Posts Tagged ‘summer squash’

Sunday, August 31st: Ginormous Juicy Melons, Adorable Summer Squash, Charming Cherry Tomatoes, Glorious Gala Apples & Saying Sayonara To Succulents… For Now, Anyway.

August 30, 2014
Succulents in late summer light from Phocas Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Succulents in late summer light from Phocas Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! September begins… tomorrow! And that means our buddy, Jimmy, from Phocas Farms, has to retire to his farm in Port Angeles to tend to his saffron crop, which is beginning to spring to life now. So today is your last chance until early next year to stock up on succulents and saffron corms to plant in your own yard. Stop by today, get what you need, and wish Jimmy a happy fall and a bountiful saffron harvest!

Ginormous melons from Lyall Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Ginormous melons from Lyall Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Lyall Farms has lots of these ginormous, delicious, juicy melons right now at  your Ballard Farmers Market. They grow all different kinds of melons, some all too familiar, and others downright strange. But they are all great and just waiting to make a mess out of your best shirt!

A rainbow of carrots from Oxbow Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

A rainbow of carrots from Oxbow Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm is rocking the carrots right now, in a rainbow of colors. They’ve got ’em white, orange and purple at present, each with their own particular levels of sweetness, some suited best for roasting, while others are best raw. So stop by and get your carrot on now! And if you want to learn more about carrots than you ever thought there was to know about them, check out the World Carrot Museum online, where you’ll learn, for instance, that orange is a relatively new color for carrots.

Late summer strawberries from Sidhu Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Late summer strawberries from Sidhu Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sidhu Farms has a fresh crop of late summer strawberries for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Gorgeous, aren’t they? These are from a class of strawberry varieties known as “ever-bearing,” which means they will keep producing blooms and fruit until it gets too cold and dark to do so. Spring varieties are known as “June-bearing,” which means they are naturally genetically preset to bloom and produce fruit for only a specific period of time, usually 10-14 days in and around June, after which they go dormant again until next year. See, aren’t you glad you tuned in to your Ballard Farmers Market blog this week?

Baby summer squash from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Baby summer squash from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Meet baby squash, little summer squash that are so sweet and so beautiful, and the perfect size for sautéing whole. See, Growing Things Farm sorts their summer squash by size — baby, toddler, adolescent… even tiny ones with full blossoms attached — so that you can get the perfect ones for your special meal… which ends up being every meal, when you eat them!

Gala apples from Martin Family Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Gala apples from Martin Family Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These are Gala apples from Martin Family Orchards, just in time for packing in the kiddies lunch bags. (Yikes! Tomorrow is September!) And in case you haven’t noticed, this year has seen the fruit trees of Washington put out record fruit sets of the most delicious fruit ever, earlier than ever. See, global warming does have its up sides.

Celery from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Celery from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s celery season, good people of Ballard! Wait, what? Celery season, you ask? I get it. You still get your celery at the Big Box store, and they have it all year-round. But that celery cannot hold a candle to this celery from Boistfort Valley FarmThis celery is fresh, firm, crisp and, believe it or not, sweet. Yes, sweet. That’s because of its freshness and how it is grown. See, the celery you are getting from the Big Box store was harvested a week or two ago and shipped here from thousands of miles away. This celery was harvested yesterday afternoon in Thurston County. If you have never had farm-fresh celery, you owe it to yourself to try some today. You will never look at Big Box celery the same again!

Early Italian prunes from Magana Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Early Italian prunes from Magana Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

I heart Italian prunes. Yes, prunes. Not plums. These are early Italian prunes from Magana Farms. Prunes are a free-stone stone fruit, meaning they release easily from their pit. They have a denser, sweeter flesh than plums, which are not free-stone, and they take well to cooking and drying, though I love them fresh, too. Of course, the Corporate Agribusiness Yahoos at the California Prune Board would have you believe that these are plums. Why? Because they are about marketing, not about food, and they worry that “prune” is too closely associated with keeping ones bowels regular. And I won’t lie to you… they will do just that. But that should not be a reason to rename them. I mean, why are we so afraid of stuff that is good for us, to the extent we will avoid it even though it is also delicious? How stupid have we become? Well, if you go ask Sam at Pasteria Lucchese what he thinks, he will tell you that he and his fellow Italians are still proud to call these what they really are: prunes! Celebrate them! Eat them! Sauce them! Syrup them! Dry them! Just don’t call them plums!

Artichokes from Nash's Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Artichokes from Nash’s Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Another true love of Italians everywhere (and especially in Italy, for some reason) are fresh artichokes. They steam them. They grill them. They toss them with pasta, make them into soup, put them on pizza. They are crazy for them! If you are, too, now is your time. Get thee to Nash’s Organic Produce with all due haste and enjoy these beautiful artichokes today!

Cherry tomatoes from Gaia's Harmony Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherry tomatoes from Gaia’s Harmony Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Gaia’s Harmony Farm has lots and lots of these spectacular cherry tomatoes today! But wait, don’t they just sell berries and juice, you ask? Nope. So come get you some of these wonderful, organic cherry tomatoes today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Nothing like a nice, chewy loaf of crusty artisan bread from Tall Grass Bakery to make your meal complete. From pain au levain, a lovely, sour loaf made with whole wheat, to hominy, made with, um, hominy, to their just plain comforting oat and honey bread, Tall Grass has set the standard for great bread in Seattle since their humble beginning with our market organization almost 20 years ago.

These organic estate wines come from Wilridge Winery in Madrona. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These organic estate wines come from Wilridge Winery in Madrona. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget a nice bottle of wine from Seattle’s original winery: Wilridge. These bottles, above, in fact, are their estate wines, made from grapes they grow themselves in the tiny Naches Heights appellation, just west of Yakima in the foothills of the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains. Stop by their tent for a sample today, then grab a bottle of Washington winemaking history from right here in Seattle to enjoy tonight!

A bee enjoying a sunflower from The Old Farmer at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

A bee enjoying a sunflower from The Old Farmer at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Let us finish this week’s epistle with this image of a happy little honey bee on freshly cut sunflowers from The Old Farmer, just across the isle from Oxbow Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Ballard is home to lots of honey bees, many of which reside atop restaurants like Bastille. And on Sundays, they get to enjoy the wonders of the Market just like you do!

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.

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Sunday, July 20th: Melons, More Corn, Heirloom Tomatoes, Nectarcots & More!

July 19, 2014
Yellow Doll watermelons from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yellow Doll watermelons from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just when you thought this summer couldn’t get any more amazing, Lyall Farms brings the first melons of the season to your Ballard Farmers Market! These are Yellow Doll watermelons, and this is the earliest we’ve ever seen them here, by more than two full weeks. Wow. They also have more traditional red watermelons, sweet, juicy and ripe, and ready for you to devour.

Tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Woohoo! The tomatoes from One Leaf Farm are coming in early, and with a vengeance! Four varieties so far, and more to come. Besides the sungold and heirloom cherries, above left, they’ve got Black Krim and Paul Robeson, above right. They are so ripe and juicy and delicious. While I’ve been devouring sungolds straight out of the container and in salads for a week now, last Thursday, I enjoyed some of the Black Krims simply with some salt and some mayo. Not highbrow, just classic.

Organic sweet corn from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic sweet corn from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

More sweet corn has arrived this week. This is certified organic sweet corn from Alvarez Organic Farms, and because I care, I have already done some serious quality control testing on it, and I can assure you, it is awesome!

Here is a tip for chosing corn: instead of pulling open the top to see if it is filled out, simply run your thumb over the outside of the husk. You can easily feel the mature kernels inside. See, when you actually tear the corn open, you are actually ruining it either for yourself or the next person, because the minute you do that, all the delicious sugars in it that make it so sweet begin to turn to starch. So please, never tear open the husk to examine it before you buy it. If you need help choosing the best ears, just ask. Our farmers are more than happy to lend you a hand.

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

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

These are nectarcots, from Collins Family Orchards, and as the name suggests, they are a cross betwixt nectarines and apricots. And of all the various stone fruit hybrids, I’d say these guys might be the most difficult to pick out their genetic lineage without us telling you. They kinda look like a yellow-orange plum, and they taste super sweet and are super juicy. They don’t have the fuzzy exterior of the apricot, or its deep flavor, and they don’t have that texture that nectarines have. It is as if somehow, someone was able to cross them and get them to contribute their best flavor notes while giving them the texture of a plum and the sturdiness of a pluot. Bottom line is, they are amazing, but they’re only around for a few weeks, so don’t you dare miss them!

Baby summer squash from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Baby summer squash from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Every summer, Growing Things Farm brings the most beautiful summer squash to your Ballard Farmers Market. In fact, they size it for you, so that it is easy for you to pick out the perfect sized squash for your plans. Like these baby summer squash that are perfect for a quick sauté or grilling.

Spartans blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Blueberry Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spartans blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Blueberry Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We welcome the return of Whitehorse Meadows Blueberry Farm from northern Snohomish County today. They grow some extraordinary organic blueberries, including these SpartansJerseys and Rubels, a close cousin to the wild mountain blueberries on Northern New England and Maritime Canada. Whitehorse Meadows is actually located several miles east of Oso, on the far side of the slide zone on SR 530, which recently reopened. We imagine they’ll be thrilled to be able to get out and see us again, so let’s give them a big welcome back today!

Sweet onions from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet onions from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It has been a bit of a tough year for sweet onions so far — kinda surprising given how good it’s been for just about everything else. But we finally have some seasoned sweet onions for you at your Ballard Farmers Market. These are from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. These sweet onions are from Walla Walla sweet onion seed, but we call them “sweet onions,” without adding “Walla Walla” in front, because the name, “Walla Walla sweet onion,” is protected by a federal USDA Marketing Order, only to be used for onions grown within a 50-mile radius around Walla Walla. Still, these are plenty sweet.

Flavor Supreme pluots from Tiny's Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Flavor Supreme pluots from Tiny’s Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Here’s another of those cool hybrid stone fruits: Flavor Supreme pluots from Tiny’s Organic. Remember, pluots are genetically 70% plum and 30% apricot, but they definitely favor plums in structure and appearance… well, except that pluots come in an extraordinary diversity of colors, flavors and sizes. For instance, Flavor Supremes have a greenish-red skin, but a deep red flesh (see above). And they are fantastic. Enjoy!

Pink turnips from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pink turnips from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gorgeous pink turnips from Boistfort Valley Farm are a close cousin to some of the other Asian turnip varieties we see here at your Ballard Farmers Market, only these guys are just a bit more flamboyant. And they taste good, too!

All beef hot dogs from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

All beef hot dogs from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Do you have a hankering for a good all-beef hot dog, but you fear what’s in it, where it was made and how the animals used in it were treated? Well, be afraid no more! These uncured beef franks are from Skagit River Ranch. That means the cattle were grass-fed on lush pastures, treated well, raised organically, and processed with respect. It also means that they are delicious!

Chinese spinach from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chinese spinach from Children’s Garden. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You may have heard me refer to Treviso radicchio as the second most beautiful vegetable on earth and wondered to yourself, “what is the most beautiful vegetable on earth, then?” This is! Meet Chinese spinach from Children’s Garden. It is only grown by two farms at your Ballard Farmers Market, both Hmong, and the last two summers have been kind of hostile to it, so we haven’t really seen much of it since 2011. It can be simply sautéed with some garlic. Or you can just invite your friends over to sit and look at it.

Cauliflower from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cauliflower from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Your Ballard Farmers Market is loaded with lots of heirloom and exotic crops grown by adventurous farmers. But what Summer Run Farm specializes in is growing lovely organic produce standards — the stuff you could find at the Big Box store, but that would pale by comparison to Summer Run’s. Like this cauliflower. Sweet and crunchy, and wonderful roasted, made into soup, dipped in hummus or cocktail sauce, or however you enjoy it best.

Slicing cucumbers from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Slicing cucumbers from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

There’s nothing like a cucumber to cool you off during the hot days of summer, a phrase we don’t get to say too often. But this year is one for the record books, so let’s get our cucumber salads on, people. Let’s crank out some cucumber sandwiches. Let’s add it to our ice water and make cocktails and gazpacho out of it. They babies are from Alm Hill Gardens. Pick some up today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Bell peppers from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Bell peppers from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These bell peppers from Colinwood Farm are so fragrant that they seem to steal the show for your olfactory glands as you examine the farm’s tables. Pep up your salads, stuff some, or throw them on the barby. This is going to be a phenomenal year for peppers!

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget to grab a loaf or two of artisan bread from Tall Grass Bakery today. They have a wonderful selection, from deep, dark pumpernickel, to chewy, moist Baker Street sourdough, to earthy, sweet oat and honey and challah that will complete your sabbath meal or make for amazing French toast on Saturday morning.

Spicy whole dill pickles from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Spicy whole dill pickles from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish off this week’s epistle with this brand-spanking-new release of spicy whole dill pickles from Purdy Pickle. You can’t get these year-round from Purdy, because they are using local ingredients when they are at their peak of freshness. And that means, when they run out, they run out. Lucky for us, this is a very early year for local pickling cukes, so Purdy should be able to put up quite a few jar. But don’t let that cause you to hesitate. Get your pickle on now!

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 6th: More Colors Than A July 4th Fireworks Display! Including Nectarines, Green Beans, Tomatoes & Some Fishy Business!

July 5, 2014
Beeksteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beeksteak tomatoes from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We hope you all had a pleasant Independence Day holiday. Now, it’s time to gear up for the real summer in Seattle — lots of warm, sunny days, a festival every three days, and a stunningly diverse rainbow of localiciousness at your Ballard Farmers Market. Indeed, this particular blog installment is about as colorful as any we’ve ever done. And yes, this is a photo of beefsteak tomatoes taken this year. I took it on Wednesday, in fact, at our sister Wallingford Farmers Market. These beauties are from Alm Hill Gardens.

Honeyfire nectarines from Tiny's Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Honeyfire nectarines from Tiny’s Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tiny’s Organic wins the award for first orchard with nectarines this summer! Like with so many other crops this year, these organic Honeyfire nectarines mark the earliest we have ever seen nectarines at your Ballard Farmers Market! So let’s review: it is the first Sunday in July, and we already have nectarines and beefsteak tomatoes. Woohoo!

Gene Panida of Wilson Fish holding a whole wild Washington king salmon. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gene Panida of Wilson Fish holding a whole wild Washington king salmon. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now that is a fish! Gene Panida, from Wilson Fish, is holding a whole, wild Washington troll-caught king salmon, and that is no small fish. Last week, they were selling them for a mere $11.99 per pound! If you are feeding an army, grab one of these gorgeous fish and pop it in your smoker. Yeah, baby!

Green beans from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Green beans from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And look! Green beans from Alvarez Organic Farms! Yup, green beans are flooding into your Ballard Farmers Market this week from several farms. Try doing a quick sauté on them, maybe with some bacon and some pearl onions, if you can find them. Or get pickling!

Fresh keta salmon ikura and skeines from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh keta salmon ikura and skeines from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Do you love fresh salmon eggs? Then you are in luck! Loki Fish has fresh skeines of salmon eggs right now. They also have freshly cured ikura — that’s salted salmon eggs… in those little jars. Take a slice of Tall Grass Bakery baguette, a schmear of truffled fromage from Mt. Townsend Creamery, and top with a spoonful of ikura, and you have one serious bite of deliciousness!

A colorful display from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A colorful display from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of rainbows, how about this display from our friends at Boistfort Valley Farm. They returned full-time last week with lots of great veggies. Stop by for amazing lettuceschardradishesfresh herbshoney and more!

Red & salmon raspberries from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red & salmon raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And I know I wrote of organic salmon raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm just last week. But when I saw this spectacular checkerboard of berries on their tables at Wallingford Farmers Market this past Wednesday, I just had to share it.

Treviso radicchio from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Treviso radicchio from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This Treviso radicchio, from One Leaf Farm, is one of the most beautiful vegetables on earth, hands down. It is also one of my favorite vegetables. It is a chicory, so like all chicories, it tends to be bitter. But it has a sweetness to it, too. And when you cook it, those dramatic white cores of its leaves sweeten up a bit. There are many ways to enjoy it. Two of my favorites are grilling it and sautéing it with bacon. For grilling it, just cut it in half, lengthwise, oil it down, and plop it on the grill until wilted. It’s okay if it gets a little char. That adds depth to the flavor. Then finish it with a nice finishing salt, some fresh ground pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. To sauté it, cut it up crosswise, with about one inch wide cuts. Use a good, smoking, salty bacon, like from Sea Breeze Farm, or a sweeter bacon, like Olsen Farms‘ jowl bacon, or the bacon ends and pieces from Skagit River Ranch. Chunk it up into smallish pieces and render out the fat over medium heat in a skillet, then drop in the Treviso with the bacon and fat, and toss together until the Treviso is just wilted. Salt and pepper to taste, and if the bacon hasn’t effectively sweetened it, add a drizzle of balsamic.

Canned local albacore tuna in a variety of flavors from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Canned local albacore tuna in a variety of flavors from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Talk about a rainbow, canned local albacore tuna from Fishing Vessel St. Jude comes in a plethora of flavors, each with its own colorful labels. And since it is the first Sunday of the month, St. Jude is here will all manner of yummy tuna, from canned to  jerkied to fresh-frozen loins to smoked, and more! Stock up!

Robada apricots from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Robada apricots from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

ACMA Mission Orchards has these juicy organic Robada apricots this week, as well as cherriestomcot apricots, and probably some early peaches, too! Enjoy these early apricot varieties while you can, as they come and go so quickly.

Summer squash from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer squash from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How about some yellow crookneckzucchini, sunburst and other wonderful summer squashes from Colinwood Farm? And don’t forget their awesome salad mix, their red, white & blue new potatoes, and even a few tomatoes!

Broccoli from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Broccoli from Summer Run Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer Run Farm always grows such gorgeous broccoli, don’t you think? To say nothing of (though I am going to anyway) those ginormous heads of lettuce and their adorable little dwarf sunflowers.

Fresh Herbs de Provence & Garlic-Parsley Chevre from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh Herbs de Provence & Garlic-Parsley Chevre from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer is a great time of year to enjoy fresh goat cheese, or chevre, from Twin Oaks Creamery. it is sweet, refreshing and comes in a nice variety of flavors. Just grab your favorite bread and schmear some on it, or stuff some squash blossoms from Alvarez Organic Farms, and pan-fry them. And try chevre with beets! Boom!

Some of the hard cider lineup at Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Some of the hard cider lineup at Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Some hard cider from Finnriver Farm & Cidery will compliment any of those goat cheese dishes, or just about anything else at the Market today. Try them out, find the ones you like, and get some tips for pairing it from them today!

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, June 22nd: Happy Summer Solstice! We Bring You Alaskan Salmon, Blueberries, Shunkyo Radishes, 8 Kinds of Summer Squash, A New Bakery & So Much More!

June 21, 2014
Fresh pink salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh pink salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Happy Solstice everyone! Yes, today is the first full day of summer! Woohoo! The sun will be up for 16 hours today, with an additional hour of daylight tacked on either side. It’s these spectacular long days that keep us going all winter long, so let’s celebrate. And to get summer started, Loki Fish began catching wild Alaskan salmon this past week, and they will have lots of fresh salmon today at your Ballard Farmers Market! We expect them to have SockeyeCohoPink and Keta today, and possibly even some King. They’ll have fillets and whole fish for you, ready for the grill or smoker.

Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries & strawberries from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries & strawberries from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Holy Berry Cobbler, Batman! Sidhu Farms has raspberriesblueberriesblackberries and strawberries already, and it is still June! All I can say is, wow. This year continues to amaze. So while we begin our slow, steady, six-month long descent into darkness today, let us remember to enjoy all that these long, sunny, warm days have to offer. And heck… start freezing these berries today! You and yours will enjoy them all winter long!

Collard greens from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Collard greens from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Take a gander at these gorgeous collard greens from Growing Things Farm. Do you eat collard greens? No? Why not? Do you associate them with the kind that is cooked to death with ham hocks in the South? Mind you, I enjoy those as much as the next person, but that ain’t how we roll here in the Northwet. Our collards are so sweet and tender, they are best simply sautéed with some garlic, bacon and a little salt and pepper until just wilted. Toss the stems in first, so they get tender. They make a great side dish to a nice grilled steak, or they can be the centerpiece of your meal. And collard greens are one of the most nutrient dense vegetables you’ll find around here!

Pomodoro bread from Snohomish Bakery. Photo courtesy Snohomish Bakery.

Pomodoro bread from Snohomish Bakery. Photo courtesy Snohomish Bakery.

As you may have noticed, we’ve been one bakery down since the end of May. Well, not anymore! Please welcome Snohomish Bakery, from — you guessed it — Snohomish. They offer a large variety of great artisan breads, including this Pomodoro loaf, which they describe thusly: “A finishing salt takes the flavor of this already-packed savory bread to a whole other level. Ideal for sun-dried tomato and  rosemary lovers!” They also offer a number of other fun savory baked goods and croissants. We are excited to add them to our vendor lineup!

Organic strawberries from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Organic strawberries from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Stoney Plains Organic Farm has great organic strawberries for you this week. And that’s especially good to know, since we’re experiencing a little bit of a dip in our strawberry supply this week. They also have lots and lots of greens available right now.

Fresh spearmint from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh spearmint from Children’s Garden. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summertime means that you need mint! Lots of mint. For desserts, cocktails, salads, proteins… pretty much everything, really. Children’s Gardens grows some beautiful mint, including chocolate mint, and this spearmint. Me? I just like crunching up some of the leaves and putting it in my water glass.

Saskatoon berries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Saskatoon berries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look, kids! Even the wild berries are early this year! These are wild Saskatoon berries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Native to the Pacific Northwest, Western Canada, the Rockies and the North Central U.S., they are nutrient-dense and mighty tasty. Oh, and Foraged & Found has lots of grey morel mushrooms today, too!

Fennel from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fennel from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fennel has arrived at Alm Hill Gardens. This sweet, licorice-y, bulbous weed is so versatile. Use the leafy fronds in salads or on fish. Grill the bulbs, sauté them or pickle them… even eat them raw. Use it to add flavor to other things, or let it be the star. I hear people telling me, “oh, but I’ve got that growing wild in my backyard.” No, what you have in your backyard is a wild cousin. The cultivated form has been bred for its tender bulbs and its sweet flavor. Enjoy!

Beef steaks from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beef steaks from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We are full-on into the grilling season now, folks. The kiddies are out of school, the evenings are long and warm, and so much summer produce is great grilled. Plus, you keep your kitchen cool and your cleanup minimal. And with Independence Day just around the corner, you’ll want to stock up on some of these beef steaks from Skagit River Ranch. Their beef is grass-fed and finished on gorgeous pasture up in Sedro-Woolley, and it is tender and delicious. And can’t you just imagine the smell of them wafting through your house as they sizzle over those hot coals?

Shunkyo radishes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Shunkyo radishes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are Shunkyo radishes, a Japanese variety that is my favorite radish. They are long, bright pinkish-red, and right now, they carry a good, spicy kick, which, for my money, every radish should. Stop by One Leaf Farm today, pick some up, and punch up your salad tonight, or simply dip it in some nice butter and maybe some truffle salt for a great pre-dinner snack.

Beef-porcini cappelletti from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo courtesy Pasteria Lucchese.

Beef-porcini cappelletti from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo courtesy Pasteria Lucchese.

Look! It’s a bunch of little hats! No, seriously, this is beef-porcini cappelletti from Pasteria Lucchese, and cappelletti means “little hat” in Italian. So these are a bunch of little hats. Delicious little hats. I am just imagining eating some in a nice broth right now. Mmm. Ask them for ideas for preparing them, or any of his many other awesome handmade artisan pastas, today!

Summer squash from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer squash from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Say what? Yes, this is summer squash from Alvarez Organic Farms. In fact, they already are harvesting at least eight varieties of summer squash over in Mabton… and summer just started! I like to slice them in half, lengthwise, and oil them up, then grill them. How you do like to prepare them? Post your ideas on our Facebook page, or click the comment button, below.

Early bing cherries from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Early bing cherries from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Martin Family Orchards is the most northern of all of the orchardists here at your Ballard Farmers Market. That means they are usually the last to start harvesting cherries. Well, folks. This is the week! They’ll have these lovely Bing cherries, as well as some nice Rainier cherries today. Now, we get to wait on pins and needles for apricots and peaches!

Salad mix from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Salad mix from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Colinwood Farm blesses us with their wonderful salad mix all year round. But this time of year is when it truly shines. Loaded with many kinds of lettuces, hearty and spicy greens and edible flowers, it is a summer delight!

Patty Pan Grill's market-fresh veggie quesadillas were never sexier. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Patty Pan Grill’s market-fresh veggie quesadillas were never sexier. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Da Boyz of Summer are ready to sling you up some serious deliciousness at Patty Pan Grill. Patty Pan embodies farmers market prepared food, being the first to build their menu around what is fresh and local at the market. Their veggies for their quesadillas are all sourced every week from our market farmers, and their tamales are filled with veggies, meats and cheeses from them, as well. And Patty Pan is even a worker-owned cooperative. How cool is that? Enjoy!

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.

Please 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.