Posts Tagged ‘sauerkraut brine’

Sunday, December 28th: Happy New Year! 2015 – Can You Believe It?!?

December 27, 2014
Bottle-fermented hard ciders from Finnriver Farm & Cidery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Bottle-fermented hard ciders from Finnriver Farm & Cidery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Nothing says, “It’s time to par-tay!” like the prospect of new calendars! Am I right, people? This coming Wednesday night, we’re going to eat expensive, rich foods, drink irresponsibly, watch stuff get blown up and kiss perfect strangers in the strangest of all our annual celebrations — the celebration of new calendars. Woohoo! And we’ll need a cork to pop at midnight, folks. I suggest a bottle or three of this bottle-fermented hard cider from Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Its natural effervescence will tickle your nose and please your palate!

Chicken (top) and duck eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Chicken (top) and duck eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Then, on Thursday, after we’ve hung our shiny new calendars in our favorite calendar spot, we will dig out our favorite stretchy clothes, make a huge breakfast, and spend the rest of the day sitting around, watching football, dog shows or Rick Steves marathons on TV, or maybe going for a nice walk, while we make grand pronouncements of resolutions for the new calendar year. We can’t help you with your list of resolutions (beyond your commitment to eating more local food!), but we can help you with that big breakfast! For that, stop by Stokesberry Sustainable Farm for some of their eggs. These are the eggs that the Seahawks eat, and they’ll have lots of them today!

Whole smoked side of King salmon from Wilson Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Whole smoked side of King salmon from Wilson Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

But back to that New Year’s Eve party. Your Ballard Farmers Market has everything you’ll need for it. And if we don’t have it, you don’t need it! Like how about whole sides of smoked local king salmon from Wilson Fish? This is the smoked salmon of my dreams! And it’ll make your party the best ever.

Growlers and growler coolers from Soda Jerk Fresh Soda at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Growlers and growler coolers from Soda Jerk Fresh Soda at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Soda Jerk Sodas’s fresh sodas will keep your teetotallers and designated drivers happy, and their syrups and sodas make for great mixers for the rest of your guests!

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

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

Some nice Seastack cheese from Mt. Townsend Creamery will suit your guests just fine, either on its own or on a nice cracker or a slice of crusty bread.

Keta Ikura from Loki Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Keta Ikura from Loki Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And try a nice dollop of ikura from Loki Fish on top of your Seastack, or as a delicious, salty accent to any number of apps and dishes. Loki makes their ikura from the eggs of local keta salmon, and they are delish!

Nut Crunch from Pete's Perfect Toffee at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Nut Crunch from Pete’s Perfect Toffee at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And don’t forget to indulge that sweet tooth one more time before those resolutions kick in with some of this nut crunch from Pete’s Perfect Toffee! Or some of their fudge, brittle or other great toffees.

Beef rib chop from Sea Breeze Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Beef rib chop from Sea Breeze Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Before you head to that late night party, treat yourself and your sweetie to one of these Flintstones-sized beef rib chops from Sea Breeze Farm. Or maybe some nice duck breasts. And grab some of their awesome pates and sausages for your party, too!

Cannoli cream puffs from Little Prague European Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cannoli cream puffs from Little Prague European Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Finish off your pre-party dinner with some sweets for the sweet in the form of these cannoli cream puffs from Little Prague European Bakery.

Fresh kombucha from CommuniTea at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh kombucha from CommuniTea at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

But come New Year’s Day, let the recovery begin! Start with a bottle or two of our local kombucha from CommuniTea Kombucha. It will give you a boost of energy, fill your belly with lots of friendly little critters, and it just plain tastes great, too!

Sheep's milk yogurt from Glendale Shepherd. Photo courtesy Glendale Shepherd.

Sheep’s milk yogurt from Glendale Shepherd. Photo courtesy Glendale Shepherd.

Some lovely sheep’s milk yogurt from Glendale Shepherd will also make your body happy in the new year. It is a nice dose of healthy protein full of live cultures that will get the pipes moving again!

Kraut and kimchi brine from Britt's Pickles at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Kraut and kimchi brine from Britt’s Pickles at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And a shot a day of one of these delicious kimchi and sauerkraut brines from Britt’s Pickles is just what the doctor ordered. See, when their krauts and kimchis are finished fermenting, and they pull them out of their crocks to pack them in jars for sale, the bottom of the crocks are full of the juices produced by the fermentation process, complete with all the flavors of the finished products. Plus, these brines are full of lots of living beneficial bacteria that will cure what ails you!

Paglia e Fieno fettuccine from Pasteria Lucchese. at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Paglia e Fieno fettuccine from Pasteria Lucchese. at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget the long life noodles for a healthy new year! For that, we recommend fresh pasta from Pasteria Lucchese, like this fettuccine, some of their pappardelle or some tagliatelle.

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

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

And then there is roughage. We’ve spent the last month eating simple carbs and protein. Reintroducing ourselves to leafy greens will be an excellent career move! Stop by Colinwood Farm for a couple bags of their great braising mix! You’ll thank me later.

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, April 21st: Happy Earth Day Tomorrow! Let’s See What Lessons We Can Learn From Our Vendors About Respecting Mother Earth!

April 20, 2013
Oysters on the half-shell, on the beach at Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo courtesy Hama Hama Oyster Company.

Oysters on the half-shell, on the beach at Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo courtesy Hama Hama Oyster Company.

Happy Earth Day! Most of us have a sense about your Ballard Farmers Market helping us tread a little lighter on our Mother Earth, but today, let’s take a look at many of the ways the Market’s vendors teach us about living more in harmony with our environment. Take oysters from Hama Hama Oyster Company, for instance. Oyster farming in our local waters requires clean water, and as such, this industry actually encourages us to keep Puget Sound cleaner. But did you know that our environmental sins from years ago, and seemingly unrelated to water pollution, are actually threatening our beloved bivalves today? You see, all that carbon we are pumping into the atmosphere from our coal power plants, our cars and our furnaces has to come down somewhere, and a lot of it is being absorbed into our oceans, where is settles to the bottom in an acidic soup. Now, the North Pacific currents are pushing all that acidic water right up into Puget Sound and Hood Canal, where it is beginning to dissolve oyster larvae and other shelled species before they can even get settled in the mud. It is called Ocean Acidification, and we all need to learn about it, change our habits — drive less, get more efficient cars, switch to electric heat pumps, etc. — and we need to Stop The Coal Trains from shipping more coal to China, where it will just make matters worse. If it isn’t good to burn here, we shouldn’t be giving it to them to burn there!

Terry Meyer of Stoney Plains Organic Farm stands alongside garden starts. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Terry Meyer of Stoney Plains Organic Farm stands alongside garden starts. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Plant a garden with local, organic veggie starts from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Sure, we want you to visit us every Sunday all summer long for the best fresh, local produce anywhere, but if you are planning to plant your own garden, get your veggies starts here, too. That way, you’ll know how they were raised, and using what kind of seed. And the more food we can grow right here in Puget Sound, the less we have to import from other parts of the country and world!

Nash's cover crop seed blend returns nutrients to your garden's soil naturally, without the need for harsh chemical fertilzers. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s cover crop seed blend returns nutrients to your garden’s soil naturally, without the need for harsh chemical fertilzers. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Skip the nitrogen chemicals in synthetic fertilizers, and enrich your soil naturally with nitrogen-fixing cover crops. Nash’s Organic Produce offers a nice cover crop seed mix that you can toss about your garden to help draw the nitrogen your veggies will need right out of the air and ground. Then, when you turn it into the soil before your planting, it will breakdown, leaving all those nutrients right there in your garden to feed all your plants!

Pink Beauty radishes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pink Beauty radishes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One Leaf Farm will have these lovely Pink Beauty radishes today, as well as Tom Thumb & Little Gem lettuce, at your Ballard Farmers Market. Did you know that One Leaf is only in its third year of operations? Yup. We are adding farms to King County — they are located in Carnation, for instance — and that means less need to import. During the WTO protests in Seattle back in 1999, visiting farmers from around the world taught me that the best thing we can do to help them in their countries is to buy local food here. That’s because when we buy imported produce, we are supporting a system of corporate agribusiness that takes over local farmland in other countries to grow large amounts of mono-cropped foods for the U.S. market. In the process, they force the local farmers, who are growing culturally relevant and organic foods for their local communities off of their land, resulting in lost crop diversity and food insecurity in regions of the world with very fertile farmland. So, Think Globally. Eat Locally!

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

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

Eat wild foods! Before European settlers came to Puget Sound, local Indian tribes practiced a form of agriculture that would be almost invisible to us today. They managed the native, wild edible plant and animal species on a grand scale, so that come berry season, mushroom seasons or time for a clam bake, they knew right where to find dinner. In that spirit, folks like Foraged & Found Edibles today try to protect their harvesting grounds, as their livelihoods also depend on them. So enjoy some wild morel mushroomsstinging nettles or fern fiddleheads this week from your Ballard Farmers Market, and get back in touch with your wild side!

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

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

Keep your knives and tools sharpened and healthy, so they last longer, all while supporting an ancient artisan trade that does not required electricity! Your Knife Sharpening Guy will put a fresh edge on your kitchen knives, garden sheers, shovels and even your reel lawnmowers, all with a zero carbon footprint. There is no need for you to buy new stuff. Your old stuff can be made new again!

Ikura from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ikura from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Support your local fishery! Washington does a very good job managing its commercial fisheries. So you know, when it’s caught in Washington waters, it is done so sustainably. Loki Fish catches Keta salmon, from which comes this Ikura, right here in Puget Sound. And this summer, they will also catch Pink Salmon here, too. Wilson Fish catches King Salmon along the Washington Coast. Your support of these local fishing vessels at your Ballard Farmers Market ensures their ability to keep catching the best fish around, and keep family traditions — and wages — alive, as well!

Wines from Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wines from Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Support Puget Sound Appellation wineries, like Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery. Most folks think all the wine grapes in Washington grow east of the Cascades, but the truth is that there is a robust grape-growing region right here in Puget Sound! Lopez produces three certified-organic estate wines from their island-grown grapes, including Madeleine AngevineSiegerrebe and Wave Crest White. These wines win many awards, and we are lucky to have them right here at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Fresh kombucha from CommuniTea. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh kombucha from CommuniTea. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cleanse your body, rejuvenate your soul, and reuse your bottle! Communi-Tea Kombucha let’s you do all three! This fermented tea beverage will give you a boost of energy, cure what ails you, and when you are ready for your next bottle, they will even take your old bottle back, wash it, and reuse it! Unfamiliar with kombucha? Try one of these handle 250 ml. bottles. This is the finest, freshest kombucha you will find anywhere!

Sunshine rings from Itali Lambertini. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sunshine rings from Itali Lambertini. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Reuse your gold… or someone else’s, at least. That’s what Port Townsend jeweler Itali Lambertini does. Gold mining around the world is very toxic and destructive, and many of us are familiar with the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, that threatens to destroy the largest wild salmon spawning grounds left on earth — home to more than half of the planet’s remaining wild salmon. And yet, there is plenty of gold already in circulation, mined decades and even centuries ago. So why go to some generic jewelry store in a mall to get a ring made of virgin gold that is the same as a thousand other rings, when you can get a unique ring, made with recycled gold, made by a local artist, right here at your Ballard Farmers Market? I mean, it’s not just the thought that counts. The materials and craftsmanship count, too!

Pea vines from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pea vines from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm & Education Center is another King County farm, and besides bringing us amazing local veggies, like these pea vines, in season now, they also operate an educational program that teaches children and adults alike all about organic farming and its benefits, right in Duvall! Of course, supporting them also means you are keeping your dollars recirculating in our local economy, thus creating local, living-wage jobs, instead of exporting your dollars to another state or country. Your support of local jobs means that local farmers are able to support you right back, as they, too, support local businesses. You see, a rising tide floats all boats. We all succeed together… or the alternative.

Kale, zucchini & collard chips from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Kale, zucchini & collard chips from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eat lower on the food chain! House of the Sun produces delicious, nutritious raw and vegan foods, like these awesome kale chips! They get their ingredients from Market farmers. They have a smaller carbon footprint, because they aren’t heating things to cook them. Not cooking foods preserves many nutrients that can be destroyed by cooking them. And you can get your savory and sweet snack on without having to go to the Big Box store to buys some over-packaged “food” made who knows where with who knows what!

Golden Harvest Bee Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Golden Harvest Bee Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eat local honey! Local honey, like from our own Golden Harvest Bee Ranch, supports to protection of local bees, which do a lot of the heavy lifting around here, pollinating most of the crops we know and love here at your Ballard Farmers Market. But did you know that the bees themselves are in trouble? And if they are in trouble, we are in trouble. There’s a thing called Colony Collapse Disorder that has devastated honey bee populations far and wide. So remember, while supporting your local bee can help you will allergies and sweeten your tea, you should also learn more about CCD and what you can do to stop it.

Pumpkin bread from d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pumpkin bread from d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eat gluten-free! More and more Americans are finding they have gluten sensitivity. But that is no longer a life-sentence of really crappy baked goods. Not at your Ballard Farmers Market, at least. That’s because we have d:floured gluten-free bakery, makers of all manner of sweet and savory gluten-free deliciousness that does not skimp on flavor in its pursuit of gluten-free goodies. Take this pumpkin bread, for instance. I beseech thee to find another pumpkin bread around that is better than this! Quite simply, whether or not you are avoiding gluten, you will love everything on d:floured’s tables.

Julianna from Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Julianna from Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Detox your home! Ascents Candles makes their candles with natural oils, not petroleum products, which means you are not filling your home with toxic fumes when you burn them. Plus, they are scented with various natural essential oils that will help set the mood, whatever mood you are aiming for. And if you’re eating dinner and want no scent at all from your candles, they’ve got them, too. Because after all, Earth Day ultimately starts at home!

One more way to celebrate Earth Day every Sunday is to remember bring your own bags every Sunday, as Seattle’s single-use plastic bag ban is now in effect. Also, please take note of our new green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Ballard Farmers Market, and please make an effort to use them correctly. Each container has what’s okay to put in it pictured right on the lid. Please do not put the wrong materials in, because that drives up the cost of recycling and composting, and it can result in the entire container being sent instead to a landfill. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.

There is plenty more local deliciousness waiting for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Just check What’s Fresh Now! for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now.

Sunday, July 22nd: Colorful Cauliflower, Nectarcots, Loganberries, Rainbow Carrots, Kraut Juice, Native Potatoes, Raspberry Jam, Beefsteak Tomatoes & The Return Of Boistfort Valley Farm!!!

July 22, 2012

Purple graffiti cauliflower from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Today’s epistle is a tale of many colors and hybrids, of summers delicious bounty and the return of one of Washington’s finest family farms to your Ballard Farmers Market. Let’s start with a splash of color, though, in the form of this wonderful purple graffiti cauliflower from Oxbow Farm. Besides being delicious, cauliflower is one of those weirdly beautiful vegetables that kinda defies logic. And we are now coming into the peak of summer cauliflower season. Woohoo!

Cheddar cauliflower from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We will enjoy at least five different varieties of cauliflower at your Ballard Farmers Market this summer, from the white titan cauliflower we saw arriving from Oxbow last week to this stunning cheddar cauliflower from Growing Things Farm. And soon, we’ll also see green cauliflower and romanesco, the only vegetable that grows in fractals! Each has its own unique qualities and flavor. I like to steam romanesco, then grate some fresh parmesan cheese over the top of it. I like roasting the white and cheddar in a hot oven, simply tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, though you can dial it up a notch with other spices. Try giving cumin a shot. And try grilling it, too!

Heidi Peroni of Boistfort Valley Farm holding some of their ginormous heads of lettuce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

If you’re anything like me, first off, let me give you the number of a good therapist! That said, you’ve probably been missing Boistfort Valley Farm from, well, Boistfort. You know, we kinda gauge just how late a year it is for Westside farmers based on how late Boistfort Valley comes into your Ballard Farmers Market, and I do believe this is the latest they ever have. Now, if you are unfamiliar with Boistfort Valley Farm, let me tell you a little about them. Farmer Mike Peroni has been farming in Southwest Washington and selling at the Olympia Farmers Market for almost 25 years. He grew up in an Italian family in Pennsylvania with an Italian’s healthy appreciation of food. He specializes in growing Italian and Asian heirloom varieties of vegetables, and his market displays are so legendary that he is regularly called upon to give workshops to other farmers on how to set up one’s market stall. Indeed, Boistfort Valley Farm is one farm to which some of the most admired farms in Washington aspire to be. Thus I say, so what if they’re late coming in. They’ll be with us now through Christmas, and we’ll get to enjoy their splendor! Welcome back Mike and Heidi, and your crew. We’re all ready to fall in love with you all over again!

Nectarcots from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, every year, when the nectarcots from Collins Family Orchards arrive at your Ballard Farmers Market, I cannot help but ponder the absolute explosion in stone fruit hybrids over the last 10-15 years. From donut peaches to pluots to apriums to peachcots, it seems the made scientist orchardists are having just too much fun playing pin the pollen on the other tree’s flower and see what we get. The good news is that this madness has resulted in many more kinds of fruit for us to enjoy, and made it available for much more of the year. I mean, remember back when you had two kinds of cherries, one peach, one nectarine and one apricot? How boring does that seem now? Seriously yawnsville, right? Then again, I am still holding out for the introduction of the nectareach, that mythical hybridization betwixt nectarine and peach. I suspect the delay in this particular fruit has something to do with trying to keep the genes from favoring the juicy, watery interior of the nectarine surrounded by the fuzzy exterior of the peach. Yikes!

Ozette potatoes from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ozette potatoes are the closest thing to a native potato that Washington has. Truth is, all potatoes originated in South America. But did you know that almost all potatoes in the United States travelled from South America to Europe before coming here? Yup. However, there are a few notable exceptions. See, in the late 1700s, the Spanish, who, with the Portuguese, are largely responsible for transporting South America’s most famous tuber to the rest of the planet, sailed up the Pacific Coast of North America from South America back in the 1790s looking for more ports to call home. You didn’t think the Strait of Jan de Fuca  was named by the Brits, did you? The Spaniards set up trading posts in several northern ports, including our own Neah Bay, and they brought with them, direct from South America, potatoes — beautiful fingerling potatoes, to be exact. They plunked their flags down in Neah Bay in 1791, and by 1793, they figured out that the weather here kinda sucks, and they scarpered off back to Mexico. But lucky for us, they left behind with the Makah Indians those potatoes, and the Makah continue to cultivate them to this day. Indeed, the Ozette potato is one of the few potatoes to travel directly from South to North America, and now it is our potato, cool and dampness hardy, dense and starchy and delicious — absolutely brilliant roasted, great steamed, smashed and slathered with butter, or grill-roasted in a foil pouch in butter and herbs. Alvarez Organic Farms has them today. Enjoy!

Loganberries from Jessie’s Berries. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Berries exhibit another exercise in diversity and color this time of year. Take the humble loganberry from Jessie’s Berries, for instance. Big, juicy, sweet and tangy. Perfect for jams, pies, topping ice cream, adding to salads or even dressing up salmon and pork. And just look at that astonishingly beautiful color, eh? You know, when I post photos like this one on our Facebook page, I often find myself blindsided by people from all over the world commenting on the photos and expressing how they wished they could be in Ballard with us to enjoy this absurd bounty we have here. We are pretty darned lucky to live here and to have access to all that our local farmers have to offer us. Take a moment to reflect on that, take a moment to thank the farmers today as you shop at your Ballard Farmers Market, and please, show your appreciation for this special market by voting for it in the 2012 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest.

Shelling peas from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nothing goes together quite like peas and carrots, right? They’re like a marriage made in vegetable heaven… or was it a market research laboratory at Green Giant’s headquarters in Blue Earth, Minnesota? Whatever the case, if you still eat peas from a bag you got out of the freezer case of one of the Big Box stores, I beg you to indulge me and dive into fresh shelling peas from Stoney Plains Organic Farm right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Besides how amazing they are straight out of the pod, I personally find it worth the effort to load up on these babies and shuck pounds of them. I’ll enjoy some fresh now, but more importantly, I will fill a couple dozen pint freezer bags with them, packing four pint bags to a gallon freezer bag, and cram the whole lot into my freezer. Then, when I want frozen peas this winter, so I can make one of my favorite pasta dishes with some of Pasteria Lucchese’s pappardelle and Wilson Fish’s smoked salmon, all I have to do is grab one of those pint bags, empty the contents into the pot with the pasta about 30-60 seconds before the pasta is done, drain, and then toss the lot with the salmon, and bam!, I’ve got the best friggin’ frozen peas ever. Ever! You don’t need to blanch them first. Just shuck ’em and freeze ’em. Ever! Bam! You can thank me in January.

Rainbow carrots from Gaia’s Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Like peas and carrots, baby! Pea and carrots!!! And how’s about yet another rainbow of vegetative color? Rainbow carrots from Gaia’s Natural Goods. Simply awesome, eh? But carrots are orange, and raspberries are red, and cauliflower is white, and tomatoes are red, and, and, and… only if you shop at the Big Box stores, baby! Here at your Ballard Farmers Market, we use the jumbo pack of Crayola crayons, and with it, we get more flavor, more nutrients, more goodness, more life!

Tummy Tonic caraway sauerkraut brine from Firefly Kitchens. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I am so glad that a couple of years ago, I lobbied hard for Firefly Kitchens to keep making their caraway sauerkraut. It is the perfect accompaniment for a nice bratwurst, you know? And with most brands of kraut in the Big Box stores these days being cooked to death or laden with preservative sulfiting agents, having access to this beautiful, fresh, living kraut made with local cabbage is such a gift. And now, they are even bottling the caraway kraut brine left after the kraut is all jarred for sale. This is a potent living tonic that’ll make your body purr, and it’s also got all the deliciousness of the kraut itself. But stock up soon, because we are hitting peak season now at your Ballard Farmers Market, and all our farms are back and needing multiple spaces for all their fruits and veggies, and that’ll mean Firefly Kitchens will be taking its summer hiatus soon to make room for them all.

Beefsteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Clayton from Alm Hill Gardens has been teasing us with hints of the imminent arrival of beefsteak tomatoes from their greenhouses for a couple of weeks now, but today, they are finally here. Indeed, this photo was taken at our Wallingford Farmers Market this past Wednesday. It is time for real tomatoes again, ripened on the vine and picked at their peak — juicy, delicious and ready to take your burgers, your salads, your soups and sauces to new heights! Can I get an amen?

Fresh duck from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh duck in the house! Okay, truth be told, I don’t know for sure if Sea Breeze Farm will have fresh ducks in their case this week or not. They did last week, and I got me some and pan-roasted it. Yummers! Of course, that game of “what will they have this week” is half the fun of Sea Breeze Farm. You can always count on them having a great array of raw jersey cow’s milk products and a nice selection of artisan sausages, but from week-to-week, you never quite know if it is going to be a fresh chicken and veal week, or maybe lamb and pork. Will they experiment with a new pate? Will the ham being simply salted and smoked, or will the rub contain black pepper and cloves? Will they have cheese? Whatever the case, you can count on it being some of the best meat and dairy you’ve ever encountered anywhere. So stop by today, and see what George has got in the case this week! (Oh, and grab a bottle of their wine, while you’re at it.)

Raspberry jam with thyme from Deluxe Foods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wow. I think this is the longest post I’ve ever written. And it’s been one big bang after another. So it seems only fitting that we end this week’s installment with one last big bang — raspberry jam with thyme from Deluxe Foods. They make this stuff with raspberries from Hayton Berry Farms and Ballard-grown thyme. If you have not tried the many heirloom, artisan jams and jellies made with local ingredients and love by Deluxe Foods, you really don’t know what jam can taste like. Yes, I know it is my job to be a relentless cheerleader for all things deliciousness at your Ballard Farmers Market, but seriously, my job is ridiculously easy, given what I have to work with. I mean, when have I steered you wrong, eh? So today, go by Deluxe Foods stand, and systematically sample each and every flavor she’s got, and it you don’t walk away thinking it’s the best jam you’ve ever tasted, well then, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle! (Stop snickering, Clayton. I know you already think I’m a monkey’s uncle.)

Finally, another reminder to please bring your own bags today, and 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.