Posts Tagged ‘salad greens’

Sunday, August 1st: Happy Farmers Market Week! It’s Peak Season, People! Woohoo!!!

August 1, 2010

Mother's Day 2010. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Holy Peak Season, Batman, it’s August already, and that means it’s Farmers Market Week 2010! Yup, from August 1-7, 2010, the whole gosh-darned country celebrates Farmers Market Week. Read Governor Christine Gregoire’s official proclamation. And while you are at it, vote for your Ballard Farmers Market in the 2010 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest. We’re still in 3rd place nationally, out of some 7,000 farmers markets, but we should be in 1st! But Davis, CA is right now, and Rochester, NY is in 2nd. A lot of Ballard fans voted this last week, and we gained a lot of ground on them, but we still have a ways to go. Do you really want to be responsible for allowing CA & NY to beat Ballard because you didn’t take 30 seconds to vote? CA & NY win everything, regardless of who is really the best, and we all know Ballard Farmers Market is the best, don’t we? So vote! Vote with every one of your email addresses. Email all your friends, family, neighbors, bankers, attorneys, doctors, plumbers, cats, dogs, goldfish, everyone you know and encourage them to vote, too! You see this photo above? That’s from Mother’s Day 2010. 12,500 people came through your Ballard Farmers Market that day. If half of them voted for Ballard, we’d bury CA & NY. You don’t have to have your cookies turned on. You don’t have to register with the site. You won’t get any junk mail unless you opt in to receive it. You don’t have to make a donation. Just click the link, click vote, fill in your name and email, and you are done!

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

Hey, did I tell you that I finally got a new camera? It has been just over two weeks, and I am still learning all its bells and whistles, but I am pretty happy with the photos it is producing. I must give a shout out to the good folks at Glazer’s Camera for taking such good care of me and for matching me up with a rockin’ camera perfectly suited to serving the needs of these market blogs. In honor of my new (to me, anyway) camera, I will share more photos than usual today, while at the same time perhaps being a little less verbose. You can’t expect me to spew mind-blowing witticisms for all of these lovely photos. I mean, a fellow can give just so much. That said, just look at all those lovely tomatillos from Alvarez Organic Farms above. Salsa verde time!

Artichokes from Summer Run. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I love photographing artichokes almost as much as I love eating them. They really are remarkably beautiful vegetables, aren’t they? And I must respect any food that threatens me with bodily injury while I pursue eating it. These gorgeous chokes are from Summer Run.

Korean red garlic from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s 2 a.m. as I write this, and I must admit that I am indulging in the guilty pleasure of listening to Hall & Oates while I work. Not sure if it’s the delirium of the hour or my Philly roots, or maybe it’s this heaping pile of that stinking rose known as garlic that just takes me back to those soulful tunes I enjoyed in my youth in those sweltering Augusts in South Philadelphia’s Italian neighborhood, when the temp and the humidity would both be 95, and the garbage collectors would go on strike. You know, this Korean Red garlic from Stoney Plains will keep away even the fiercest of vampires while bringing a tear to any Italian’s eye. And it is strong enough that it will cover up the odor of that garbage strike, too!

Rainbow carrots from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Check out these gorgeous rainbow carrots from Full Circle Farm. The other day, as the low clouds from the onshore flow were finally burning off in late afternoon, there was just enough hazy moisture left in the air that I actually saw a rainbow around the sun! It formed a perfect ring encircling the flaming orb. The only time I have seen this phenomenon before is during winter when humidity in the air forms ice crystals that create the rainbow ring, usually indicating that snow is on the way. But to see it in summer was new to me.

Pickling cukes from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pickling cucumbers are arriving at your Ballard Farmers Market now, like these bathing beauties from Alm Hill Gardens. When I first got involved with farmers markets way the heck back in 1991, one of the farmers at the Olympia Farmers Market, where I got my start, shared her pickling recipe with me. I used pickling cukes grown by Mike Peroni for my first batch of pickles. Mike currently owns Boistfort Valley Farm, and no longer grows pickling cukes. Back then his farm was called Flying Rhino. Ah, the fond memories.

Lapins cherries from Tiny's. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Lapins cherries, like these from Tiny’s, are one of the last cherries to come to harvest each summer. I think they are perhaps the most lovely cherries of them all. Just look at that deep, dark, red color they have. They are also one of my favorites to eat. Can you imagine if you didn’t have your Ballard Farmers Market to bring you varieties of cherries other than Rainiers and Bings? How boring that would be, but that is in fact the reality of things at even the best grocery stores here in Seattle, a place with better grocery stores than just about any other place in the country, and a place with better cherries, too. That is the difference between farmers markets and grocery stores. And let’s face it: grocery stores that do bring in new kinds of crops only do so after those crops have proven themselves at farmers markets for several years. But you and I are savvy enough to cut out the middle man and at the same time enjoy the many heirloom crops our farmers offer us, like Lapins cherries. So, have you voted yet for Ballard Farmers Market?

Collard greens from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm grows some of the most photogenic produce, don’t you think? Could these collard greens be any prettier? I think not. They are perfect. Divine. You know, collard greens here are so tender and delicious — not like the huge collard leaves down South that have to be cooked for friggin’ ever, until they are mush. I like sauteing these with bacon and garlic until just wilted and eating them alongside a nice steak. Oh, yeah, baby!

All-Rye bread from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now that is a spectacular loaf of bread, is it not? It’s the All-Rye from Tall Grass Bakery. It is an incredibly moist, quite dense, and uncompromisingly wonderful bread perfectly suited to a big old slather of some of that incredible butter from Golden Glen Creamery, whether your slice be fresh off the loaf or fresh out of the toaster.

Donut peaches from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It was during the summer of my first year as Executive Director of the Washington State Farmers Market Association back in 1999 that I was on a trip to visit the brand new farmers market in Yakima. I was staying at this lovely bed & breakfast on a farm in Naches, and the farm was one of the first few farms to be licensed to grow this new peach called a donut peach. The farmer, still looking for a market for his peaches, sent me home with a box of them. Boy, howdy! I was in love, and I’ve been in love with them ever since. See, I have always been one of those wusses who doesn’t like to deal with all that juice pouring all over me while eating peaches, and the special nature of donut peaches and their tiny pits meant I could enjoy an amazing peach with only a fraction of the mess. I brought home a bunch of these donut peaches from Collins Family Orchards the other day, and I am in peach heaven right now. Makes me think how that Presidents of the United States of America song is passé now that the peaches come to us in the city. No need to move to the country to eat a lot of them anymore.

Salad mix from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

In as much as I am a wuss when it comes to sloppy peaches, I am a slacker when it comes to salads. So I reach for a bag of salad mix from Colinwood Farms  each week. And besides being easy, what I love about salad mix is that it gives me so many different flavors all mixed together without me having to round up all those different ingredients separately. It would take me forever to go through all that stuff it I did. I also love that salad mix is a true expression of the farmer. Each farm’s salad mix is different. And I think I have tried just about all of them in Washington over the years. There’s this farm over in Sequim called Kol Simcha Farm that produces superb lamb, but they used to also produce the single best salad mix I’ve ever encountered. I used to go all the way to the Tacoma Farmers Market just to get it from them on Thursdays. You’ll find at least a half dozen different salad mixes at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Find the one that works best for you, or just mix it up every week.

Raspberry-Blueberry Cream Pie from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Did I say I was going to be less verbose today? Right. Who was I kidding?!? But really, what words can do justice to this image of Raspberry-Blueberry Cream Pie from Deborah’s Homemade Pies? It really speaks for itself. But if you have yet to try one of Deborah’s ridiculously spectabulous pies, you are out of your flipping mind!!! Honestly, she makes perhaps the best pies on earth. Look, my dad kicks bottom when it comes to making pies, and I genuinely thought I’d never meet a pie that would compare to his… and then I met Deborah and her pies. I swear, if I find at the end of the Market today that she has not sold out of every single pie, I will be forced to stop each and every one of you in the Market next Sunday to ask you how the heck you could get through another week without one of these suckers! I’ll do it, too. And for those of you gluten-intolerant types, she’s got gluten-free pies even, and she’s got savory meat pies for dinner. That’s it. Now you’ve got me wound up. She better be sold out by 2 p.m. today, people!

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

March 7, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, February 7th: Lotsa New Vendors; Lotsa Game Day Munchies!

February 7, 2010

Autumn Martin returns today with her Hot Cakes! Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hots Cakes, by Chef Autumn Martin, is just one of several new or returning vendors you will find at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Autumn may be best known for her tenure as Chocolatier at Theo Chocolate, but she is first and foremost a pastry chef who is a master of cake making. And you can enjoy little tastes of the deliciousness she creates, hot out of your own oven. Just pick up a dozen or so (though I think the official serving size is one) of her little cakes made in heat resistant Mason jars, and pop them in your oven for a warmed-over explosion of lusciousness in your mouth. And if you really need someone else to do all the cooking, you’ll want to check out new vendor Cibo Pronto with their fully prepped, frozen entrées made from local, organic ingredients, ready, too, for you to pop in your oven.

New Southwestern Pork Pie from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Since I seem to be getting off on a “the game is on, and we don’t want to friggin’ cook, or we’ll miss a commercial” kinda slant here, how about taking home one of Deborah’s Homemade Pies’ sweet or savory pies, eh? The sweet pies are ready to eat, so you can stuff your pie-hole with one of them while you are waiting for the savory pie, like her new Southwestern Pork Pie (above) to bake in the oven. (Seems I am on a bit of a dessert first slant, too, aren’t I? I think the official logo for Dessert First! is a fist held in the air, a la Earth First!, only it is holding a cake fork.)

Colinwood Farms' salad mix is big and bold with spicy mustards and bitter mizunas. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You’ll want a lazy salad, too, and for that, stop by Colinwood Farms for some of their amazing spicy winter salad mix. Colinwood really is returning to the Market this week. I know I promised their return two weeks ago, but their truck blew an engine halfway to Ballard from Port Townsend. They spent last weekend picking up a new truck. So today, finally, they return. They should also have some gorgeous mustard greens and kale, some spuds, and other goodness from the Banana Belt of the northern Olympic Peninsula.

'Zaw offers gluten-free dough for its pizza crust. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How about taking home a pizza that’s ready for the oven? ‘Zaw Artisan Pizza In The Raw makes take-and-bake pizzas up fresh, right at the Market, from Market-fresh ingredients. And for those of you avoiding pizza because you can’t handle the gluten in the crust, ‘Zaw offers a gluten-free crust just for you! Oh, a couple other returning folks with stuff for your game day festivities: Pacific Coast Bakery, with an expanded line of yummy baked goods… and do you remember the guy who used to sell his amazing salsa at Ballard Farmers Market years ago? He’s back, too!

Trailhead cheese from Mt. Townsend Creamery. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And cheese. You’ll need cheese. Like this incredible Trailhead aged cheese from Mt. Townsend Creamery. This stuff is so buttery and delicious, you’ll need to get two of three wedges, ‘cuz you’re gonna eat it all, fast. Mt. Townsend is another of our growing number of wonderful vendors from Port Townsend. Of course, you’ll also find great cheese from Estrella, Golden Glen, Samish Bay, and Sea Breeze.

Fresh, hot mini donuts from Market Mini Donuts. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget the donuts — delicious, deep-fried dough rings of love, hot and chewy, right out of the fryer, tossed in some cinnamon sugar, just to remind you that the gods did, in fact, create a perfect universe. Be sure to hit up Market Mini Donuts on the 22nd Avenue end of the Market. You’ll need a little bag of a dozen per person in your party. (I’m here to help.)

Mixed baby kales from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Lest you think we’ve foregone anything that will actually require you to do any prep work in the kitchen this week, I give you these lovely mixed baby kales from Alm Hill Gardens. Fact is, greens have really made a comeback from farms throughout the Market. Remember this time last year, when we wondered if we would ever see the sun again, let alone fresh greens? Not this year. The trees are already blooming, and the greens are young, tender and sweet.

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

Go Saints!

Sunday, January 24th: More Greens, Field Peas, Paprika, Caramels & Hot Dogs

January 24, 2010

Colinwood Farms' salad mix is big and bold with spicy mustards and bitter mizunas. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Your eyes do not deceive you. Those are salad greens. Colinwood Farms from Port Townsend returns to your Ballard Farmers Market today with this lovely salad mix, spuds, onions, kale and more. Normally, we’d see them by late December, but a wind storm took out one of their greenhouses, and they are just now getting back up to speed. Good for them. Great for us!  Green things!!! Woo-hoo!!!!

Dried green field peas from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are dried green field peas from Nash’s Organic Produce. You probably encounter them most often in the form of split pea soup, and these would make some great soup, but they are a quite versatile and nutrient dense legume — a staple in the diets of cultures all over the world. The good folks at Nash’s will be happy to give you some ideas, and even some recipes, for preparing them.

The tiny Olympia Oyster from Taylor Shellfish Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As you can see from the photo above, the tiny Olympia oyster is not much larger than a quarter. But this little oyster more than makes up for its size with its big flavor. ‘Tis the season for Washington’s only native oyster, and Taylor Shellfish will be offering them for the next several weeks — just in time to build up your immune system and lebido for Valentine’s Day.

Peppers drying before being ground into paprika for us by Port Townsend's Some Like It Hott! Photo courtesy Some Like It Hott!

Saffron will be back next Sunday, but today we are pleased as punch to introduce yet another new farm with paprika to our diverse Ballard Farmers Market — Some Like It Hott! Charles Bodony’s family hails from Transylvania, where they know a thing or two about paprika, and he has put that genetic heritage to good work in Port Townsend, rounding up and growing the best peppers in the world, and drying and grinding them for fresh paprika. Yup. Yet another spice you no longer have to get from an importer. You can get it direct from a local farmer. How cool is that?

Baby arugula from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oh, happy day! Arugula is back. A-friggin-men. Full Circle Farm has glorious, and a bit spicy, baby arugula that will smack the winter blues right off of your sour puss. Just get there early enough to get some, as it sold out quickly last week, and the rest of us couldn’t stand another week of you being a sour puss. Really. Trust me.

Snacks Ballard Bodega, brought to us by Dante's Inferno Dogs, just down the street from the Ballard Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You may not have noticed it tucked away in the back of this little lot between King’s Hardware and Bop Street Records, by our favorite hot dog cart guy, Dante, has opened Snacks Ballard Bodego, a great place to get your favorite dog seven days a week, until late at night, and a great place to get lots of your other favorite farmers market goodies, from Rockridge cider to Pete’s toffee to St. Jude’s tuna to a Caveman Bar.

Just a sampling of the Ballard Farmers Market goods you'll find at Snacks all week long. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ballard Farmers Market has a long history of incubating local businesses. From Tall Grass Bakery to Anita’s Crepes to Veraci Pizza and more, many of the local storefront businesses you see around Ballard got their start at the Ballard Farmers Market and our sister market in Fremont. It makes us very proud to see Dante’s Inferno Dogs spawn its own storefront, right here on Ballard Avenue. But more than that, Dante, out of appreciation and respect for his Ballard Farmers Market roots, is selling many of the wonderful products from his fellow Ballard Farmers Market vendors in his store, so we can enjoy access to them all week long. Wander down to his little hideaway shop and support a local business that is itself dedicated to supporting local businesses. And check out Snacks’ Facebook page for more info.

Stokesberry Sustainable Farm eggs and chicken breakfast sausage. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know Stokesberry Sustainable Farm from Olympia for their great organic eggs (above), chicken and beef. Now they are offering organic chicken sausage in four varieties: maple breakfast patties (above), sage & garlic patties and hot and sweet Italian in bulk. They are all yummy. So give those eggs some company, eh? You’ll thank me later.

Bags of sweet, winter baby carrots from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s talk about sweet things for a bit now, like these incredibly sweet baby carrots from Stoney Plains Farm in Tenino. If there is one thing carrots, and most other roots and hearty greens, like, it’s a good freeze. As a defense to the cold, they actually produce more sugar, and the result is a sweeter carrot — much sweeter. If you haven’t enjoyed some over-winter carrots lately, well, plain and simple, you’re nuts! They are like candy.

More sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Seems the longer into the winter we get, the bigger the sweet potatoes get from Lyall Farms. Hmm. Think there’s a connection? (Yes, I know. You’re thinking I am going to leave this gig to become a rocket scientist, aren’t you?) In any case, they ain’t gonna last forever, so get ’em while you can.

Delicious handmade caramels from Jonboy Caramels. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jonboy Caramels makes delicious, handmade caramels using butter and heavy cream from a Skagit Valley dairy. They make small batches of their fleur de sel and molasses ginger caramels, and hand-wrap them in parchment paper. It seemed fitting to round out my little trip down sweet tooth lane by visiting them. And you should visit them, too, for sample, and, of course, then a box full.

Chicken pies from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s wrap up this week’s epistle on all things (well, many things at least) Ballard Farmers Market with talk of pie. Not the sweet kind of pie, though Deborah’s Homemade Pies certainly has many great varieties of those. But I already finished my sweets talking for the week, so now I want to talk about savory meat pies. Oh, yeah, baby. Chicken pie. Deborah uses local and Market ingredients in her chicken pies, just like she does with her sweet pies. And, as you can see above, she makes them in two sizes, so whether you are feeding the whole fam-damily or just feeding yourself, she’s got you covered. So if you need the night off from cooking from scratch, grab a chicken pie from Deborah. Just get there early, as they always sell out. Oh, and don’t forget to grab some pie for dessert, too.

Remember, your Ballard Farmers Market is chock full of all sorts of goodness for your kitchen and beyond. For a fuller accounting of what you’ll find at the Market today, go to “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner.