Posts Tagged ‘rutabagas’

Sunday, November 23rd: Eat Local For Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2014
Brussels sprouts from Nash's Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Brussels sprouts from Nash’s Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s here, folks! The first really big holiday of the holiday season: Thanksgiving! Or as we call it in my family, “Thanks For The Land Day!” Whatever you and yours call it, this coming Thursday is a day to take a break, take stock, and express our thanks for what we have, and especially for the bounty that reaches our tables. For Thanksgiving, the first American holiday, ultimately commemorates when mighty, advanced indigenous peoples welcomed undocumented foreigners with open arms and saved them from starvation at Plimouth, so that they might make better lives for themselves in a new world.

We in the farmers market community encourage you to Eat Local For Thanksgiving this coming Thursday, and we have pretty much everything you’ll need to do so right here. We then ask you to give thanks for the many local farmers, fishers, ranchers and food artisans who bring you the best food on earth right here at your Ballard Farmers Market every Sunday, year round. This year, the best way you can do that is to make a public comment in opposition to unreasonably high permit fee increases on farmers markets and their vendors proposed for 2015 by Public Health – Seattle & King County. For a great discussion of the issues at hand, and what is at stake, check out this week’s Ballard News-Tribune article, and for more details on how to comment, please see this blog post from last week. And in return, we thank you!

Shallots from Alvarez Organic Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Shallots from Alvarez Organic Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

One of my favorite dishes for Thanksgiving is Brussels sprouts with bacon and shallots. There are plenty of Brussels in your Ballard Farmers Market right now, including those beauties up above from Nash’s Organic Produce. And several farms will have shallots, including this from Alvarez Organic Farms. I caramelize my shallots while browning and rendering out my chunked up bacon in a hot skillet. When the bacon begins to get browned, and the shallots caramelized, I drop in the Brussels, cut in half, and sauté them in the bacon grease until they get bright green and just beginning to get tender. At that point, I deglaze the pan with some white wine. The wine combines with the tasty browned pits, or fond, on the bottom of your skillet, reincorporating them back into the Brussels with delicious results. The Brussels finish cooking in this yummy wine sauce and the wine cooks down. The result is that your Brussels sprouts hating kin will ask for seconds!

And speaking of cooking tips, celebrated James Beard Award winning local chef, Ethan Stowell of Ethan Stowell Restaurants (including Ballard Ave’s Ballard Pizza Company, Chippy’s and Staple & Fancy) will preform an Eat Local For Thanksgiving cooking demonstration at 11 a.m. today.

Bacon from Skagit River Ranch at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Bacon from Skagit River Ranch at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

You’ll need some of this amazing bacon from Skagit River Ranch to complete your Brussels sprouts masterpiece this week, but get here early, as it’s sure to sell out. And speaking of things selling out, here are some shopping strategy tips for today’s Market:

  • Get here early, if you can.
  • Pack patience with you, as crowds will be big.
  • Maybe pack a cooler, too.
  • Purchase things like eggs, bacon, cranberries and other items likely to sell out early first.
  • If you don’t plan on watching any sporting matches today, you may prefer to shop after 1 p.m., when big games will thin out our crowds, though keep in mind that some prime items may be sold out by then.
  • If you do plan to watch either the Seahawks or Sounders games, do your shopping first, or during halftime, and watch the games on one of the many TV screens in bars and eateries up and down Ballard Avenue. It will likely be cool enough that, even without a cooler, your Market goodies will keep just fine in your trunk until after the big game!

Here is a list of where you may be able to watch the Sounders playoff game in the neighborhood at 2 p.m. today:

  • Bad Albert’s
  • Ballard Smoke Shop
  • Billy Beach Sushi & Bar
  • El Borracho (on Leary)
  • Kangaroo & Kiwi (on Market, soccer only)
  • Kickin’ Boot
  • Lock & Keel
  • Loft
  • Market Arms (on Market, soccer only)
  • Moshi Moshi
  • Patxi’s
  • The Gerald
  • The Noble Fir

Here is a list of where you will be able to watch the Seahawks, in addition to all of the places above:

  • Bastille (at the bar)
  • Bitterroot (in the bar)
  • Hattie’s Hat (at the bar)
  • Matador (at the bar)
  • Stoneburner (in the bar)

And that’s how you can have your game, and Eat Local For Thanksgiving, too!

Siegerrebe wine nestled in siegerrebe grapes at LIV (Lopez Island Vineyards). Photo courtesy LIV.

Siegerrebe wine nestled in siegerrebe grapes at LIV (Lopez Island Vineyards). Photo courtesy LIV.

Now, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that you use a bottle of Siegerrebe from LIV (Lopez Island Vineyards) to deglaze your pan whilst cooking up those Brussels, but it would be a nice accompaniment to your meal. It, or any of the many other award-winning wines from LIV. And try out their new raspberry dessert wine, too!

Rutabagas from Alm Hill Gardens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Rutabagas from Alm Hill Gardens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Another favorite of mine this week is steamed rutabagas mashed with lots of good butter. You’ll find these lovely little bagas at Alm Hill Gardens (a.k.a., Growing Washington), right at the bottom of the Market. Nummers!

Winter squash from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter squash from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter squash from Boistfort Valley Farm will help sweeten up your holiday feast. They have many different varieties from which to choose, in many flavors, textures, colors, shapes and sizes. Ask for cooking tips. Roast your seeds. And remember, you can eat the skins on many squash varieties!

Japanese turnips from One Leaf Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Japanese turnips from One Leaf Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking to add a little taste of spring to your fall feast? How about some of these beautiful Japanese wax turnips from One Leaf Farm? They come complete with greens, meaning you get two dishes for the price of one! Or, better yet, cook them together! Cut the turnips in half, sauté them in butter or olive oil until tender and a bit browned. Then add the greens and some crushed garlic and toss together until the greens wilt. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Red Lasoda potatoes from Olsen Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Red Lasoda potatoes from Olsen Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And don’t forget the spuds! Olsen Farms has a couple dozen varieties of potatoes from which to choose, with one perfect for your needs. Some or white, others golden, and others red or blue. Some are waxy and others starchy. Some are better suited to baking, while others like roasting, and still others steaming or frying. Ask questions. Read tags. Have fun with your potatoes.

Parsnips from Oxbow Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Parsnips from Oxbow Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

One thing you can do with your potatoes is mash them with some celery root and parsnips from Oxbow Farm. Talk about an elegant mash! You’ll want equal amounts of all three. I also like to cut up my parsnips into small chunks and roast them in a hot oven with some sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms cut into similar-sized pieces. When they’re tender, they’re done… in about 15-20 minutes. Toss them once, midday.

Spicy salad mix from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Spicy salad mix from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

With all the meat, potatoes, sugary things, roots and such, you’ll want some roughage. Lucky for us, in spite of the recent cold weather, Colinwood Farm’s greenhouses are still cranking out some righteous spicy salad mix just for you! Slice up some of those turnips like radishes and add them to it.

Farmbox Greens' vertical farm in West Seattle. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Farmbox Greens’ vertical farm in West Seattle. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Oh, and add some superfood to your salad, too! This week, we welcome Farmbox Greens to your Ballard Farmers Market with these Seattle-grown microgreens. In their seedling form, they are little nutrient bombs, and they are packed with flavor, too. Garnish your soups, mashes, meats and more with them.

Arkansas Black apples from Tiny's Organic at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Arkansas Black apples from Tiny’s Organic at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Apples are good for all sorts of dishes, from salads to sauces to pies, during the holidays. I chose this particular photo of Arkansas Black apples from Tiny’s Organic because I recently returned from a trip to Arkansas, and I am here to testify that this apple is, in fact, the apple of Arkansas!

Cirrus cheese from Mt. Townsend Creamery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cirrus cheese from Mt. Townsend Creamery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cirrus cheese from Mt. Townsend Creamery is what they, and I, call a “Northwest camembert.” It is the perfect cheese for any occasion, great on a nice slice of local bread and topped with some ikura from Loki Fish. You’ll need some for your holiday festivities!

Kalamata olive bread from Snohomish Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Kalamata olive bread from Snohomish Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And here is a perfect local bread for that pairing: kalamata olive bread from Snohomish Bakery. It is all chewy and salty and delicious, and it keeps fairly well, so fear not picking it up today for later in the week. And if you are simply a worrier by nature, then pop it in the freezer today, then pop it in the oven around 300 degrees on Thursday for about 20-30 minutes. It’ll be like it just came out of the bakery’s oven!

Fresh Puget Sound Keta salmon fillets from Loki Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh Puget Sound Keta salmon fillets from Loki Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Loki Fish will have just a little bit more fresh Puget Sound Keta salmon today in fillet form before the Puget Sound season closes for 2014. They had one more brief opening on Thursday night, so this is super fresh. If you’re just not a turkey eater, or you are looking for something distinctly different for your other meals this week, here you go! But it will sell out early. However, they will have plenty of that aforementioned ikura, freshly cured and ready to pep up that cheese and bread, or your soup or salad.

Thanksgiving pumpkin pie from Deborah's Homemade Pies at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Thanksgiving pumpkin pie from Deborah’s Homemade Pies at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Why spend the entire day in  your kitchen on Thursday? Give yourself a bit of a break and get one of these amazing pumpkin pies from Deborah’s Homemade Pies, or apple or pecan. Not only will it lower your stress level, it will likely be better than anything anyone you know can bake! And if you are attending a feast at someone else’s house, and you’re supposed to bring dessert… here you go! Just grab a pinch of AP flour out of the cupboard before you leave home and dust yourself a bit. Everyone will believe you baked it yourself.

Green Dragon hummus from House of the Sun at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Green Dragon hummus from House of the Sun at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, we’d like to give one last shout out to Adam and House of the Sun Raw & Vegan Foods. Adam is retiring his company as of today’s Market, and he is moving to Portland. Stop by, wish him well, and grab yourself one last container of his awesome Green Dragon hummus for old times’ sake. Thanks, Adam! We’ll miss you!

Don’t forget to check out this week’s midweek blog posts (Tuesday & Thursday) for more information on what you’ll find today at you Ballard Farmers Market. And 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.

For Sunday, November 2nd: Fall Back 1 Hour, Local Albacore Tuna, Rutabagas, Heirloom Apples, Beautiful Broccoli, Award-Winning Ales & We Welcome Kirsop Farm!

October 31, 2014
Rutabagas from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Rutabagas from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget to set you clocks back Saturday night! And that means it’s baga season, baby! Yes, the food of our people — the Scandinavians and Irish who built Ballard — is here again to sustain us through the cold, dark, wet months. These beautiful rutabagas are from Boistfort Valley Farm in, you guessed it, Boistfort Valley. I love them steamed and mashed with a good butter as a side dish at Thanksgiving, and I toss them in the pot with my corned beef on St. Paddy’s Day. What my Irish kin still call “turnips” or “Swedes” over on the Emerald Isle are a root that is much more dense than a turnip, with a distinct flavor. They take longer to cook, but they hold up well in wet cooking. And they’re gorgeous! (Oh, and don’t forget to scroll down to see our midweek post for even more news on this week’s localiciousness at your Ballard Farmers Market.)

Local albacore tuna loins from Fishing Vessel St. Jude at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons..

Local albacore tuna loins from Fishing Vessel St. Jude at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons..

It’s the first Sunday of November this week, and that means local albacore tuna from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. This sashimi-grade tuna is blast frozen at sea to preserve flavor and freshness. It is younger albacore from the North Pacific, meaning it is higher in beneficial  omega-fatty acids and lowering in heavy metals than tuna from the tropics. Get it in frozen loins, like above, or canned, dried or smoked. If you get the canned, don’t pour off the juices. Those are the natural juices of the tuna, not added oils or water. In other words, that is pure flavor you’d be draining off! And trust me, this is the best canned tuna you’ve ever tasted.

Winter squash from Kirsop Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter squash from Kirsop Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Please welcome the newest farm in our vendor ranks at your Ballard Farmers Market: Kirsop Farm. While they’ve sold at our markets in Wallingford and Madrona for the past two years, this week marks the first time they will be at your Ballard Farmers Market. But they’ve been at this organic farming business going on 20 years. Based in Tumwater, Washington, they grow some of the most beautiful produce in Washington, and we are very excited to have them here. We’re certain you will be just as excited as we are, once you meet them and try out their deliciousness!

Prairie Spy apples from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Prairie Spy apples from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

The Prairie Spy apples was introduced by the University of Minnesota back in 1940, one of the earliest varieties produced there. It is one of the sweeter varieties of apples, good for eating right off the core or cooking. It is just one of the many interesting varieties of apples and pears offered currently by Booth Canyon Orchard at your Ballard Farmers Market.

Broccoli in the field at Alm Hill Gardens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Broccoli in the field at Alm Hill Gardens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

With our cooler, wetter weather, broccoli is rocking tables through your Ballard Farmers Market right now. It is, after all, the good food that’s good for you, right? And ain’t it nice to get to adulthood and realize you actually really like broccoli? I sometimes toss it with some bacon, garlic, chile flakes and fusilli for one simple, yet primo pasta dish. This beautiful broccoli is in the field up at Growing Washington at Alm Hill Gardens. Why not get your broccoli on today?

Award-winning ales from Propolis Brewing at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Award-winning ales from Propolis Brewing at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Propolis Brewing won Best Belgian-style Ale from Sip Northwest in their 2014 Best of the Northwest issue, on newsstands now. “At Sip Northwest, we like to think we are advocates of local,” said Erin James, managing editor of Sip Publishing, publishers of Sip Northwest. “Through this extensive and taxing process of blind tasting, we have found varying results over the past three years that give us even more producers and people to cover and celebrate in the Northwest. It’s very eye-opening to the amazing beverages being produced in our region, and we hope it serves as a shopping list for our readers.” Stop by and try some of their great ales for yourself this week at your Ballard Farmers Market.

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, November 10th: Giant Heirloom Pears, Rovery Rutabagas, Terrific Turnips, Suh-weeh Potatoes & Purdy Pickles!

November 9, 2013
Concorde pears from Jerzy Boyz Farm. Photo courtesy Jerzy Boyz Farm.

Concorde pears from Jerzy Boyz Farm. Photo courtesy Jerzy Boyz Farm.

Wow. We’ve blown right past Halloween, Daylight Savings Time and one testy election and rolled right into the Holiday season. Yes, that’s right. It is time to start planning that Eat Local For Thanksgiving feast with which you will be impressing your loved ones come November 28th, or thereabouts. See, everything you need for the perfect feast is right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Starting with these ginormous heirloom Concorde Pears from Jerzy Boyz Farm. Now, here’s a fun fact! An artist went to Jerzy Boyz Farm to look at their Concorde pears to get a model for a statue they wished to make for the pear’s namesake city of Concord, MA, and here is a photo of that statue!

Rutabagas from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rutabagas from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I heart rutabagas. They seem foreign to many folks, but I grew up with them. Guess my Irish ancestors never forgot them, even after over 300 years in the New World. In Ireland, they call them “turnips” or “Swedes”. Viking Norseman may have brought them to the Emerald Isle over 1,000 years ago. I enjoy rutabagas anytime, but I must have them on two different holidays: St. Patrick’s Day (which needs no explanation now), and Thanksgiving, perhaps because my ancestors incorporated them into their tradition after coming over to Upstate New York in the  1690s. At Thanksgiving, I just to simply steam them and mash them with a good butter, like from Golden Glen Creamery. Oh, and these beautiful rutabagas are from Boistfort Valley Farm.

Hard ciders from Eaglemount Wine & Cider. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hard ciders from Eaglemount Wine & Cider. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is a tasting day for Eaglemount Wine & Cider, and today is a great day to identify your favorite hard cider, and then stock up for Thanksgiving. Eaglemount makes a wonderful variety of ciders from pears, apples, quince and more. Stop by their stall, sample their ciders, and find the flavor (or flavors) you enjoy most.

Red Delicious apples from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red Delicious apples from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I talk a lot about heirloom apples with all kinds of funky names and intriguing stories, but there is one apple that is sort of iconic — the poster child, as it were, for apples, or at least it used to be. That is the Red Delicious apple. It dates back to 1880 in Iowa, and it has been commercially developed for looks and shelf life over the years, but you can still find some good ones out there. For starters, the good ones are a lighter red and more round, like these from Martin Family Orchards. See, some have been developed to the point of being almost black and very elongated. Avoid those at the Big Box stores. Instead, try one of these from Martin today. Reacquaint yourself with an old friend!

Japanese Wax turnips from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Japanese Wax turnips from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One Leaf Farm has a new harvest of these lovely Japanese Wax turnips this week at your Ballard Farmers Market. They have been even more amazing than usual lately, which a rich, sweet flavor and a nicely radishy bite. In fact, I like them best simply sliced like a radish and tossed into a nice salad. But you can also sauté them, again like a radish. Cut the greens off, cut the turnips in half, and then cook them in some butter. As they get tender and a little browned, you can even add the greens back into the pan with them just to wilt them, and then serve them together as a beautifully delicious side dish.

Fresh cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm. Photo courtesy Bloom Creek.

Fresh cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm. Photo courtesy Bloom Creek.

It is week three of the return of fresh cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm, and that usually means that they are about done for the year. Don’t be that person who waits too long, and then ends up missing out on them altogether. Make this the year that you ditch that gelatinous canned “cranberry sauce” and make your own!

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another mainstay of any Thanksgiving feast is sweet potatoes, and there is only one place you will find locally-grown sweet potatoes around here — from Lyall Farms right here at your Ballard Farmers Market! They are amazing, and naturally sweet, so there is no need to candy them or smother them in marshmallows. They are perfect on their own, though I do like roasting them with some parsnips. Mmm.

Spicy pickled garlic and Northwest Country vinegar from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spicy pickled garlic and Northwest Country vinegar from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know, there is no such thing as too much garlic. And pickles make every holiday feast special. So spicy pickled garlic from Purdy Pickle would seem to be the ultimate, would it not? They also have some wonderful cider vinegar they call Northwest Country Vinegar that is made with local, organic apples. You can now add that, too, to your list of things you’ll be getting from now on at your Ballard Farmers Market, instead of the heavily refined stuff from who knows where at the Big Box stores.

Yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Few things feel more like fall than wild yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Sure, they have many amazing varieties of wild mushrooms right now, but there is just something about these babies that is just so comforting, so soul-warming, so… so fall! Simply sauté them in butter, perhaps with a little garlic, and then serve them over a steak or tossed with pasta. Incorporate them into your favorite stuffing mix. Add them to a nice fall chowder or bisque. You really can’t go wrong with them.

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

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

Ah, I did mention parsnips, didn’t I? Besides roasting them with sweet potatoes, or any other root roast for that matter, you can also puree them with celery root and potatoes for soup, or mash the three together for a delicious spin on mashed potatoes. Parsnips are wonderfully sweet, and they cook quickly, so be careful not to overcook them. If you are roasting other roots, like rutabagas, which are very dense and slow-cooking, either add the parsnips after cooking the others for a while or be sure to cut the bagas into smaller pieces than the parsnips, so the bagas will cook quicker, and the parsnips slower. These lovely parsnips are from Nash’s Organic Produce.

Artisan bread loaves from Grateful Bread Bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Artisan bread loaves from Grateful Bread Baking. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish off this week’s epistle with some gorgeous loaves of artisan breads from Grateful Bread Baking from up in Wedgewood. These loaves are the perfect compliment to any holiday feast, and, of course, they also make many special holiday breads and cookies this time of year, too, as well as bags of croutons perfect for making stuffing.

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, 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.