Posts Tagged ‘zucchini’

Sunday, September 26th: Fish Tales & Fall Crops!

September 26, 2010

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

Happy fall everyone! Your Ballard Farmers Market is abuzz with all sorts of newly arrived fall crops, and a few serious whoppers of some stories which, if I didn’t have the photos to prove it, you’d think I’d made up. My first fish tale is about, well, actual fish. Smoked halibut from Loki Fish, to be exact. Take a break from smoked salmon for a week and broaden your horizons, just for the halibut. (Sorry… had to go there.)

Monster beets from Prana Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now for some seriously suspect stories, but with the photos to prove them. Yes, those Detroit beets Eric, from Prana Farms, is holding are in fact as big as his head! Holy flippity flop. I think I am going to buy stock in their organic chicken poo compost division!

Humongous zucchini from Bolles Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

No, that is not a miniature peach. In fact, it is a large peach we borrowed from Tiny’s to illustrate just how enormous this crookneck squash is, to say nothing of that battle club-sized zucchini, from Bolles Organic Farm. You know, back in my days at the Olympia Farmers Market, many moons ago, we used to call zucchini that big “Norwegian trout.” I still think to call them that, though for the life of me, I cannot remember why we called them that in the first place. Anyone know the origins of this?

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

Sure, lots of folks have wild chanterelle mushrooms right now, but only Foraged & Found Edibles has wild porcini, or king bolete, mushrooms. These big, meaty mushrooms are just plain awesome. Give ’em a try today.

Thai eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alvarez Organic Farms is known for the almost 200 varieties of peppers they grown, in every shape, size, color and heat level. But did you know they grow over 20 kinds of eggplant, too? Yup. Like this spectacular Thai eggplant, above.

Cippolini onions from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cippolini onions, like these from Oxbow Farm, are those kinda flat onions, like someone sat on them. But they are amazing onions — the pride of Italy — and they caramelize incredibly well. Don’t know them? Ask about them at Oxbow today, and bring some home to play with.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet potatoes are back! Yessir. Lyall Farms was the first to bring sweet potatoes into Seattle’s farmers markets just last year, and they are back with a new crop now. Sweet potatoes are delicious and nutritious, and they are a good storage crop. And now, they are a local crop, too!

Hominy bread from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hominy bread, from Tall Grass Bakery, is made largely from hominy, a large-grained member of the corn family. It’s the stuff they make polenta and tortillas out of. It also makes for an incredibly moist, tender and even sweet bread. If you are in a bit of a bread rut, why not branch out with some hominy bread today?

Beef heart and kidneys from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Parts is parts… maybe in the used car business. But not in the meat business. Lucky for us, we’ve got Sea Breeze Farm bringing us cattle parts from animals that lived well and ate well. If you are looking for some delicious beef heart, kidneys, or occasionally the odd beef tongue, check in with George and the gang as the Sea Breeze refer cases. They don’t always have them, but perhaps you can arrange for them to save some for you when they have them next. And you might as well pickup some sausage and milk while you are there.

Fantacia Tart plums from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Making a plum tart? Then you”d better get some Fantacia Tart plums from ACMA Mission Orchards while you can. They have a short season — just a couple of weeks — so quit dilly dallying and get some now!

Wine from Lopez Island Vineyards. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And welcome one of our newest vendors to your Ballard Farmers Market: Lopez Island Vineyards. This organic winery grows many of its own grapes, including some varieties that only grow in Puget Sound in Washington. And many of their wines are award winners. So give them a gander today, and bring home a bottle of vino straight from the winemaker.

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!

Sunday, June 20th: Happy Blue Tarp Father’s Day!

June 20, 2010

Fresh, wild, Washington king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Happy Father’s Day! Now, some of you might be thinking, “Happy? But this relentlessly crappy weather is going to ruin it!” Oh, puh-leeze! We’re talking about Dad here, right? This is the guy who, for all each of us know, invented blue tarp camping. This is the guy who figured out how to make the best of it regardless of the reality that surrounds him. This guy does not care if a little drizzle is falling from 16 hours of cool, slate-gray daylight. This guy wants nothing more than to kick back today, wherever he is, with his family, maybe a frosty bottle of beer, and probably some of this beautiful Washington-coastal king salmon from Wilson Fish slowly smoking on the Weber with alder chips.

Jessie's Berries. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And Dad will want strawberries. Lots of strawberries. It’s been a slow year for strawberries so far, but they are finally beginning to rock. Hopefully, Jessie’s Berries will be able to join us today with more of their awesome berries. If not, others will have them. My Dad grew up a farm boy in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York. He has always had a big garden that included strawberries. My Dad’s ancestors actually settled the Mid-Hudson Valley in the late 1600s. They built the first stone house in the French Huguenot settlement at New Paltz in 1692. How cool is that? What incredibly cool things do you know about your Dad?

A beautiful pork shoulder blade steak from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Maybe Dad wants a big old hunk of pork or beef on the barby, like this delicious pork shoulder blade steak from Sea Breeze. You’ll find all sorts of goodies for the grill throughout your Ballard Farmers Market to make Dad happy. Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around my Dad grilling stuff over a wood campfire in the mountains somewhere. In particular, I remember my Dad would fill up a grilling basket with breakfast links and cook them while my Mom would whip up some blueberry pancakes. Sigh. Food packs with it some powerful memories. Why not conjure up some, and make some new ones, today with Dad over some great farmers market food.

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

Dad will love some Alvarez asparagus on the grill, too. In this whacky weather year we are having (yeah, like the weather this time last year was normal!), apparently the asparagus crop at Alvarez has almost run its course, so definitely enjoy it while you can.

Zucchini from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Some summer squash would go great on the grill for Dad, too. Full Circle is already bringing both zucchini and sunburst squash. Young, small and tender, they are ideal for grilling. In fact, you should enjoy this zucchini now, because a month from now, everyone you know will be trying to give you their garden surplus of the stuff. When I was a kid, my Dad’s garden was one of the few in the neighborhood, and it prolifically produced zucchini. We gave so much away that I sorta recall at some point that our neighbors would all run into their houses and lock their doors in August as soon as they would see us emerging from the garden. My point is, Dad’s make you laugh, if not with them, at them, and you should eat some zucchini now, while it is still a novelty this year.

Raspberries from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo courtesy Growing Washington.

No, your eyes do not deceive you. These are raspberries, from Alm Hill Gardens. In a year when strawberries and cherries are coming into season late and begrudgingly, Alm Hill already has raspberries! Oh, yeah. Dad is gonna love these.

Apriums from Tiny's. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And if that were not enough, Tiny’s has apriums now, too. Yup. Can’t you just see Dad sitting in a comfy chair — maybe that green plastic Adirondack chair he loves so much under the blue tarp, while the salmon smokes — munching on one of these while the juice dribbles down his chin and onto his shirt, only to be followed by the perfunctory wiping of his mouth onto his sleeve while Mom winces? My Dad’s Dad used to built wooden Adirondack chairs — the real deal, on account that he, and the Adirondacks, were both in Upstate New York. He’s gone now, but if you are lucky enough to still have your grandpas(s) around, don’t forget them today either, okay? It was my Mom’s Dad who we thought of as the Ambassador of Kingston, because he knew everyone, and my Dad’s Dad had the strongest hands I have ever known, and they could craft anything. I think I favor my Mom’s Dad more than my Dad’s.

Dante's Inferno Dogs. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And since you are making a day of it with Dad, while you are at your Ballard Farmers Market today fetching all sorts of deliciousness to cook for him later, why not indulge him in a dog from Dante’s Inferno Dogs. I know, I know. He’s not supposed to be eating those, but who’s day is this anyway? It does not say, “Doctor’s Day” on the calendar, it say’s “Father’s Day,” gosh darn it. You can get him back on the salads tomorrow.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Before you click on the What’s Fresh Now! pages to see what all else is in season right now, please take a moment to vote for Ballard Farmers Market in American Farmland Trust’s America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest. Just type “Ballard” in the search box, and it’ll take you right to the page where you can vote for us. And if you have a good, used digital camera what needs a new home, I am still looking. Post a comment.

Sunday, June 13th: Sunshine, Strawberries, Chicken… & Some Sad News.

June 13, 2010

Ben Craft & Gretchen Hoyt, founders of Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2010 by Growing Washington.

“On Monday, May 24th, a severe house fire nearly destroyed the home of Ben Craft and Gretchen Hoyt, founders of Alm Hill Gardens and long-time leaders in the local food movement,” said Clayton Burrows of Growing Washington, which manages Alm Hill Gardens. “Both Ben and Gretchen are ok, but their house is in complete disarray. The fire itself damaged about half of the house, and the combination of smoke, soot, and water from the firefighters left the entire structure and all of the possessions within damaged or altered.

“Ben built the home by hand shortly after returning from Vietnam back in the early 1970’s. Its geodesic dome shape and hand-crafted woodworking made the home particularly beautiful and unique. It also makes the home uninsurable; it lacks the uniformity needed to fit into modern codification. While the possessions inside were partially covered by insurance, the home itself was not.”

Donations to help them rebuild their house are being collected at the Ballard Farmers Market Market Information tent, located at the Vernon Place end of the Market.

The return of bleu cheeses from Estrella Family Creamery. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, I am somewhat flying by the seat of my pants today, since I left my notebook with all my notes on what farmers will have anew today down in Georgetown Saturday, while I was working at our new Georgetown Farmers Market. Whoops. Of course, normally this would not be an issue for me, because I would have photographic evidence of all the new crops. But, in some more sad news, my beloved 10-year-old Olympus digital camera passed away suddenly last Sunday during the Market.

As you know from this blog, this camera took remarkable photos, given it was one of the first digital SLR cameras built. While most phone cameras take higher density photos today, they simply do not have the lens that my Olympus was built with 10 years ago. So for all of you who have enjoyed my Market photos on this blog, please take a moment to say a quiet prayer of thanks, and perhaps lift a glass at some point in the spirit of my Irish ancestors, in loving memory of a great and loyal camera that served us all well for many more years than anyone could have ever expected. And all that said, please bear with me as I do my best without my notes and but a few new photos. And trust me, today you will find absolutely tons of great stuff at your Ballard Farmers Market, so just show up, okay?

Oh, and here, above, in one of my camera’s last photos, is evidence that Estrella Family Creamery is finally getting close to being completely back to normal: the return of bleu cheeses!

Chelan cherries from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherry season is now kicking into full swing. Just look at these gorgeous Chelan cherries from Lyall Farms. Lyall also has begun harvesting Titans, as well as a small number of Rainiers. Also with cherries this week are Collins Family Orchrads, ACMA Mission Orchards, and Bill’s Fruits, which returns today to your Ballard Farmers Market.

Flowers pea vines from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As Murphy would have it, Jessie from Colinwood Farm went out of his way to call me this week to tell me of all the cool new things they have to bring to Market this week, and of course, that info is all in that notebook (which fortunately has been found). So, let’s see what I can remember. First, I wanted to share with you this kinda cool photo of Colinwood’s pea vines from last week. I like it for the beautiful little purple flowers on it, and because it is, in fact, the final photo my camera ever took. I do recall that Jessie told me they would have the first new potatoes of the season today, as well as a very limited supply of sun gold and Washington cherry tomatoes, and a bunch more zucchini and squash blossoms.

Billy's Big Beef Tomatoes. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Billy’s has actually begun harvesting tomatoes from its greenhouses, like these Big Beef tomatoes — big, juicy, and great for slicing. Billy’s will have some other varieties today, too, but again, they will go very, very fast!

Mustard greens from Red Barn. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I love mustard greens. They are both bold and delicate. Raw, they make for a salad that will kick you in the behind and open your sinuses. Lightly sauteed with just a touch of garlic, salt and pepper, they sweeten up and lose their edge, making a delicious side to pork or salmon. Stop by Red Barn today for some of Julie’s gorgeous mustard greens.

A beautiful pastured chicken from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things has a fresh crop of their magnificent pasture-raised chickens today. Honestly, if you are still buying chickens at the Big Box Store, you have no idea what you are missing. These birds from Growing Things are so good, they have become a Thanksgiving traditions in my family, replacing turkey. Come try a chicken that actually tastes like a chicken, and in the process, learn for the first time, or perhaps be reminded after a long absence, what chicken is supposed to taste like.

Hayton Farms is back at the Market with their famous strawberries. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

In what is turning out to be a very red-themed kinda day for fruit in this post, Hayton Berry Farms is back at your Ballard Farmers Market with their famous strawberries. And with a burst of sunshine and a little warmth over the past couple of days, their berries are suddenly plentiful and ready for action. Others with strawberries today include Collins, Sidhu, Tiny’s and Stoney Plains.

Sugar snap peas from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another of the last photos from my dear old Olympus, these sugar snap peas from Children’s Garden are emblematic of what is rapidly becoming this season’s onslaught of all things peas — from sugar snap to snow to English shelling peas, which you will find today from Alvarez. Lots of peas throughout the Market today. But their season is short, so enjoy them while you can.

Okay, I am feeling a bit like a fish out of water here, so I am going to call it a day now. But before you click on the What’s Fresh Now! pages to see what all else is in season right now, please take a moment to vote for Ballard Farmers Market in American Farmland Trust’s America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest. Just type “Ballard” in the search box, and it’ll take you right to the page where you can vote for us. Thanks. And I will see you at the Market today, sans camera. Sigh.

Sunday, May 30th: Happy Birthday Mom! (Oh, Strawberries, Cherries, Pork, Porcinis, Biscotti, Rye Flour, Honey Butter & A Bunch Of Other Stuff, Too.)

May 30, 2010

More strawberries, these from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When I was a little kid, I always thought it was so cool that the Town of New Paltz, New York would have a parade in honor of my mother’s birthday every year. See, back then (I say, dating myself), Memorial Day was held on May 30th, not that last Monday in May. And May 30th is my mom’s birthday. So I figured that the annual Memorial Day parade was being held for my mom. Heck, everyone’s mom should get a parade, really. I mean, why the heck don’t we have parades on Mother’s Day? Hmm, maybe next year, we should! Anyway, happy birthday, mom! And it’s a good thing you didn’t come out to Seattle for it, because it is cold and grey. The good news, though, is that we finally have strawberries at Ballard Farmers Market. The ones above are from Stoney Plains. Tiny’s has some, too. So for those of you who have stayed in town this first big weekend of the, um, summer (?) season, fear not. You can enjoy strawberry shortcake with your barbecue. And guess what else you can enjoy?

Early Marlat cherries from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cherries! Oh, long, endless winter called spring of our discontent, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it may not, after all, be the headlamp of an oncoming train. Green things are wonderful, but brightly colored fruits and berries will warm our hearts, if not our neighborhoods. Thank you, ACMA Mission Orchards, for bringing to us these first cherries of 2010 — Early Marlats. Who cares if they are not those sexy Rainiers and Bings we’ll enjoy in July? These are still plenty sweet and enjoyable, and any hint of a summer to come, someday, somehow, is truly welcome at this point.

A delectable selection of pigrific pork products from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We will need delicious hunks of pig to throw on the barbie this weekend, if we intend to take full advantage of our long weekend, and Olsen Farms has that covered. Now, I know you are looking at this photo thinking, “well, the chops, ribs and sausage will be great on the grill, but bacon?” Oh, ye of such limited creativity. Have you ever heard of bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin, or bacon-wrapped prawns, or bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, or bacon-wrapped… um… bacon?!? I mean, it’s bacon, for the love of Mike! If you can’t figure out how to work it into the menu, there simply is no hope for you. (Oh, and by the way, Olsen has the tenderloins, too, but they can’t help you with the prawns. However, Taylor Shellfish can certainly help you with some bacon-wrapped oyster action. And we miss you, Bill. Get well, soon!)

Baby summer squash and squash blossoms from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yet another sure sign that July 5th is just around the corner is this beautiful, tender, young zucchini, complete with blossoms, from Colinwood Farms. Agriculture gods be praised! Those crazy kids over in Port Townsend have put their greenhouses to good use, and we are the beneficiaries. Amen!

Baby fennel from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Beautiful baby fennel is waiting for you today on the tables of Full Circle Farm. Roast a few of these lovelies, or maybe toss ’em on the grill for a few minutes. They are sweet, with a hint of anise, and they will simply make you smile.

Asparagus from Magana. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey, asparagus would be great on the grill, too, and maybe some baby sweet onions, both of which you can get from Magana today. Actually, this all sounds great alongside some mighty king salmon from Wilson Fish, does it not?

Wild porcini, or king bolete, mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These wild porcini mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles would be lovely cooked up in a little foil pouch on the grill, too, if you can get to the Market early enough to get them. Actually, they’d be awesome sauteed and tossed with one of Pasteria Lucchese’s fantastic pastas, too.

Biscotti di Prato from Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pasteria Lucchese also just introduced these new Biscotti di Prato. Sam tells me that Sara worked her way through many different recipe variations before she got to this one. We thank her for her due diligence. The result is perfection… again. I am not sure how many of these the Market staff put away at the Madrona Farmers Market on Friday, and with the weather cold enough to justify plenty of hot coffee, we dipped away with them. These beauties are not jawbreakers. They are delicate, and they are delicious — a little something to cap off that holiday barbecue.

Fresh rye flour from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s has come out with yet another flour produced from their gorgeous grains they grow in Dungeness: rye flour. Just think of all the deliciousness you can bake up with this stuff, eh? And ain’t it cool that you can get freshly milled flour right at your Ballard Farmers Market? I mean, that stuff in the bags at the Big Box grocery store… do you have any idea how old that is? See, whole grains will keep for years, but mill them into flour, and they only have about two months before they lose their nutritional value and begin to go rancid. Blech. So think about that the next time you are in the flour aisle at the Big Box store. Then think about the fact that the grain growers at Ballard Farmers Market a bringing you flour that was milled within two weeks of your purchase of it. Nuff said, eh?

New honey butter from Golden Glen Creamery. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hot, steaming bread made from local flour, fresh out of the oven, filling the whole house with its magnificent aroma. Last year, the thought of heating up the house about now seemed absurd, but this year, it sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? And just imagine that warm slice of fresh bread with some of this honey butter from Golden Glen Creamery slathered all over it. Oh, baby, that’s what I’m talkin’ about. So, when life gives you a cold Memorial Day weekend, make bread, I say!

Devra, owner of Patty Pan Grill, slinging fine veggies quesadillas at Ballard Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Did you know that Patty Pan Grill, one of Ballard Farmers Market’s oldest vendors, sources all of those veggies for their veggie quesadillas from the many farmers at Ballard Farmers Market? Yep, they sure do. So when you support Patty Pan Grill, you actually are supporting the whole Market. Kinda warms your heart, while it fills your belly.

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

Here’s something I just love about spring… even this spring… purslane. Not a lot of folks grow this stuff, but Alm Hill Gardens does. It has a delicate flavor with slight tartness to it, and a nice crunch. I like eating it as a salad, myself, tossed with a little olive oil, lemon juice and some pine nuts. How do you like it?

Lovely little Cherokee lettuces from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm has some of its wonderful heirloom lettuces for you already, like these beautiful little Cherokee lettuces. Think salads, sandwiches, even roasted. Lettuce. It’s what’s for dinner. (The Beef Board can… sorry… it’s a family show.)

Mint and dill from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Dress up that salad, that cocktail, that piece of salmon or halibut, that whatever it is with some fresh mint or dill from Children’s Garden. They have a bunch of fresh herbs for you now, plus plenty of lettuce, greens, garlic, choys and, of course, flowers. Lots of spectacular flowers.

Napa cabbage from Summer Run. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ooh, this would actually be pretty good on the grill, or for you non-carnivores, great tossed with some tofu, soy sauce and sesame oil. Isn’t this napa cabbage from Summer Run fabulous? Hmm. Maybe a fresh kimchi in lieu of cole slaw for the picnic, eh? Just pick up some cayenne powder from Pipitone Farms or some paprika from Some Like It Hott so your kimchi will have that proper kick.

A beautiful bouquet for my mom on her birthday, from The Old Farmer. (No, dad. You are not The Old Farmer. You are simply an old farmer.) Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I finish this rather lengthy epistle this week with one more happy birthday wish to the bestest mom in the whole wide world… mine. Oh, you can argue this point with me all you want, but you will lose. And if all else fails, I have inherited her sharp elbows, so if you persist in arguing the point, I may have to jab you with one of them. Anywho, mom, since I cannot be with you by the lake in Northern New York today, these flowers from The Old Farmer are for you — virtually. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Oh, and remember, your Ballard Farmers Market is chock full of all sorts of goodness for  your kitchen, from meat, seafood, poultry, cheese, to all sorts of fruits and veggies, baked goods, sauces, confections, fresh-cut flowers and fresh milled flours, plants for the garden, wild mushrooms, and on and on. For a fuller accounting of what you’ll find at the Market today, go to “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner.