Posts Tagged ‘porcini mushrooms’

Sunday, September 29th: Happy Fall! (In Case You Hadn’t Noticed.)

September 28, 2013
Dolgo crabapples from Jerzy Boyz. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dolgo crabapples from Jerzy Boyz. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The hail storms that devastated much of Booth Canyon Orchard’s 2013 crop, of which I wrote last week, also hit Jerzy Boyz hard. That is why they are only coming every other week this fall, as their supply of heirloom tree fruit is greatly diminished. The good news is, this is one of those weeks! And with any luck, they will still have some of these heirloom Dolgo crabapples for us. Think pies, jams, even wine. Few farms grow them around here, and those that do tend to use them as a pollinator. But they are a special little apple, so enjoy them while you can!

Sweet corn from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet corn from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It may be the last Sunday in September, and the winds may already be howling, but we are still seeing the arrival of new harvests of sweet corn! This lovely corn is from Gaia’s Harmony Farm up in Snohomish. In the immortal words of Garrison Keillor, “Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn.” So enjoy it while you can!

Wines from Kitzke Cellars. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wines from Kitzke Cellars. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is tasting day at Kitzke Cellars from Richland, Washington. Stop by to sample their award-winning lineup of wines, including their double gold medal winning 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, on the right above.

Blackberries from Hayton Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Blackberries from Hayton Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Though most fresh berries have taken their leave of us already this fall, you will still find these lovely blackberries in abundance from Hayton Farms today at your Ballard Farmers Market. So grab a flat or three today, as soon, you won’t be seeing them again for many months!

Red radishes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red radishes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I heart farm-fresh, local radishes, and I, for one, will miss them over the winter. See, they just don’t like the cold all that much. Radishes may be making a resurgence now, but you likely won’t see radishes for several months once winter hits. Therefore, you should revel in them now! These beauties are from Stoney Plains Organic Farm, and they are delish!

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

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

Have you tried the newest addition to the coolers at Skagit River Ranch? It is bratwurst, made from their delicious pigs, and because I care so much about you all, I did some careful quality control testing on a package of these this past week, and they are spectabulous! Grab a jar of your favorite mustard and some caraway sauerkraut from Firefly Kitchens, and you are good to go, people! You can thank me later.

Flavor Grenade Pluots from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Flavor Grenade Pluots from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How’s about some late-season pluots from Collins Family Orchards in the form of these colorful and, as the name suggests, exploding with deliciousness, Flavor Grenade pluots?

Winter Luxury pumpkins from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter Luxury pumpkins from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

If like our weather, you are charging headlong into fall, you can’t do it any better than with these so aptly named Winter Luxury pumpkins from One Leaf Farm. In as much as they are stunningly beautiful, they are even more delicious. This is a great pie pumpkin, or simply use it as you would any winter squash. They have a gorgeous texture and a lovely sweetness and flavor that may have you wondering why you ever bothering with any other pumpkins.

Wild porcini mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wild porcini mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wild mushrooms are loving our fall, so far. Stop by Foraged & Found Edibles today for some yellow or white chanterelle mushrooms, some hedgehog mushroomslobster mushrooms or these gorgeous porcini mushrooms.

D.H. Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

D.H. Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These D H Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchards are a lovely, late-season peach. They are big, beautiful, sweet and juicy — one last big blast of summer. Few things can top a farm-fresh Washington peach, so enjoy them one last time this season!

Delicata winter squash from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Delicata winter squash from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As all the winter squash begins pouring into the Market this time of year, I often think, “it’s still a bit too warm to fire up the oven and roast squash.” Well, not this week! So dive headlong into the sea of squashliciousness. I recommend starting with some of this delicata squash from Alm Hill Gardens (a.k.a., Growing Washington). It is sweet, with a gorgeous texture. It roasts nicely in just 20-30 minutes. And you can even eat the skin! I like to simply cut it in half length-wise, scoop out the seeds, slather it will olive oil, and roast it face-down in a baking dish until tender, though you can also slice it thin and sauté it. And don’t throw those seeds in the composts! Oil them up, salt them, and roast them, too, for a lovely, crunchy snack.

Sesame loaf (left) and whole grain sandwich bread from d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sesame loaf (left) and whole grain sandwich bread from d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Grab a loaf of this gluten-free sandwich bread from nuflours gluten-free bakery today, or any of their other goodies.  Their entire lineup is irresistible, whether you require gluten-free products or not. From cookies to artisan loaves to sweet breads to brownies, it’s all good!

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, May 12th: Happy Mother’s Day!

May 11, 2013
KaYing, The Old Farmer, arranging one of her beautiful bouquets of flowers. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

KaYing, The Old Farmer, arranging one of her beautiful bouquets of flowers. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Mother’s Day is not a Hallmark holiday. It has far cooler, and more important, roots than that. In fact, Julia Ward Howe proclaimed the first Mother’s Day in 1870 as an anti-war holiday in response to the U.S. Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. She was tired of mothers having to bury their sons. Today, Mother’s Day is celebrated worldwide at many different times of year in different countries to honor the important role of mothers in our lives and societies. Heck, looking at the list of international dates, one could reasonably say that every day is Mother’s Day somewhere! Now, we know that round about all of you within the sound of my keystrokes plan to pick up flowers today from one of our seven flower farmers at your Ballard Farmers Market, like KaYing, a.k.a., The Old Farmer. I suspect she will be channeling the spirit of Julia Ward Howe today, given what she’s seen in her time on earth.

My advice to you is to arrive early today for the best selection of flowers, and to pack some patience with you, as there will be lines. But given our beautiful weather lately, the flower selection this year for Mother’s Day is wonderful. So get mom some flowers that mean something. Get local flowers with a face behind them. She will appreciate what that means. After all, she gets that whole nurturing thing. Oh, and peace be with you!

Sparkling ciders from Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sparkling ciders from Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, we celebrate the return of Finnriver Farm & Cidery to your Ballard Farmers Market! They produce a wonderful selection of artisan hard ciders and fruit dessert wines on their farm over in Chimacum in Jefferson County. They’ve been busy bottling ciders of 2012 vintage in recent weeks, and now it is time for you to treat mom with some… and yourself!

Red Leaf Lettuce from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red Leaf Lettuce from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Today also marks the glorious return of Carnation’s Summer Run Farm for the 2013 season. Summer Run is famous for their beautiful and ginormous heads of lettuce, like this red leaf lettuce. Tired of living without great, local lettuce, or of eating that so-called “lettuce” from the Big Box stores all winter that seem devoid of flavor? Your long, dark winter is over! And doesn’t mom deserve a nice salad made by you tonight for dinner?

Fresh, wild, Washington king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh, wild, Washington king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of great dinners for mom, how’s about some wild Washington king salmon, caught just off of the Washington Coast by Wilson Fish? They like to say, “It’s so fresh, it’s from the future!” And frankly, that’s not far from the truth. If you’ve never had this king salmon, and you are thinking of holding out for Copper River salmon at almost twice the price, you need to forget the TV hype and give this a try. Once you’ve tried it, you won’t go back to that over-priced stuff from Alaska with all the frequent flyer miles!

Asparagus from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Asparagus from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know what goes great with king salmon? Asparagus, of course. And Alm Hill Gardens grows some of the sweetest, most tender and delicious asparagus anywhere right up on the Canadian border in Whatcom County. Grill your mom some of that salmon, and side it with some of this asparagus, and you will be golden for the rest of the year!

It's green garlic season at Alvarez Organic Farms! Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s green garlic season at Alvarez Organic Farms! Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And you know what goes great with asparagus? Green garlic! Every spring about this time, farmers like Alvarez Organic Farms thin their garlic fields. They bring the thinned out baby garlic, know as green or spring garlic, to Market for us to enjoy. It is sweet, mildly garlicky, and you can eat the whole thing, from root to tip! Think of it like a green onion. You can grill them or sauté them, but I tend to like them best tossed in a big glass baking dish with olive oil, salt & pepper, some spring sweet onions, asparagus and wild morel mushrooms

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

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

Or wild porcini mushrooms, if you like. Foraged & Found Edibles has them both today! In fact, the forests and coastline are providing us will all manner of deliciousness for mom’s day today, including wild watercressgoose tongue (that’s a plant, BTW), sea beans and more! So, stop by Foraged & Found, and grab some indigenous local goodness!

Strawberry plants from Red Barn Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Strawberry plants from Red Barn Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Today seems like as good a day as any to get that strawberry patch started for mom. And Red Barn Farm has these beautiful strawberry plants for it! They also have raspberry plantscabbage starts and plenty of other great things for your garden.

Tomato plants from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomato plants from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And if tomatoes, ripe from the vine in your yard or on your deck or porch, are the stuff of your dreams, check in with Stoney Plains Organic Farm. They have tomato plants in an amazing selection of varieties from which to choose, as well as racks and racks of other goodies for the planting!

Olive fougasse from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Olive fougasse from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget bread for mom’s dinner! And it is now olive fougasse season at Tall Grass Bakery. This stuff is so good, I can eat a whole loaf in a single sitting. Just don’t dillydally getting to Market today if you want any. This stuff, like many of today’s featured items, will sell out early, and you really don’t want to have to explain to mom that you don’t have any because you slept in, do you?

A variety of pies from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A variety of pies from Deborah’s Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, let us not forget dessert! Bring mom one of the best pies on earth from Deborah’s Homemade Pies. Made with local flour and lots of other local ingredients, there are many flavors from which to choose, as long as you get here early enough!

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 18th: Everything You Need For A Local Food Thanksgiving & Chef Dustin Ronspies, Too!

November 18, 2012

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

Thanksgiving is in four days, good people of Ballard, and today’s the day you need to stock up on all things local and delicious to make for the best holiday feast ever! Seems kind of early this year, right? Well, it is officially celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November, and this year, that’s the 22nd. Yuppers, it’s Eat Local For Thanksgiving time again, and to help you in this endeavor, our good buddy and culinary artist extraordinaire, Chef Dustin Ronspies of Art of the Table with be doing his annual cooking demonstration today at noon at your Ballard Farmers Market. Dustin, who builds his menu every week around what is fresh and in season at the Market, will show us some fun, delicious and simple holiday side dishes made with ingredients from our Market farmers!

Brilliant kales and chards from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Everyone has their own holiday menu traditions and favorites, and you’ll find most of what you desire right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, direct from the farm and so fresh, in fact, that even though you are buying it today, it will still be fresher on Thursday than if you bought it from a Big Box grocer on Wednesday, and you won’t have to fight with anyone in the parking lot or wait in the checkout line for an hour, either! Just check out how stunningly beautiful these chards and kales from Boistfort Valley Farm are, for instance. If hearty braising greens are on your menu, you can’t go wrong with these.

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

Winter squash is on the menu for many, and just take a gander at all the gorgeous varieties Alm Hill Gardens has for you right now. Kabochabutternutspaghettiacorn, and even pie pumpkins! They’ve also got broccolileeks and more!

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

One item I cannot live without on my holiday table is Brussels sprouts. Indeed, I have found many who use this holiday as a great means to education the jaded masses as to the wonders of these little cabbages that grow on stalks. Well, Nash’s Organic Produce has a lot of Brussels sprouts right now, but if memory serves me, that didn’t keep them from running out early last year. So get here early! Just be kind to your neighbors. We don’t want to have to deploy the tear gas and rubber bullets at their stand again this year.

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

The king of mushrooms, the mighty porcini mushroom returned to the tables of Foraged & Found Edibles last week, and hopefully, they will have plenty of them again this week, too. Nature can be fickle, but it has been a relatively unharsh week, mushroom wise. Of course, they should have plenty of chanterelles, too, great for adding to stuffing!

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

And speaking of stuffing, Grateful Bread Bakery should have more of their seasoned croutons for stuffing available for said purpose today, if their is any justice in the universe. Mind you, these tend to sell out very quickly, so again, get here plenty early! And grab some loaves for Thursday while you’re at it. Bread freezes very well, so just toss it in the freezer when you get home today, and then, half an hour before dinner Thursday, take it out, run it under warm water just to moisten, and slide it in the oven on low-ish heat while your turkey is resting and your stuffing is heating through. It’ll be warm and fresh like it was just made, and all your guests will worship you! (Heck, I’ve got an entire religion named after me from doing this.)

Quince jelly from Deluxe Foods. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You’ll need jams, jellies and chutneys from Deluxe Foods to accent various stages of your holiday meal. Their Spiced Plum Jam will round out that cheese plate perfectly to keep your guests out of your way in the kitchen whilst you finish up dinner. Apple Chutney and Quince Jelly are both perfect accompaniments to your turkey, and their Gingered Rhubarb is lovely with apple pie or over vanilla ice cream… or both!

Dried chili peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Last call for dried chili peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms, as well as garliconionsdried beans and more. It has already gotten quite cold over in the Yakima Valley, and they are simply running out of deliciousness for us this season. The good news is, everything they have currently will keep for months, so stock up on all that you will need now, and enjoy it all winter long!

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

If you are planning on adding oysters to your stuffing, you had better get down here very early. That’s because even though Hama Hama Oyster Company has been bringing more and more jars of shucked oysters each Sunday, they are still selling out long before the Market ends. So, no dillydallying, folks. Oysters wait for no one!

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

Hey, there is no shame in admitting you suck at making pies. I know I do. But you promised to bring dessert to your friends’ holiday feast, didn’t you? Well, fear not. Deborah’s Homemade Pies has you covered. From these lovely pumpkin pies, to apple, berry and pecan pies, Deborah has a pie to fit every palate, and best of all, her pies are — and I feel no hesitation saying this — the best pies on earth! Seriously. Her crusts are nothing short of divine, and she uses local ingredients right down to the flour from Washington’s own Shepherd’s Grain. (Okay, the pecans ain’t local, but would you rather she not make pecan pie?) But lest you have failed to get the point thus far, her pies will sell out quickly, regardless of the fact that she’s bringing many more than usual. Don’t be the poor sap who arrives at 2:30 p.m. expecting to find exactly what you desire. Those of us who are not snickering will be rolling our eyes at you. You’ve been warned!

Beautiful late fall bouquets from Mee Garden. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And how’s about some lovely local flowers for your dinner table. Our many flower farmers still have plenty of stunning bouquets waiting for you, like this gorgeous arrangements from Mee Garden. Again, they are so fresh, they’ll still look great come Thursday! Enjoy!

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

Let’s finish off with one more holiday necessity you might not otherwise think of until it’s too late, and your carving knife bounces off of your turkey. Meet Andrew Huesca, a.k.a., Your Knife Sharpening Guy. Andrew sharpens knives by hand, right at the Market, and he’ll be here today, all day, doing just that. So bring down your frustrating old knifes that are so dull, they could barely hope to bruise you, let alone actually cut you, drop them off with Andrew when you first get to the Market, and with any luck (meaning that not too many people beat you there, and you’re not too fast a shopper), your knives will be sharpened and ready to slice through the most stubborn of roast beasts with ease come Thursday!

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.

Sunday, October 9th: Award-Winning Wine, A Rainbow Of Chard, Fermented Vegetables, Concord Grapes, Porcini Mushrooms, Alfalfa Honey & So Much More!

October 9, 2011

Two more award-winning wines from Lopez Island Vineyards. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery has won many awards for its wines, and in particular for its 2009 Malbec & Madeleine Angevine, above. They have just released their 2010 Madeleine Angevine, of which they only made 40 cases. They’ve set aside 5 cases for their Ballard Farmers Market faithful. If you would like a bottle (or 2) of what could very well be the most flavorful “Mad Angie” they have ever produced (and it has been a consistent award winner for over 20 years), stop by their stall at the Market today, as it may not be here next week! Also, they are offering the last of their Platinum Award winning 2009 Malbec today. Grab some for the holidays now, while you can!

Carrie modeling broccoli from Alm Hill Gardens back in 2009 at Wallingford Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alm Hill’s beloved Carrie Palk is leaving us soon to return to Ohio to be closer to her family. So we’ve been honoring her with lots of fun photos of her modeling Alm Hill’s produce each week. Today’s photo was taken back in 2009 at Wallingford Farmers Market. One look at this photo, and even George Herbert Walker Bush would eat broccoli! And truth be told, this year’s broccoli crop is, itself, the best looking in years, and Alm Hill’s got lots of it right now.

Rainbow chard from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The nights are cooler now, and I don’t know about you, but I am spending a lot more time in the kitchen again. I loves me some tasty greens this time of year. Like this spectabulous rainbow chard from Oxbow Farms. Stunning, isn’t it? And sweet as can be! And they’ve got a rockin’ selection of kales now, too, plus collard greens are back. Woohoo! Heck, any day now, it’ll be Brussels sprouts season again. (I can hardly contain myself.)

Caraway sauerkraut from Firefly Kitchens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As we do the slow fade into the cold, dark, wet months, we bid adieu to some of our farmers who only have summer crops like berries and stone fruit. But that makes room for other familiar vendors to return, after spending the summer vending at our weekday markets. Like Firefly Kitchens, which has returned to your Ballard Farmers Market with all manner of fermented vegetable products made from local ingredients, many of which are sourced right here at the Market. One of my personal favorites is their caraway sauerkraut. This is the kraut made for bratwurst — perfect during Oktoberfest, right?

Giant Italian prunes from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Everyone, run for your lives! It’s the attack of the giant Italian prunes from Collins Family Orchards, and they’re here to overwhelm you with sweet, juicy deliciousness! Aaaaahhhh! You know, I just have to rant again about those wusses at the California Prune Board who decided we should stop calling these prunes because “prune” has a negative connotation. Maybe the stuff they produce does, but not these beauties. They are magnificent. And being a free-stone, they are super easy to dry or jam, too!

Canned salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

There are so many ways to enjoy our favorite local fish, salmon. Loki Fish smokes it, freezes it, jerkies it, makes patties and sausages with it, sells their eggs, makes spreads, and, of course, they can it. And this ain’t that mass-produced canned stuff coming from Alaska, via Japan. This is the finest salmon, handled with care, and canned in its own natural juices — perfect for that salmon salad, or stocking stuffers, whenever you like. And, it’s shelf stable!

Concord grapes from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I took a camera class last Saturday at the Woodland Park Zoo, and I got to practice what I learned last Sunday at the Market. The results were interesting, as I played with the use of varying aperture and ISO settings. These concord grapes from Stoney Plains presented a particularly interesting challenge, as I discovered letting more light in was not necessarily desirable, because it tended to wash out the beautiful, deep purple hues of the grapes. Fortunately, I was able to get this crisp shot even with the restricted light on the “auto” setting.

Porcini mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s wild porcini (a.k.a., king bolete) mushroom season again, and Foraged & Found Edibles has lots of them. These are truly one of the great wild mushrooms, but their season is not all that long. Get ’em now, while you can.

Artichokes from Billy's Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Artichokes from Billy’s Gardens. Beautiful, aren’t they? And they are an example of using a low f-stop and a fast ISO. Makes the color pop right out, eh? I mean, don’t you just wanna reach in the computer screen right now and grab a couple for dinner tonight? Hey, if you wanna practice your camera skills, the Market is a great place to do it. Just don’t block anyone’s access to these awesome artichokes, lest you get bonked over the head by a bunch of beets. Trust me. I know.

Pumpkins from Nature's Last Stand. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s a shame that many people go through their entire lives thinking that the pumpkins used for jack o’lanterns are the only pumpkins. If they ever tried to cook with them, they’d learn fast they aren’t that good. Heck, they’re bred to be big and hollow, not meaty and flavorful. But cooking pumpkins have been a staple food in many cultures for centuries. They keep for months, they taste great, and they are extraordinarily versatile. And there are an almost unbelievable number of different varieties of them, too — all different colors and sizes, with all different names. Above are just three from Nature’s Last Stand. So, if you thought pumpkins only came from large bins in front of your local Big Box store, or out of a can, introduce yourself to these gems of the winter squash family this fall. And hey, play a fun game with the kids this fall. Challenge them to find the kind of pumpkin Cinderella’s carriage was made out of . It’s here. Trust me. You can thank me later.

Alfalfa honey and crystalized maple honey from Golden Harvest. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Golden Harvest has a couple of limited edition honeys in its lineup right now, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Above left is their alfalfa honey, which has a fairly rich flavor to it. Alfalfa is a legume, which means its flowers are like those of peas or beans — nectarlicious. And how about some crystalized maple honey. Don’t think Vermont maple syrup here, as we’ve got viney and big leaf maples out here, not sugar maples. But they still offer up a sweet kick of their own. Give it a try.

Cookbook author Michael Natkin doing a photo shoot at Ballard Farmers Market on October 2nd. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of photography, local vegetarian food blogger Michael Natkin of Herbivoracious was doing a photo shoot at the Market last week for his new cookbook. You know, with all the camera crews coming to your Ballard Farmers Market these days, we should start charging them the big bucks, like Pike Place does. Then we can all retire early. As if.

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.