Posts Tagged ‘plant starts’

Sunday, March 17th: Celebrating St. Paddy’s Day While Planning For Easter & Passover!

March 16, 2013
Shamrock cookies from Grateful Bread Baking. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Shamrock cookies from Grateful Bread Baking. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Happy St. Paddy’s Day from your Ballard Farmers Market! It is said that everyone claims a bit of Irish blood every year at this time, but truth is that there are plenty of us mixed in amongst the Scandinavians and Amazon.comians here in Ballard. And while the streets may run green with beer of questionable origins in other communities today, we Ballardites are more likely to cozy up this evening to a fine microbrew or snifter of Irish whiskey. Whatever your poison, get your day going right at your Ballard Farmers Market, perhaps with some of these shamrock cookies from Grateful Bread Baking, or get your greens on at any number of farms in the Market, as we are surprisingly greens-rich for this early in the year!

Smoked ham from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Smoked ham from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And in a year in which seemingly every Sunday has been some sort of holiday, in two weeks comes Easter Sunday. Your Ballard Farmers Market will be open for you that day, but you might want to lay claim to one of these hams from Skagit River Ranch today, as they are sure to be sold out two weeks from today. Now, if you prefer lamb, they may still have some today, too, and if you are planning for Passover, which begins next Monday at sundown, perhaps you are in the market for a chicken or a nice brisket. Skagit River Ranch has that covered, too!

Desiree potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Desiree potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You will need potatoes to go with your corned beef tonight, or your holiday meals in the coming weeks, and Olsen Farms has that covered and then some. For corned beef, I prefer these desiree potatoes, as they hold up well in the pot with the other ingredients, and they absorb the flavors nicely. However, with lamb, ham or chicken, you might have your own favorite. They’ve got many varieties, so you will be sure to find what you need. And Olsen, too, has lambbeef roasts and hams for Easter.

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

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

I also like to add rutabagas to my pot with my corned beef, like these from Nash’s Organic Produce. In Ireland, they call these “turnips” or “Swedes”, harkening back to their introduction to the Emerald Isle by the Vikings centuries ago before the Brits took over and ruled it with an iron fist for 700 years. Of course, I say this in the context of this day in which we celebrate St. Patrick, the patron saint of, well, Catholicism in Ireland who supposedly drove the “snakes” out of Ireland even before the Vikings showed up, though the only snakes in Ireland at the time were actually the Druids, who used the image of a snake in much of their symbolism. But I digress. I put my bagas in the pot up to an hour before its time to serve dinner. Because they are very dense, they cook slowly, but they beautifully absorb all to flavors and spices of your corned beef, and they become perfectly tender as they do.

GaiasGreensKailanKaleChardMustardsBeets

Gaosheng from Gaia’s Natural Goods holding (clockwise, from bottom left) kailan, a golden beet, kale, chard and mustard greens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Of course, your Ballard Farmers Market is full of greens for St. Paddy’s Day. This is Gaosheng from Gaia’s Natural Goods, and she holds in her arms several kinds of greens her family is currently harvesting up in Snohomish. In the lower lefthand corner, those flowery, light-green greens are kailan, an Asian green popular in China and Southeast Asian. Then there is kalechard and mustard greens on the lower right, as well as a golden beet peaking out in front of her right shoulder. Greens are coming on earlier this year than the past few, and that is worthy of holiday celebrations in and of itself, if you ask me.

Kids play at Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Kids play at Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just kidding. That’s what this kid is doing. Yup, this is one of the many adorable baby goats Gil and I got to meet last week on our visit to Twin Oaks Creamery in Chehalis. These kids have a good life, romping and roughhousing with each other in their playhouse. Meanwhile, their moms are producing wonderful goat milk which Twin Oaks is bottling, as well as making cheese and yogurt with it.

KaYing, a.k.a., The Old Farmer. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

KaYing, a.k.a., The Old Farmer. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

KaYing, a.k.a., The Old Farmer, returns this week with her beautiful flower bouquets. Also returning this week are Mee Gardens, Pa Gardens and Ia’s Garden. What this means for you is that, if you return home this evening without a bouquet of beautiful, fresh flowers from one of the six farms selling them at your Ballard Farmers Market, you might as well get yourself acquainted with your couch, cuz that’s where you will be sleeping tonight!

Mixed radish starts from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Mixed radish starts from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know it’s pretty darn near spring when the veggie starts show up at Stoney Plains Organic Farm. This is a flat of mixed radishes, ready for you to get your early spring garden going. After all, spring does start this coming week, right? And ain’t it about time? Of course, we now get to spend the next couple of weeks having to drive directly into the setting sun that is due west in the evening, but I think we’ll survive. Besides, odds are we won’t be able to see it anyway!

Sharon & Gary McCool from Rosecrest Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sharon & Gary McCool from Rosecrest Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rosecrest Farm returns to your Ballard Farmers Market with lots of their lovely Swiss cheeses today, after a one-week hiatus. Gil and I also visited Rosecrest last week during our trip to Chehalis. This is a photo of Sharon & Gary McCool in front of their Cheese Haus, which is housed in a very old shop adjacent to their 99-year-old historic barn. Gary manages the cows while Sharon makes the cheese. And did you know that their cheese is made from certified organic milk? Yup. In fact, whatever doesn’t go into making cheese ends up going in cartons from Organic Valley, to whom they sell some of the milk they produce. And you might wonder how Swiss Cheese factors into our holiday theme today. Well, I’m glad you asked! You may be surprised to learn that much of “Swiss” cheese in American deli cases — you know, that squared block of cheese with the big holes in it that is probably banned in Switzerland — is made by Kerrygold in Ireland! That’s right! Americans by the millions are making reuben sandwiches with Irish “Swiss” cheese. Seriously, you gotta love that!

An "Irish" marion berry pie from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

An “Irish” marion berry pie from Deborah’s Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let us finish this week’s epistolic tribute to St. Patrick, the Irish, and holidaze to come, with a shamrock-adorned marion berry pie from Deborah’s Homemade Pies. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again — Deborah quite simply makes the best pies on earth. But let’s face it. There’s a lot more fun going on here than just her pieliciousness. There is the shamrock itself, and then there is that fact that we just celebrated Universal Pie Day on March 14th. And my personal favorite is getting to make silly references to troubled Mayor Marion Barry of Washington, D.C. But in the end, what is most entertaining about this pie is eating it. Enjoy!

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.

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, March 25th: We Present Proof Spring Is Truly Here!

March 25, 2012

Cascadian Edible Landscapes will help you eat your yard. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yes, it is spring! Both the calendar and the weather agree on this this weekend! And that means it is time to start planning how you will eat your yard this year. To that end, we welcome the return of Cascadian Edible Landscapes to your Ballard Farmers Market. They’ve got all manner of fruit, vegetable and herb starts ready to go into the ground right now, and they can help you get your yard in shape for your garden, too.

KaYing, a.k.a., The Old Farmer. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

More proof that it is, in fact, spring, is the return of all of our flower farmers today — Mee Garden, Pa Garden, Ia’s and, above, The Old Farmer. Nowhere will you find fresher, more beautiful flowers from a more local source, or at a better price, than at your Ballard Farmers Market, unless, of course, you grow them yourself. And even then, odds are you couldn’t arrange them as well!

Fresh, Washington coastal red king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This sure sign of spring is nothing short of stunning! Yes, Wilson Fish will have the first fresh king salmon of 2012! State authorities had hinted at the possibility of an early opener on the Washington coast this spring, but Gene was convinced it was an April Fools prank. But hey, April Fools Day isn’t until next Sunday. So Gene called us on his way back from the coast this evening to let us know it is salmon time, baby! Woohoo!!! You see, apparently there will be a record salmon run on the Washington coast this year — well, a record for modern times, anyway. But get here early. It will sell out fast! (This just in: in a cruel twist of irony, the early April Fools joke was clearly played on me! It is fresh halibut and true cod today at Wilson Fish. Salmon next week. We’ll suffer through it!)

Fresh-cut herbs from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Children’s Garden has plenty of gorgeous flowers. They also have plenty of stuff for us to eat, as well! And what is truly exciting is that they are already harvesting early spring herbs like parsleychives and mint! They also still have plenty of tender kale and chard.

Over-winter broccoli from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Our sixth flower farmer, Alm Hill Gardens, has plenty of tulips and other beautiful flowers right now, too. And then there are edible flowers like these over-winter broccoli florets. They are sweet and delicious, and you have been craving local broccoli for a couple of months now, right? Indulge yourself! It’s spring! Celebrate!!!

Molten chocolate cake from Hot Cakes. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And if all this isn’t enough to make you run naked through the streets or pass out from hyperventilation, today, we welcome back Hot Cakes to your Ballard Farmers Market. Hot Cakes is in the process of opening a storefront just north of the Market, where it will share with us even more of their amazing sweets made from local ingredients. Like these molten chocolate cakes, from which the name Hot Cakes originates, made with local flour and Theo chocolate, sold to you in its own oven-safe jar, ready for you to take home, heat up, and enjoy all hot and delicious!

Dante's Inferno Dogs. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And, of course, you can always grab a snack in the midst of your trip to your Ballard Farmers Market. Besides the ever increasing number of local, storefront eateries lining Ballard Avenue, many featuring our market farmers on their menus, our own Patty Pan Grill makes tasty vittles using market ingredients, and Dante’s Inferno Dogs offers all-natural, grass-fed beef hot dogs from Whidbey Island’s 3 Sisters ranch.

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, March 7th: Miner’s Lettuce, Chickweed, Daffodils, Strawberry Starts & Other Undeniable Signs Spring Is Here To Stay!

March 7, 2010

Daffodils from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing up in Northern New York, we had daffodils this time of year, too. The problem was that they were imported from, well, here, probably, since it was still a frozen tundra there this time of year. Good thing I live here now, eh? While the rest of the country is still battling snow, we are thoroughly diggin’ this whole El Nino thing, aren’t we? To that end, do pickup a beautiful bouquet of fresh daffodils from Children’s Garden to brighten up your home without having to disrupt the explosion of yellow and white that yours are giving your yard.

Fresh, tasty Miner's lettuce from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another sure sign of spring that we lacked back East is Miner’s lettuce, a.k.a., claytonia or winter purslane. Native to our region, it gets its name because early miners would rely on it for an excellent source of nutrition after long, hard winters. Find cultivated Miner’s lettuce (above) from Full Circle Farm, or wild-harvested from Foraged & Found Edibles.

Fresh chickweed from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It was a pair of cockatiels that originally taught me to appreciate that chickweed is indeed a tasty treat. But it is Nash’s Organic Produce that I first saw actually bring it to market. Chickweed is a highly nutritious green, like Miner’s lettuce, that is perfect this time of year to give our bodies a kick-start out of the winter blues.

Strawberry starts from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As our ridiculously warm winter quickly heads officially into spring, many farmers are offering plant starts for your garden. Take these strawberry starts from Stoney Plains, for instance. Plant these puppies now, and you’ll be enjoying incredible strawberries right out of your own yard come June.

A trotter & a leg from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Not necessarily a sign of spring, a trotter and a smoked hock is a sign of pork-o-liciousness. Think of all the wonderful dishes you can enhance with these beauties from Sea Breeze Farm. And they are a sure sign that their case will also be full of other fresh, yummy cuts o’ fresh pig. Yay!

Fresh fudge from Pete's Perfect Butter Toffee. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And there is nothing I can do to tie this gorgeous fudge to spring, other than to say that any time of year is a good time for fudge. You’ll find this fudge at Pete’s Perfect Butter Toffee. You’ll find Pete there, too.

Spicy salad mix from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Back on the spring theme again, how about some tasty, peppy spicy salad mix from Alm Hill Gardens. Lucky for us, the warm winter has meant that salad mixes have returned with a vengeance to your Ballard Farmers Market, which makes our mouths and our bodies very, very happy.

Beef bacon from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Back off the spring theme again, how about some beef bacon from Olsen Farms. You know Olsen for the bazillion kinds of potatoes they grow in the NE corner of our fine state. They have a potato for every application you can think of, and for several you have yet to think of. They also have wonderful beef and lamb, and from that beef they make this beef bacon. We all need more bacon in our lives, so give some of this a try, eh?

Gala apples from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You will still find plenty of apples at your Ballard Farmers Market, like these gala apples from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Tiny’s also has a great line of jams. and dried fruit, too.

And remember, your Ballard Farmers Market is chock full of all sorts of goodness for  your kitchen, from meat, seafood, poultry, cheese, to all sorts of fruits and veggies, baked goods, sauces, confections, fresh-cut flowers and fresh milled flours, plants for the garden, wild mushrooms, and on and on. For a fuller accounting of what you’ll find at the Market today, go to “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner.