Posts Tagged ‘wreathes’

Sunday, December 2nd: ‘Tis The Holiday Season At Your Ballard Farmers Market!

December 2, 2012
Fresh holiday wreathes from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh holiday wreathes from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids, it’s December! Allow me to be the 187th person to wish you Happy Holidays! We’re past Thanksgiving already, and the college football season is over. Heck, Chanukah begins next Saturday night at sundown. We are deep in it, folks. Look, it’s been some crazy times over the last year in our community, our nation, our planet. Yet, we’re still here. How’s about we take a step back, do some reflecting, and make this time of year a little extra special this year. I don’t mean go to the mall and buy your sweetie that jewelry or perfume you saw on TV that 1,263,982 other people are going to buy for their sweeties this year. I mean, how friggin’ special a gift is that? Besides, you’ve been carrying on about how Bain Capital or the Obama Administration have been killing American jobs for the last 12 months, right? Well, why don’t you do something about it, while at the same time getting your loved ones something special this year — something unique — which will, of course, make them feel special, too. It’s easy. Just head on down to your Ballard Farmers Market and visit any of our vendors. Everything you’ll find is unique, special, and locally produced by them. That means you’ll be directly supporting good American jobs while getting something special. Pretty cool, huh? Why not start with one of these lovely holiday wreathes from our friends at Alm Hill Gardens. They are made carefully, by hand, from things growing on the farm up in Everson. Good luck getting the guys at the Big Box store to tell you what farm their wreathes and trees came from. Here, you’re getting them directly from the farmers!

Gingerbread from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gingerbread from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nothing says the holidays like luscious holiday breads, right? Their smell, their appearance and their flavor accent the season like few other things. Sometimes, I think we’ve gotten so absorbed in our technology that we forget the power of our senses and our experiences. I look at this gorgeous loaf of gingerbread from Tall Grass Bakery, though, and I can just smell it… and my mind fills with memories and fond associations. That December it snowed so much. A party with friends, candles, a pot of warm glüg, and festive music on a cold, wet, blustery night. Ah. Work can wait until January.

Knitted scarves from Gypsy Beaded Creations. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Knitted scarves from Gypsy Beaded Creations. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Like I was saying before, what you will find at your Ballard Farmers Market is produced by the people selling it. Like these beautiful knitted scarves from Gypsy Beaded Creations. In fact, you’ll likely find Corrine knitting her next work of wearable art right at the Market. You won’t get much more unique a gift than this, and it’ll come with an actual, local face behind it — someone you know you supported with your holiday gift-giving dollars. And your loved ones will look fabulous and stay warm and cozy, too!

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.

When I was editing photos for this week’s post, it pleased me to find this one. It is so colorful, isn’t it? Like a brilliant string of festive lights or old-fashioned glass ornaments. And yet, what it is is (I think I just had a Bill Clinton flashback) canned local albacore tuna in many flavors from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Yup, it is time for their monthly visit to your Ballard Farmers Market today. And you’ll want plenty of their tunaliciousness around for the holidays. Not just the canned stuff, but frozen sashimi grade tuna loinstuna loxsmoked tuna and more! Mmm. I just had some for dinner. And remember, canned tuna makes a great stocking stuffer!

Goat milk soap from Harmony's Way. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Goat milk soap from Harmony’s Way. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Do you have sensitive skin? Does someone you love? Goat milk soap is incredible gentle on your skin — luxurious, I dare say. It is creamy and mild, and just plain lovely. Lucky us, we actually have a local goat dairy making us these beautiful bars of goat milk soap from the milk of their own goats right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Harmony’s Way hails from over in Chimacum, on the Olympic Peninsula, just south of Port Townsend. They make their soaps in a variety of scents, shapes and sizes, and you can even get it plain, if you like. If yours is a family that already puts nice soaps in each others stockings, why not get some made locally, direct not only from the soap maker, but from the soap farmer!

Piñata apples from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Piñata apples from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know, some folks even put apples in each others stockings. Funny that. But hey, don’t you associate apples with the holidays? You bake them, sauce them, make pies and crisps with them. And why not? They are our dominant local fruit this time of year. Still, when it comes to festive, you really can’t ask for an apple that just sounds more like a party waiting to happen than these piñata apples from ACMA Mission Orchards. Just don’t go hanging them from a low-hanging branch and swinging a big stick at them blindfolded. Instead of a shower of candy, you’re gonna get covered with little, moist bits of apple pulp.

Ornamental gourds from Boistfort Valley Farm.Decorative faceplates for your electrical outlets and switches from Dimensional  Colors. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ornamental gourds from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, ornamental gourds from Boistfort Valley Farm do not make good stocking stuffers, regardless of the fact that they will fit nicely into most stockings. Still, they do make for a lovely, decorative addition to your holiday decking of the halls. Just don’t try to eat them. Unlike their winter squash cousins, this gourds ain’t for eating, and you’ll probably break your knife or cut off a finger trying to cut them open anyway. Instead, surround some candles with them on your dinner table, add them to your mantle, or arrange them with some other fun decorations on an end or coffee table.

Seasoned salts from Rockridge Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Seasoned salts from Rockridge Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Here’s a great stocking stuffer for the foodie in your life, and if you are shopping at your Ballard Farmers Market, you are bound to have a foodie or three in your life. These are seasoned salts from Rockridge Orchards. They’ve got them seasoned with all different sorts of things, from herbs and spices to local applewood smoke. Of course, we won’t tell anyone if you realize that the foodie in your life is actually you, and you just buy them for yourself. Heck, take them home, wrap them up and put them in your own stocking, and then watch how confused it will make the rest of the family!

Cirrus Wood from Coal-Free Washington. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cirrus Wood from Coal-Free Washington. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cirrus Wood from Coal-Free Washington created a photo essay at your Ballard Farmers Market last week of vendors against huge coal trains coming through Ballard and local farmlands carrying coal from Montana and Wyoming to coastal ports for shipping to China. You can see his photo essay, and learn more about the issue, on their Facebook page.

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.

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, December 19th: Delicious Local Fixins For Great Holiday Meals, Unique Gifts Hand-Crafted By Local Artists & Morris Dancers! Where Else But Your Ballard Farmers Market?!?

December 19, 2010

Whole emmer/farro from Bluebird Grain Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

(Note: Ballard Farmers Market will be open next Sunday, December 26th.)

I spent last week on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Okay, I hear you thinking, “lucky bastard,” but believe it or not, it was colder there on a few days than it was here, and just as stormy. With weather like that, if my parents didn’t live there, the place would hold no redeeming value for me at all. I bring this up to remind us all that we’re pretty friggin’ lucky to live here in the Pacific Northwet. Even when the weather is crappy, we’ve got plenty to keep us going. So I don’t wanna hear anymore whining about La Nina. Get on out to your Ballard Farmers Market today and get everything you need for a great holiday season direct from the local farmers, fishers, ranchers, food artisans and artists that help make this place the best place on earth to live, and visit all of our neighbors terrific shops, restaurants and watering holes. Invest in your local economy this holiday season instead of the Mall, and maybe by this time next year, we’ll all feel more comfortable. That said, Bluebird Grain Farms is here today with all of their magnificent organic heirloom grain products, from whole grain emmer/farro to cereal blends, flours, pilaf, mixes and more. Stock up today, as Bluebird likely won’t be back again for at least another month!

Various fish products from Cape Cleare Fishery. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cape Cleare Fishery is back today. They are the folks who peddle their bicycles all the way from Port Townsend to Ballard each week… except last week. Apparently riding face-first into a driving rain along flooded roads didn’t sound too attractive to them last week. Go figure. But they’re back today. So pickup some frozen-at-sea Alaskan salmon, maybe a nice package of lox, or perhaps some smoked salmon to impress your guests with this holiday season.

A display of FDA documents and U.S. Marshall postings from Estrella Family Creamery. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

If you are interested in learning more about the FDA seizure of Estrella Family Creamery, and efforts to help the Estrella family during this difficult time for them, a group of supporters and friends have set up a blog here on WordPress. It contains discussions of the situation and info on how you can help. There has also been setup a “Save the Estrella Family Creamery” Facebook page.

Pepper strands from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Today may be your last chance to get a pepper strand or wreath from Alvarez Organic Farms. These beautiful creations will liven up any home, and they make great gifts. And the best thing is, once they are dried, if you don’t want to leave them hanging, you can actually cook with the dried peppers. Of course, if you don’t want to break it up once it’s dried, why not pickup some dried peppers from Alvarez. They have several varieties of peppers dried this year. Stock up.

Winter squash from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things still has some lovely winter squash available this week, and of course, they also still have amazing pastured poultry, eggs, jams and soaps. Michaele makes an amazing variety of soaps, in fact, from spearmint — my favorite — to lemongrass to cinnamon. And she makes her soap from beef tallow and lard from her own animals, the old-world way.

Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Gluten-Free Bread from Platypus Breads. Photo courtesy Platypus Breads.

The bad news is, this is the last week for Platypus Breads at your Ballard Farmers Market. The good news is, Lindsay is here today with her amazing gluten-free breads for one last hoorah. Frankly, Platypus Breads is one of the most remarkable new vendors of 2010. Lindsay decided that people who must eat gluten-free products deserved to have just as good bread to eat as everyone else, and she set out to make it. And she succeeded. She proved that the terms moist, flavorful and gluten-free are not inherently mutually exclusive, if you just put some effort, thought and creativity into it. So thank you, Lindsay. You, and your bread, will be missed.

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

Shellfish. You need it. Lots of it. Especially during the holidaze. Think oyster stuffing or stew, baked oysters or oysters on the half-shell, sauteed mussels or clams, or even some geoduck ceviche. Whatever you decide to do with your shellfish, Taylor Shellfish has what you need. So visit Oyster Bill today for this week’s fix, and maybe put in a request for next week’s.

Holiday wreath from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alm Hill Gardens still has some of their beautiful holiday wreaths today. They handcraft these marvelous creations using foliage from their farm just for us. And they smell amazing! Oh, Alm Hill should have some saute mix, squash and other edibles today, too.

Parsnips from Nash's Organic. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

All the Northwet loves a tasty root roast this time of year, and what root roast is complete without parsnips, like these from Nash’s. Actually, you can also make soups, purees and mashes with parsnips, too, combined with celeriac and maybe potatoes. Parsnips are so wonderfully sweet and delicious, and they cook pretty quickly, so beware and don’t overcook them. Though they look like carrots, they are not nearly as dense as carrots. Enjoy!

Rutabagas from Boistfort Valley. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

On the other end of the root density spectrum, though equally loved by me, is the humble rutabaga, a.k.a., Swedes or Swedish turnips, like these from Boistfort Valley Farm, which will hopefully grace us one more time today with their presence. These giant-looking turnips are not really turnips at all. Their dense flesh has a deeply sweet, savory flavor that is great steamed and mashed with plenty of butter. Or toss them in the root roast, too. But remember, they will take the longest of any of your roots to cook, as they are the densest.

Family-sized cheesecake from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oh, I hope Sam & Sara of Pasteria Lucchese made some of their incredible cheesecakes this week. Have you tried one? Well, take it from this ex-pat New Yorker that they are the real deal, and you will want one, or three, on your holiday table. You can thank me later.

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check the What’s Fresh Now! listings in the upper right-hand corner of this page for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now. But please note that due to our recent cold weather, some crops may not be available as anticipated.

Sunday, December 5th: Your Destination For The Best Local Food & Handcrafted Gifts For The Holiday Season!

December 5, 2010

A beautiful holiday wreath from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oh, yeah, it’s December folks. Thanksgiving and the Apple Cup are behind us; we’re in the middle of Chanukah; and WordPress has turned the snow on. Woohoo! And your Ballard Farmers Market is your destination for the finest foods and the most unique gifts produced locally by folks that may even be your neighbors. So while you celebrate with family and friends during this holiday season, make the occasion extra special with all local goodies. Investing in quality goods produced locally — goods that have soul — you end of giving a gift that will keep on giving, because your gift will be one-of-a-kind, your dinner will taste of the lands that surround us, and the money you spend will continue to circulate throughout our local community, helping to create sustainable, living-wage jobs.

Let’s start out with the decking of your halls, eh? These handmade wreathes from Alm Hill are beautiful and fragrant and made with love.

Christmas cactus from Red Barn Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You could barely make out the little buds on these Christmas cacti from Red Barn Farm when I took this photo before Thanksgiving, but they will be bursting with gorgeous blooms in time for Christmas.

Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ascents Candles makes their candles from natural palm oils and scents them with a wonderful variety of essential oils. The result is beautiful candles that burn much longer than most, while bathing your home in soothing aromas instead of filling it with toxic fumes. Looking for something clean-burning for your dinner table that won’t interfere with the flavors of your food? They have a great selection of unscented candles, too.

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

Speaking of that holiday table, how about making your very own fresh cranberry sauce with some of these fresh wild cranberries from Foraged & Found Edibles? I mean, you shop at Ballard Farmers Market. You can’t tell me you still eat cranberry sauces out of a can!

Sweetwater Fireweed Honey from Tahuya River Apiaries. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This very special, and very limited, Sweetwater Fireweed Honey from Tahuya River Apiaries will sweeten that cup of tea, or perhaps something with a little more kick, and it is great drizzled over, well, everything. Plus, these lovely little jars make great stocking stuffers. But get it will you can. The supply is limited.

Handmade truffles from Hot Cakes. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I look at these handmade truffles from Hot Cakes, and I cannot help but thing of the film, Amadeus, and all the various opulent royal parties with decadent Viennese confections. Why not treat yourself and your guests like royalty this holiday season and lay out a nice plate of these beauties?

Smoked sockeye from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Opulence? Add a side of smoked sockeye salmon from Loki Fish to that table. Nuff said, really.

Caramel apples from Jonboy Caramels. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Here’s a treat just for you… and maybe the kids, too. Nah, eat it yourself! Caramel apples from Jonboy Caramels. They beg the obvious question: why didn’t they start doing this months ago?!?

Lamb parts from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Parts is parts. What film is that from? Well, in any case, while these lambs’ kidneys, hearts, livers and tongues from Sea Breeze Farm may not exactly fit into everyone’s holiday meal plan, you can make all manner of deliciousness with them. And they serve to remind us that there is still plenty of just plain good food to be had at your Ballard Farmers Market, regardless of any holiday feasts. Besides meat, seafood and poultry, we’ve still got lots of fruits and veggies, milk and cheese, breads, pies and pastries, spices, sauces and rubs, and so much more.

Sculpted dancing woman surrounded by jewelry by Michael Marron. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Michael Marron is an artist. A Ballard artist. He works with silver, and he makes the most spectacular earrings, rings, pendants and other jewelry from it, as well as some gorgeous sculptures, like this little dancing woman. You won’t find this in a mall! Stop by Mike’s booth and be blown away by his work. Get your gift on at your Ballard Farmers Market.

Clipboards from Bruce Launer. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you ever seen such beautiful clipboards? These are handcrafted by Bruce Launer. And while I am guessing you were not thinking of which special someone in your life could use a nice clipboard, I am guessing you know a person or six that could use a spectacular cutting board. I mean, let’s face it. I could have shown you Bruce’s magnificent cutting boards — I do have the photos — but I wanted to make a point. If Bruce can take the lowly clipboard and elevate it to a fine art form, imagine what he does with his other fine woodworking?!

An owl hat from This, Hat, and the Other. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I hope you are already picturing your little one, or someone else’s, wandering around with one of these adorable caps from This, Hat, and the Other on their noggins. Jessilee Marander hand knits this cute little hats that come in all manner of inspired and fun designs, from bees to strawberries. Honestly, they kinda make me wish my head was smaller.

Earrings from Christine Groutier. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Christine Groutier makes all sorts of styles and colors of earrings, necklaces, bracelets and other jewelry. Indeed, she is nothing short of prolific. And that means you are certain to find a unique little something from her that is just perfect for someone you love, even if that someone is yourself!

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check the What’s Fresh Now! listings in the upper right-hand corner of this page for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now. But please note that due to our recent cold weather, some crops may not be available as anticipated.

Sunday, December 13th: Cranberry-Nut Butter Toffee, Holiday Wreaths, Great Gifts, Chocolates (By George!) & Lots of Good Eats

December 12, 2009

A sterling silver fairy necklace by Michael E. Marron. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons,

 

Michael E. Marron is a sculptor, jeweler and designer right here in Ballard. He likes to work with sterling, like with this lovely fairy necklace (above) to which my photography does not do justice. Look for Mike with the “Made in Ballard” sign.

Cranberry-Nut Butter Toffee from Pete's Perfect Butter Toffee. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

 

We all love Pete’s Perfect Butter Toffee already, right? I mean, it’s perfect, after all, so how could we not love it? But Pete rolled out the big guns for the holidays for us with his special holiday treat: Cranberry-Nut Toffee. This luscious stuff is made with cranberries, as well as cashews, walnuts and pecans. Make sure you get enough for stuffing the stockings, and for your own secret stash.

A beautiful holiday wreath from Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

 

You’ll find a nice selection of fresh holiday wreathes, like this one from Harmony Farm, throughout your Ballard Farmers Market. Check with Alm Hill and Growing Things, as well, and Alm Hill has these gorgeous fragrant mantle runners (below), too.

Fragrant mantle runners from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

 

Salmon lox from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

 

Every family has its unique holiday food traditions. Mine eats takeout Chinese on Christmas Eve, then lox and bagels for Christmas brunch after opening presents, and then a dinner built around some sort of roast beast or other. If your family shares my family’s bagel tradition, some of the best salmon lox around can be found at Loki Fish right here at Ballard Farmers Market. They make lox from sockeye, coho and keta salmon. While Northwesterners may favor the sockeye, folks used to a New York style of lox may want to try the coho or keta, which is similar in lightness and flavor to that nasty farm-raised stuff they use in New York, except Loki’s stuff is all wild and local!

Braeburn apples from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

 

Tiny’s Organic Produce now has many of our favorite winter apples in, like these Braeburns, above, as well as fuji and pink lady apples. They are good anytime, and they make a nutritious stocking stuffer. And I am sure many of you have great Chanukah recipes that call for some good apples, too. (Mmm, latkes with fresh apple sauce!)

Canvas holiday Ballard Farmers Market shopping bags at Venue and the Market info desk. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

 

Since you are likely to be getting too much stuff for your normal supply of bags this week, may we suggest picking up one of these limited edition Ballard Farmers Market holiday gnome bags, either at Venue, just around the corner from the Market on 22nd Avenue NW, where you’ll also find lots of great gifts made by local artists, or at the Market Info Desk.

Syrah chocolates from Chocolates By George! Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

 

George is back with his Chocolates By George! Check out these holiday treats he is making for us right now — chocolates infused with syrah. Two great tastes that taste great together!

Black Washington truffles from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

 

Truffles don’t just come from Europe. They come from Washington, too. Foraged & Found Edibles has black (above) and white truffles from Washington right now. Ounce for ounce (as that’s how they’re priced), these beauties are a fraction of the cost of their imported cousins. And while the aficionado may notice a difference, I personally find them plenty enjoyable. Try them shaved with some of Pasteria Lucchese’s pappardelle and butter.

Goat shanks from Quilceda Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

 

How about braising some delicious goat shanks from Quilceda Farm for an intimate dinner over the holidays? I love this stuff. If you like lamb, or just want to try the most commonly eaten meat on earth (we Americans are such wusses), stop by Quilceda, ‘cuz he’s got your goat.

Apollo waits for a Wilson Fish treat. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

 

Don’t forget your furry ones. From Olsen Farms dog chews to Moosedreams’ pet products, the Market has you covered. And be sure to stop by Wilson Fish with your canine friend(s) for a little smoked salmon. Above, Apollo waits patiently for his treat. Below, Apollo leaps for salmon (and joy), after which Wilson’s David counted his fingers.

Apollo leaps for Wilson's smoked salmon. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

 

As always, 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 current cold weather may have temporarily knocked out some of the crops currently on the list.