Posts Tagged ‘raw foods’

Sunday, August 15th: Gluten-Free Bread, Ripe Melons, Heirloom Tomatoes & Fractalized Romanesco! Please Remember To Vote For Ballard!!!

August 15, 2010

Platypus Breads & House of the Sun, together in one booth at your Ballard Farmers Market on August 8, 2010. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, it’s not one of my best photos, but it does illustrate a point: your Ballard Farmers Market incubates new small food artisan businesses. Over the years, we’ve helped launch Veraci Pizza, Tall Grass Bakery, Dante’s Inferno Dogs, Anita’s Crepes, and many a farm. What you see in this photo from last Sunday is two new businesses for 2010, Platypus Breads and House of the Sun, sharing a precious 10′ x 10′ space at the Market. See, this time of year, Ballard Farmers Market is stocked to the gills with farmers and their many crops. It is, after all, peak season. But as the season ebbs and flows, on occasion we have the odd space that opens up in a given week. Such was the case last week, and we were able to give two of our favorite new food artisan businesses a shot at the big leagues of farmers markets we all know and love as your Ballard Farmers Market. Indeed, our dear Market has become a Holy Grail of sorts to many would-be food artisans, but we just have so much space to squeeze vendors in, especially this time of year. Fortunately, we operate four other neighborhood farmers markets throughout the city, which affords us the opportunity to give a number of new farms and food artisans a chance to get their feet wet in the Seattle farmers market scene each year. In the process, we get to meet some extraordinary people with great ideas and vision that result in some amazing and unique food products, and Platypus Breads and House of the Sun are perfect examples. Platypus Breads fills the incredibly important and unbelievably vacant niche of gluten-free bread making, and it does so with gluten-free breads that are, well, actually really good! And House of the Sun has created a line of raw and vegan foods that not only fills a niche for folks on a raw-vegan diet, but is so damned good that grilled flesh eaters like me thoroughly enjoy them, too. And the best news of all is that they are both back at Ballard Farmers Market, again sharing a tent, today!!!

Gorgeous melons from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey Lyall Farms. Nice melons! Melon season is just beginning to kick in, you know. I am told we will get hit by a tidal wave of melons as early as next week. Woohoo! And you know, I heard back from my buddy, Evan, from Rochester, NY this past week. You can see his newest, quite conciliatory comment attached to the bottom of last week’s post. The long and short of it is that, in the big picture, we’re really just one big farmers market family from coast-to-coast, working hard to support family farmers and feed our neighborhoods, while having a little fun sparring with each other over this silly America’s Favorite Farmers Market contest. Still, silly or not, we would still like to crush our competitors in New York and California who currently lead us in the polls like so many garden snails. Are you with me, people of Ballard? Do you want to show these folks who think Ballard is part of the city of Seattle that we are, indeed, the People’s Republic of Ballard, proud of our independent heritage, still bitter about having been absorbed by Seattle in 1907 as the result of an election during the fishing season, when half the men in Ballard were out at sea, and we know we have the best damned farmers market on the planet, let alone America, and we’re not gonna let anybody beat us in this election!!! Shake off that bitterness, people of Ballard. Learn to trust the process again. Vote with all you heart, soul and email addresses, and if each and every one of us takes the 30 seconds to vote and we still lose to Rochester, we will simply tip our hats and say, “We’ll get you next year!” But we must not go down without a fight! Vote now!!!

Baby squash with blossoms attached fro Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now this is a pretty picture, ain’t it? This is baby zucchini with the blossoms still attached from Colinwood Farms. Colinwood is an example of a farm that, until about a year and a half ago, was only really known well in Port Townsend and environs. Now, many of us couldn’t make it through the week without some of their vegetative deliciousness. This is the magic of your Ballard Farmers Market. Hey, have you become a fan of us on our Facebook page? We just finally figured out the great “Favorite Pages” feature on our page, and now we are adding all of our vendors’ Facebook pages to that list, so you can easily find them in that universe. And if you check out our Twitter page, you will see we have two lists you can follow on it: one for our vendors’ Twitter pages, and one for our neighbors’ businesses here on Ballard Avenue. Check it all out!

White eggplant from Magana. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beautiful, tender white eggplant from Magana. You know, our chef from Georgetown Liquor Company, a great vegetarian restaurant and bar in Georgetown, did a great cooking demo on Saturday at our Georgetown Farmers Market in which he made this awesome tomatillos salsa that he served over delicious slices of marinated, raw white eggplant. Check that market’s blog in the next week or so for a recipe!

Heirloom tomatoes from Summer Run. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s been a long wait, but tomato season is finally kicking into high gear, with many farms now having lots of them. This collection of heirloom tomatoes from Summer Run is gorgeous, isn’t it?

Fresh okra from Alvarez. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okra. I love her show. Actually, this is the underappreciated vegetable from Alvarez Organic Farms, okra, the staple of culinary traditions from the Southeastern U.S. to Northern Africa to Southern and Southeast Asia. The problem is, most of us northern white folks have never had it prepared properly. Me, I pickle it. But I love it deep fried and doused in Louisiana Hot Sauce, or in a Southern gumbo, which is in fact another name for okra, or in a Nigerian goat soup with fufu, or maybe tossed with shrimp paste and shrimp as Malay Satay Hut in Redmond. Trust me, when treated right, this stuff’s da bomb!

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

I love the soap at Brown & Butterfly. Big bars that just feel right in your palm, made with a great variety of essential oils, both for their scent and their medicine. Well, now they are making shaving mug soap pucks, too. You might think, “What’s the difference? It’s just soap.” Oh, but it’s not. Shaving soap needs to have a special lather to it, and it needs to soothe the skin while it facilitates the razor. Try it out in your shaving mug with your camel hair brush, and it you don’t have those, they’ll set you up with the whole kit!

Cherry plums from Tiny's. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are cherry plums from Tiny’s. They’re plums that are about the size of cherries, not some whacky hybrid of cherries and plums, like you’d expect from those crazy cats at Tiny’s. But they have a fascinating sweetness and flavor. In fact, some of them actually taste a bit of fresh coconut. Go figure.

Apple mint from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One of the talking heads on the local TV news Saturday night said that one of things we can do to keep cool during our latest hot spell is to add mint to our water. I don’t know the chemistry and biology behind this, but hey, if they say it on the TV news, it must be true, right? And even if it’s not, who cares? It’s mint! What’s it going to do to you except make your water tasty and your breath minty fresh. You might want to give some of this apple mint from Boistfort Valley Farm a shot for this purpose.

Romanesco from Alm Hill. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah, the mighty Romanesco, great cauliflower of Italy, and, to the best of my knowledge, the only vegetable that grows in perfect fractal spirals. Check out those totally awesome fractals in this Romanesco from Alm Hill Gardens. Honestly, is this not one of the coolest looking vegetables you have ever seen?

Lemon cucumbers from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Lemon cucumbers, like these from Oxbow Farm, are pretty cool, too. Don’t they kinda look like lemons? And they are plenty tasty, too. I’m thinking they’ll go well in a concoction for some bruschetta, don’t you know.

Monogrammed Desem whole wheat sour dough bread from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I took this photo of a big loaf of Tall Grass Bakery Desem sourdough, whole wheat bread last Thanksgiving. At the time, I actually figured the big “TG” must have been for Thanksgiving. Then I smartened up and realized it was the monogrammed initials of the bakery itself. Desem is a lovely bread, giving you the richness of whole wheat with that wonderful sourdough culture. If you haven’t tried it, give it a shot today. You’ll thank me later!

And remember, there is plenty more for you to find today at your Ballard Farmers Market. But before you click on the What’s Fresh Now! pages to see what all else is in season right now, please do take a moment to vote for Ballard Farmers Market in American Farmland Trust’s America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest. And thank you!

Sunday, August 8th: Rochester Fights Back… Rather Weakly. Also, Smoky Sun Photos & Gluten-Free Bread!

August 8, 2010

A busy Ballard Farmers Market basks in golden smoky sunlight on August 1, 2010. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As you all know, I’ve been beseeching you all to vote for Ballard Farmers Market in the 2010 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest for the last several weeks. Voting is open through August 31st, so you need to get on this. Currently, Ballard continues to rank near the top, behind markets Rochester, NY and Davis, CA. And all three of our markets are putting on a full-court press to pile on votes as quickly as possible. That means we still need each and every one of you to vote for your Ballard Farmers Market. Since no other market in Washington is anywhere close to being in the running here, you can shed any silly Seattle guilt you might have about choosing one market over another here as your favorite. Look, we all know Seattle has the best market system in the country. We also know Ballard is the best of the best. So vote not just for Ballard, but for Seattle… for Washington! This is about showing our pride in the best gosh-darned local food system in the America. And if you are not yet convinced to take the 30 seconds to vote, check out what we received from Rochester, NY on Friday…

A spooky golden hued sunlight bathes Boistfort Valley cabbage. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Apparently the folks in Rochester are concerned about us out here in Seattle, and they are reading the Ballard Farmers Market blog. Really. In fact, one Evan Lowenstein of Rochester, New York, was kind enough to share this bit of enlightened commentary on my recent partisan rants in the America’s Favorite Farmers Market campaign. Evan wrote:

Hey dude, here’s a little friendly response to your posts mentioning Rochester. I’m from Rochester, and it’s not fair or informed to suggest that all we’ve offered the world is “Kodak and Pyrex.” Rochester’s nicknames have been both “The Flour City” and “The Flower City” because of its significant agricultural and horticultural heritage. We don’t like being hinged completely to Kodak in the minds of the uninformed, because there’s so very much more to Rochester; and Pyrex was invented in Corning, about 100 miles from here, not in Rochester. What’s more, you associate us with one of the two “biggest states”, one of the Goliaths that David Washington needs to beat for all to be right in the world. The truth is that the Seattle region is about three times more populous than Greater Rochester. So who’s really the big bully here?

George Page of Sea Breeze Farm all lit up in gold. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wow. Thanks for clarifying that for us, Evan. Pyrex is from Corning. Rochester, Corning, Utica. Whatever. Ah, but the culinary masterpiece, the Garbage Plate is from Rochester! (This may be one reason why Rochester’s population is less than Seattle’s.) I am sure the city’s founders with all their flour and flowers are very proud. And what strikes me first about our dear Evan is that he must be the only person in Upstate New York who lacks a sense of humor.  I mean, sheesh! Has this guy ever heard of a spirited razzing by the opposition? Heck, has he ever seen the Mariners (or any other baseball team, for that matter) play in Yankees Stadium? Here in polite Seattle, we banned “Yankees Suck!” t-shirts in Safeco Field, but in New York, it seems the ushers must be handing out projectiles for Yankees fans to hurl onto the field at visiting teams’ outfielders. Look, I grew up in Upstate New York myself. And it sounds to me like Evan would be more at home out here, writing the Uptight Seattleite column in the Weekly. So come on, people, are we really gonna sit on our butts and let Rochester beat us in this contest? Hell, no! Vote now!

Salad amaranth from Nash's bathed in golden sun. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And let us examine some of Evan’s “facts”. He says that Big Bully Seattle should not pick on itsy, bitsy little Rochester. Oh, boo-hoo. But let’s look at the numbers. Seattle has three times the population that Rochester does. However, Seattle has four times the number of farmers markets that Rochester has. Ballard Farmers Market is only 1 of 17 markets in Seattle proper, while there are only four in Rochester. And the Rochester Public Market (which allows reselling of food products and the sale of general merchandise, according to their website, and offers a garage sale and flea market on Sundays), is open four days a week, to Ballard’s one day. Hmm. Gee, Evan. Them numbers would seem to favor you guys, not us. And that is to say nothing about the fact that the Rochester Public Market is owned and operated by the City of Rochester. Gosh, it sure would be nice to have those deep pockets backing us here in Ballard. And Rochester has a permanent structure for its market. We have to set up in the street. On further reflection, perhaps it is Evan that is uninformed. (Oh, snap!) But now that you are better informed, please, vote for Ballard!

Treviso radicchio in gold from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Evan also wrote

I also noticed that you are encouraging folks to vote using every email address that they have. That’s not exactly fair now, is it? I know that those promoting the contest here in Rochester are asking voters to play it fair, one vote per person… that we want to win this thing fair and square. It’s disheartening to know that our competition isn’t doing the same thing.

Oh, lighten up, Evan. Have you ever heard of exaggeration? I believe I also encouraged people to get their cats, dogs and parole officers to vote. It’s called humor. That said, does anyone believe that the kind, honest, hypersensitive people of Rochester, New York are carefully spreading the word to everyone to cast one vote per person, and that they want to win this thing fair and square? Sure, maybe they think that, but they’re not saying it. Heck, the very act of saying it imparts to people that they can vote more than once anyway. I mean, really, Evan, who are you kidding? But I must at least thank Evan for helping me illustrate why it is so important for you to vote for your Ballard Farmers Market now. (And Evan, before you have an aneurysm, please take a chill pill and accept the reality that by writing to us, you only served to present yourself on a silver platter. I do hope you didn’t ask your friends and family to check out our blog. Consider it a life lesson.)

Billy's peaches spectacular in the golden sunlight. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey, enough beating up on poor Evan. Have you been enjoying all the photos above that are tinged with the golden hue of last Sunday’s wildfire smoke filtered sunlight? Yeah, that weird looking sky we had last Sunday was courtesy of the wildfires in British Columbia. It made for the most spectacular light for photography. I didn’t screw with the coloring on these photos at all. That’s natural light. I think the one up top of George Page from Sea Breeze Farm is the most striking. Pretty cool, huh?

Gluten-free breads from Platypus Breads. Photo courtesy Platypus Breads.

Hey, please welcome Platypus Breads to your Ballard Farmers Market. Lindsay bakes some of the most incredible gluten-free breads I have ever encountered. They are moist and flavorful — two words one generally does not associate with gluten-free bread. If you have been looking for really good gluten-free bread, stop by and check out Platypus. You will find Lindsay sharing a tent with House of the Sun, which joined us once before, back on Seafood Fest weekend. House of the Sun specializes in raw and vegan foods, and the stuff they make is outstanding. So today, you can meet two upstart local food artisans who are creating incredible products that address the dietary needs of many of us in Ballard. But we are not sure how often we will be able to squeeze these folks in, so do check them out today, and grab a business card from them, so you can followup with them in the future.

Whole fresh sockeye from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I love how gorgeous these fresh, whole sockeye salmon from Loki Fish look. They just sparkle, don’t they? Dylan Knutsen tells me that when they catch fish in Alaska, they quickly clean and bleed them, then they pack them in ice right away and send them on a temperature controlled barge down to Seattle. He says it’s much better than flying the fish down, as it is kept better. That’s not how all fish is handled, but it is how Loki does it.

Empire Ice Cream. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It has always been hard for me to get a decent photo of actual Empire ice cream. It is always on dry ice at the Market, and at home it just doesn’t last long enough. So I decided I would just take a photo of my Empire Ice Cream shirt instead. My purpose here is to call your attention to some absolutely superb ice cream. Tom makes his ice cream using local ingredients, from the cream and milk he gets from South King County to the sugar he sources from Idaho to the chocolate from Fremont to the many flavorings he mixes in from his fellow Ballard Farmers Market vendors. You’ll find no stabilizers, no additives, no extra crap in Tom’s ice cream. What you will find is the only mint-chocolate chip ice cream I have ever tasted that I like, because he uses fresh mint leaves instead of mint oil. Stop by for a taste, a cup, heck, a pint or three today!

Absinthe & Black Salt caramels from Jonboy. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jonboy Caramels is back at your Ballard Farmers Market for another brief appearance today, and they bring with them their newest caramel flavor: Absinthe & Black Salt. Oh, this stuff is goooood. You must come try some.

A drawing of river otters for me by Lilly Crosby. Art copyright 2010 by Lilly Crosby. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, I must give a shout out to Lilly Crosby, a young artist extraordinaire who spent the day with Alm Hill Gardens two weeks ago knocking out brilliant drawings like this one (above) for me of river otters at play… in about two minutes, I might add. It was amazing to watch. Lilly even asked me when I asked for otters if I wanted river otters or sea otters. It blew me away, and then she created this playful work of art at the snap of a finger. Lilly did all this for a greater good, too. She was taking donations for her drawings to support Hope For Horses and PAWS. Of course, you can still contribute to these worthy causes of Lilly’s just by clicking through to their websites. Or, the next time you see Lilly with her pens at the Alm Hill tables, toss her a few bucks and take home a work of art!

Lilly Crosby drawing my river otters at the Alm Hill stand on July 25, 2010. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And remember, there is plenty more for you to find today at your Ballard Farmers Market. But before you click on the What’s Fresh Now! pages to see what all else is in season right now, please do take a moment to vote for Ballard Farmers Market in American Farmland Trust’s America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest. And thank you!

Sunday, July 18th: Welcome Back Boistfort Valley Farm & Some Short Timers!

July 18, 2010

A beautiful Boistfort Valley Farm display. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you been missing these spectacular displays from Boistfort Valley Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market? Well, miss them no more, because today they make their triumphant return for the 2010 season. In a year when we have seen many crops come in late, Boistfort Valley, which is usually our last farm to come in each year, is coming in especially late. That’s because they don’t like to come into Ballard until they can come in big, and big is how they are coming in today! Woohoo!!! (Doh! Late update on Sunday… we’ll have to wait another week for Boistfort. Apparently they weren’t quite ready to come in big today, and someone forgot, but we won’t mention any names (my boss). But everyone else is here!)

Jerry Baxter, the man behind Got Soup? Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Of course, one side effect of the last of our regular farm contingent finally returning is that it makes for less room for other folks. Fortunately, with the absence of a few other farms briefly for a couple of weeks, the processed food vendors on the bubble have squeezed in a little extra time with us. But that reprieve is likely to expire soon, perhaps as soon as next week. So visit these folks now and stock up, while you can, lest you wait until fall for their return. Got Soup? is one such vendor on the bubble. Jerry’s making some amazing cold soups, perfect for hot summer days. I am a particular fan of the Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho, but I recommend you try them all!

Josephines from Hot Cakes. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hot Cakes is another one of our short timers. Can you really live without one of Autumn’s Josephines until fall? Better get your fix now! And while you’re at it, those molten chocolate cakes in jars actually freeze very well. So stock up on them. Then, all you have to do is thaw them and slide them in the oven whenever you are in the mood.

Fleur de Sel caramels from Jonboy Caramels. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Given the fresh nature of Jonboy Caramels, I’m not sure how much stocking up will serve you, but you can certainly get yourself a nice big fix of them, right? Honestly, I recommend that you eat nothing but caramels for the next three days, just to get it out of your system for the next couple of months. Of course, if you must have another dose of any of these three vendors goodies, as well as some other folks you may be missing, or even if you need a mid-week restock on veggies, we encourage you to visit us at our newest farmers market at the Olympic Sculpture Park on Thursday evenings from 3:30-7:30 p.m. This market is located in a spectacular setting, and offers cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and dancing lessons, too!

Hummus from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

House of the Sun makes delicious raw & vegan foods right here in Ballard. Besides this hummus, above, they make salads, crackers, snack bars, entrees, veggie chips, coconut juice and much more, right here in Ballard at a kitchen about a block from the Market. You can normally find them at some of our other markets, like Madrona and Georgetown, but today, for one day only, they are joining us at your Ballard Farmers Market. Come meet them, try out some of their products, find out where in the neighborhood you can get their stuff, and then let us know what you think. And if you are unfamiliar with the art of making raw and vegan cuisine, I am betting you will be blown away by what they can do without any cooking or animal products of any kind. Believe me, this is not rabbit food! It’s too good for that.

Kombucha from Communi-Tea. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When times are tough, so are regulators. And the latest victim of the regulatory machine is our buddy, Chris, and his Communi-Tea kombucha. It seems that the Washington State Liquor Control Board has been on the warpath with regards to kombucha lately, because the process of making it, which involves the fermentation of green tea, results in the production of a very minute amount of alcohol. Apparently, the limit is something like 0.25% alcohol content before the Man gets cranky, and since fermentation accelerates in the warm summer months, keeping the alcohol content that low gets a bit squirrelly. But come on. “Near Beer” sold to minors in some states has much more alcohol than that. The point of all of this is to say that Chris will be at your Ballard Farmers Market today, but only to answer your questions, not to sell his delicious, healthful kombucha. So stop by and have him explain more about this to you, so that we all can better understand how the oldest and one of the most restorative preservation methods known to human beings — fermentation — is something that the Man really doesn’t need to obsess over.

Pie cherries from Prana Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, back to the future. These are pie cherries. They are tart, not sweet. And that is why they make for great pies. They can stand up to the addition of sugar without ending up overwhelming sweet. They tend to have a very short season. Prana Farms has them right now, so run, don’t walk, to see Eric at Prana to get you pie cherries now!

Saskatoon berries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And these are Saskatoon berries from Foraged & Found Edibles. These wild-foraged berries that are related to the blueberry also have a short season, so stop by and try some now, while you can.

Rhubarb from Alm Hill. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Has this whacky weather year got you missing your rhubarb crisp? Good news! Rhubarb back with a vengeance. In fact, Clayton from Alm Hill tells me, “I was wandering the farm, and I found a whole field of rhubarb!” (Actually, it is kind of amusing just how many times he has told me something like that.)

Sweet peppers from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And how about some peppers? Yup, Colinwood Farms from Port Townsend wins the pepper sweepstakes for 2010 with the first ones of the year, right out of their greenhouses. I don’t know about you, but I will be grilling some of these alongside a nice piece of fresh king salmon from Wilson Fish later.

Beefsteak tomatoes from Magana. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Magana Farms is located in the Palm Springs of Washington — the Yakima Valley — and that means they grow a lot of hot weather loving crops. That includes these beefsteak tomatoes. Yes, it is BLT season! And just imagine that Skagit River Ranch burger with a slice of vine-ripened tomato on top. A-friggin-men!

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

My final nod to all things deliciousness this week goes to Nash’s Organic Produce, and their new crop of artichokes. You know you want them. You must have them. You will be wrestling with your neighbors today to get them. But please, don’t get too out of control, and remember to pickup some butter from Golden Glen to dip them in.

And remember, there is plenty more for you to find today at your Ballard Farmers Market. But before you click on the What’s Fresh Now! pages to see what all else is in season right now, please do take a moment to vote for Ballard Farmers Market in American Farmland Trust’s America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest. Just type “Ballard” in the market search box, and it’ll take you right to the page where you can vote for us. And thank you!