Posts Tagged ‘tomatillos’

Sunday, July 13th: Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Peaches, Pluots & Ballard Seafood Fest!

July 12, 2014
Andrey is psyched to enjoy his Loki Fish salmon sliders. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Andrey is psyched to enjoy his Loki Fish salmon sliders. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Happy 2014 Ballard Seafood Fest! And they’ve really put the “seafood” back in the festival this year! So did we, with the addition of salmon sliders from Loki Fish. Because Loki catches, cleans it and cooks it themselves, they will be the only prepared food vendors today at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Plus, you can get fresh Alaskan salmon (king, coho and sockeye) from Loki today, too.

Here are a few tips for managing your trip today to your Ballard Farmers Market:

  • If you are just going to shop at the farmers market today, and you are not staying for Seafood Fest, we recommend you get here before noon to avoid Seafood Fest crowds and associated parking hassles.
  • It is going to be hot today, so dress and plan accordingly. Buy your most heat sensitive items last, or ask the vendor to hold them for you in their coolers until you are ready to leave. Maybe bring a small cooler with gel ice in it to protect items between the Market and home.
  • If spending the whole day, remember to keep hydrated.
  • If you are planning to shop at the farmers market and then attend Seafood Fest, bring a good cooler and plenty of ice or gel packs, and if driving, park in the shade if you can.
  • Don’t store items like berries and salad greens in a hot car, and avoid putting berries, peaches, corn and tomatoes in your cooler, as cold hurts them.
  • Try to walk, ride your bike or take the bus today, as parking will be challenging.
  • Remember that Market Street is closed from 20th to 24th, 22nd is closed from Shilshole to 57th & Ballard Ave is closed from Vernon Place to Market.
  • Pack your patience and enjoy the day!
Sweet corn from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet corn from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, now we’re talking! Yes, it is time for sweet corn! Lyall Farms will have their first harvest of the season today at your Ballard Farmers Market. To quote Garrison Keillor, “Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn.” 

Sungold cherry tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sungold cherry tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These sungold cherry tomatoes from One Leaf Farm are like candy, they are so sweet. They also are the fastest maturing tomatoes, from planting the seed to harvest. I love adding them to salads this time of year, but I usually have to get twice as many as I think I’ll need, since I end up eating most of them right out of the container.

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

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

Tiny’s Organic has the first pluots of the year today. Pluots are a cross between plums and apricots — genetically 70% plum and 30% apricot. As such, they tend to favor plums in appearance, texture and taste, but they are sturdier and surprisingly diverse in flavor and appearance in and of themselves. These are Flavorosa pluots, the earliest variety.

Oysters on the half-shell, on the beach at Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo courtesy Hama Hama Oyster Company.

Oysters on the half-shell, on the beach at Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo courtesy Hama Hama Oyster Company.

I’m thinking oysters on the grill tonight sounds like an excellent idea, don’t you? Stop by Hama Hama Oysters today and grab a few dozen for the barby. And if they haven’t sold out of fresh, cooked dungeness crabs, devouring one of them on your deck, with a nice salad and a loaf of bread, will work well, too!

Polish garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Polish garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jarvis Family Garlic Farm returns today with their amazing selection of heirloom garlic varieties, ranging from mild to wild, all with big garlic flavor. Because after all, there is no such thing as too much garlic.

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

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

I’m thinking a good game plan would be to take some of that garlic and mingle it with some of these organic tomatillos from Alvarez Organic Farms. Get your green salsa on, baby!

Early Red Haven peaches from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Early Red Haven peaches from Martin Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These early red haven peaches from Martin Family Orchards are sweet and juicy, picked only when ripe, and then packed in these protective trays to reduce bruising. They are ready for you to enjoy right now, at the happy expense of the front of your shirt!

A smoked whole side of king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A smoked whole side of king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wilson Fish catches some of the world’s best wild king salmon right off the coast of Washington and brings it to us fresh right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. In most cases, it was swimming just 24-48 hours ago. And their smoked king salmon is the stuff of dreams! Why not grab a side of smoked king and enjoy it on your deck this evening?

New Viking Purple potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

New Viking Purple potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

In the spirit of Ballard’s Scandinavian ancestry, and the fishing culture they brought here with them, our friends at Olsen Farms present these Viking Purple new potatoes, just dug fresh this past week. They are sweet and tender, and they need to be eaten right away, preferably with lots of butter!

Huge heads of romaine lettuce from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Huge heads of romaine lettuce from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Everyone, run for your lives! It is the attack of the Heads of Romaine that ate Manhattan! Seriously, these heads of romaine from Boistfort Valley Farm are so huge, they should really be called “boulders of romaine.” One thing is for sure. With one of these bad boys, you won’t have to worry about running out of lettuce this week, will you?

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

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

With ginormous heads of lettuce like that, and with tomatoes now in season, you’ll need bacon from Skagit River Ranch to complete the ultimate local BLT. And actually, you’ll also need bacon for radicchio, collard greens, broccoli… everything, really. Because, after all, everything is better with bacon.

Gruyere bread from Snohomish Bakery. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gruyere bread from Snohomish Bakery. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you tried the Gruyere bread from our newest bakery, Snohomish Bakery? It is nothing short of addictive. It has that wonderful, cheesy, Gruyere funkiness, and lovely, moist, chewy bread. Follow it up with one of their chocolate croissants, and you’re pretty much set!

A rainbow of berries from Hayton Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A rainbow of berries from Hayton Farms. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is a spectacular rainbow of berries today at Hayton Farms, including golden raspberriesred raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Better load up on them, so you can enjoy their cooling effects with every meal this coming hot week!

Saffron corms from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Saffron corms from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Want to grow your own saffron? Then stop by Phocas Farms today for some of these saffron crocus corms. This is the earliest they ever had them available, which means you can plant them earlier, enhancing the chances you will have a lovely bit of your own precious saffron come October. (Head over to their Facebook page for planting instructions.)

Fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Sodas. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh sodas from Soda Jerk Sodas. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cool down with a fresh soda from Soda Jerk Soda today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Made with many fresh, local, seasonal ingredients, their flavors change from time-to-time, so stop by to see what’s fresh today!

Ron & Florence from Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ron & Florence from Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Or better yet, how about a nice ice cream bar from our buddies at Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company? It’s like a big hug and an air conditioner on a stick! They have a ridiculous selection of flavors from which to choose. I have a bit of a weakness for the cardamom, myself. Nummers.

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, August 11th: A Little Rain Makes For Happy Farmers & Even More Local Deliciousness!

August 10, 2013
Wild Black Elderberries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wild Black Elderberries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For a couple of weeks each summer, Foraged & Found Edibles is able to harvest these wild black elderberries. They had some to offer last Sunday, and hopefully, they will have more today. Native to Eastern Washington, they can be made into wine, jellies, sauces. syrups, baked goods and more. They are loaded with vitamin C, are coated with a natural, wild yeast that makes them ideal for making wine and as a bread starter, and they are believed to have many medicinal qualities as well.

Saffron corms from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Saffron corms from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are saffron corms from Phocas Farms. They are the bulb from which the saffron crocus grows. And when these crocus bloom, it is the bright red stigma that becomes the spice we all know as saffron. Surprisingly, saffron crocus grows well around here. Equally surprising is that August is a great time of year to plant their corms, because they spring to life and bloom in early fall when most other plants are going into hibernation. So, while it is next to impossible for you to get your hands on the dried saffron spice that Phocas Farms produces, because it is all pre-sold to local chefs, you can get some of their corms and try growing it yourself!

Sharon (left) & Gary McCool of Rosecrest Farm chatting with our own Gil Youenes in their on-farm shop. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sharon (left) & Gary McCool of Rosecrest Farm chatting with our own Gil Youenes in their on-farm shop. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When we visited Rosecrest Farm in Chehalis, we learned some naturally cool things about how they make their amazing Swiss cheeses. The photo above was taken in their on-farm store, and that big, white door between Sharon and Gary McCool is the door to their aging room. That door is something like 16″ thick. Seriously. See, the room was originally built decades ago for aging beef, and it was designed to maintain a constant temperature without refrigeration. Amazing! And perfect for aging cheese, as it holds at 50 degrees or so year-round. That’s pretty cool, figuratively and literally.

Fennel bulb from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fennel bulb from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Check out these ginormous fennel bulbs from Alm Hill Gardens (a.k.a., Growing Washington). Fennel bulb is wonderful stuff. I add it raw to salads, grill it, cook it down into a nice, caramelized accent to pork, pickle it… the sky’s the limit. It has a mild licorice flavor and is slightly sweet. And it is great this time of year. Just be sure to clean it thoroughly, as bits of dirt get down inside it.

A smoked whole side of king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A smoked whole side of king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wilson Fish is catching some of the largest wild king salmon of the season right now off the coast of Washington. And because these fish are getting ready to swim up Northwest rivers, like the Hoh and Frasier, to spawn until they die, they are loaded up with delicious fat. And that makes for incredible smoked king salmon. This is as moist and divine as any smoked salmon you will ever taste. But because they smoke it up fresh every week, they also sell out every week, so get here early!

Red pearl onions from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red pearl onions from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I heart pearl onions from Boistfort Valley Farm. These tiny little alliums are only available fresh for a few weeks each summer — a very common theme in today’s post, eh? They may be available dried in the fall, but I like them best sautéed fresh with hericot vert beans (find them now from Growing Things Farm or Stoney Plains Organic Farm), and both are only available fresh this time of year. Peel the outer skin off of the pearl onions, and trim off the top and the root hairs, but keep the onions whole for cooking. I like to toss them with a good bacon — try the jowl bacon from Olsen Farms, which has a nice smoky sweetness to it. As the bacon browns, its fat renders out and caramelizes the onions beautifully. When the onions start to become translucent, and the bacon is mostly rendered out and beginning to brown, toss in the beans and sauté them all together until the beans are heated through but still have a nice crunch to them, which just takes a few minutes. Enjoy!

Shamrock apples from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Shamrock apples from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This time of year, as the early apples come into season, it is not uncommon to see different varieties of apples come and go every week. Between the different growing seasons throughout Washington and the hundreds of different varieties of apples grown here, apples are seemingly always coming into or going out of season. On the one hand, that means you need to pay attention, so that you can enjoy your favorites while they are in season. On the other hand, if you are more adventurous, you can experiment with new kinds of apples all the time! Like these Shamrock apples from Tiny’s Organic Produce, which are in season right now… for a little while, anyway.

Japanese Black Truffle tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Japanese Black Truffle tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This week’s gorgeous tomato of the week from our friends at One Leaf Farm is the Japanese Black Truffle tomato. This heirloom tomato traces its origins to Russian, where it is prized and fetches a high price. Its flesh is very dark, ergo its name. (Though you might ask, “then why is it called ‘Japanese’ if it’s from Russian?” Don’t have a good answer for you.) It is pear shaped, and it has a deep, rich flavor. It is just one of eight tomato varieties currently being harvested by One Leaf! (See a photo album of all their tomatoes on our Facebook page.)

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

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

Tomatillos! Hmm. Can you say salsa? Alvarez Organic Farms has everything — and I do mean everything — you will need for amazing salsas right now, from these tomatillos to tomatoes to garlic to onions to chile peppers to cucumbers! Heck, you can even toss in some of their watermelon!

Early Italian prunes from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Early Italian prunes from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Italian prunes have early and late varieties, meaning we see some in August, and then some more in October. And lucky us, as they are one of the finest stone fruits around! But don’t get hung up in the name “prune” like Californians did. They actually rebranded them as “plums” because they were worried that Americans associated the word “prune” with constipated old people. Europeans do not have this uptightness, and the Italians celebrate their beloved prunes. And while they will keep you regular, please do not be afraid to eat these delicious jewels because of their name. Eat them fresh, dried, in jams, jellies, sauces, chutneys, syrups, pies, tarts and more. Find them today from Magaña Farms.

Raspberry jam with thyme from Deluxe Foods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Raspberry jam with thyme from Deluxe Foods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of folks who can appreciate a fine prune, Deluxe Foods is back today with their wonderful lineup of jams, jellies, chutneys and sauces, though it is a little early yet for their prune varieties. See, they make their products with fresh, local, seasonal ingredients using heirloom recipes, and they sell them until, well, they run out. That means we’ll see prune flavors in a month or two, just in time for hearty fall dishes. For now, you can enjoy their berry flavors on your toast, like this Raspberry Jam with Thyme.

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.

Sunday, August 4th: It’s National Farmers Market Week! Tomatillos, Eggplant, Cherry Plums & All Manner Of August Localiciousness!

August 3, 2013
Farm-fresh honey from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Farm-fresh honey from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! It’s National Farmers Market Week! Yes, a special week proclaimed by dignitaries, elected officials and bureaucrats that actually celebrates something that matters to us. Go figure. But hey, sooner or later, it had to happen, right? So come celebrate with us today. Now, I won’t bore you with lots of proclamations from the governor, the county executive and the mayor — and trust me, they’ve all issued them — no let’s celebrate with all the amazing local products and people who bring us our precious Ballard Farmers Market week in and week out, year-round, in rain, sleet, snow, sun, wind, hot and cold. We are more reliable, after all, than the postal service. And let’s start this party by honoring perhaps the most important beings in our local, and global for that matter, food system: honey bees. Without them, we would all starve. Really. And yet we silly humans are creating environmental conditions that are killing honey bees by the millions. What can you do? Eat organic. Stop using pesticides. Raise your own honey bees. Pay attention. You wonder why we have less honey in our farmers markets today than we did five years ago? That’s why.

Jim Robinson of Phocas Farms shows how his saffron crocuses have multiplied over the winter. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jim Robinson of Phocas Farms shows how his saffron crocuses have multiplied over the winter. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Your Ballard Farmers Market is loaded with lots of characters who, out of a labor of love, a love of creating delicious food and quality goods, and a love of community, come here every week at 0-dark-30 from all over Washington to set up their tents and tables while you are still asleep, just so you will be able to stock up on their seasonal goodness every Sunday. One such character is Jim Robinson from Phocas Farms in Port Angeles. Jim may be best known around the Market for his hundreds of varieties of succulents and his wild appearance, but he is best known by Western Washington’s finest chefs for the incredible saffron he grows.

Saffron? Yes. It is so prized by local chefs that his entire crop is pre-sold every year before it is even harvested. And yet Jimmy is quite tall — not the best physical characteristic for raising a crop that demands one to be hunched over down low most of the time. Plus, he and the sun don’t get along all that well. You may have noticed that he is always covered head-to-toe at the Market, save for his face, which is a ghostly white. That white is industrial strength sunscreen, because Jim has light-sensitive lupus. And yet, he busts his hump year-round raising beautiful plants and spectacular saffron, then stands under his tent — outdoors in the daylight — every Sunday with nary a whimper, but instead a laugh, a smile, a flirtatious expression and a firm embrace. Why? Cuz he loves what he does and where he does it — right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Kinda makes it hard not to love the guy, or this place. Oh, hey, speaking of saffron, Jimmy has saffron corms for you this week, and for the next few. The chefs in town may not have left any of his saffron for you, but you can still plant and grow your own. Get them in the ground this month, and you will have your very own saffron later this fall!

Japanese eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Japanese eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alvarez Organic Farms has their first Japanese eggplant today, along with about a half dozen other kinds of eggplant. They have also just begun harvesting tomatoes, okra and tomatillos, too. You know, it’s kinda funny, but some folks have been thinking that eggplant is late in arriving this year. In reality, it is right on schedule, and just everything else is early, making its arrival appear late by comparison. Go figure. I love grilling these beauties. I slice them down the middle and salt them about half an hour before I grill them to pull some of the bitterness out. And make sure to coat them well with olive oil. Mmm.

Janelle Stokesberry holding a chicken and a dozen eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Janelle Stokesberry holding a chicken and a dozen eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You ever wonder why the Seahawks are so much better lately than any of the other professional sports teams in Seattle? Is it maybe because they eat Stokesberry chickens, perhaps? It’s as good a theory as any, I suppose. Janelle & Jerry Stokesberry raise organic chicken, turkey and duckeggs, beefpork and lamb on their Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia. I can’t wait until they have stewing hens, because I love to make chicken soup with them. And their chickens and ducks, as well as their eggs, can be found on the menus of many of the best restaurants in Seattle. Have you tried the sausages made from their pork by Link Lab Artisan Meats? They are great. And I’ve personally visited their pigs happily slopping through the mud in the spring, little piglets chasing each other around all over the place. Hilarious. If you want your meat and poultry raised well by farmers who care about their animals, and that tastes good, too, they’ve got you covered.

Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These are Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. They are a domesticated wild huckleberry from the East Coast. The berries are small and full of flavor, and they remind me of the wild blueberries we used to pick while hiking up Cadillac Mountain in Maine’s Acadia National Park. I remember I used to eat my weight in them.

George Vojkovich out standing in his field... with a bunch of cattle. Photo copyright 2007 by Zachary D. Lyons.

George Vojkovich out standing in his field… with a bunch of cattle. Photo copyright 2007 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look! It’s Farmer George Vojokovich of Skagit River Ranch, out standing in his field. That’s him in the upper-lefthand side of the photo. And he is that. Outstanding in his field. His pasture alone in this photo can testify to that. It is lush and green and up to the shoulders of his cattle. And this photo was taken in August! He lets them eat it down to about 6″, and then he moves them to the next pasture. The idea is that the cattle will eat a diversity of forage, not just their favorite ones, and the pasture will recover faster and be healthier. That keeps them healthy, and tasty. And that’s what makes George a dirt farmer more so than a rancher.

Farmer George is also nothing short of a scientist — you really have to be in this business — and he tests his animals to make sure they are getting all the nutrients and minerals they need. After all, the Skagit River Valley is low in a number of key minerals. So, based on the reports he gets, he actually adds minerals either to the pastureland, so it is taken up by the forage, or he puts out self-service stations where the cattle can actually stock up on what they need. They’re a bit smarter than us when it comes to that. The result of all this is some of the best beef you can find around here, and certainly better than anything you’ll find in the big box stores. Better, and better for you and the cattle.

Copia heirloom tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Copia tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One Leaf Farm is really cranking out the heirloom tomatoes now in a whole host of varieties (see the photo spread on our Facebook page). Just take a gander at these gorgeous copia tomatoes for instance. They are a rainbow of colors and the big ones are all kinda weird looking, but hey, they taste absolutely incredible. To quote Chef Gordon Ramsay, “they are the most amazing, stunning tomatoes ever.” Okay, he didn’t really say that, but those seem to be the only two adjectives he knows, and I’ve been wanting to give him a hard time about it for a long time. Chef, get thee a thesaurus, for the love of Mike! You’re welcome. But do beeline it to One Leaf for tomatoliciousness right now.

Roberto Guerrero from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Nicole Reed.

Roberto Guerrero from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Nicole Reed.

Meet Roberto Guerrero of ACMA Mission Orchards in Quincy. He and his family grow a stunning variety of tree fruit, from apples to peaches to cherries to nectarines, on their beautiful farm just north of the Gorge Amphitheater. And just in the last two years, they secured organic certification for all of their acreage. How can you tell an orchard is organic? Simple. Look at the undergrowth under the trees. Do you see all that grass and brush? That’s the sign of an organic orchard. Seriously. They are overgrown under the trees, and most go through and mow and grind up brush just a few times each year. Then, they leave the debris right there to decompose, returning nutrients to the soil and keeping out undesirable weeds that conventional farms would have to sprayed. Plus, it helps keep the ground moist and cool when it’s really hot over there. You may see a jungle in this photo. I see a healthy orchard producing delicious fruit!

Honey Smoked Albacore from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Honey Smoked Albacore from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fishing Vessel St. Jude makes its monthly visit to your Ballard Farmers Market today. Woohoo! I often feel like Bubba Gump when I start to list off all the delectable forms in which you can acquire St. Jude’s albacore tuna. They have it cannedfresh-frozen, jerkied, and even honey-smoked (above). The canned comes in a myriad of wonderful flavors, too, and the frozen is sashimi grade. Stock up today. We won’t see them again until Labor Day Weekend!

Cardamom Zucchini Sweet Bread from NuFlours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cardamom Zucchini Sweet Bread from NuFlours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Name change alert! d:floured gluten-free bakery (my favorite saucy name for a bakery, mind you) has changed its name to nuflours. Apparently, someone else had their grubby paws all over their old name. So, many lawyers and much research later, they now have a new, not-so-saucy but equally functionally name, with the same logo and same great gluten-free products. Like this cardamom zucchini sweet bread that features zucchini from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. The point is, regardless of the name, you can still have your cake and your gluten-free diet, too.

Dragon's Tongue beans from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dragon’s Tongue beans from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things Farm is deep in the fresh beans right now. They have six different varieties, ranging from green to yellow wax to purple runner to these Dragon’s Tongue beans, above. And did you know that Dragon’s Tongue beans will eventually grown about to be shelling beans, too? Pretty cool, huh? And delicious! Oh, and they want to thank you for supporting their successful Kick Starter campaign, too.

Green bell peppers from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Green bell peppers from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s pepper season, and over the coming weeks, we will see an ever-increasing variety of peppers arriving at your Ballard Farmers Market. We start off with these humble green bell peppers from Lyall Farms, and we are already seeing some of the over 200 varieties of peppers grown by Alvarez Organic Farms starting to appear this week. 2013 is on pace to be an epic year for peppers!

Cherry plums from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherry plums from Tiny’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

From the pages of the confused fruit handbook come these cherry plums from Tiny’s Organic Farm. But unlike so many other stone fruits that have been hybridized to create things like apriums, pluots, nectarcots, peachcots and more, cherry plums are actually a true plum, not a cross betwixt cherry and plum. They get their name from their small, cherry-like size and their color. But they have the flavor and texture of a plum. So mix it up this week and try yourself something new… or actually old, in this case.

Tropea onions from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tropea onions from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah. The lovely and divine tropea onion. I love these beauties. And I do recall hearing the lovely and divine Alice of Oxbow Farm (the growers of these onions) say that they are, in fact, her favorite onion. Named for the town of Tropea on the toe of Italy’s boot, these sweet onions are so popular in Italy that they are synonymous with “red onion” there, though that would be confusing here in the states, with the many red varieties we have. But if everyone just tried one of these, in salads, on the grill, sautéed or cooked down to make an awesome sauce or garnish, perhaps they would become synonymous with red onions here, too, because they may indeed be the best of the reds.

Chocolate-Coconut Fudge from Pete's Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chocolate-Coconut Fudge With Almonds from Pete’s Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pete’s Perfect Toffee has introduced yet another flavor of fudge, because after all, there is no such thing as too much fudge. The new flavor, pictured above, is chocolate-coconut fudge with toasted almonds. Oh, stop it, Pete! You’re killing me… with sweet deliciousness!

Hand-forged blue steele pans from Blu Skillet. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hand-forged blue steele pans from Blu Skillet Ironware. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Carbon steel pans are great for searing and caramelizing – and they make fantastic over-easy eggs! They are similar to cast iron, but forged rather than cast. This makes the pans lighter and easier to handle, as well as less porous and quicker to season.  They can take high temperatures, and they can go from stove top, to oven, to table – where they make a beautiful addition!” Sometimes, it is just easier to quote the vendor’s website, you know? Especially when it is as well-written as is the site for Blu Skillet Ironware. Patrick Maher and Caryn Badgett make these gorgeous pans right here in Ballard.

I do most of my cooking on stainless steel pans from Revere Ware. When they were first introduced in 1938, Revere Copper & Brass made a point of referring to them as exhibiting the best of both form and function, and that was important after the Great Depression. After all, if you were going to spend money on cookware, you want it to last, you want it to work, and you want something you can show off to your dinner guests. And today, as we limp our way out of the Great Recession (because even though it was, in fact, a depression, apparently it is not cool anymore to actually call it that), things are no different. We want quality, form and function. Blu Skillet gives us just that. I have been putting one of their 10″ pans through its paces for a week now, cooking everything from halibut to corned beef hash in it, and it works great. It is getting more seasoned with ever use. It browns and sears great. It cleans easily. And best of all, it is made right here. Yup, one more thing you don’t need Corporate America to do for you anymore! Booyah!

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.

Sunday, August 7th: Happy National Farmers Market Weeks! Seattle Weekly Names Ballard Best Of Seattle 2011! Vote For Us Now In America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest!

August 7, 2011

Ballard Farmers Market on a beautiful summer's day! Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Can you imagine a Sunday without your Ballard Farmers Market? Neither can I. Ballard Farmers Market is our Sunday grocery store for all things local and delicious — indeed, the best local food in the nation. It is our town square, fun for the entire family, full of great entertainment and great people watching, and the foundation of one of the healthiest and happiest local neighborhoods in Seattle. And, according to the readers and editors of the Seattle Weekly, Ballard Farmers Market is the Best Farmers Market of 2011! Thank you, Ballard Farmers Market faithful & Seattle Weekly editors! Now, let’s show the entire nation who’s best. Please take 30 seconds to vote for Ballard Farmers Market in the 2011 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest. Do it for Seattle. Do it for Ballard. Do it to thank and honor all the farmers, ranchers, fishers, food artisans, crafters, prepared food vendors, buskers and market staff that work tirelessly to make Ballard Farmers Market happen for you to enjoy every Sunday, year-round, come rain, sun, wind or snow. But above all, please do it now!

Broccoli in the field at Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This is what broccoli looks like when it is still growing in the field. I bet a lot of all y’all had no idea, eh? I mean, you knew already that milk does not come from a carton, but from a cow, because Ballard Farmers Market shoppers are savvier than the average Big Box store shopper, but unless you’ve actually seen broccoli in the field, there really is no reason you’d ever picture it looking like this, right? Of course, looking at it this way, you can see how it is related to kale, right? Well, this magnificent specimen was captured during my recent visit to Alm Hill Gardens. One of my favorite parts of this job is that I get to visit many of the farms at the Market. Then I get to share what I’ve learned with you! Okay, have you voted for Ballard Farmers Market yet?

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

Is this not some of the most spectacular sunburst squash you have ever seen? Of course, everything Summer Run brings to Market always looks this perfect, so I suppose if you are a regular of theirs, this won’t amaze you so much, but hey, it still should. I mean, did you know that there are markets in Arkansas and Texas that are ahead of Ballard in the voting for the 2011 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest? Not because their markets are better than ours, but because their fans are, so far, better at voting for them. Nothing against Arkansas and Texas, but do you really think their markets could be better? We may have had a cold, wet, gray year, but they’re in a drought with 100+ temps for the last month. Nothing is growing there right now. 3,000 people will read this blog this week. If all of you vote for Ballard Farmers Market, we will be in first place. And if you don’t, we won’t. It’s as simple as that. Please, take the 30 seconds and vote now. Do it for us, if not for you. Thanks!

Fresh celery from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Celery is a staple of most American households. And yet few Market farmers grow it, as it is a squirrelly, and distinctly unsexy, crop. But Boistfort Valley Farm has some of the sexiest celery you will ever meet! Crisp, fresh, refreshing, nutritious and delicious. You know, it is National Farmers Market this week! Celebrate with celery!!! And while you are at it, celebrate by voting for your Ballard Farmers Market in the 2011 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest. Why? Because the poor saps in the rest of the country don’t have access to this magnificent celery. Oh, and please tell your friends!

Jack the Bat Dog. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We know you love your pooch. We do, too. Indeed, while other markets make you leave your canine family members at home, we welcome them. However, we do ask that your keep your dog on a short leash, and always keep them under your control. Your Ballard Farmers Market is a busy place with lots of people young and old, lots of other dogs, and lots of food. It is your responsibility to look after your dog, for your dog’s safety and happiness, and for the safety and happiness of everyone else. And please, if your dog is getting stressed out by the Market, please take your dog away from the Market. It will be happier for it, and you won’t run the risk of something undesirable happening. Thank you.

Flavor supreme pluots from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Flavor supreme pluots from Tiny’s Organic Produce are sweet and juicy, and quite beautiful, too, don’t you think? Okay, it’s remedial “what the heck is a pluot” time. See, pluots are a hybridized cross between plums and apricots, favoring the plum genetically. They are sorta 70/30 plum-to-apricot. But essentially, they express the best quality of both fruits. Lesson over. Let’s just eat some!

Spud nuts from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ah, spud nuts from Growing Things Farm. Quite patriotic, don’t you think? These little guys cook up quick and sweet, dropped into a chowder, tossed in a sauté pan or in a foil pouch with butter on the grill. The largest of these baby potatoes in the photo above are maybe the diameter of a quarter.

Cherry tomatoes from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherry tomato deliciousness from Oxbow Farm! Throw ’em in salads. Poach them in olive oil. Make a quick pasta sauce with them. Or, if you’re like me, just devour them like candy right out of the container, probably before you even get them home. Hmm. Better get two or three containers, then, eh?

Tomatillos from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Salsa. As fun to dance and to eat as it is to say. And now that it is tomatillos season at Alvarez Organic Farms, we can enjoy big bowls of green salsa to our hearts’ content. I am just picturing sitting on my back deck on a warm summer evening with a cold beverage, a bag of tortilla chips, and a bowl of freshly made tomatillos salsa. Yes, we earned this wonderful bit of summer that is finally upon us. Soak it up. Who knows how long it will take for it to come around again once it’s gone.

White flesh nectarines from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These white flesh nectarines from ACMA Mission Orchards are among the sweetest of all stone fruits. Seriously. Eat them off right off the pit, grill them, dehydrate them, put them in salads. But enjoy them, by all means!

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

Our cool weather means some of the sweetest crops in years, across the board, and nowhere is this more evident than in this year’s belated carrot crop. Full Circle Farm has carrots of every shade, and seemingly every flavor, too, as each variety does have its own distinct flavor. I know carrots seem rather common, but hey, how many things do you enjoy more than a sweet, crunchy, fresh carrot?

Sugar baby watermelons from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Seems like it is high time for a watermelon seed spitting contest, am I right people? And a good place to start is with one, or three, of these sugar baby watermelons from Lyall Farms. Just imagine your face covered in watermelon juice. And your shirt. Oh, life is good!

Red oakleaf lettuce from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I love the bright green center peeking out of this spectacular head of red oakleaf lettuce from Colinwood Farms. And this lettuce is more than just a pretty face. It’ll add crisp, refreshing deliciousness to your salads and sandwiches, and whatever else you might use it with.

Vans cherries from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Vans cherries are without a doubt my favorite cherry. They are a late-season cherry with a deep, dark color and flavor. I might venture to say they offer the quintessential cherry flavor, in fact. Collins Family Orchards has some of them now, though not many, so do get there early if you want to enjoy a true summer treat you will not find at the Big Box stores, where they have only ever heard of bings and rainiers.

Flower cilantro from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Flowering cilantro, a.k.a., coriander, is in season briefly now at Stoney Plains. Did you know that coriander and cilantro are the same thing? Yep. The leafy greens are dramatically different in flavor from the seeds, of course. And for a yet third experience with this wonderful plant, enjoy the flowering version, too. It is related to dill and fennel, which you likely already know as plants that can be used in many different ways, from root to seed to flowers to leaves.

Baby globe artichokes from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I’m thinking I should get me some of these baby globe artichokes from Nash’s Organic Produce, slice them in half and trim them, then grill them along a nice steak, eh? But hey, you can do with them what you will! Whatever you do with them, please don’t forget to vote for your Ballard Farmers Market in the 2011 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest. I mean, do you think those folks in Arkansas and Texas have a market anything like ours? Heck, no. Vote!

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check What’s Fresh Now! for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now. And please remember to vote for your Ballard Farmers Market in the 2011 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest!