Posts Tagged ‘shellfish’

Sunday, December 19th: Delicious Local Fixins For Great Holiday Meals, Unique Gifts Hand-Crafted By Local Artists & Morris Dancers! Where Else But Your Ballard Farmers Market?!?

December 19, 2010

Whole emmer/farro from Bluebird Grain Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

(Note: Ballard Farmers Market will be open next Sunday, December 26th.)

I spent last week on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Okay, I hear you thinking, “lucky bastard,” but believe it or not, it was colder there on a few days than it was here, and just as stormy. With weather like that, if my parents didn’t live there, the place would hold no redeeming value for me at all. I bring this up to remind us all that we’re pretty friggin’ lucky to live here in the Pacific Northwet. Even when the weather is crappy, we’ve got plenty to keep us going. So I don’t wanna hear anymore whining about La Nina. Get on out to your Ballard Farmers Market today and get everything you need for a great holiday season direct from the local farmers, fishers, ranchers, food artisans and artists that help make this place the best place on earth to live, and visit all of our neighbors terrific shops, restaurants and watering holes. Invest in your local economy this holiday season instead of the Mall, and maybe by this time next year, we’ll all feel more comfortable. That said, Bluebird Grain Farms is here today with all of their magnificent organic heirloom grain products, from whole grain emmer/farro to cereal blends, flours, pilaf, mixes and more. Stock up today, as Bluebird likely won’t be back again for at least another month!

Various fish products from Cape Cleare Fishery. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cape Cleare Fishery is back today. They are the folks who peddle their bicycles all the way from Port Townsend to Ballard each week… except last week. Apparently riding face-first into a driving rain along flooded roads didn’t sound too attractive to them last week. Go figure. But they’re back today. So pickup some frozen-at-sea Alaskan salmon, maybe a nice package of lox, or perhaps some smoked salmon to impress your guests with this holiday season.

A display of FDA documents and U.S. Marshall postings from Estrella Family Creamery. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

If you are interested in learning more about the FDA seizure of Estrella Family Creamery, and efforts to help the Estrella family during this difficult time for them, a group of supporters and friends have set up a blog here on WordPress. It contains discussions of the situation and info on how you can help. There has also been setup a “Save the Estrella Family Creamery” Facebook page.

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

Today may be your last chance to get a pepper strand or wreath from Alvarez Organic Farms. These beautiful creations will liven up any home, and they make great gifts. And the best thing is, once they are dried, if you don’t want to leave them hanging, you can actually cook with the dried peppers. Of course, if you don’t want to break it up once it’s dried, why not pickup some dried peppers from Alvarez. They have several varieties of peppers dried this year. Stock up.

Winter squash from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things still has some lovely winter squash available this week, and of course, they also still have amazing pastured poultry, eggs, jams and soaps. Michaele makes an amazing variety of soaps, in fact, from spearmint — my favorite — to lemongrass to cinnamon. And she makes her soap from beef tallow and lard from her own animals, the old-world way.

Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Gluten-Free Bread from Platypus Breads. Photo courtesy Platypus Breads.

The bad news is, this is the last week for Platypus Breads at your Ballard Farmers Market. The good news is, Lindsay is here today with her amazing gluten-free breads for one last hoorah. Frankly, Platypus Breads is one of the most remarkable new vendors of 2010. Lindsay decided that people who must eat gluten-free products deserved to have just as good bread to eat as everyone else, and she set out to make it. And she succeeded. She proved that the terms moist, flavorful and gluten-free are not inherently mutually exclusive, if you just put some effort, thought and creativity into it. So thank you, Lindsay. You, and your bread, will be missed.

Shucked oysters from Taylor Shellfish make it easy to add fresh, local oysters to any recipe. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Shellfish. You need it. Lots of it. Especially during the holidaze. Think oyster stuffing or stew, baked oysters or oysters on the half-shell, sauteed mussels or clams, or even some geoduck ceviche. Whatever you decide to do with your shellfish, Taylor Shellfish has what you need. So visit Oyster Bill today for this week’s fix, and maybe put in a request for next week’s.

Holiday wreath from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alm Hill Gardens still has some of their beautiful holiday wreaths today. They handcraft these marvelous creations using foliage from their farm just for us. And they smell amazing! Oh, Alm Hill should have some saute mix, squash and other edibles today, too.

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

All the Northwet loves a tasty root roast this time of year, and what root roast is complete without parsnips, like these from Nash’s. Actually, you can also make soups, purees and mashes with parsnips, too, combined with celeriac and maybe potatoes. Parsnips are so wonderfully sweet and delicious, and they cook pretty quickly, so beware and don’t overcook them. Though they look like carrots, they are not nearly as dense as carrots. Enjoy!

Rutabagas from Boistfort Valley. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

On the other end of the root density spectrum, though equally loved by me, is the humble rutabaga, a.k.a., Swedes or Swedish turnips, like these from Boistfort Valley Farm, which will hopefully grace us one more time today with their presence. These giant-looking turnips are not really turnips at all. Their dense flesh has a deeply sweet, savory flavor that is great steamed and mashed with plenty of butter. Or toss them in the root roast, too. But remember, they will take the longest of any of your roots to cook, as they are the densest.

Family-sized cheesecake from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oh, I hope Sam & Sara of Pasteria Lucchese made some of their incredible cheesecakes this week. Have you tried one? Well, take it from this ex-pat New Yorker that they are the real deal, and you will want one, or three, on your holiday table. You can thank me later.

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check the What’s Fresh Now! listings in the upper right-hand corner of this page for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now. But please note that due to our recent cold weather, some crops may not be available as anticipated.

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.