Posts Tagged ‘pea vines’

Sunday, May 26th: Strawberries, Cherries, Cucumbers, Pea Vines, Frisee, Green Garlic, Halibut & Sticky Buns, for Starters!

May 25, 2013
First-of-the-season organic strawberries from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

First-of-the-season organic strawberries from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s Memorial Day Weekend, Ballard faithful, and that signals the traditional start to summer ’round these parts, if not the actual start, which does not arrive until July 5th. But as we already realize, this year just doesn’t seem to want to be as dreary, cold and wet as the past three, so let’s get this party started right now! To that end, we present the earliest arrival of organic strawberries in recent memory! Yep, Tiny’s Organic Produce began harvesting these beauties this past week, a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. Woohoodillydoo!!! And just to assure you I ain’t pullin’ yer leg, I took the above photo on Friday at our Madrona Farmers Market. I also made sure to do a little quality control, and these are about as sweet and delicious as strawberries should be allowed to be by law. Seriously. Go figure. So as long as no bridges between here and East Wenatchee collapse in the next few weeks, we are in the strawberries, baby!

Cucumbers from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cucumbers from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oh, we’re just getting started, people! Yes, these are organic cucumbers, and yes, I did just take this photo in the last week. These cucumbers are from Colinwood Farms over in Port Townsend. Using their location in the Banana Belt — that area shielded from rain and clouds by the Olympic Mountains — and their greenhouses, Colinwood harnesses their bonus sun very effectively, and one of the results is cucumbers in May. (Yes, it is still May!)

First-of-the-season Burlat cherries from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

First-of-the-season Burlat cherries from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Strawberries, check. Cucumbers, check. Cherries?!? Check! These are first-of-the-season Burlat cherries from Lyall Farms. See, they have this orchard over in Prosser in an area that gets earlier and more heat units in the year than anywhere else in the state. Plus, that orchard is loaded with some varieties of cherries that ripen much earlier than most. The result is that Lyall gets a two to three week jump on everyone else in the cherry department. Add to that our milder weather than in recent years, and it’s go time! And again, I took this photo on Friday, and I did quality control, too. These are the real deal, folks! Oh, and it is last call for Lyall’s cured onions and sweet potatoes until fall, so grab the last of them while you can!

Green garlic from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Green garlic from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oh, don’t give me that sad puppy dog face that says you were expecting to see a photo of tomatoes now instead of this green garlic from Magana Farms. This stuff is pure gold this time of year. With a Market full of tender young greens, asparagus, mushrooms and other deliciousness that pairs well with garlic, green garlic is a magical treat! When farmers thin their garlic fields in the spring, this is what we get. Use the entire thing, from ball to the tips of the stalks. Toss it in where you would garlic, and what you get is not only your garlic flavor, but a sweet, grassy taste of spring unique to green garlic. The only people who know not of what I speak are those who have not tried it. The rest of us are the ones breezing past you to grab a bunch, so we can add it to everything we cook!

Fresh halibut from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh halibut from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And what’s this? It’s fresh halibut caught off the coast of Washington by Wilson Fish… just for the halibut. This is the freshest, most delicious halibut you will ever eat. These fish aren’t as big as those caught in Alaska, and the result is a superior flesh. Plus, it comes with no frequent flyer miles, freezer burn or having been trucked “live” in a tanker down the Alaska Highway for four days. (Really. They do that!) Grill a piece tonight, along with some asparagus, green garlic and green onions on the barby, and you will be a very happy camper.

Pea vines from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pea vines from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another spring treat is pea vines, These are from Gaia’s Harmony Farm from up in Snohomish. These are great quickly sauteed with some of that green garlic in olive oil. Gaia’s is also making fresh vegetable juice using their produce, and that of other farms at the market, to make a drink that please your palate and your body!

