Posts Tagged ‘onions’

Sunday, March 2nd: More Spinach, Salad Mix, Local Cornmeal, Brisket & More!

March 1, 2014
Fresh spinach from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh spinach from Children’s Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Well, it’s snowing in Bellingham again. Good thing we’re not in Bellingham! Cuz we’ve got fresh spinach here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Yup, Children’s Garden has begun to harvest its winter crop of spinach. Spring can’t be far off now! Children’s also has mint and cilantro now, too. Yay!

Organic, pasture-raised beef brisket from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic, pasture-raised beef brisket from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know what else is not far off? St. Patrick’s Day, that’s what. And if you want corned beef that is head and shoulders above the vac-packed stuff in the Big Box stores, why not corn it yourself? Skagit River Ranch has lots of beef brisket available right now just for that purpose. But don’t wait another week to get it. You need to get it today! Why? Because properly brined corned beef takes up to 10 days.

Spicy salad mix from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spicy salad mix from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

In the meantime, let’s get our salad on again, Ballard Farmers Market style. Colinwood Farm’s spicy salad mix is hitting its prime right now, flush with lots of tender, spicy mustards, arugula, hearty greens and more. You’ll never have a dull mouthful, and your body will thank you for it!

Freshly-milled Yellow Dent cornmeal from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Freshly-milled Yellow Dent cornmeal from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I like to pan-fry Hama Hama jar oysters or Wilson Fish true cod in a nice coating of spices and cornmeal. Now, I can get my cornmeal from our buddies at Nash’s Organic Produce! They continue to diversify their farm, adding grains and legumes, and producing pork for restaurants. But just recently, they began to bring dried corncornmeal and even buckwheat to your Ballard Farmers Market. Awesome! Soon, we will only have to go to the Big Box store for lemons and avocados! (Of course, with global warming and such, we’ll be able to source those locally soon, too.)

Certified organic D'Anjou pears from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Certified organic D’Anjou pears from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

ACMA Mission Orchards still has plenty of great, certified organic apples and pears from the fall 2013 harvest. They’ve got about a dozen different varieties still, including these D’Anjou pears. Great for the lunchbox and to keep the doctor away.

Bagels from Grateful Bread Bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bagels from Grateful Bread Baking. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bagels from Grateful Bread Baking will help brunch you through this fine, if not dry, Sunday. Fresh from the bakery and nice and chewy, they are the perfect vehicle for…

Fromage blanc from Mt. Townsend Creamery. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fromage blanc from Mt. Townsend Creamery. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

…some fromage blanc from Mt. Townsend Creamery. Or better yet, try some of their truffled fromage. Beats the heck out of that stuff from Philly, and that is coming from a guy who used to live in Philly!

Sweet yellow Spanish onions from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet yellow Spanish onions from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Add a nice slice of one of these sweet yellow Spanish onions from Lyall Farms next. It provides a nice crunch and a bit of a bite to contrast the cheese and bagel, and it provides a nice platform for…

Salmon lox from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Salmon lox from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

… some wild salmon lox from Loki Fish. They lox up cohoketa and sockeye. I actually prefer the coho and keta to the sockeye. It’s all great, but I grew up in the East, and they use a milder fish than sockeye there for lox. Loki’s coho lox is the closest thing to it, while still being wild and local! And don’t forget to try out their salmon sliders!

Spicy fermented pickles from Britt's Pickles. Photo courtesy Britt's.

Spicy fermented pickles from Britt’s Pickles. Photo courtesy Britt’s.

You know, a nice, naturally-fermented, spicy, kosher pickle from Britt’s Pickles would go well alongside that bagel we just constructed. (And no, it is not called a “bagel sandwich.” It is a bagel. Just like the French eat fries, and people in Buffalo eat wings… well, wangs, actually.)

Siegerrebe from Lopez Island Vineyards. Photo courtesy Lopez Island Vineyards.

Siegerrebe from Lopez Island Vineyards. Photo courtesy Lopez Island Vineyards.

I don’t know whether a bottle of Siegerrebe from Lopez Island Vineyards goes well with our bagel or not. I suppose, with its nice grapefruit finish, that it does have a kind of brunchy quality to it. Of course, you can decide for yourself , since Lopez is sampling its wines today at your Ballard Farmers Market. And did you know that siegerrebe grapes grow in the Puget Sound appellation? Yup. Lopez Island Vineyards grows them right on the island. They like the cool, damp climate.

Breakfast burrito from Los Chilangos. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Breakfast burrito from Los Chilangos. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Of course, you could just get breakfast right here at your Ballard Farmers Market and eat it while you shop! Stop by Los Chilangos for one of their famous breakfast burritos made with Olsen Farms’ pork and Stokesberry Sustainable Farm’s eggs. Yummers!

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, November 24th: Everything You Need For An All-Local Thanksgiving & Chanukah, From Sweet Potatoes To Brisket To Sharpened Knives!

November 23, 2013
Chef Jason Stoneburner of Bastille & Stoneburner. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chef Jason Stoneburner of Bastille & Stoneburner. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! It’s time for Chanukgiving, or Thanksnukah, or whatever you call it in the extremely rare instance when Chanukah and Thanksgiving happen simultaneously. But whatever you choose to call it, one thing is certain, it is time to eat local, and eat lots of it! Woohoo!!! Of course, your Ballard Farmers Market has you covered from every angle, with the possible exception of fresh turkeys. (Let’s face it. If you still haven’t arranged for your pasture-raised, local turkey, you have no one to blame but the turkey looking back at you in the mirror. But I digress.) We do have everything else you’ll need, and I do mean everything. We even have cooking oil, butter and salt! (That’s right, boys and girls. This week, we’ve added San Juan Island Sea Salt to our vendor lineup, with local salt!) And today, we’ve even got an Eat Local For Thanksgiving cooking demonstration at noon with Chef Jason Stoneburner of Bastille and Stoneburner to give you great ideas for holiday side dishes. Jason’s menus are built around what he can get from the vendors at your Ballard Farmers Market. Indeed, each Sunday, you can watch dolly after dolly of localiciousness being transferred from our vendors to his kitchens. So he knows a little bit about eating local. Come get a tip or two from him today. (Last week, for instance, Chef Dustin Ronspies from Art of the Table taught us that that a pinch of sugar enhances the savory flavors in savory dishes, and a pinch of salt enhances the sweet flavors in sweet dishes.)

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, let’s get down to seriously delicious business here. There are over 20 photos this week, so I am going to make my descriptions briefer than usual, but really, the photos speak for themselves. They say, “we are stocked to the gills with great, local ingredients to make your holiday table complete, and render a visit to a Big Box story unnecessary.” Like these local sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Oh, and Lyall has apples and onions, too!

Fresh cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Make your own cranberry sauce this year with fresh cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm. Last Sunday, Chef Dustin made some in less than an hour, under a tent in the middle of Ballard Ave, with a strong, cold wind at his side, so you can do it at home. He cooked down the cranberries, then added some apple, a little sugar, some orange zest and orange juice, and a pinch of salt. Simple. Delicious.

Winter squash from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter squash from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How’s about some winter squash from Growing Things Farm? Yeah, baby. Of course, I am also having one of their pasture-raised chickens for my holiday feast. Because no law requires me to have a turkey. (Something to think about, if you haven’t gotten a turkey yet, and you don’t need to feed an army.)

Viking purple potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Viking purple potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You’ll need spuds, and few potatoes are better for making perfect mashed potatoes than these Viking Purple potatoes from Olsen Farms. They are bright white inside, and they have an amazing texture that takes well to mashing. Pick up butter from Golden Glen Creamery (see below) and some milk from Twin Oaks Creamery or Sea Breeze Farm to round out your mashers, or add some parsnip and celery root for something really spectacular.

Purple Goddess pears from Jerzy Boyz. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Purple Goddess pears from Jerzy Boyz. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These beauties are Purple Goddess pears from Jerzy Boyz Farm from Chelan. And who doesn’t need a beautiful pear, anytime of year?

Korean red garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Korean red garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Garlic. You will need it for stuffing, for seasoning your bird, for adding to your greens, for lots of stuff. Jarvis Family Garlic Farm has you covered with this Korean red garlic, and several other varieties that vary in flavor and intensity.

Smoked, pickled & shucked oysters from Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Smoked, pickled & shucked oysters from Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I, for one, enjoys me some oyster stuffing, and Hama Hama Oyster Company makes it easy with their freshly-shucked oysters in a variety of sizes. And if you are looking for great appetizers, try their pickled and smoked oysters, too!

Brussels sprouts from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Brussels sprouts from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

If you aren’t a lover of Brussels sprouts from Nash’s Organic Produce, I can only assume you haven’t ever had them prepared properly. Try sautéing them with Alvarez shallots and Sea Breeze bacon. First, you brown the bacon whilst rendering out its fat, and you caramelize the shallots, and then you toss in the sprouts, cut in halves, or in quarters for the bigger ones, and cook them until they get bright green and just a bit tender. Then deglaze the pan with a nice white wine, cooking off the alcohol while the wine combines with the bacon and shallot bits in the pan, and then the sprouts absorb all that deliciousness as they get tender. Boom. You now love Brussels sprouts.

Black truffles from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Black truffles from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are wild black truffles from Washington, brought to you by Foraged & Found Edibles. Add some to your mashed potatoes, or toss them with some Pasteria Lucchese pappardelle and Golden Glen butter for a nice side dish! They also have yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms and hedgehog mushrooms, which are a great addition to stuffing!

Seasoned croutons for stuffing from Grateful Bread Bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Seasoned croutons for stuffing from Grateful Bread Baking. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of stuffing, if you get here early enough, you might get some of these seasoned croutons from Grateful Bread Baking. They make for amazing stuffing. Just add some Sea Breeze stock, onions, garlic, celery, and whatever else suits your fancy, and bake. If you miss out on these croutons, you can easily make your own with one of their wonderful loaves of bread.

Fresh, local butter from Golden Glen Creamery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh, local butter from Golden Glen Creamery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And here is that aforementioned farmstead butter from Golden Glen Creamery in Bow. You can get it salted and unsalted, or with any of a number of sweet and savory flavorings. And let’s face it. You will need lots of butter. Why not make it local, too?!

Yellow onions from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yellow onions from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sure, One Leaf Farm has lots of deliciousness right now, from parsnips to kale to cauliflower to winter squash, and even a little parsley root. But they also have these gorgeous onions, and you know you will need some onions this week!

Brent Charnley, winemaker at Lopez Island Vineyards, hold the new release of his Wave Crest White table wine. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Brent Charnley, winemaker at Lopez Island Vineyards, hold the new release of his Wave Crest White table wine. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And speaking of wine, Lopez Island Vineyards has a great selection of award-winning whites and reds, with one perfect for you. Best of all, they will be sampling their wines today, so you can try it before you buy it, and find the ones you like best!

Braising mix from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Braising mix from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How about cooking up a nice mix of braising greens from Colinwood Farm? All you need to do is add oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and you are good to go! Talk about making life easier on Thursday.

D'Anjou pears from Booth Canyon Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

D’Anjou pears from Booth Canyon Orchard. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This is the last week for Booth Canyon Orchard for 2013 at your Ballard Farmers Market. So grab yourself a box of these D’Anjou pears, store them in a nice, cool, dark place, and you can enjoy them for weeks to come.

George Vojkovich out standing in his field... with a bunch of cattle. Photo copyright 2007 by Zachary D. Lyons.

