Posts Tagged ‘pepper wreathes’

Sunday, November 17th: Eat Local For Thanksgiving & Every Day!

November 16, 2013
Chef Dustin Ronspies of Art of the Table during his 2011 Eat Local For Thanksgiving cooking demonstration. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chef Dustin Ronspies of Art of the Table during his 2011 Eat Local For Thanksgiving cooking demonstration. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! There’s no fighting it. We have reached the holiday season, and that means lots of festive eating will be going on. Your Ballard Farmers Market is open year-round with lots of local deliciousness, so really, we make it easy to build your holiday meals, and your everyday meals, around great, local food produced by great local people. And to help get your creative juices (and your salivary glands) flowing, this week and next, we offer our annual Eat Local For Thanksgiving cooking demonstration series at noon under the red Cooking Demonstration tent. Today, we welcome our old buddy, Chef Dustin Ronspies from Art of the Table. He has been building his restaurant menus around what is fresh and local at your Ballard Farmers Market since 2007, so if anyone can show you a tip or two for adding more localiciousness to your holidays, he can!

Conference pears from Booth Canyon Orchard. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Conference pears from Booth Canyon Orchard. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just two more weeks to get amazing heirloom pears from Booth Canyon Orchard. Their inventory of these delicious Conference pears, as well as ComiceD’Anjou and Dana Hovey pears is just about exhausted for 2013, so take advantage and stock up this week and next, while you can.

Chile pepper wreathe from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chile pepper wreathe from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The season is winding down for our friends from Alvarez Organic Farms, too. Stop by now and stock up on great storage crops like onionsgarlicshallots and potatoes, as well as dried chiles, and these gorgeous pepper wreathes and strings.

Whole grains from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Whole grains from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s Organic Produce has lots of great veggies right now, from parsnips to celery root to Brussels sprouts, as well as tender greens that will not be around much longer, like bok choychard and arugula. They also have delicious, local whole grains like red wheatrye and triticale. Try some out as a side dish this holiday season.

Honey crisp apples from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Honey crisp apples from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Whether just for munching, for pies, sauce or roasting, Collins Family Orchards has an apple for you. Try out these honey crisp apples, for instance. They are crisp and full of flavor, great for the kiddies’ lunch box or that elegant artisan cheese platter.

Delicata winter squash from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Delicata winter squash from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We are in serious winter squash weather now, aren’t we? There is just something so comforting and cozy about roasted delicata squash from One Leaf Farm on a cold, dark, wet night. The oven warms up the kitchen. The sweet, luscious squash warms up your soul.

Cabernet Franc from Kitzke Cellars. Photo courtesy Kitzke Cellars.

Cabernet Franc from Kitzke Cellars. Photo courtesy Kitzke Cellars.

It is tasting day at Kitzke Cellars. Stop by today to give their lineup a test drive right at your Ballard Farmers Market. Then, once you find the varieties of wine you like best, you can stock up for the holidays, ready with the perfect wine for every occasion, be it a friend’s party, an elegant dinner or a gift for your boss. And with Kitzke’s award-winning collection of wines, you are sure to find at least one you will love.

Shiitake mushrooms from Sno-Valley Mushrooms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Shiitake mushrooms from Sno-Valley Mushrooms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just in time for fast-approaching holiday feasts, we welcome the return of Sno-Valley Mushrooms. They cultivate great mushrooms, like these shiitake mushrooms, over in Duvall. And considering that it is also chicken soup season, think about adding mushrooms to the pot, too.

Sweet potato pie from Simply Soulful. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet potato pie from Simply Soulful. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And don’t forget to check out our newest vendor, Simply Soulful. They simply make the best sweet potato pies from scratch using Lyall Farms sweet potatoes and freshly-made crust. Stop by for a sample, and then put your orders in for next week!

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 27th: It’s “Buy Direct From The Local Producer” Sunday! (Okay, I just made that up, but you get the point.)

November 27, 2011

Spirited Apple Wine from Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Photo courtesy Finnriver.

Okay, folks, we’ve made it through the Thanksgiving gorge, the Black Friday riots, and Small Business Saturday (which we fully endorse, as small businesses have created 65% of all new jobs over the last 17 years, even without government bailouts and tax breaks). Now, it’s time for what I like to call, “Buy Direct From The Local Producer Sunday.” And where better to do that than right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, where every vendor is a local producer. Yes, these folks are small business owners, but more importantly, they are all producing what they are selling right here in Washington, then selling it directly to you. You can’t get much more of a face-behind-the-product than this. So give a gift with true meaning. It’ll be unique, local, have a story and face to go with it, and it will create local jobs, which in turn might end up ultimately saving yours! Pretty cool, eh?

Today, we welcome back Finnriver Farm & Cidery, and their amazing line of estate ciders, fruit wines and brandies made on their farm in Chimacum with much of their own fruit. Heck, they even grow most of the hops used in their hopped cider. And today, Ballard Farmers Market will be the only place in Seattle to get a bottle or three of their Spirited Apple Wine, pictured above. (Go to the Ballard Farmers Market Facebook page for info on a special offer just for you today from Finnriver!)

Taste test cups from Naked Pottery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Not the sexiest photo ever, but what you see here is something revolutionary. These are three cups of tea — one in plastic, one in glazed ceramic and one in a Naked Pottery cup. It is part of an informal taste test we did this past April. See, Naked Pottery likes to rave about how their pottery actually improves the flavor of, well, just about everything, from whiskey to breakfast cereal to, um, tea. It’s some sort of a chemistry thing between the particular clay they use and the food or beverage in it. In most cases, the result is a cleaner, less bitter flavor. Now, I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t experienced it firsthand. but indeed, the tea in the Naked Pottery tea cup was smoother and less bitter tasting than the glazed ceramic cup, and, of course, the plastic had a chemical taste. We also tasted one of their bowls against a steel bowl with some of Daddy’s Muesli and soy milk. Again, the Naked Pottery bowl’s food tasted better. Give it a shot this week, and then buy it for everyone on your gift list this holiday season!

Last call for pepper wreathes and strands from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This may be the last week for Alvarez Organic Farms at your Ballard Farmers Market for the 2011 season, so now’s the time to stock up on garlic, onions, potatoes, dried peppers, dried beans, winter squash and their amazing pepper wreathes and strands.

Teas from Sip-T. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sip-T has returned to your Ballard Farmers Market with their wonderful artisan tea blends they handcraft in Bellingham. Stop by for a sample, and then grab some herbal deliciousness to warm you up during the long, dark, wet, cold Northwest winter. And hey, their teas make for great stocking stuffers, too!

Peanut brittle from Pete's Perfect Butter Toffee. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look kids, Pete’s Perfect Butter Toffee has branched out again — this time to the glorious world of peanut brittle. Woohoo!!! Break out the good set of chompers, grandpa, and run (or shuffle) down to see Pete right this very second! Trust me, you will not survive another week without this stuff.

Shaving kit from Brown Butterfly. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let me put this as simply and clearly as I can… Brown Butterfly makes the finest shaving soap I have ever used. If that special person in your life uses shaving soap, they will be eternally grateful for a gift of this shaving soap. And notice that I was gender neutral here. Yes, this stuff works just as well on faces as it does on legs. And it is formulated in a way that nurtures, instead of harming, your skin. And if you are still using foam from a can, it is time to kick that habit. This stuff is less wasteful, less destructive to the environment, better for your skin, less expensive, and best of all, you get it direct from the people who make it. And if you, or your special someone, needs to kick the can and join the shaving soap revolution, Brown Butterfly has these complete shaving kits to get you and yours started.

Corrine "Gypsy" Mirenda and her Gypsy Beaded Creations. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Corrine Mirenda makes a lovely collection of knitted wares and beaded jewelry that is bound to fill a slot on your holiday gift list. Everything she makes is truly unique — one-of-a-kind items for your one-of-a-kind loved ones. This year, give a gift that truly does have meaning, a story and a face behind it.

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

Looking for a unique, delicious and healthy snack, especially after your Thanksgiving gorge? How about some of these kale & collard chips from House of the Sun? They use local ingredients from Market farmers to make them, and they are both raw and vegan. What? Raw? How’s that, you say? Simple. They dehydrate them instead of roasting them. Mystery solved. Appetite quenched. Deliciousness had by all.

Emmer pappardelle from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We all know and love Bluebird Grain Farms and their incomparable emmer, right? Well the good folks at Pasteria Lucchese have begun making pasta from it — emmer pappardelle and emmer fettucine. They use Bluebird’s emmer flour to make a toothsome, nutty, whole grain pasta that is perfect this time of year. Toss some of it with some of Wilson’s smoked king salmon and some frozen peas, or toss it with some Golden Glen Creamery butter and grab some Washington black truffles from Foraged & Found Edibles to shave over the top. Oh, yeah, baby! That’s living!

Chocolate and apple turnovers. from Little Prague European Bakery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And our bodies need a little extra boost to get us going on a cold, dark, wet morning, right? How about one of these yummy turnovers from Little Prague European Bakery? They’ve get ’em in chocolate and apple. Oh, the sweet deliciousness!

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

December 19, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check the What’s Fresh Now! listings in the upper right-hand corner of this page for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now. But please note that due to our recent cold weather, some crops may not be available as anticipated.

Sunday, November 21st: Everything You Need For Thanksgiving & Cold Weather!

November 21, 2010

Chef Peter Birk of Ray's Boathouse performing an Eat Local for Thanksgiving cooking demo in 2008. Photo copyright 2008 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The holiday season is already upon us, and our weather isn’t letting us forget it. Nothing like a blast of cold air to make any native Northerner think, “yup, it’s gotta be about Thanksgiving by now!” And indeed, it is. That great American holiday that is not remotely unique to this country. Indeed, every culture on earth has some sort of Thanksgiving celebration. But I think we Gringos may take it more seriously than just about anyone else. Heck, the whole bloody country shuts down for the day. Christmas, New Year’s Day and Independence Day aren’t as thoroughly observed in this country as Thanksgiving Day is. But I worry sometimes that we forget this day is about more than just football, family and feasting — it is first and foremost about being thankful for the ridiculous bounty we enjoy in this nation.

So let’s first give thanks for the land which, really, was taken from millions of people who were here before our ancestors showed up. After all, we can’t lose the irony that we celebrate this day with a feast purported to be modeled after one held amongst Pilgrims and natives in Plimouth, Massachusetts in the early 1600s. And as we feast, we should also give thanks for the land and the farmers that give us the bountiful tables over which we gather each year at this time. In fact, thank a farmer yourself today during your visit to your Ballard Farmers Market. And Eat Local for Thanksgiving. There really is no excuse not to make your entire table local this year. As you read this post today, take a moment as you look at the photos to reflect on just how thorough your Ballard Farmers Market is at supplying you with everything you could want on your table this Thursday. Take Cascade Harvest Coalition’s Eat Local for Thanksgiving pledge, and stop by for some great side dish ideas for Thanksgiving from Chef Peter Birk of Ray’s Boathouse during his 4th annual Eat Local for Thanksgiving cooking demonstration from noon-1 p.m. (You find his recipes already posted to this blog. Either scroll down, or click on Chef Recipes under categories in the right-hand menu.)

Turkeys looking a bit nervous at Alm Hill Farms. Photo courtesy Growing Washington.

Hey, you slackers! You’re in luck. Though all of our regular poultry farmers are already sold out of their turkeys for Thanksgiving, two other farms actually still have some to offer you: Alm Hill Gardens and Tiny’s Organic. Clayton from Alm Hill says his big birds (pictured above — no, that’s not a self-shot of Clayton) are 16-17 pounds each and are going for $5.49/pound. He doesn’t have many left, so check in early. And Tiny’s will have 15-20  heirloom turkeys to choose from in the low teens in weight. They have three heirloom varieties to choose from, though again, they are likely to go fast. Today, if you want one of these turkeys, you must not be a turkey yourself. Get up, bundle up, and get down to your Ballard Farmers Market early!

Brooke Lucy from Bluebird Grain Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Brooke Lucy from Bluebird Grain Farms will be back today with all their great grain and flour products. This will be their only day here until the Sunday before Christmas, so stock up. Also, not only will Bluebird feature its own cooking demonstration today, but their emmer flour will be featured in Chef Peter Birk’s cooking demonstration as well. So come get some great ideas for working with local grains, and in particular emmer, the most ancient of grains.

Carnival squash from Anselmo Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Anselmo Farms has some spectacular winter squash right now, like this carnival squash. You know you want to roast some of these bad boys up for T-Day, don’t you? Mmm. And please give thanks with us for Anselmo Farms as your Ballard Farmers Market’s founding farmer. They spent the first winter with us through the rain, snow, wind and cold, all by themselves, in the parking lot of the old US Bank, where the library now is. But for them, we might not be enjoying this Market today. And please remember, as you give thanks, that markets like this don’t just magically happen. A lot of hard work and dedication goes into them. And believe you me, we are thankful for the loyalty and support our Ballard community has shown us for the last 10 years. Oh, and thank you for voting your Ballard Farmers Market the best farmers market yet again in Seattle Magazine’s Best of 2010 issue, which hits newsstands this week.

Cheese maker Matthew Day from Mt. Townsend Creamery in one of his four cheese caves in Port Townsend. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for a great aged cheese for your holiday table? Have you ever tried Mt. Townsend Creamery’s Trailhead tomme? I love this stuff. And I love this photo of Mt. Townsend’s Matthew Day, looking like a king maker with shelf after shelf of Trailhead aging in one of their caves above his head. You know, at the moment, it is the only tomme available at your Ballard Farmers Market, what with the unfortunate absence of Estrella Family Creamery (who could use a couple of good pro bono attorneys to help them in their battle with the FDA, if you have any ideas), and with the Port Madison goats taking the rest of the year off to have babies.

Award winning wines from Lopez Island Vineyards. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you checked out our latest award-winning vendor, Lopez Island Vineyards? I mean, just check out this lineup of medal winning wines. Lopez Island Vineyards produces many wines unique to the Puget Sound Appellation of Washington, and they are all certified organic. So how about a bottle of truly local, and award winning, vino for your holiday table, eh?

Fresh celery from Red Barn Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, just how many of your holiday recipes call for celery? Like, just about all of them, right? Well, let Julie at Red Barn Farm hook you up with some of her amazingly crisp and delicious local celery.

Baguettes from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for great artisan bread for Thanksgiving… or for tonight? Ballard’s own Tall Grass Bakery has got you covered there. Did you know that Tall Grass got its start with us, even before we moved from Fremont to Ballard in 2000? Yup. Indeed, you might be surprised at just how much of your local food scene in the neighborhood grew out of your Ballard Farmers Market. Like one of the latest Ballard businesses, Platypus Breads, which can set you up with your gluten-free bread needs.

Chanterelle mushrooms from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I am guessing you will want to work some chanterelle mushrooms into your favorite stuffing this week, right? Well, several vendors have them today, like these beautiful specimens from Boistfort Valley Farm.

Brussels sprouts from Nash's. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And if you are like me, Brussels sprouts are a must on your Thanksgiving table. I like to sauté my Brussels sprouts, like these lovelies from Nash’s, with some bacon and shallots, and finish them off with a little white wine — all of which you will also find today at the Market.

Whoopie Pies from Cupcake Luv. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids, we’ve got a great new vendor at your Ballard Farmers Market this week: Cupcake Luv! Oh, and feeeeel the cupcake love, indeed! Honestly, I am not a huge cupcake fan, and the whole cupcake frenzy in this town kinda bores me, but when I was first introduced to the good folks at Cupcake Luv this past April as they were applying for our weekday markets, I fell in love with the Luv immediately. Besides the fact that their stuff is both creative and delicious, they actually are using all Washington flour, from Shepherd’s Grain. And they use as many ingredients direct from local producers as they can. My personal favorite is their Whoopie Pies, pictured above. Enjoy!

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

You’ll want to gussy up your abode for the holiday, and why not do it with one or more of these magnificent pepper wreathes and strands from Alvarez Organic Farms? You know, the same extended family works with the Alvarez’s every year stringing these gorgeous creations. They bring an innate sense of beauty to them in much the same way our many Hmong farmers do to their flower arrangements. And ain’t it cool that we get to be the beneficiaries of such wonderful cultural traditions? Let’s give some thanks for that, too!

Rio Grande russet potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Potatoes are a must for your Thanksgiving table, and whether you plan to boil, mash, pan-fry, roast or steam them, Olsen Farms has the perfect potato for you. Like these nice, starchy Rio Grande russets, perfect for mashing. In fact, Chef Peter Birk will be working with these potatoes today during his cooking demonstration today at noon.

Empire apples from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Be they for saucing, juicing, making pies, adding to salads or eat right off the core, apples are a must this week, and every week. Being from New York State originally — from the farm country of the Mid-Hudson Valley — I grew up on Macintosh apples. Well, Collins Family Orchards has a wonderful cousin of the Mac, known as the Empire apple, which has a similar clean, sweet and tart flavor and a great crunch, and as my family makes sauce, cider, pie and all with Macs, I imagine you can do the same with these puppies. You can thank me later.

A variety of dairy products from Golden Glen Creamery. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Whether it is cheese, butter or milk, you need it, and Golden Glen Creamery has it. In fact, their butter is the only farmstead butter in Washington. And the fact that they bottle their milk in refillable glass is not only good for the environment, it makes their milk taste better, too.

Pecan pie from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And hey, you are going to be doing enough cooking this week… or maybe you are going to someone else’s house and have to bring dessert, but you are too busy, too much of a slacker or too inept in the kitchen to make it yourself. No problemo! Why not pickup a pie from Deborah’s Homemade Pies? She’s got apple, pecan and a bunch of other kinds, and I kid you not, they are the best friggin’ pies on the planet. And what makes a great pie? Great crust, and Deborah’s is perfect. Just don’t tell my dad.

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check the What’s Fresh Now! listings in the upper right-hand corner of this page for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now!