Posts Tagged ‘Olympia oysters’

Sunday, May 27th: Sea Beans, Cardoon, Olympia Oysters, “Baby” Bok Choy, Pea Vines & Other Stuff That’ll Make You Go, “Hmm?”

May 27, 2012

See Beans from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sea beans are not beans at all, but instead are a type of succulent that grows in saltwater marshes. They are also brinilicious. Foraged & Found Edibles gathers these for us from the wilds this time of year. And rumor has it that, finally, they will have a bunch of morel mushrooms today, too, as well as watercress and a few porcinis, while they last.

Cardoon from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cardoon is from the artichoke family, and these are the leaf stalks. They are good stewed or in soup and impart an artichoke-like flavor. Needless to say, the Italians, who are obsessed with artichokes, have many fine recipes for them. This was the perfect winter for growing them, and Oxbow Farm has them right now.

Pea vines from Gaia’s Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pea vines may not be all that unusual, especially if you’ve ever eaten the “seasonal vegetable” in a Chinese restaurant around here. But truth be told, many people are intimidated by them. Baffling, really. Few vegetables could be simpler to prepare. Slice up some green garlic, which is abundant now, and start it sauteing in some olive oil. Once it begins to soften, toss in the pea vines and sauté until they wilt. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You’ll want to cut off and discard any woody ends, of course, and cut the vines into 4-6″ strands to make them easier to eat. See, now you can order something else at the Chinese restaurant. Get your pea vines today from Gaia’s Natural Goods.

“Baby” bok choy from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nothing particularly unusual about bok choy, either, except that this is baby bok choy. No, not baby bok choy, which is a separate plant unto itself. This is simply young bok choy. Confusing, isn’t it? But while the two plants look similar, they taste quite different. And baby bok choy usually has a light green stalk, while bok choy has these white stalks. This is bok choy, from Alvarez Organic Farms. Its sturdy stalk hold up well to stir-frying. Cook it up with some marinated tofu and some chili sauce. Yeah, baby!

Gluten-free brownies from Dolce Lou. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sure, these look like any ordinarily delicious fudge brownies, right? And frankly, they taste like them, too. But these brownies are gluten-free!!! Seriously! Dolce Lou makes all manner of gluten-free spectabulousness that will delight anyone on a gluten-free diet who has been suffering with, well, crap that tastes like sawdust. And people who aren’t on a gluten-free diet will love Dolce Lou’s goodies because, well, they’re good!

Stunning succulents from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, so succulents aren’t so unusual around here. (Heck, this is the second time this post I am writing about them!) But the guy who raises them at Phocas Farms is. In a Market full of characters, Jim stands out nevertheless! And let’s face it, they look pretty cool this time of year, especially in this particular photo. Fun with depth of field. woooOOOO! WOOOooo!

Bunch carrots from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Carrots? What’s unusual about carrots? Well, I’m glad you asked! What’s unusual about carrots is that we haven’t had any at the Market much lately. That is, until now. These beautiful bunch carrots are from Colinwood Farms. And they are absofrigginlutely fantabulous. (Okay, WordPress spellcheck… you actually think “fantabulous” is a word? Fascinating.)

Tiny Olympia oysters from Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These tiny oysters are called Olympia oysters, and they are Washington state’s only native oyster. And that is not an optical illusion. They really are as small as that penny. But their flavor is enormous. Hama Hama Oyster Company has one of the few remaining commercial Olympia oyster beds. Give ’em a try, if Dan has some today.

Fresh spinach from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, I admit it. There is nothing at all unusual about spinach. Although this spinach from Nash’s Organic Produce is unusually delicious! So get your Popeye on, get some of this spinach, munch it down, and then go pick up a Volkswagen, or better yet, a Buick! That oughta impress Olive Oil.

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, January 24th: More Greens, Field Peas, Paprika, Caramels & Hot Dogs

January 24, 2010

Colinwood Farms' salad mix is big and bold with spicy mustards and bitter mizunas. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Your eyes do not deceive you. Those are salad greens. Colinwood Farms from Port Townsend returns to your Ballard Farmers Market today with this lovely salad mix, spuds, onions, kale and more. Normally, we’d see them by late December, but a wind storm took out one of their greenhouses, and they are just now getting back up to speed. Good for them. Great for us!  Green things!!! Woo-hoo!!!!

Dried green field peas from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are dried green field peas from Nash’s Organic Produce. You probably encounter them most often in the form of split pea soup, and these would make some great soup, but they are a quite versatile and nutrient dense legume — a staple in the diets of cultures all over the world. The good folks at Nash’s will be happy to give you some ideas, and even some recipes, for preparing them.

The tiny Olympia Oyster from Taylor Shellfish Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As you can see from the photo above, the tiny Olympia oyster is not much larger than a quarter. But this little oyster more than makes up for its size with its big flavor. ‘Tis the season for Washington’s only native oyster, and Taylor Shellfish will be offering them for the next several weeks — just in time to build up your immune system and lebido for Valentine’s Day.

Peppers drying before being ground into paprika for us by Port Townsend's Some Like It Hott! Photo courtesy Some Like It Hott!

Saffron will be back next Sunday, but today we are pleased as punch to introduce yet another new farm with paprika to our diverse Ballard Farmers Market — Some Like It Hott! Charles Bodony’s family hails from Transylvania, where they know a thing or two about paprika, and he has put that genetic heritage to good work in Port Townsend, rounding up and growing the best peppers in the world, and drying and grinding them for fresh paprika. Yup. Yet another spice you no longer have to get from an importer. You can get it direct from a local farmer. How cool is that?

Baby arugula from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oh, happy day! Arugula is back. A-friggin-men. Full Circle Farm has glorious, and a bit spicy, baby arugula that will smack the winter blues right off of your sour puss. Just get there early enough to get some, as it sold out quickly last week, and the rest of us couldn’t stand another week of you being a sour puss. Really. Trust me.

Snacks Ballard Bodega, brought to us by Dante's Inferno Dogs, just down the street from the Ballard Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You may not have noticed it tucked away in the back of this little lot between King’s Hardware and Bop Street Records, by our favorite hot dog cart guy, Dante, has opened Snacks Ballard Bodego, a great place to get your favorite dog seven days a week, until late at night, and a great place to get lots of your other favorite farmers market goodies, from Rockridge cider to Pete’s toffee to St. Jude’s tuna to a Caveman Bar.

Just a sampling of the Ballard Farmers Market goods you'll find at Snacks all week long. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ballard Farmers Market has a long history of incubating local businesses. From Tall Grass Bakery to Anita’s Crepes to Veraci Pizza and more, many of the local storefront businesses you see around Ballard got their start at the Ballard Farmers Market and our sister market in Fremont. It makes us very proud to see Dante’s Inferno Dogs spawn its own storefront, right here on Ballard Avenue. But more than that, Dante, out of appreciation and respect for his Ballard Farmers Market roots, is selling many of the wonderful products from his fellow Ballard Farmers Market vendors in his store, so we can enjoy access to them all week long. Wander down to his little hideaway shop and support a local business that is itself dedicated to supporting local businesses. And check out Snacks’ Facebook page for more info.

Stokesberry Sustainable Farm eggs and chicken breakfast sausage. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know Stokesberry Sustainable Farm from Olympia for their great organic eggs (above), chicken and beef. Now they are offering organic chicken sausage in four varieties: maple breakfast patties (above), sage & garlic patties and hot and sweet Italian in bulk. They are all yummy. So give those eggs some company, eh? You’ll thank me later.

Bags of sweet, winter baby carrots from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s talk about sweet things for a bit now, like these incredibly sweet baby carrots from Stoney Plains Farm in Tenino. If there is one thing carrots, and most other roots and hearty greens, like, it’s a good freeze. As a defense to the cold, they actually produce more sugar, and the result is a sweeter carrot — much sweeter. If you haven’t enjoyed some over-winter carrots lately, well, plain and simple, you’re nuts! They are like candy.

More sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Seems the longer into the winter we get, the bigger the sweet potatoes get from Lyall Farms. Hmm. Think there’s a connection? (Yes, I know. You’re thinking I am going to leave this gig to become a rocket scientist, aren’t you?) In any case, they ain’t gonna last forever, so get ’em while you can.

Delicious handmade caramels from Jonboy Caramels. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jonboy Caramels makes delicious, handmade caramels using butter and heavy cream from a Skagit Valley dairy. They make small batches of their fleur de sel and molasses ginger caramels, and hand-wrap them in parchment paper. It seemed fitting to round out my little trip down sweet tooth lane by visiting them. And you should visit them, too, for sample, and, of course, then a box full.

Chicken pies from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s wrap up this week’s epistle on all things (well, many things at least) Ballard Farmers Market with talk of pie. Not the sweet kind of pie, though Deborah’s Homemade Pies certainly has many great varieties of those. But I already finished my sweets talking for the week, so now I want to talk about savory meat pies. Oh, yeah, baby. Chicken pie. Deborah uses local and Market ingredients in her chicken pies, just like she does with her sweet pies. And, as you can see above, she makes them in two sizes, so whether you are feeding the whole fam-damily or just feeding yourself, she’s got you covered. So if you need the night off from cooking from scratch, grab a chicken pie from Deborah. Just get there early, as they always sell out. Oh, and don’t forget to grab some pie for dessert, too.

Remember, your Ballard Farmers Market is chock full of all sorts of goodness for your kitchen and beyond. 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.