George Vojkovich out standing in his field… with a bunch of cattle. Photo copyright 2007 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And for Chanukah, perhaps you’d like a nice beef brisket. Well, I don’t have a photo of Skagit River Ranch‘s brisket, but I guess, if you look real close, you can see the brisket on their cattle above, enjoying the good life on Skagit River Ranch’s lush pastures up in Sedro-Woolley. Oh, and that is Farmer George in the background, moooving the herd.

Camelina oil from Ole World Oils. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Camelina oil from Ole World Oils. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Did I not say we even have cooking oil for you? This is camelina oil from Ole World Oils of Ritzville. Camelina is an ancient member of the mustard family, and its seeds make for great oil. It holds up to high heat, it is non-GMO, and it is high in beneficial omega-fatty acids! So now, you can say your cooking oil is farm fresh, too.

Marie Makovicka of Little Prague European Bakery piping fresh cannoli. Photo copyright 2013 by Ben Chandler.

Marie Makovicka of Little Prague European Bakery piping fresh cannoli. Photo copyright 2013 by Ben Chandler.

Looking for something sweet to finish off your meal, or perhaps something to start your day? Stop by Little Prague European Bakery, say hi to Marie, and pick up some of her delicious pastries. Thinking you want them on Thursday morning to enjoy while you watch the parade, but think they won’t keep? Ask Marie about how to properly store them until them, and how to refresh them when you are ready to eat them. Then, the only worry you’ll have is keeping yourself from eating them all before Thursday morning. Hmm. On second thought, you’d better buy extras!

Red Sunchokes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red Sunchokes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These red sunchokes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm were introduced to the earliest European colonists by East Coast Indians. A member of the sunflower family, they are native to North America, and a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving, as we remember that those Indians welcomed and fed those colonists, in spite of what they ultimately represented. Sunchokes are great roasted,  you can make soup with them, you can mash them like potatoes, and one of my favorite ways to enjoy them is by steaming 1/4″ to 1/2″ chunks until just fork tender, then browning them in butter and seasoning them with salt and pepper, and perhaps a little thyme, like good home fries.

Pumpkin Pie from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pumpkin Pie from Deborah’s Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You’ve got enough to do to prepare for the big feast this week. Why not leave the pie baking to Deborah’s Homemade Pies? She has these amazing pumpkin pies, as well as a great selection of appleberry and even pecan pies, and let’s face it… most of us cannot bake a pie like Deborah can, so why not cut ourselves a break and have better pie this year?

Cranberry-tangerine, lemon-lavender, and apple pie fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Sodas. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cranberry-tangerine, lemon-lavender, and apple pie fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Sodas. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Soda Jerk Sodas has new flavors for the season, like Cranberry-Tangerine (left) and Apple Pie (right). Why not pick up a growler or two for this week? And while you’re at it, if you loves you so fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Sodas, consider supporting their Kickstarter campaign today. It ends Monday (tomorrow), and they just have a little ways left to go to meet their goal, so click over now and contribute to the cause of their Mobile Soda Truck.

Andrew, Your Knife Sharpening Guy, sharpening knives at Wallingford Farmers Market this past summer. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Andrew, Your Knife Sharpening Guy, sharpening knives at Wallingford Farmers Market this past summer. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And last, but most assuredly not least, now is a great time to get your knives sharpened, so that dull carving knife doesn’t bounce off of your turkey on Thursday, resulting in either humiliation or serious injury, or both! Remember, sharp knives save fingers. Well, Andrew, Your Knife Sharpening Guy, will be here all day, sharpening your dullest slicing equipment, so bring your knives down, drop them off before you start shopping, and pick them up when you’re done! Or, if you’re in a rush, leave them with Andrew, and pick them up from him in Green Lake during the week, or arrange for delivery.

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, August 4th: It’s National Farmers Market Week! Tomatillos, Eggplant, Cherry Plums & All Manner Of August Localiciousness!

August 3, 2013
Farm-fresh honey from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Farm-fresh honey from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! It’s National Farmers Market Week! Yes, a special week proclaimed by dignitaries, elected officials and bureaucrats that actually celebrates something that matters to us. Go figure. But hey, sooner or later, it had to happen, right? So come celebrate with us today. Now, I won’t bore you with lots of proclamations from the governor, the county executive and the mayor — and trust me, they’ve all issued them — no let’s celebrate with all the amazing local products and people who bring us our precious Ballard Farmers Market week in and week out, year-round, in rain, sleet, snow, sun, wind, hot and cold. We are more reliable, after all, than the postal service. And let’s start this party by honoring perhaps the most important beings in our local, and global for that matter, food system: honey bees. Without them, we would all starve. Really. And yet we silly humans are creating environmental conditions that are killing honey bees by the millions. What can you do? Eat organic. Stop using pesticides. Raise your own honey bees. Pay attention. You wonder why we have less honey in our farmers markets today than we did five years ago? That’s why.

Jim Robinson of Phocas Farms shows how his saffron crocuses have multiplied over the winter. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jim Robinson of Phocas Farms shows how his saffron crocuses have multiplied over the winter. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Your Ballard Farmers Market is loaded with lots of characters who, out of a labor of love, a love of creating delicious food and quality goods, and a love of community, come here every week at 0-dark-30 from all over Washington to set up their tents and tables while you are still asleep, just so you will be able to stock up on their seasonal goodness every Sunday. One such character is Jim Robinson from Phocas Farms in Port Angeles. Jim may be best known around the Market for his hundreds of varieties of succulents and his wild appearance, but he is best known by Western Washington’s finest chefs for the incredible saffron he grows.

Saffron? Yes. It is so prized by local chefs that his entire crop is pre-sold every year before it is even harvested. And yet Jimmy is quite tall — not the best physical characteristic for raising a crop that demands one to be hunched over down low most of the time. Plus, he and the sun don’t get along all that well. You may have noticed that he is always covered head-to-toe at the Market, save for his face, which is a ghostly white. That white is industrial strength sunscreen, because Jim has light-sensitive lupus. And yet, he busts his hump year-round raising beautiful plants and spectacular saffron, then stands under his tent — outdoors in the daylight — every Sunday with nary a whimper, but instead a laugh, a smile, a flirtatious expression and a firm embrace. Why? Cuz he loves what he does and where he does it — right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Kinda makes it hard not to love the guy, or this place. Oh, hey, speaking of saffron, Jimmy has saffron corms for you this week, and for the next few. The chefs in town may not have left any of his saffron for you, but you can still plant and grow your own. Get them in the ground this month, and you will have your very own saffron later this fall!

Japanese eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Japanese eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alvarez Organic Farms has their first Japanese eggplant today, along with about a half dozen other kinds of eggplant. They have also just begun harvesting tomatoes, okra and tomatillos, too. You know, it’s kinda funny, but some folks have been thinking that eggplant is late in arriving this year. In reality, it is right on schedule, and just everything else is early, making its arrival appear late by comparison. Go figure. I love grilling these beauties. I slice them down the middle and salt them about half an hour before I grill them to pull some of the bitterness out. And make sure to coat them well with olive oil. Mmm.

Janelle Stokesberry holding a chicken and a dozen eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Janelle Stokesberry holding a chicken and a dozen eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You ever wonder why the Seahawks are so much better lately than any of the other professional sports teams in Seattle? Is it maybe because they eat Stokesberry chickens, perhaps? It’s as good a theory as any, I suppose. Janelle & Jerry Stokesberry raise organic chicken, turkey and duckeggs, beefpork and lamb on their Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia. I can’t wait until they have stewing hens, because I love to make chicken soup with them. And their chickens and ducks, as well as their eggs, can be found on the menus of many of the best restaurants in Seattle. Have you tried the sausages made from their pork by Link Lab Artisan Meats? They are great. And I’ve personally visited their pigs happily slopping through the mud in the spring, little piglets chasing each other around all over the place. Hilarious. If you want your meat and poultry raised well by farmers who care about their animals, and that tastes good, too, they’ve got you covered.

Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. They are a domesticated wild huckleberry from the East Coast. The berries are small and full of flavor, and they remind me of the wild blueberries we used to pick while hiking up Cadillac Mountain in Maine’s Acadia National Park. I remember I used to eat my weight in them.

George Vojkovich out standing in his field... with a bunch of cattle. Photo copyright 2007 by Zachary D. Lyons.

George Vojkovich out standing in his field… with a bunch of cattle. Photo copyright 2007 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look! It’s Farmer George Vojokovich of Skagit River Ranch, out standing in his field. That’s him in the upper-lefthand side of the photo. And he is that. Outstanding in his field. His pasture alone in this photo can testify to that. It is lush and green and up to the shoulders of his cattle. And this photo was taken in August! He lets them eat it down to about 6″, and then he moves them to the next pasture. The idea is that the cattle will eat a diversity of forage, not just their favorite ones, and the pasture will recover faster and be healthier. That keeps them healthy, and tasty. And that’s what makes George a dirt farmer more so than a rancher.

Farmer George is also nothing short of a scientist — you really have to be in this business — and he tests his animals to make sure they are getting all the nutrients and minerals they need. After all, the Skagit River Valley is low in a number of key minerals. So, based on the reports he gets, he actually adds minerals either to the pastureland, so it is taken up by the forage, or he puts out self-service stations where the cattle can actually stock up on what they need. They’re a bit smarter than us when it comes to that. The result of all this is some of the best beef you can find around here, and certainly better than anything you’ll find in the big box stores. Better, and better for you and the cattle.

Copia heirloom tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Copia tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One Leaf Farm is really cranking out the heirloom tomatoes now in a whole host of varieties (see the photo spread on our Facebook page). Just take a gander at these gorgeous copia tomatoes for instance. They are a rainbow of colors and the big ones are all kinda weird looking, but hey, they taste absolutely incredible. To quote Chef Gordon Ramsay, “they are the most amazing, stunning tomatoes ever.” Okay, he didn’t really say that, but those seem to be the only two adjectives he knows, and I’ve been wanting to give him a hard time about it for a long time. Chef, get thee a thesaurus, for the love of Mike! You’re welcome. But do beeline it to One Leaf for tomatoliciousness right now.

Roberto Guerrero from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Nicole Reed.

Roberto Guerrero from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Nicole Reed.

Meet Roberto Guerrero of ACMA Mission Orchards in Quincy. He and his family grow a stunning variety of tree fruit, from apples to peaches to cherries to nectarines, on their beautiful farm just north of the Gorge Amphitheater. And just in the last two years, they secured organic certification for all of their acreage. How can you tell an orchard is organic? Simple. Look at the undergrowth under the trees. Do you see all that grass and brush? That’s the sign of an organic orchard. Seriously. They are overgrown under the trees, and most go through and mow and grind up brush just a few times each year. Then, they leave the debris right there to decompose, returning nutrients to the soil and keeping out undesirable weeds that conventional farms would have to sprayed. Plus, it helps keep the ground moist and cool when it’s really hot over there. You may see a jungle in this photo. I see a healthy orchard producing delicious fruit!

Honey Smoked Albacore from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Honey Smoked Albacore from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fishing Vessel St. Jude makes its monthly visit to your Ballard Farmers Market today. Woohoo! I often feel like Bubba Gump when I start to list off all the delectable forms in which you can acquire St. Jude’s albacore tuna. They have it cannedfresh-frozen, jerkied, and even honey-smoked (above). The canned comes in a myriad of wonderful flavors, too, and the frozen is sashimi grade. Stock up today. We won’t see them again until Labor Day Weekend!

Cardamom Zucchini Sweet Bread from NuFlours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cardamom Zucchini Sweet Bread from NuFlours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Name change alert! d:floured gluten-free bakery (my favorite saucy name for a bakery, mind you) has changed its name to nuflours. Apparently, someone else had their grubby paws all over their old name. So, many lawyers and much research later, they now have a new, not-so-saucy but equally functionally name, with the same logo and same great gluten-free products. Like this cardamom zucchini sweet bread that features zucchini from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. The point is, regardless of the name, you can still have your cake and your gluten-free diet, too.

Dragon's Tongue beans from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dragon’s Tongue beans from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things Farm is deep in the fresh beans right now. They have six different varieties, ranging from green to yellow wax to purple runner to these Dragon’s Tongue beans, above. And did you know that Dragon’s Tongue beans will eventually grown about to be shelling beans, too? Pretty cool, huh? And delicious! Oh, and they want to thank you for supporting their successful Kick Starter campaign, too.

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

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

It’s pepper season, and over the coming weeks, we will see an ever-increasing variety of peppers arriving at your Ballard Farmers Market. We start off with these humble green bell peppers from Lyall Farms, and we are already seeing some of the over 200 varieties of peppers grown by Alvarez Organic Farms starting to appear this week. 2013 is on pace to be an epic year for peppers!

Cherry plums from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherry plums from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

From the pages of the confused fruit handbook come these cherry plums from Tiny’s Organic Farm. But unlike so many other stone fruits that have been hybridized to create things like apriums, pluots, nectarcots, peachcots and more, cherry plums are actually a true plum, not a cross betwixt cherry and plum. They get their name from their small, cherry-like size and their color. But they have the flavor and texture of a plum. So mix it up this week and try yourself something new… or actually old, in this case.

Tropea onions from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tropea onions from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah. The lovely and divine tropea onion. I love these beauties. And I do recall hearing the lovely and divine Alice of Oxbow Farm (the growers of these onions) say that they are, in fact, her favorite onion. Named for the town of Tropea on the toe of Italy’s boot, these sweet onions are so popular in Italy that they are synonymous with “red onion” there, though that would be confusing here in the states, with the many red varieties we have. But if everyone just tried one of these, in salads, on the grill, sautéed or cooked down to make an awesome sauce or garnish, perhaps they would become synonymous with red onions here, too, because they may indeed be the best of the reds.

Chocolate-Coconut Fudge from Pete's Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chocolate-Coconut Fudge With Almonds from Pete’s Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pete’s Perfect Toffee has introduced yet another flavor of fudge, because after all, there is no such thing as too much fudge. The new flavor, pictured above, is chocolate-coconut fudge with toasted almonds. Oh, stop it, Pete! You’re killing me… with sweet deliciousness!

Hand-forged blue steele pans from Blu Skillet. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hand-forged blue steele pans from Blu Skillet Ironware. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Carbon steel pans are great for searing and caramelizing – and they make fantastic over-easy eggs! They are similar to cast iron, but forged rather than cast. This makes the pans lighter and easier to handle, as well as less porous and quicker to season.  They can take high temperatures, and they can go from stove top, to oven, to table – where they make a beautiful addition!” Sometimes, it is just easier to quote the vendor’s website, you know? Especially when it is as well-written as is the site for Blu Skillet Ironware. Patrick Maher and Caryn Badgett make these gorgeous pans right here in Ballard.

I do most of my cooking on stainless steel pans from Revere Ware. When they were first introduced in 1938, Revere Copper & Brass made a point of referring to them as exhibiting the best of both form and function, and that was important after the Great Depression. After all, if you were going to spend money on cookware, you want it to last, you want it to work, and you want something you can show off to your dinner guests. And today, as we limp our way out of the Great Recession (because even though it was, in fact, a depression, apparently it is not cool anymore to actually call it that), things are no different. We want quality, form and function. Blu Skillet gives us just that. I have been putting one of their 10″ pans through its paces for a week now, cooking everything from halibut to corned beef hash in it, and it works great. It is getting more seasoned with ever use. It browns and sears great. It cleans easily. And best of all, it is made right here. Yup, one more thing you don’t need Corporate America to do for you anymore! Booyah!

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.

Saturday, October 28th: A Tribute To Essential Fall Crops!

October 27, 2012

Winter Luxury pumpkins from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey, kids. It’s pumpkin pie season. And you can’t get much better for pie making than these Winter Luxury pumpkins from One Leaf Farm. They are not only beautiful, they are delicious! Indeed, they are aptly named. Stop by One Leaf for a couple of these cool looking gourds, and perhaps some lovely radicchio, too.

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

Nothing like sweet potatoes fresh out of the oven on a cool, fall night. They fill you with warmth while stoking your energy and pleasing your palate. And while they are a perfect side dish to so many proteins, try adding them to a simple or downright busy root roast. I love cutting them up and roasting them with parsnips, or with beets, carrots, parsnips and sunchokes. Or you can mash them with garlic, some chipotles in adobo sauce, and a touch of maple syrup. Yeah, baby. These Beauregard (left) and O’Henry sweet potatoes (above) are from Lyall Farms.

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

These Golden Nugget winter squash from Stoney Plains Organic Farm have a sweet flesh with a wonderfully smooth texture that’ll just make you purr. And isn’t that what you want from fall foods? It’s cold. It’s wet. It’s dark. Give us comfort food! This is comfort food.

Yellow storage onions from Nature’s Last Stand. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

What doesn’t call for onions in the recipe this time of year. And while the onslaught of October rains may quickly be making our record warm and dry stretch this summer a distant memory, the truth is that that weather made for an epic onion harvest. They loved the sun, and then they were able to dry and cure without getting wet and moldy. That means we’ve got more storage onions, like these yellow onions from Nature’s Last Stand, than we’ve had in years at your Ballard Farmers Market. Enjoy!

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

This also seems to be a stellar year for celery, too. It is bigger, crunchier, even sweeter than in years past. And again, every recipe seems to call for it, from roasts to soups to stuffings. Nash’s Organic Produce has some lovely celery right now at your Ballard Farmers Market.

Viking purple potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These Viking Purple potatoes from Olsen Farms are one of my favorites, and not just because they are gorgeous and have a really cool, Ballard-friendly kind of name. They have this amazingly fluffy, snow-white flesh when they are steamed that just begs for a big dollop of your favorite butter. Mmm.

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

Shallots also find their way into many a fall recipe. One of my faves is to caramelize them in the same pan with some nice chunky bacon, then toss in some Brussels sprouts, and cook them until they just start to get tender. Then deglaze the pan with some white wine, which will finish cooking the sprouts while it reduces. The shallots above are from Summer Run Farm.

Purple Goddess pears from Jerzy Boyz. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fall is an excellent time to enjoy pears, like these Purple Goddess pears from Jerzy Boyz. So great in salads, baked, in pies and tarts, or just on their own, eaten right off the core. Right now, there is a great selection of pears at your Ballard Farmers Market, so do enjoy them while you can!

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

Let us not forget the formidable carrot, whose own ubiquitous presence can be found on almost any fall recipe page. Carrots are sweeter this time of year, due to cooler whether, making them great for any application, or just plain munching on their own. The lovely specimens (above) are from Gaia’s Natural Goods.

Spanish red garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And perhaps no ingredient from your Ballard Farmers Market is more called for in your fall cooking than garlic, and lucky for us, Jarvis Family Garlic Farm from out of Sequim joined us this year with a bunch of amazing heirloom varieties of garlic for you to enjoy. After all. there is no such thing as too much garlic!

Fresh cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish off this week’s installment with one of the most quintessentially fall crops — cranberries. Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm returned last week with their gorgeous cranberries, so there’s no excuse for you not to bring fresh cranberry sauce with you to grandma’s house on Thanksgiving, is there?

Finally, another reminder to please 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.

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.