Years ago, I drove out to Growing Things Farm in Carnation to pickup one of their chickens for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. My family has not eaten a Thanksgiving turkey since. Honestly, it was the best chicken we’d ever tasted. Trust me, if you have never had a truly farm fresh, pastured chicken — if you are still eating chicken you buy at the Big Box Store, regardless of whether it is labeled “organic” or “free range” or whatever — you simply must try one. Once you do, you will never go back. Consider yourself warned!

Another beautiful case of fresh, local meat, straight from the farm, from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Who doesn’t love standing in front of the refrigerator case at Sea Breeze Farm, thoroughly examining each of this week’s offerings of beef, pork, lamb, veal, chicken, duck, sausage, pate, stock, bacon, and on and on. It is magnificent, is it not? It is also incredible. The meat is extraordinary. And the sausages are nothing short of masterful. (And, I have discovered, they are also addictive.)

Lard from Samish Bay. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Samish Bay is best know for its cheeses, which, by the way, you must stop by and try. But they also raise great grass-finished beef and pastured pork. And hey, if you are going to use lard in your recipes, don’t you really want to know where it comes from? I mean, the stuff in those cans at the Big Box Store… do you really trust it? And besides, the fat of pastured pigs ain’t gonna kill you quite so quickly, and it’ll make your pies taste better, too.

Fresh whole keta salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pete Knutsen, owner of Loki Fish, is one of the great rabble-rousing heroes of local fishers here in Seattle, battling the brain trust at the Port of Seattle for many years to protect our beloved Fishermen’s Terminal as something that is for working fishers, and not for the yachts of rich tourists and Microsoft millionaires (not that there’s anything wrong with rich tourists and Microsoft millionaires, but they can park their @#$%@#$!!!ing yachts in Shilshole Bay or on Lake Union, not at Fishermen’s Terminal, for the love of Mike!), and he has suffered the Port’s retribution for it. But without Pete, I am not sure we would still have Fishermen’s Terminal at all. So lift a pint to Pete tonight, and pickup for dinner some of the amazing salmon he and his family bring to your Ballard Farmers Market every week. They catch five different species of salmon in Alaska and Washington waters, and they handle it with tremendous care. Besides fresh and smoked salmon, they offer salmon lox, jerky, patties, sausage, roe, canned salmon and a bunch of other salmon goodness.

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.

Writer Michael Pollan has made farmer Joel Salatin, who farms in Virginia, into this folk hero who as hit the speaking circuit now himself. And sure, Salatin deserves it, I suppose. But if I want to hear someone wax poetic, and scientific for that matter, about farming and animal husbandry, I would just as soon spend an afternoon with Farmer George (a.k.a., George Vojkovich) of Skagit River Ranch. Honestly, I have never met anyone more chock full of knowledge about raising livestock sustainably than George. Indeed, I spent a day with George on the ranch, and I learned all about how he cares for his animals to an almost obsessive degree, from caring for the soil out of which their forage grows, to tending that forage, to whistling and calling the herd from one pasture to the next all by himself — not even with a dog. I even got to see the mobile slaughter unit in action on the farm, a system of dispatching the animals right on the farm in a lower-stress environment that the USDA inspector onsite told me was the most humane method he has ever seen. So if you want healthy, guilt-free meat and poultry from animals that live happy lives, visit the Vojkovichs today at your Ballard Farmers Market for chicken, beef, pork, sausage, ham, bacon, and more.

A crown of goat from Quilceda Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Goat is the most commonly eaten meat on earth. It is just we Gringos that don’t eat it. Gee, could it be because we are uptight Americans? I mean, even the French and British eat goat. It is lean with a flavor a touch milder than lamb. I love the stuff. Quilceda Farms in Marysville produces delicious goat meat. They offer it in steaks, chops, roasts, shanks, sausages and more, and they conveniently provide a huge collection of recipes you can choose from to help break you in.

Shucked oysters from Taylor Shellfish make it easy to add fresh, local oysters to any recipe. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oyster Bill Whitbeck of Taylor Shellfish is one of truly large personalities at your Ballard Farmers Market — a genuine legend in his own time. He has played a key role in connecting us all to the wonders of Washington shellfish over many years of hard work. Each week, he brings to Market some of the best oysters, clams, mussels and geoduck one can expect to find anywhere on earth, and yet it comes from right here!

Indeed, it is somewhat of an embarrassment of riches we enjoy at our beloved Ballard Farmers Markets. Think about it. How often do you hear some tourist or visiting relative or friend wandering through the Market commenting that they don’t have markets like this in their state. Okay, maybe you haven’t been to farmers markets in other states, so you think this is the way it is everywhere. Heck, it is isn’t even this way at other markets in this city, let alone other states! 11 different vendors selling their meat, seafood and poultry — 12 in the winter, when we are joined by Cape Cleare Fishery. And then there’s the six cheese makers, two grain growers, the honey, the bakeries, the foragers, the flowers, the cider and wine makers and all that incredible produce. Not to mention all the camera crews from around the world we have to negotiate around. Honestly, are you telling me you still haven’t voted for Ballard Farmers Market as America’s Favorite Farmers Market? Please, vote now. We’ve only got nine more days!

And remember, there is plenty more for you to find today at your Ballard Farmers Market. But before you click on the What’s Fresh Now! pages to see what all else is in season right now, please do take a moment to vote for Ballard Farmers Market in American Farmland Trust’s America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest. And thank you!

Taylor Shellfish Farms Moules a la Bier

November 29, 2009

Taylor Shellfish Farms Moules a la Bier by Bastille Chef Shannon Galusha, as prepared for his cooking demonstration on November 22, 2009. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

By Chef Shannon Galusha of Bastille Café & Bar, as prepared for his cooking demonstration on November 22, 2009.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups wheat beer
  • 1 Tbl butter
  • 1 each thyme sprig
  • 1 each garlic clove sliced
  • ¼ cups leeks sliced
  • 1 pound cleaned and bearded mussel
  • to taste salt & pepper
  • to taste lemon juice

Preparation:

Begin by first scrubbing all your fresh mussels to remove any sand and barnacles.  Next remove the beard by pulling it firmly down towards the base.  Cover the mussel with a damp towel and keep chilled while preparing the rest of the mis en place.  Remove the top of the leek until only the white remains and slice whole ring as thin as possible.  Peel and slice one clove of the garlic as thin as possible.  Next, over medium heat, add the butter and garlic to your pan and sweat garlic lightly.  Once the butter has foamed add the mussels, the leek rounds, whole thyme sprig and beer.  Cover the pot with a lid and steam until all the mussels are open.  Finish by adjusting the seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice as needed.

Pairs well with Mucadet or a dry sparkling wine and toasted baguette.

Sunday, November 15th: Chef Peter Birk of Ray’s Boathouse & Lots of Tasty Goodness!

November 15, 2009
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Chef Peter Birk from Ray's Boathouse, Ballard's venerable seafood restaurant, explains to market shoppers how to make winter squash gnocchi at his Ballard Farmers Market cooking demo on November 23, 2008. Photo copyright 2008 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chef Peter Birk from Ray’s Boathouse will perform a cooking demonstration today at noon at your Ballard Farmers Market. This cooking demonstration is part of the Eat Local For Thanksgiving campaign, which encourages everyone to pledge to have at least one item on your 2009 Thanksgiving table be from a local farmer. Chef Birk will give you ideas on dishes you can add to your holiday table using ingredients readily available at the Ballard Farmers Market. And hey, why not make your whole Thanksgiving dinner local this year. You can do it entirely from the Market, from the wine to the turkey to the oyster stuffing and mashed rutabagas. Heck you can even get a delicious pie and non-toxic candles to put the finishing touches on your evening.

Sunchokes, a.k.a. "Jerusalem artichokes." from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Try adding a food that our nation’s founders learned to eat from the native peoples in colonial times: sunchokes, which they called “Jerusalem artichokes.” Sunchokes, like these from Nash’s, are quite versatile tubers that can be used much like potatoes. I like adding them to root roasts. Another idea is to steam them until tender, then brown them in thyme butter.

taylorshuckedfreshoysters1

Shucked oysters from Taylor Shellfish make it easy to add fresh, local oysters to any recipe. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Of course, if you are going to make that aforementioned oyster stuffing, you’ll need oysters. Taylor Shellfish has you covered. Get them fresh-shucked and easy to work with. Or, if your holiday table is more adventurous, get some live oysters, clams, mussels or geoduck.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For those of us who love sweet potatoes on our Thanksgiving tables, now we can get them at the Ballard Farmers Market along with everything else. This year, for the first time, two farmers — Lyall Farms (above) and Alm Hill — grew sweet potatoes locally. One more crop we don’t have to import, eh?

Cape Cleare, from Port Townsend, is back! Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cape Cleare, a fishing vessel based out of Port Townsend, has returned to your Ballard Farmers Market. Cape Cleare are those folks who ride their bicycles to Market pulling their trailers with coolers of fish behind them. Cape Cleare fishes in Alaska, and then flash freezes their fish for maximum quality. They’ve got king and coho salmon, albacore tuna and ling cod frozen, smoked and/or canned.

Hazelnuts from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alm Hill Gardens has certified organic hazelnuts for a short time longer. But remember, they keep well, so stock up while you can!

Caveman Bars are back! Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Caveman Bars are back at Ballard Farmers Market. These local favorites are the perfect pick-me-up snack on the go, or on the slopes. Their new coconut cocoa hazelnut bar, which uses local hazelnuts, is sweet and chewy, and even this non-coconut eater enjoyed it.

Delicate squash from Nature's Last Stand. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nature’s Last Stand is one of several farms that have you covered on winter squash, like these delicata and carnival squash, above. And try out their kale mix, too.

Wine and hard cider from Rockridge Orchards. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget the beverages. Be it wine, hard cider or sweet cider, Rockridge Orchards has got what you need in all sorts of flavors to please every palate, and in forms for both the adult table and the kiddie table.

Snooter-doots unique felted wool creations. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As the holiday season approaches, remember that Ballard Farmers Market is your place for unique, locally-crafted gifts straight from the artists who created them. Check out Snooter-doots — felted wool creations that are truly one-of-a-kind, handmade fun. And what the heck, why wait for the gift-giving holidays. Grab a Snooter-friends “Veggee” for yourself to help decorate your Thanksgiving table!

Ascents scented votives won't pollute the air around your holidays. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ascents Candles has a wide variety of essential oil scented, non-toxic candles to adorn your home during the holidays. Don’t pollute the air in your home with toxic fumes from those cheap, imported candles from those big box store in Renton. While they may cost a little more, Ascents’ candles last much longer, so the price kinda works out the same in the end, but your lungs come out way ahead. And if you are looking for unscented votives for your dining room table, Ascents has you covered there, too. Just ask.

Okay, that’s it for me this week. But there is so much more waiting for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. For a full accounting, click on “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner.