Posts Tagged ‘sweet cider’

Sunday, April 15th: Asparagus, Garden Starts, Wood Sorrel, Gluten-Free Flour & Rebranded Tea!

April 15, 2012

It's asparagus time again! Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gee, I wonder if folks will get excited to hear that two farms will have the first asparagus of 2012 today at your Ballard Farmers Market? Well, if the reaction to this news on our Facebook page earlier this week was any indication, I’d say yes! We had a record response to the announcement there. So here it is: both Lyall Farms and Alm Hill Gardens will have asparagus today. Clayton predicted that Alm Hill’s supply will last all of about 15 minutes this morning, but Alan says Lyall Farms will be harvesting quite a bit for today. (Read: it’ll last until noon.) Bottom line is the early bird gets the asparagus!

Sugar snap pea starts from Seattle Urban Farm Company. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

By the way, is it just me, or does anyone else see the irony in that this year’s tax filing deadline was postponed until April 17th, because April 16th is Emancipation Day? That said, I saw plenty of folks the last couple of days availing themselves of generous April sun to get out and do some weeding in their gardens. Well, with gardens prepped, it’s time to stock up on plants for said gardens. Like these sugar snap pea starts from Seattle Urban Farm Company, for instance. Peas are one plant you can safely stick in the ground right now, and they’ll be serving you up legumeliciousness come June!

Field peas and buckwheat flour from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One of the many things I love about Nash’s Organic Produce is how they have been diversifying their crops over the years. And in the process, they are actually helping Washington State University develop crop varieties that will thrive in Western Washington. Take these yellow and green field peas, and this buckwheat flour, for instance. The peas make for great soups, salads, and can even be ground into flour or mashed into hummus. And the buckwheat flour is gluten-free! See, buckwheat isn’t wheat at all. Heck, it isn’t even a grass, as most grains used in our society are. Instead, it is related to sorrel, knotweed and rhubarb, all crops that grow in abundance here. Perhaps the most ingenious thing about these crops of Nash’s is that they are actually cover crops, meant to be used in rotation with vegetable crops, as they help the soil replenish its nutrients. Gotta love that they can produce another cash crop, too! See, this is how we make small-scale farming profitable, right? (Oh, BTW, that chickweed they sell… yet another tasty cover crop!)

Wild wood sorrel from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Thpthpthpeaking of thpthpthorrel, ’tis the season for wild wood sorrel, and Foraged & Found Edibles has it… or at least, they had it last week. See, unlike farmers, foragers cannot absolutely predict what they’ll be able to harvest from week-to-week, so I know I am taking a risk whenever I tell you Jeremy will have a particular foraged food in a given week. But hey, it didn’t get cold, or overly wet, this past week, so I’m feeling pretty confident it’ll be here. As well as fiddleheads. Enjoy!

Honey Crisp Apple Cider from Rockridge Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The sun last Sunday made for some fun market photography, did it not? I could not resist these glowing bottles of honey crisp apple cider from Rockridge Orchards. It was like they were lit from the inside. I mean, if all the light was coming from outside, the labels would be more discernible, would they not? But enough talk about art. Let’s talk drink! This is some mighty delicious cider of the non-alcoholic kind. (They’ve got plenty of the other kind, too, BTW.)

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

Not all the plants at your Ballard Farmers Market are for eating. Some just hang around and look good. And you know what? They don’t even feel demeaned by the experience. These succulents from Phocas Farms are in all their spring glory right now, just waiting to be added to your garden, your path, your rockery or wherever you need some beautiful, hearty, draught-tolerent plants to spruce up your surroundings. And now, while it is still the rainy season, is a great time to get them and plant them, so they’ll be well-established and ready to roll on through summer, thriving despite your neglect.

Misfits Bliss Tea, formerly known as Sip-T. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let’s finish off this week’s post with a little presto-chango. You see, Sip-T has reinvented itself into Misfits Bliss, but they still are making amazing tea blends to warm up your day. Personally, I really like the new look, with the jam jars and old suitcases. Heck, the jars even come with their own baggage tags! Kinda give them an out-of-time feel, eh? And why not? I mean, don’t you ever find yourself sipping tea and imagining yourself in Victorian times in some PBS series or something? Perhaps that is why people drink tea when they want to slow down, as opposed to drinking coffee when they want to speed up!

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, December 20th: Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Good Kwanzaa, Happy New Year & We Hope You Had A Happy Chanukah!

December 20, 2009

On the Winter Solstice last year, skis were as good a mode of transportation as any. Photo copyright 2008 by Jon Hegeman.

I know some of you are looking outside thinking, “Blech, it is cold and wet out there.” Well, get over it, and get on down to your Ballard Farmers Market right now to finish up your holiday food and gift shopping with the best local stuff around. I mean, remember this time last year? We held the Ballard Farmers Market in six inches of snow and with 19 vendors, and 1,300 of you loyal Ballardites showed up on skis, toboggans, snow shoes — I think I even recall a dogsled, but I’m not sure. And last year this time, there was precious little fresh, local produce to be had. There is still plenty this year. So come wish your favorite vendors a happy and a merry, and pickup some great food and some unique gifts from people who are your neighbors, not just seasonal help working at minimum wage without health insurance for some huge chain that is selling you stuff made half a world away that used to be made in Duluth.

A great selection of certified organic beef roasts from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for that perfect roast beast for your Whoville holiday table? Skagit River Ranch has you covered. They have a large selection of beef and pork roasts, as well as fresh and smoked hams, and the odd bird, ready to make your holiday dinner that much more special. I have visited the farm, and I can assure you that these folks raise their animals well and with respect, and the result is great tasting meat that supports the local economy while lacking the guilt of the factory farmed stuff at the big box stores.

Beautiful, and functional, pottery from Lauren Laughlin Pottery. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Lauren Laughlin makes beautiful pottery that is also plenty useful. I know you’ll be drinking plenty of hot beverages, toasting with brandy or whiskey, or sipping sake over the next week or two. Lauren Laughlin Pottery makes gorgeous whiskey snifters, tea and coffee cups, sake cups, and many other wonderful items, and it goes without saying, though I’ll say it anyway, that they make great, unique gifts with a story and a face.

Wine and hard cider from Rockridge Orchards. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Of course, you’ll need something to put in those cups, and for that, Rockridge Orchards has you covered. From their sweet ciders, ready for mulling, spicing and spiking, to their hard ciders, to their legendary Tayberry Wine, Rockridge has something to please every palate. Picture you showing up at that holiday party with a bottle of this stuff, whilst the rest of the crowd has two-buck-chuck. I think we know who everyone will think is the coolest person at the party, eh?

Wonderful soaps from Karmela Botanica. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Karma Muriel Maclachlan, who has a name worth saying for its own sake, handcrafts these lovely looking, smelling and feeling soaps (above) for Karmela Botanica. With scents from peppermint & spearmint to chocolate, the extraordinary variety of soaps she creates means you’ll find something to please everyone on your list, or to just please yourself.

5-pound bags of Nash's Best Carrots. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When it gets real cold, like it did a week ago, root crops and hardy greens get sweeter. It is a defense of theirs against the cold, but it also is a gift to us this time of year. Kia Armstrong of Nash’s Organic Produce tells me that their Nash’s Best Carrots are especially sweet right now. Serve them at your holiday gathering, and everyone will be asking you where you got them.

Gingerbread cookies from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How about some delicious gingerbread cookies for your holiday table? You’ll find them from Deborah’s Homemade Pies, where you will also find a great selection of — wait for it — pies, too. Don’t tell my dad, but her apple pie is almost as good as his, and he makes the best apple pies on earth. And a nice pecan or berry pie will sweeten up any festive dinner.

A variety of dairy products from Golden Glen Creamery. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And what holiday table would be complete without some cheese, some great local butter for slathering on, well, everything, and amazing milk and cream for cooking and just plain drinking. Stop by Golden Glen Creamery earlier today, as their butter, milk and cream tends to sell out quick.

There is plenty of other good stuff this week at your Ballard Farmers Market. For a fuller accounting of what you’ll find today, click on “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner. However, do keep an open mind today, as our recent cold weather may have temporarily knocked out some of the crops currently on the list.

Sunday, November 15th: Chef Peter Birk of Ray’s Boathouse & Lots of Tasty Goodness!

November 15, 2009
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Chef Peter Birk from Ray's Boathouse, Ballard's venerable seafood restaurant, explains to market shoppers how to make winter squash gnocchi at his Ballard Farmers Market cooking demo on November 23, 2008. Photo copyright 2008 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chef Peter Birk from Ray’s Boathouse will perform a cooking demonstration today at noon at your Ballard Farmers Market. This cooking demonstration is part of the Eat Local For Thanksgiving campaign, which encourages everyone to pledge to have at least one item on your 2009 Thanksgiving table be from a local farmer. Chef Birk will give you ideas on dishes you can add to your holiday table using ingredients readily available at the Ballard Farmers Market. And hey, why not make your whole Thanksgiving dinner local this year. You can do it entirely from the Market, from the wine to the turkey to the oyster stuffing and mashed rutabagas. Heck you can even get a delicious pie and non-toxic candles to put the finishing touches on your evening.

Sunchokes, a.k.a. "Jerusalem artichokes." from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Try adding a food that our nation’s founders learned to eat from the native peoples in colonial times: sunchokes, which they called “Jerusalem artichokes.” Sunchokes, like these from Nash’s, are quite versatile tubers that can be used much like potatoes. I like adding them to root roasts. Another idea is to steam them until tender, then brown them in thyme butter.

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

Of course, if you are going to make that aforementioned oyster stuffing, you’ll need oysters. Taylor Shellfish has you covered. Get them fresh-shucked and easy to work with. Or, if your holiday table is more adventurous, get some live oysters, clams, mussels or geoduck.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For those of us who love sweet potatoes on our Thanksgiving tables, now we can get them at the Ballard Farmers Market along with everything else. This year, for the first time, two farmers — Lyall Farms (above) and Alm Hill — grew sweet potatoes locally. One more crop we don’t have to import, eh?

Cape Cleare, from Port Townsend, is back! Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cape Cleare, a fishing vessel based out of Port Townsend, has returned to your Ballard Farmers Market. Cape Cleare are those folks who ride their bicycles to Market pulling their trailers with coolers of fish behind them. Cape Cleare fishes in Alaska, and then flash freezes their fish for maximum quality. They’ve got king and coho salmon, albacore tuna and ling cod frozen, smoked and/or canned.

Hazelnuts from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alm Hill Gardens has certified organic hazelnuts for a short time longer. But remember, they keep well, so stock up while you can!

Caveman Bars are back! Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Caveman Bars are back at Ballard Farmers Market. These local favorites are the perfect pick-me-up snack on the go, or on the slopes. Their new coconut cocoa hazelnut bar, which uses local hazelnuts, is sweet and chewy, and even this non-coconut eater enjoyed it.

Delicate squash from Nature's Last Stand. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nature’s Last Stand is one of several farms that have you covered on winter squash, like these delicata and carnival squash, above. And try out their kale mix, too.

Wine and hard cider from Rockridge Orchards. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget the beverages. Be it wine, hard cider or sweet cider, Rockridge Orchards has got what you need in all sorts of flavors to please every palate, and in forms for both the adult table and the kiddie table.

Snooter-doots unique felted wool creations. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As the holiday season approaches, remember that Ballard Farmers Market is your place for unique, locally-crafted gifts straight from the artists who created them. Check out Snooter-doots — felted wool creations that are truly one-of-a-kind, handmade fun. And what the heck, why wait for the gift-giving holidays. Grab a Snooter-friends “Veggee” for yourself to help decorate your Thanksgiving table!

Ascents scented votives won't pollute the air around your holidays. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ascents Candles has a wide variety of essential oil scented, non-toxic candles to adorn your home during the holidays. Don’t pollute the air in your home with toxic fumes from those cheap, imported candles from those big box store in Renton. While they may cost a little more, Ascents’ candles last much longer, so the price kinda works out the same in the end, but your lungs come out way ahead. And if you are looking for unscented votives for your dining room table, Ascents has you covered there, too. Just ask.

Okay, that’s it for me this week. But there is so much more waiting for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. For a full accounting, click on “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner.