Posts Tagged ‘spinach’

Sunday, June 10th: Hayton Berry Farms & Full Circle Farm Return, Dungeness Crab, Beautiful Broccoli, Ravishing Radishes & Strawberry Cream Puffs, Yo!

June 10, 2012

First-of-the-season strawberries from Hayton Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids, now we’re cookin’! That’s right! Hayton Berry Farms returns today for the 2012 season to your Ballard Farmers Market with plenty of their famous strawberries. So get up and get down here early, cuz you know they’re gonna go plenty fast!

English cucumbers from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Because of year-round farmers markets like your Ballard Farmers Market, Seattle’s first year-round neighborhood farmers market, many Washington farms are able to confidently invest in season-extending infrastructure that allows them to sell more crops for more of the year, thus allowing us to enjoy those crops more, too. Case in point is Colinwood Farms from Port Townsend. They leverage their temperate climate in the so-called “Banana Belt” under the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains with acres of greenhouses that bring us their amazing spicy salad mix all winter long, and squash blossoms and these gorgeous English cucumbers in late spring, long before even Eastern Washington farms have them.

French breakfast radishes from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

With this winters record mountain snowfalls, many rivers like King County’s Snoqualmie River continue to run high and fast, and that means the farmland along its banks continues to be very wet from the high water table under it. No wonder many of our East King County farms have been a little slow with spring produce this year. The good news is, farms like Oxbow Farm are beginning to hit their stride now. Just take a gander at these magnificent French breakfast radishes from Oxbow. And they’ve got collard greenschardgreen garlic and much more!

Fresh spinach from Gaia’s Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Downriver from Oxbow, along the Snohomish River (for that is where the Snoqualmie River goes), Gaia’s Natural Goods is also adding new crops to its table every week. Check out this spectacular spinach they’ve got right now. It is crisp and tender and delicious, and ready for salads, sautés, stuffing pasta and more!

Strawberry plants from Red Barn Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Want your very own strawberry patch? It is still plenty early enough to plant some strawberry plants from Red Barn Farm. These plants are already baring fruit, and as they mature and spread out over the coming years, they will give you a seemingly endless supply of fresh strawberries from right outside your door every spring and summer!

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

Alm Hill Gardens is rightfully proud of its broccoli. Beautiful, isn’t it? And it’s broccolicious, too! They are harvesting lovely little florets from their late-winter planting right now. Roast it, sauté it, soup it, steam it, toss it with garlic, bacon and fusilli. Oh, life is good!

Dungeness crab from Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dan says Hama Hama Oyster Company will have fresh, whole dungeness crabs today, while they last. He’ll also have some geoduck, the world’s largest, and our own native clam. Geoduck in particular is a rare treat, as it can only be harvested at especially low tides. But again, get here early if you want some. And hey, if he’s already sold out, just put an order in for next week, so you’ll be sure to get some, eh? Sounds like a good Father’s Day dinner to me!

Mizuna from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of fields slowly drying out and crops returning to the Snoqualmie River Valley, Full Circle Farm returns today to your Ballard Farmers Market after a month-long hiatus, and to be honest, I am not really sure what all they’ll have today. If I had to guess, which, I guess, I have to do, I’d guess they’ll have some of this mizuna, maybe some mustard greensradishesJapanese wax turnips, some spring carrots and such. Okay, now we all get to see just how clairvoyant I am.

Shaving kit from Brown Butterfly. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of Father’s Day (which is just next week, by the way), has your dad ditched those annoying, expensive, environmentally unfriendly aerosol shaving cream cans yet? No? Well, then, this is the year! Our own Brown Butterfly makes extraordinary shaving soap that will keep dads face smooth as a baby’s bottom, make him feel like a real man, save him money, and reduce his footprint on the earth, too. And to get dad started, get an entire shaving kit for him from Brown Butterfly. Seriously… ask any man who’s dumped the can for the pleasure of lathering up with a brush and soap. There’s just no going back!

More Is More cream puffs from Cupcake Luv. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One of these day, I will have to start with dessert, but again this week, I will end with it. In this case, how about some More Is More cream puffs with fresh local strawberries from Cupcake Luv. Cupcake Luv is hardcore with its use of local ingredients. Heck, even the flour they use in these puppies is from Washington farmers. Yay! So get your Luv on today!

Hey, there is plenty of 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, May 27th: Sea Beans, Cardoon, Olympia Oysters, “Baby” Bok Choy, Pea Vines & Other Stuff That’ll Make You Go, “Hmm?”

May 27, 2012

See Beans from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sea beans are not beans at all, but instead are a type of succulent that grows in saltwater marshes. They are also brinilicious. Foraged & Found Edibles gathers these for us from the wilds this time of year. And rumor has it that, finally, they will have a bunch of morel mushrooms today, too, as well as watercress and a few porcinis, while they last.

Cardoon from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cardoon is from the artichoke family, and these are the leaf stalks. They are good stewed or in soup and impart an artichoke-like flavor. Needless to say, the Italians, who are obsessed with artichokes, have many fine recipes for them. This was the perfect winter for growing them, and Oxbow Farm has them right now.

Pea vines from Gaia’s Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pea vines may not be all that unusual, especially if you’ve ever eaten the “seasonal vegetable” in a Chinese restaurant around here. But truth be told, many people are intimidated by them. Baffling, really. Few vegetables could be simpler to prepare. Slice up some green garlic, which is abundant now, and start it sauteing in some olive oil. Once it begins to soften, toss in the pea vines and sauté until they wilt. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You’ll want to cut off and discard any woody ends, of course, and cut the vines into 4-6″ strands to make them easier to eat. See, now you can order something else at the Chinese restaurant. Get your pea vines today from Gaia’s Natural Goods.

“Baby” bok choy from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nothing particularly unusual about bok choy, either, except that this is baby bok choy. No, not baby bok choy, which is a separate plant unto itself. This is simply young bok choy. Confusing, isn’t it? But while the two plants look similar, they taste quite different. And baby bok choy usually has a light green stalk, while bok choy has these white stalks. This is bok choy, from Alvarez Organic Farms. Its sturdy stalk hold up well to stir-frying. Cook it up with some marinated tofu and some chili sauce. Yeah, baby!

Gluten-free brownies from Dolce Lou. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sure, these look like any ordinarily delicious fudge brownies, right? And frankly, they taste like them, too. But these brownies are gluten-free!!! Seriously! Dolce Lou makes all manner of gluten-free spectabulousness that will delight anyone on a gluten-free diet who has been suffering with, well, crap that tastes like sawdust. And people who aren’t on a gluten-free diet will love Dolce Lou’s goodies because, well, they’re good!

Stunning succulents from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, so succulents aren’t so unusual around here. (Heck, this is the second time this post I am writing about them!) But the guy who raises them at Phocas Farms is. In a Market full of characters, Jim stands out nevertheless! And let’s face it, they look pretty cool this time of year, especially in this particular photo. Fun with depth of field. woooOOOO! WOOOooo!

Bunch carrots from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Carrots? What’s unusual about carrots? Well, I’m glad you asked! What’s unusual about carrots is that we haven’t had any at the Market much lately. That is, until now. These beautiful bunch carrots are from Colinwood Farms. And they are absofrigginlutely fantabulous. (Okay, WordPress spellcheck… you actually think “fantabulous” is a word? Fascinating.)

Tiny Olympia oysters from Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These tiny oysters are called Olympia oysters, and they are Washington state’s only native oyster. And that is not an optical illusion. They really are as small as that penny. But their flavor is enormous. Hama Hama Oyster Company has one of the few remaining commercial Olympia oyster beds. Give ’em a try, if Dan has some today.

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

Okay, I admit it. There is nothing at all unusual about spinach. Although this spinach from Nash’s Organic Produce is unusually delicious! So get your Popeye on, get some of this spinach, munch it down, and then go pick up a Volkswagen, or better yet, a Buick! That oughta impress Olive Oil.

Hey, there is plenty of 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, March 18th: Spring Is About To Sprung. Spinach, Mustard Greens & Daffodils Are Already Riz!

March 18, 2012

Daffodils from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We’ve survived the Ides of March, St. Paddy’s Day and Daylight Stupid — err, Savings Time, and despite what the thermometer says, the calendar says spring starts this week. Woohoo! Heck, the daffodils are in bloom, the violets and crocus are in full party mode, cherry trees are exploding in flowers all over the city, and my giant pussy willow tree has already gone to pollen. It may snow tomorrow, but spring is here. Let’s celebrate! For starters, how’s about a gorgeous bouquet of those aforementioned daffodils from Children’s Garden to brighten up your home, or the day of someone special.

Baby spinach from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spring means spinach, and Colinwood Farms has this beautiful, tender and delicious baby spinach right now, fresh out of their greenhouses. In fact, they’re pulling a bunch of lovely stuff out of them currently, like spicy salad mixtender braising mix and mustard greens. Speaking of which…

Red mustard greens from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Full Circle Farm has these fabulous red mustard greens right now, as well as plenty of other goodness. You know, I always have to take pause at the name, red mustard greens. It kinda seems inherently in conflict with itself. Are they red? Are they greens? Actually, they’re both! (I know, I shouldn’t be playing weird word games with you on the Sunday morning after St. Patrick’s Day. You are still trying to shake of last night’s green beer.)

Wildflower honey from Tahuya River Apiaries. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Honey. No, I’m not getting fresh with you. I am really talking about honey. Sheesh. But hey, I think we could all use a little bit of wildflower honey from Tahuya River Apiaries about now. It’ll sweeten us up, give our immune systems a boost, mellow out our allergies, and generally put a smile on our faces. Thanks, bees!

Dino kale raab from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Raabs are the tender, flowering tips of over-wintered crops like kale, collards and cabbage when they are beginning to bolt and go to seed in early spring. They arrive at your Ballard Farmers Market every year around this time. Nash’s Organic Produce has a large selection of raabs available today, like this stunning dino kale raab, with more arriving in the coming weeks. Give ’em a try. They are an early spring treat!

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

This is brokale from Gaia’s Natural Goods. It is a cross between broccoli and kale, and it is kinda the pride and joy of the Gaia farm up in Snohomish. You won’t find this on any other tables at the Market. Brokale is lovely stir-fried with mushrooms and Chinese sausage, or sautéed on its own. It offers a nice mix of the sweetness of broccoli and the mild bitterness of kale, and it is packed with nutrients. And let’s face it — brokale is just kind of a macho name, don’t you think?

Hey, there is plenty of 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, March 4th: Another Sunny Winter’s Day Brings Spinach, Salad Mix, Jazz Apples, Gluten-Free Bread, Raw Milk & More!

March 4, 2012

Spinach from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I’ve got Sirius by The Alan Parsons Project playing to fire me up to write this week’s epistle, as I am still fairly dain-bread from this past Monday’s Farmer-Fisher-Chef Connection. It’s kinda funny how a song by a bunch of nerdy studio musicians in the late 1970s is still widely used to whip sports fans into hysteria at stadiums around the world. Anywho, lucky for me, I took a bunch of fresh photos of lotsa cool stuff at your Ballard Farmers Market now, in spite of what the calendar says. Indeed, now that it’s March, we’ve turned a corner into spring as far as local crops go. Odds are slim we’ll get a killer freeze to take out the hardy crops now. And many other crops are making a comeback already, like this spinach from Full Circle Farm. All you folks who question the point of getting up in the morning without spinach to enjoy at some point during the day can relax now, and even celebrate a little. It’s back!

Detroit beets from Gaia’s Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How about some freshly dug over-winter Detroit beets, complete with beet greens, from Gaia’s Natural Goods. By now, you have probably tried their delicious pickled beets. Well, these are the beets from which those pickled beets come.

Jazz apples from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This is one of the best apples you will ever sink your teeth into. It is a jazz apple from Collins Family Orchards. They pull these out of storage this time of year, still firm and crisp, and at their peak of flavor. If there is any time of year you’ll want an apple a day to keep the doctor away, this is it, and this apple is one that will make eating an apple a day easy!

Dino kale from Nash's Organic Produce in the February sun. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, dino kale is not exactly a re-emergent crop, but it is incredible this time of year. It’s leaves are getting smaller and more tender, and after surviving more than a few very cold nights of winter, it is very sweet and full of flavor. And this dino kale from Nash’s Organic Produce basking in February sunshine kinda gives us hope, doesn’t it?

Gluten-free sandwich bread (right) and baguettes from Dolce Lou. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Phebe Rossi of Dolce Lou is known for her gluten-free sweets that not only fill a void in the lives of people who must maintain a gluten-free diet, but are also so good that everyone else loves them, too. And now, she’s putting that same passion into loaves of gluten-free bread. You’ve gotta love gluten-free bread that is also, well, you know… edible. Cuz a lot of it isn’t! Check out Dolce Lou for gluten-free bagettes and sandwich bread.

Spicy salad mix from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s back! Yup, the greenhouses atop the hill that is Alm Hill, after which Alm Hill Gardens is named, are cranking out their famous spicy salad mix again. Woohoo! Now, that’s gotta give you hope of immanent spring, eh?

Raw milk products from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Raw milk products can be hard to find around these parts. Washington state has some of the strictest regulations on the production of raw milk products anywhere in the country. Lucky for us at your Ballard Farmers Market, we’ve got Sea Breeze Farm. They’ve jumped through the various hoops necessary to bring us raw milkcream, buttermilk and more!

Hey, there is plenty of 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.