Posts Tagged ‘nectarines’

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, July 6th: More Colors Than A July 4th Fireworks Display! Including Nectarines, Green Beans, Tomatoes & Some Fishy Business!

July 5, 2014
Beeksteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beeksteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We hope you all had a pleasant Independence Day holiday. Now, it’s time to gear up for the real summer in Seattle — lots of warm, sunny days, a festival every three days, and a stunningly diverse rainbow of localiciousness at your Ballard Farmers Market. Indeed, this particular blog installment is about as colorful as any we’ve ever done. And yes, this is a photo of beefsteak tomatoes taken this year. I took it on Wednesday, in fact, at our sister Wallingford Farmers Market. These beauties are from Alm Hill Gardens.

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

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

Tiny’s Organic wins the award for first orchard with nectarines this summer! Like with so many other crops this year, these organic Honeyfire nectarines mark the earliest we have ever seen nectarines at your Ballard Farmers Market! So let’s review: it is the first Sunday in July, and we already have nectarines and beefsteak tomatoes. Woohoo!

Gene Panida of Wilson Fish holding a whole wild Washington king salmon. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gene Panida of Wilson Fish holding a whole wild Washington king salmon. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now that is a fish! Gene Panida, from Wilson Fish, is holding a whole, wild Washington troll-caught king salmon, and that is no small fish. Last week, they were selling them for a mere $11.99 per pound! If you are feeding an army, grab one of these gorgeous fish and pop it in your smoker. Yeah, baby!

Green beans from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Green beans from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And look! Green beans from Alvarez Organic Farms! Yup, green beans are flooding into your Ballard Farmers Market this week from several farms. Try doing a quick sauté on them, maybe with some bacon and some pearl onions, if you can find them. Or get pickling!

Fresh keta salmon ikura and skeines from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh keta salmon ikura and skeines from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Do you love fresh salmon eggs? Then you are in luck! Loki Fish has fresh skeines of salmon eggs right now. They also have freshly cured ikura — that’s salted salmon eggs… in those little jars. Take a slice of Tall Grass Bakery baguette, a schmear of truffled fromage from Mt. Townsend Creamery, and top with a spoonful of ikura, and you have one serious bite of deliciousness!

A colorful display from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A colorful display from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of rainbows, how about this display from our friends at Boistfort Valley Farm. They returned full-time last week with lots of great veggies. Stop by for amazing lettuceschardradishesfresh herbshoney and more!

Red & salmon raspberries from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red & salmon raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And I know I wrote of organic salmon raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm just last week. But when I saw this spectacular checkerboard of berries on their tables at Wallingford Farmers Market this past Wednesday, I just had to share it.

Treviso radicchio from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Treviso radicchio from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This Treviso radicchio, from One Leaf Farm, is one of the most beautiful vegetables on earth, hands down. It is also one of my favorite vegetables. It is a chicory, so like all chicories, it tends to be bitter. But it has a sweetness to it, too. And when you cook it, those dramatic white cores of its leaves sweeten up a bit. There are many ways to enjoy it. Two of my favorites are grilling it and sautéing it with bacon. For grilling it, just cut it in half, lengthwise, oil it down, and plop it on the grill until wilted. It’s okay if it gets a little char. That adds depth to the flavor. Then finish it with a nice finishing salt, some fresh ground pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. To sauté it, cut it up crosswise, with about one inch wide cuts. Use a good, smoking, salty bacon, like from Sea Breeze Farm, or a sweeter bacon, like Olsen Farms‘ jowl bacon, or the bacon ends and pieces from Skagit River Ranch. Chunk it up into smallish pieces and render out the fat over medium heat in a skillet, then drop in the Treviso with the bacon and fat, and toss together until the Treviso is just wilted. Salt and pepper to taste, and if the bacon hasn’t effectively sweetened it, add a drizzle of balsamic.

Canned local albacore tuna in a variety of flavors from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Canned local albacore tuna in a variety of flavors from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Talk about a rainbow, canned local albacore tuna from Fishing Vessel St. Jude comes in a plethora of flavors, each with its own colorful labels. And since it is the first Sunday of the month, St. Jude is here will all manner of yummy tuna, from canned to  jerkied to fresh-frozen loins to smoked, and more! Stock up!

Robada apricots from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Robada apricots from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

ACMA Mission Orchards has these juicy organic Robada apricots this week, as well as cherriestomcot apricots, and probably some early peaches, too! Enjoy these early apricot varieties while you can, as they come and go so quickly.

Summer squash from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer squash from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How about some yellow crookneckzucchini, sunburst and other wonderful summer squashes from Colinwood Farm? And don’t forget their awesome salad mix, their red, white & blue new potatoes, and even a few tomatoes!

Broccoli from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Broccoli from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer Run Farm always grows such gorgeous broccoli, don’t you think? To say nothing of (though I am going to anyway) those ginormous heads of lettuce and their adorable little dwarf sunflowers.

Fresh Herbs de Provence & Garlic-Parsley Chevre from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh Herbs de Provence & Garlic-Parsley Chevre from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer is a great time of year to enjoy fresh goat cheese, or chevre, from Twin Oaks Creamery. it is sweet, refreshing and comes in a nice variety of flavors. Just grab your favorite bread and schmear some on it, or stuff some squash blossoms from Alvarez Organic Farms, and pan-fry them. And try chevre with beets! Boom!

Some of the hard cider lineup at Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Some of the hard cider lineup at Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Some hard cider from Finnriver Farm & Cidery will compliment any of those goat cheese dishes, or just about anything else at the Market today. Try them out, find the ones you like, and get some tips for pairing it from them today!

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, October 20th: Hat-Shaped Pasta, Trees of Brussels, Fancy French Pears, Bitter Italian Greens & Other Stuff Not From Europe!

October 19, 2013
Carrot-Spinach cappellacci from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Carrot-Spinach cappellacci from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This week’s installment of all things localicious at your Ballard Farmers Market has a decidedly European feel, but trust me, it’s all local! For instance, above, you see carrot-spinach cappellacci from Pasteria Lucchese. “Cappellacci” means “small hats” in Italian, and this lovely filled pasta looks like little hats, ergo, its name. They have this charmingly delicious pasta this week, as well as pumpkin cappellacci, chard ravioli, beef-porcini ravioli, smoked salmon ravioli, bolognese sauce and a bunch of their basic pastas.

Treviso radicchio from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Treviso radicchio from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Treviso radicchio is named for the Italian city of Treviso. Grown by One Leaf Farm along the Snoqualmie River in Carnation, this most stunning of chicories is wonderfully bitter, with a hint of sweetness once cooked. It is terrific grilled simply with olive oil or sautéed with your favorite farmers market bacon. It loves a nice, strong finishing salt to help cut its bitterness, and if you like it a little sweeter, try drizzling some balsamic vinegar on it.

D'Anjou pears from Booth Canyon Orchards. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

D’Anjou pears from Booth Canyon Orchard. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These D’Anjou pears are Booth Canyon Orchard’s bread and butter, and they are excellent long keepers when stored well. They’ve got them by the box, all packed for storage for you to pull out later in the year and enjoy. Of course, right now, they also have a number of their heirloom varieties of pears, ripe and ready to eat now, like White Doyenne, Conference, Comice, Gourmet, and Magness.

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

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

Have you yet had your first kitchen-warming roasted winter squash of the fall? I did this past week, and oh, how satisfying it was. The wonderful sweetness. The beautiful texture. The heat of the oven. The simplest way to enjoy winter squash is to roast it in the oven. Just scoop out the seeds (and roast them separately!), give the squash a good rubdown with olive oil, place it in a nice baking dish and slide it into a 375-degree oven. Once it is nice and soft, you will enjoy how roasting it dry, versus with water in the pan or steaming it, intensifies its flavor and sweetness. This lovely collection of winter squash comes from Boistfort Valley Farm.

Fall flower bouquets from Mee Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fall flower bouquets from Mee Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We’ve still got plenty of gorgeous flower bouquets at your Ballard Farmers Market to brighten your home, or the day of someone special. Enjoy the colors of fall in autumn varieties of flowers, like these from Mee Garden, up at the 22nd Ave end of the Market.

Arctic Snow nectarines from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Arctic Snow nectarines from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It may be the end of October, but we still have these Arctic Snow nectarines hanging around for you to devour. Sweet and juicy and ready for you to slobber all over your shirt, these lovelies are just one of the many organic tree fruits available today from Tiny’s Organic Produce at your Ballard Farmers Market.

Brussels sprouts trees from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Brussels sprouts trees from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Money may not grow on trees, but Brussels sprouts do… well, sort of. We call them trees, but they are really big, hardy stalks. The important thing is that Brussels sprouts season is back, baby! Woohoo! I, for one, would be happy to eat them all year long, so I relish this time of year. But if you are one of those people with doubts about them, perhaps you’ve never had them prepared right. I like sautéing them with shallots and bacon, and then I finish them off by deglazing the pan with a nice white wine. The wine reincorporates the caramelized bits of bacon and shallot on the bottom of the pan into the sprouts and adds a nice sweetness as it tenderizes the sprouts. You can omit the bacon, if you must. Brussels sprouts also roast well in the oven, too! These trees are from Alm Hill Gardens (a.k.a., Growing Washington).

Wines from Eaglemount Wine & Cider. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wines from Eaglemount Wine & Cider. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eaglemount Wine & Cider will be sampling their wines and ciders today at your Ballard Farmers Market. They have a wide selection of amazing wines and ciders, like these three big red wines, above. Try them out to find the flavors that you like best, and don’t be afraid to try something new.

Daily Bird Pottery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Daily Bird Pottery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Today, we welcome back another one of our food-related artisans, Daily Bird Pottery, from Port Townsend. They produce naked pottery, which means it is not glazed. That means that the chemical properties of the pottery are able to interact with foods and beverages, reducing bitterness and enhancing flavors. This is not new technology, as naked pottery has been used by societies around the world, from India to Mexico, for millennia. Indeed, there is nothing quite like sipping mescal from clay cups, or whatever your poison of choice, as once you get one of Daily Bird’s sipping cups, you can enjoy your whiskey or tea from it, too.

There is plenty more local deliciousness waiting for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Just check What’s Fresh Now! for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now.

Please remember bring your own bags every Sunday, as Seattle’s single-use plastic bag ban is now in effect. Also, please take note of our new green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Ballard Farmers Market, and please make an effort to use them correctly. Each container has what’s okay to put in it pictured right on the lid. Please do not put the wrong materials in, because that drives up the cost of recycling and composting, and it can result in the entire container being sent instead to a landfill. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.

Sunday, July 7th: Boistfort Valley Farm Returns, Growing Things Farm Needs Your Help, Green Beans, Nectarines, Berries Galore & So Much More!

July 6, 2013
Carrots from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

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

Okay, now it’s summer, cuz our good friends from Boistfort Valley Farm have finally returned to your Ballard Farmers Market! We now have our full compliment of row crop farms, and the Market is literally bursting at the seams with incredible local produce direct from the Washington farms that grew it, and much of it far ahead of when we would normally expect to see it. Read on in today’s epistle to see what I mean. Boistfort, for its part, today will be arriving with: artichokes, beets, broccoli, carrots, golden and red chard, cilantro, garlic flowers, green onionsapple mint, chives, oregano, curly and dino kale, green leaf, red oak & bibb romaine lettuce, shelling and snow peaspurple radishes, spinach and more!

Michaele Blakely from Growing Things Farm (center) with U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (left) and Market Master Judy Kirkhuff at Ballard Farmers Market last summer. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Michaele Blakely from Growing Things Farm (center) with U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (left) and Market Master Judy Kirkhuff at Ballard Farmers Market last summer. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things Farm, which brings all manner of deliciousness every week to your Ballard Farmers Market, from eggs to jams to chickens to fresh veggies, is asking for your help to “Raise the House.” You see, Growing Things Farm is located in a flood plain in Duvall. Many farms are. Why? Because the flood plains that line our river valleys in Western Washington are extremely fertile – made so by the forest matter and minerals that flow down from the Cascade Mountain – and  are unattractive to developers, meaning they have land still available for farming in one of the most populated counties in the nation.

A major flood in 2006 damaged the farmhouse at Growing Things Farm, rendering it uninhabitable until it can not only be repaired. See, the house cannot be torn down and rebuilt under current laws, but it can be raised above historic flood levels, and then repaired. King County has offered the farm a grant to raise the farmhouse, but not to repair the house itself. For that, the farm needs your help. The farm  launched a Kick Starter campaign to raise $20,000 to repair the house. With a little over a week left, they are two-thirds of the way to their goal. Please to go to their Kick Starter page and contribute to saving the farmhouse, and in so doing, saving the farm itself.

FreshBucks_LogoA program called Fresh Bucks has been created by a partnership between the City of Seattle and local farmers markets to double Food Stamps, now known as SNAP, at Seattle farmers markets. Beginning Sunday, July 14th, for every SNAP dollar spent at Ballard Farmers Market, SNAP benefits users can receive an additional dollar to spend on fruits & vegetables, up to 10 dollars. Get them, and more information, from at Market Information Desk at your Ballard Farmers Market. You can also get more information from the Washington State Farmers Market Association.

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

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

Jeremy reports that his Foraged & Found Edibles will have lots of lovely wild gray morel mushrooms today at your Ballard Farmers Market. It has been a great year for morels, and really, just about everything else, so be sure to take full advantage will you can!

Arctic Star nectarines from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Arctic Star nectarines from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

What the…? Nectarines?!? Yes! These are Arctic Star nectarines from Tiny’s Organic Produce photographed on Friday at our sister Madrona Farmers Market. I kid you not! This year really is out of control in the most delicious of ways. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, Tiny’s also has begun to harvest Flavorosa pluots, too. Seriously. Wow.

Green beans from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Green beans from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And green beans! Yes, green beans. These are from Lyall Farms, but we’ve also seen them already from Magana Farms, and they have yellow wax beans, too! We may even see some hericot verts from Alvarez Organic Farms today, as well. Oh, the humanity!

Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries from Hayton Berry Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries from Hayton Berry Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And how about this early rainbow of berries? Yes, our friends at Hayton Berry Farms are already harvesting blueberriesblackberriesraspberries and strawberries from their Skagit Delta fields, and it is only July 7th! Oh, I am liking this summer.

Fava beans from Stoney Plains Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fava beans from Stoney Plains Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This is a great year for fava beans. What? You’ve never eaten them? You think they’re too much work? Well, let me tell you a little secret. If you get them when they’ve got small, young, tender pods, the best way to eat them is grilled. Seriously. Just remove the stem and the string on one side, wash, slather with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and on the grill they go. Once the pods get soft, pull them off, hit them with a little nice finishing salt, and serve. You eat the whole thing, pod and all. But this is finger food. There will be one more string in them to remove. Get messy. Have fun. Eat well! You’ll find a nice big pile of these fava beans today at Stoney Plains Organic Farm.

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

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

Wait, what?!? Tomatoes? Westside tomatoes? We usually don’t see these much before August, in a good year. And yet here they are. These gorgeous sungold and cherry tomatoes are from Colinwood Farms over in Port Townsend. But One Leaf Farm will have some sungolds today, too, for the early birds, and we’ve already seen a few beefsteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. If it were possible, I’d be speechless right now.

Purple Majesty new potatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Purple Majesty new potatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Here is yet another crop we’ve been woe to see until weeks later in recent years: new potatoes. These beauties are new Purple Majesty potatoes from One Leaf Farm. They are so sweet at this time of year. We’ve also already seen them from Summer Run Farm and Colinwood. If you aren’t eating fresh, local deliciousness at every meal this summer, you are truly missing out!

Perfection apricots from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Perfection apricots from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Seriously. Stop already! Yes, these are Perfection apricots from Martin Family Orchards. They are two weeks earlier than their earliest arrival for which I have photographic evidence. I just checked my files. These are those big, juicy, meaty apricots that will make a delicious mess of your favorite shirt. Enjoy!

Broccoli from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Broccoli from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer Run Farm is known for rocking the broccoli, and this year is no exception. And never fear warm nights on which you don’t want to warm up your kitchen, roasting or steaming broccoli. This stuff grills amazingly well! Summer Run has gorgeous, massive heads of lettuce, of course, too, and lots more!

Red Haven peaches from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red Haven peaches from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oh, you’re killing me! Peaches?!?  Yup! Peaches are coming in this year a week or two ahead of their historic earliest arrivals! These are Red Haven peaches from ACMA Mission Orchards. These slightly smaller early season peaches still pack a big, sweet, juicy punch you will miss come October.

Pallo Rossa radicchio from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pallo Rossa radicchio from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Absolutely unbelievable! This is the earliest, by at least two weeks, we have ever had radicchio make an appearance at our markets. Until this month, it was mostly the perennial crops like berries, tree fruit and such that was way, way ahead of schedule, but now the row crops are catching up! This Pall Rossa radicchio from Oxbow Farm makes for amazing bitter salads with a nice salty treatment, like feta or bleu cheese or anchovies, and it is also great grilled. Either way, finish it off with a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar to add a nice touch of sweetness.

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

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

Alm Hill Gardens is known for producing a lot of delicious food, but they may be most well known for their raspberries. The farm was first and foremost a berry and flower producer before diversifying significantly over the last 15 years or so.  They have acres and acres of raspberries, some in the open air, and some under row tunnels, resulting in some of the tastiest berries you will even encounter. Sure, you can find cheaper berries at the Big Box stores, but what’s the point? I, for one, spend good money on good quality. Saving a few bucks to have something I don’t really enjoy just seems wasteful to me.

Rack of lamb, saddle of lamb and standing beef rib roasts from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rack of lamb, saddle of lamb and standing beef rib roasts from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now’s a great time of year for grilling up some steaks and chops, or slow cooking a nice roast on the barby. Olsen Farms has lots of great lambbeef and pork raised on natural pastureland way over in Aladdin, just northeast of Colville — so far into the northeast corner of Washington, I swear it is almost in Alberta. No farm travels farther within Washington to sell at farmers markets, and we are all the richer for their efforts.

Succulents in bloom from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Succulents in bloom from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I finish off this week’s installment with this magnificent image of blooming succulents from Phocas Farms. It may be hot and dry, but you can still plant a succulent garden. That is, if you get to it right now. See, Phocas Farms likely won’t be here after this week, as we are needing to make room for even more produce farms coming in next week. So get your succulents on today, while you can! (This just in: Phocas Farms will here through the end of July!)

There is plenty more local deliciousness waiting for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Just check What’s Fresh Now! for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now.

Please remember bring your own bags every Sunday, as Seattle’s single-use plastic bag ban is now in effect. Also, please take note of our new green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Ballard Farmers Market, and please make an effort to use them correctly. Each container has what’s okay to put in it pictured right on the lid. Please do not put the wrong materials in, because that drives up the cost of recycling and composting, and it can result in the entire container being sent instead to a landfill. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.