Posts Tagged ‘spices’

Sunday, September 5th: Awarding Winning Market & Vendors! Of Firsts, Seconds, Thirds & Fourths!!!

September 5, 2010

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

According to the USDA, there are 6,132 farmers markets at present in the United States. And in the American Farmland Trust’s national 2010 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest, your Ballard Farmers Market finished #4 in the large market category. Not too shabby. Thank you, good folk of the People’s Republic of Ballard, Seattle and Washington state for voting for Ballard. And to those who didn’t vote for Ballard out of fear it would draw even more people to Ballard Avenue every Sunday, you can rest assured that those crowds are headed to Rochester, NY now. And if you believe that, I have some condos in Belltown I’d like to sell you!

Anthony Estrella of Estrella Family Creamery holds three ribbons from 2010 Amercian Cheese Society competition. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of contests, the 2010 American Cheese Society Convention & Competition was held here in Seattle just last week, and three Washington cheese makers that sell right here at your Ballard Farmers Market won awards. Estrella Family Creamery, out of Montesano, won three ribbons, including First in Class (smoked Italian styles category) for their Weebles cheese, First in Class (sheep or mixed milks category) for their Caldwell Crick Chevrette, and a Second Place Award was given to their Jalapeño Buttery in the Flavored, Peppers category.

Roger Wechsler of Samish Bay Cheese. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Samish Bay Cheese, out of Bow, won four ribbons, including: First in Class for their Ladysmith cheese in Fresh Unripened Cow’s Milk Cheeses category; Second Place for their Aged Ladysmith in the Farmstead Cheeses up to 60 days category; Third Place fro their Ladysmith with Chives in Farmstead Cheeses with Flavoring category; and Third Place for their Yogurt Cheese (Labneh) in Cultured Products from Cow’s Milk category.

Cheese maker Matthew Day from Mt. Townsend Creamery in one of his four cheese caves in Port Townsend. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And Mt Townsend Creamery, from Port Townsend, won First in Class for their Seastack cheese in the Soft Ripened category. Congratulations to all the great cheese makers of Washington, who have so impressed the rest of the world over the last 5-10 years that they drew this major national cheese event to Seattle this year. And don’t forget that three more of those great Washington cheese makers — Golden Glen Creamery, Port Madison and Sea Breeze — also sell great cheese at your Ballard Farmers Market. Blessed are the cheese makers, indeed!

Fresh Frasier River Sockeye from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The boats of Loki Fish have returned to Washington waters from Alaska after a long summer fishing up north. Now, they are harvesting Frasier River sockeye salmon just south of the Canadian border, and you can get some of this amazing fish fresh today.

Wild lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Though we may be bemoaning the summer that never completely arrived this year, as we rapidly descend into fall, one thing we can celebrate is an early and vibrant fall wild mushroom season. Just look at these spectacular lobster mushrooms Foraged & Found Edibles has right now. And if you still don’t know why they are called lobster mushrooms after seeing this photo, you need to either adjust the color on your monitor, or you need to look up what a lobster looks like after it’s been steamed.

Cippolini onions from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cippolini onions are another of those wonderful heirloom Italian crops that so many farmers around here enjoy growing. Cippolini onions, like these from Oxbow Farm, are kinda squat in appearance, more disc-like than bulbous. They caramelize magnificently. Just imagine them on some crostini, or over a nice steak.

San Marzano tomatoes from Pipitone Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another great Italian crop is San Marzano tomatoes, like these from Pipitone Farms. These are the tomatoes of Naples, growing in the rich volcanic soil of Mt. Vecuvius. They are prized for their rich, thick, meaty flesh that produces what many consider the finest tomato sauce on earth.

Colorful spices from Seattle Spice. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for spices and rubs? Check out Seattle Spice. They offer a huge selection of spices, blends and rubs to accent the Market fresh goodness you’ll take home tonight. Stop by and just enjoy the aroma of the sample tins.

Caroline raspberries from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sidhu has a fresh wave of raspberries coming on from their fields in Orting. Above are their big, juicy and tangy Caroline raspberries. They also have ever-bearing raspberries now. And they still have plenty of blueberries and blackberries, too.

Many beans from Growing Things. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just look at all these beans from Growing Things Farm! Green beans. Dragon Tongue beans. Yellow wax beans. Purple beans. I’m thinking pickles. Or casseroles. Maybe sauteed with bacon and pearl onions. How about a nice stir fry with pork or shrimp. Or perhaps a bean salad. Ah, beans!

Ailsa Craig onions from Prana Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ailsa Craig onions are not only one of my favorite onions to eat, they are also one of my favorites to say — Ailsa Craig! (Say it with your inner Scot.) These beautiful heirloom onions hail from Scotland originally. These are a sweet onion with a wonderful flavor, great sauteed, caramelized, roasted, grilled and raw. Prana Farms grows them for us here, along with many other heirloom crops.

Hot chilis in every color from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alvarez Organic Farms grows more than 150 varieties of peppers, some of which are varieties they have developed themselves. Above is just a small sampling of the many hot chili peppers they grow, in all their colorful glory. Peppers vary widely in flavor and heat, so experiment with them to find which ones you like the best.

And 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!

Sunday, May 2nd: Fresh, Troll-Caught Washington Coastal SALMON! Woo-hoo!!!

May 1, 2010

Fresh, wild, Washington king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s b-a-c-k!!! Yep, Fresh, wild, troll-caught, Washington coastal (not to be confused with “postal”) king salmon is back at Wilson Fish. The season opened yesterday, May 1st, and Steve Wilson went and caught some right off the bat, in spite of the cranky weather on the coast. In fact, the boys at Wilson Fish will have fresh king salmon, halibut, true cod and rockfish today, but not a lot, and it will go fast. Some forget that second cup of coffee this a.m. You’d better be in line when the market opens!

Spring pea shoots from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know, that salmon would be lovely with a nice side of sauteed pea shoots, eh? A little garlic, a little olive oil. Heaven. Colinwood Farms has a limited supply of pea shoots, so once you fight your way to your piece of salmon, run recklessly (well, not really) to Colinwood for your pea shoots.

Lemon grass starts from Billy's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Billy’s Organic Produce is back, though it will be a while before they have fresh tomatoes. In the meantime, they have lots of plants, including something you might not expect — lemon grass. It is plenty hard to find fresh lemon grass in stores, so why not just grow your own, eh?

Cayenne powder from Pipitone Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I just love the fact that more and more dried local herbs and spices are becoming available from our market farmers, don’t you? And the farm that has truly blazed this trail is Pipitone Farms from Cashmere. Here is one of their latest additions: cayenne powder. You use it. Why not get it from a local farmer?

Culinary herb rub from Moosedreams Lavender Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I had the pleasure of visiting Moosedreams Lavender Farm recently. Not only do they grow lavender on their tiny farm in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains, in Port Angeles, but they produce all manner of products from it, from soap to pet products to bath salts to culinary herb rub, above. I love this stuff on steak. An half hour before you throw your steak on the grill, pull it out of the fridge, slather it with olive oil, and coat it with this rub. Then let it sit and warm up while you built your fire in your Weber. Oh, yeah. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

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

Deborah’s Homemade Pies returns today to your Ballard Farmers Market. Deborah was off running a marathon — Boston, I think — but she’s back, and amen for that. Gotta get me one of them chicken pies and a slice of chocolate decadence.

Salted caramel brownie from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I don’t know if these new brownies from Pasteria Lucchese will cure what ails you, but they certainly will cause you to care less about it. These salted caramel brownies are intensely delicious without being overpowering, and yet, like all of the amazing dessert creations Pasteria Lucchese has produced, a little goes a long way, meaning you can enjoy it in multiple sittings, unless if what ails you is a complete lack of willpower, in which case get two of these, as the first won’t even survive the trip home.

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.