Ground beef from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ground beef from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of Memorial Day barbecues, don’t forget to pick up some burger patties or a package of ground beef from Skagit River Ranch today. Or maybe you’d prefer some of their great sausages, steaks or chops on the grill. Grab it today, thaw it in the fridge overnight, and grill it up nicely tomorrow!

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

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

Some lovely, wilted frisee from One Leaf Farm tossed with some of Skagit’s bacon and some of Twin Oak’s feta sounds pretty good right now. Bitter plus salty equals divine. One Leaf also has their first harvest of beautiful, tendor collard greens and kale today, too, plus Japanese wax turnips so tasty, you might finish off the bunch before you get home, so please get two!

Last-of-the-season fresh apple cider from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Last-of-the-season fresh apple cider from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just a few weeks left of fresh cider from Martin Family Orchards. Their 2012 apple harvest is running out, and they won’t have cider again until fall. Grab a jug for your Memorial Day picnic, and enjoy one last sweet taste of fall before summer begins in ernest.

A veritable cornucopia of pickliciousness from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A veritable cornucopia of pickliciousness from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pickles. No, I am not using a term of endearment here, though I suppose I could be, since the humungous variety of pickles made from local ingredients by Purdy Pickle is rather endearing! And you will need a few jars for your Memorial Day picnics — dilly chips for your burgers, asparagus for the fun of it, and carrots to use as swizzle sticks in your cocktail! You can thank me later.

Sticky buns from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sticky buns from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Get your day started right tomorrow, or finish off dinner tonight, with one or six of these sticky buns, or maybe a cinnamon roll, from Tall Grass Bakery. Of course, Tall Grass has a spectacular selection of fresh artisan breads to round out your barbecues and picnics this weekend, too. Just get here early enough that your favorites aren’t sold out already!

Asparagus from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Asparagus from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We finish off this week’s Memorial Day Weekend installment with some gorgeous asparagus from Collins Family Orchards in Selah. You will obviously need asparagus for every meal in your immediate future, so grab a bunch of bunches, eh?

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, April 21st: Happy Earth Day Tomorrow! Let’s See What Lessons We Can Learn From Our Vendors About Respecting Mother Earth!

April 20, 2013
Oysters on the half-shell, on the beach at Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo courtesy Hama Hama Oyster Company.

Oysters on the half-shell, on the beach at Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo courtesy Hama Hama Oyster Company.

Happy Earth Day! Most of us have a sense about your Ballard Farmers Market helping us tread a little lighter on our Mother Earth, but today, let’s take a look at many of the ways the Market’s vendors teach us about living more in harmony with our environment. Take oysters from Hama Hama Oyster Company, for instance. Oyster farming in our local waters requires clean water, and as such, this industry actually encourages us to keep Puget Sound cleaner. But did you know that our environmental sins from years ago, and seemingly unrelated to water pollution, are actually threatening our beloved bivalves today? You see, all that carbon we are pumping into the atmosphere from our coal power plants, our cars and our furnaces has to come down somewhere, and a lot of it is being absorbed into our oceans, where is settles to the bottom in an acidic soup. Now, the North Pacific currents are pushing all that acidic water right up into Puget Sound and Hood Canal, where it is beginning to dissolve oyster larvae and other shelled species before they can even get settled in the mud. It is called Ocean Acidification, and we all need to learn about it, change our habits — drive less, get more efficient cars, switch to electric heat pumps, etc. — and we need to Stop The Coal Trains from shipping more coal to China, where it will just make matters worse. If it isn’t good to burn here, we shouldn’t be giving it to them to burn there!

Terry Meyer of Stoney Plains Organic Farm stands alongside garden starts. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Terry Meyer of Stoney Plains Organic Farm stands alongside garden starts. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Plant a garden with local, organic veggie starts from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Sure, we want you to visit us every Sunday all summer long for the best fresh, local produce anywhere, but if you are planning to plant your own garden, get your veggies starts here, too. That way, you’ll know how they were raised, and using what kind of seed. And the more food we can grow right here in Puget Sound, the less we have to import from other parts of the country and world!

Nash's cover crop seed blend returns nutrients to your garden's soil naturally, without the need for harsh chemical fertilzers. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s cover crop seed blend returns nutrients to your garden’s soil naturally, without the need for harsh chemical fertilzers. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Skip the nitrogen chemicals in synthetic fertilizers, and enrich your soil naturally with nitrogen-fixing cover crops. Nash’s Organic Produce offers a nice cover crop seed mix that you can toss about your garden to help draw the nitrogen your veggies will need right out of the air and ground. Then, when you turn it into the soil before your planting, it will breakdown, leaving all those nutrients right there in your garden to feed all your plants!

Pink Beauty radishes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pink Beauty radishes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One Leaf Farm will have these lovely Pink Beauty radishes today, as well as Tom Thumb & Little Gem lettuce, at your Ballard Farmers Market. Did you know that One Leaf is only in its third year of operations? Yup. We are adding farms to King County — they are located in Carnation, for instance — and that means less need to import. During the WTO protests in Seattle back in 1999, visiting farmers from around the world taught me that the best thing we can do to help them in their countries is to buy local food here. That’s because when we buy imported produce, we are supporting a system of corporate agribusiness that takes over local farmland in other countries to grow large amounts of mono-cropped foods for the U.S. market. In the process, they force the local farmers, who are growing culturally relevant and organic foods for their local communities off of their land, resulting in lost crop diversity and food insecurity in regions of the world with very fertile farmland. So, Think Globally. Eat Locally!

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

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

Eat wild foods! Before European settlers came to Puget Sound, local Indian tribes practiced a form of agriculture that would be almost invisible to us today. They managed the native, wild edible plant and animal species on a grand scale, so that come berry season, mushroom seasons or time for a clam bake, they knew right where to find dinner. In that spirit, folks like Foraged & Found Edibles today try to protect their harvesting grounds, as their livelihoods also depend on them. So enjoy some wild morel mushroomsstinging nettles or fern fiddleheads this week from your Ballard Farmers Market, and get back in touch with your wild side!

Andrew Your Knife Sharpening Guy. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Andrew Your Knife Sharpening Guy. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Keep your knives and tools sharpened and healthy, so they last longer, all while supporting an ancient artisan trade that does not required electricity! Your Knife Sharpening Guy will put a fresh edge on your kitchen knives, garden sheers, shovels and even your reel lawnmowers, all with a zero carbon footprint. There is no need for you to buy new stuff. Your old stuff can be made new again!

Ikura from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ikura from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Support your local fishery! Washington does a very good job managing its commercial fisheries. So you know, when it’s caught in Washington waters, it is done so sustainably. Loki Fish catches Keta salmon, from which comes this Ikura, right here in Puget Sound. And this summer, they will also catch Pink Salmon here, too. Wilson Fish catches King Salmon along the Washington Coast. Your support of these local fishing vessels at your Ballard Farmers Market ensures their ability to keep catching the best fish around, and keep family traditions — and wages — alive, as well!

Wines from Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wines from Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Support Puget Sound Appellation wineries, like Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery. Most folks think all the wine grapes in Washington grow east of the Cascades, but the truth is that there is a robust grape-growing region right here in Puget Sound! Lopez produces three certified-organic estate wines from their island-grown grapes, including Madeleine AngevineSiegerrebe and Wave Crest White. These wines win many awards, and we are lucky to have them right here at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Fresh kombucha from CommuniTea. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh kombucha from CommuniTea. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cleanse your body, rejuvenate your soul, and reuse your bottle! Communi-Tea Kombucha let’s you do all three! This fermented tea beverage will give you a boost of energy, cure what ails you, and when you are ready for your next bottle, they will even take your old bottle back, wash it, and reuse it! Unfamiliar with kombucha? Try one of these handle 250 ml. bottles. This is the finest, freshest kombucha you will find anywhere!

Sunshine rings from Itali Lambertini. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sunshine rings from Itali Lambertini. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Reuse your gold… or someone else’s, at least. That’s what Port Townsend jeweler Itali Lambertini does. Gold mining around the world is very toxic and destructive, and many of us are familiar with the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, that threatens to destroy the largest wild salmon spawning grounds left on earth — home to more than half of the planet’s remaining wild salmon. And yet, there is plenty of gold already in circulation, mined decades and even centuries ago. So why go to some generic jewelry store in a mall to get a ring made of virgin gold that is the same as a thousand other rings, when you can get a unique ring, made with recycled gold, made by a local artist, right here at your Ballard Farmers Market? I mean, it’s not just the thought that counts. The materials and craftsmanship count, too!

Pea vines from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pea vines from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm & Education Center is another King County farm, and besides bringing us amazing local veggies, like these pea vines, in season now, they also operate an educational program that teaches children and adults alike all about organic farming and its benefits, right in Duvall! Of course, supporting them also means you are keeping your dollars recirculating in our local economy, thus creating local, living-wage jobs, instead of exporting your dollars to another state or country. Your support of local jobs means that local farmers are able to support you right back, as they, too, support local businesses. You see, a rising tide floats all boats. We all succeed together… or the alternative.

Kale, zucchini & collard chips from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Kale, zucchini & collard chips from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eat lower on the food chain! House of the Sun produces delicious, nutritious raw and vegan foods, like these awesome kale chips! They get their ingredients from Market farmers. They have a smaller carbon footprint, because they aren’t heating things to cook them. Not cooking foods preserves many nutrients that can be destroyed by cooking them. And you can get your savory and sweet snack on without having to go to the Big Box store to buys some over-packaged “food” made who knows where with who knows what!

Golden Harvest Bee Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Golden Harvest Bee Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eat local honey! Local honey, like from our own Golden Harvest Bee Ranch, supports to protection of local bees, which do a lot of the heavy lifting around here, pollinating most of the crops we know and love here at your Ballard Farmers Market. But did you know that the bees themselves are in trouble? And if they are in trouble, we are in trouble. There’s a thing called Colony Collapse Disorder that has devastated honey bee populations far and wide. So remember, while supporting your local bee can help you will allergies and sweeten your tea, you should also learn more about CCD and what you can do to stop it.

Pumpkin bread from d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pumpkin bread from d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eat gluten-free! More and more Americans are finding they have gluten sensitivity. But that is no longer a life-sentence of really crappy baked goods. Not at your Ballard Farmers Market, at least. That’s because we have d:floured gluten-free bakery, makers of all manner of sweet and savory gluten-free deliciousness that does not skimp on flavor in its pursuit of gluten-free goodies. Take this pumpkin bread, for instance. I beseech thee to find another pumpkin bread around that is better than this! Quite simply, whether or not you are avoiding gluten, you will love everything on d:floured’s tables.

Julianna from Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Julianna from Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Detox your home! Ascents Candles makes their candles with natural oils, not petroleum products, which means you are not filling your home with toxic fumes when you burn them. Plus, they are scented with various natural essential oils that will help set the mood, whatever mood you are aiming for. And if you’re eating dinner and want no scent at all from your candles, they’ve got them, too. Because after all, Earth Day ultimately starts at home!

One more way to celebrate Earth Day every Sunday is to 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.

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, September 30th: Hard Cider, Pearl Onions, Concord Grapes, Fresh Peanuts & One Adorable Child Eating Broccoli!

September 29, 2012

Hard ciders from Alpenfire Cider. Photo courtesy Alpenfire Cider.

It’s the last Sunday of the month, and that means Finnriver Cidery will let one of its fellow cider makers take over their spot at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Today’s special guest is Alpenfire Cider, from Port Townsend. Their cidery is nestled in the woods at the end of a street on the west side of PT, surrounded by orchards. They make great hard ciders with their own twist on them, and they also make amazing vinegars, too! Plus, they’re certified organic!

Prairie Spy apples from Booth Canyon Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Booth Canyon Orchards is located in the beautiful Methow Valley in Okanogan County. They grow amazing tree fruit — many wonderful heirloom varieties. Like these beautiful Prairie Spy apples. Stop by and learn all about their many amazing apples and pears, and take some home to try!

Fresh green peanuts from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look, kids! It’s fresh peanut season at Alvarez Organic Farms! Take them home and boil them in a big pot of heavily salted water for a great Southern-style treat. Eat them freshly boiled, or drain them, let them dry a little, and then put them on a baking sheet in the oven for a while for fresh-roasted salted peanuts. Or for unsalted, you can just put them straight in the oven and roast them without boiling them.

Flavor Grenade pluots from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, there are so many kinds of pluots, and they come in so many sizes and colors, but one of the coolest looking pluots, and the one I think has the most macho name, is the Flavor Grenade pluot, like these, above, from Collins Family Orchards. And hey, just like their name suggests, they explode with flavor!

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

Here’s a little rebirth of spring for you! Gaia’s Natural Goods has a fresh crop of pea vines! I love these just sauteed with a little garlic in some olive oil, and imagine serving some local halibut from Wilson Fish, if you get here early enough to get any, or a nice grilled pork chop from Olsen Farms, over a bed of sauteed pea vines, eh? Yummers! They’ve also got carrotsberries and more today, too.

Concord grapes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

There are lots of grapes coming through your Ballard Farmers Market now, ready for making jelly, wine, sauces, raisins or just eating fresh off the vine. These are Concord grapes from Lyall Farms. They grow on the slopes along the east side of the Columbia River in Mattawa. They’re sweet, juicy and delicious!

Tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And how’s about early fall, farm-fresh tomatoes? Just look at these beauties from Alm Hill Gardens. Big ones. Little ones. Slicers, poachers. Sweeter ones, more acidic ones. And in all sorts of great colors to liven up your meal! Enjoy them right now. You will miss local, farm-fresh tomatoes come winter!

A dizzying variety of flower bulbs from Choice Bulb Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D Lyons.

It’s getting into bulb planting season again, and now’s a great time to stop by Choice Bulb Farms to check out the dozens of varieties of flower bulbs they have to offer. Remember, the bulbs you plant this fall will provide beautiful flowers next spring and summer!

Red Bartlett pears from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is peak season for fall tree fruit at your Ballard Farmers Market, so revel in it.  Looks like a record year! Try out these red Bartlett pears from Tiny’s Organic Produce, for instance. And they’ve got lots of apples and pluots now, too!

Radicchio from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah, radicchio! The stunningly beautiful, bitter chicory favored by Italians everywhere. Grill it. Add it to salads. Heck, top a sandwich with it. It’ll add color and a nice bite to many a dish. I love the stuff. Find these lovely heads of radicchio at Growing Things Farm.

Little Marina loves her some Oxbow Farm broccoli! Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

If there was ever a poster child for eating right, I think little Marina here would be it. Her mom had just purchased this lovely head of broccoli from Oxbow Farm last week, and Marina just had to hold it for mom. Mom soon found out why, as Marina began devouring it on the spot. I loved it when mom calmly asked Marina, “Please don’t eat all of it before we get home. We won’t have any for dinner.”

Red pearl onions from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish this week’s epistle with one of my favorite things — pearl onions. These little jewels are very hard to grow, so not many farms around here grow them. And yet, they are so amazing caramelized whole with some Sea Breeze bacon and then tossed with some hericot vert beans from Stoney Plains Organic Farm — a true treat! Well, lucky us, Boistfort Valley Farm has some of these cured red pearl onions right now! But they won’t last long!

Finally, another reminder to please bring your own bags today, and 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.

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.