Reasons to Celebrate: March is National Soup Month and Ides of Spring is Upon Us

Soup is nutritious, delicious, and makes everyone feel better, no matter what the day is like.  We are proud to have Jerry Baxter bringing his handmade soups, always made from local and organic ingredients, every week. Got Soup? has what you need for this Spring weather. This week’s selections are Thai Peanut and Chicken, and four Vegan Soup Choices:  Hot & Sour Mushroom, Green Risotto, Vegetable Chili Verde, and Coconut Red Lentil Dal, and Broccoli & 3 Cheeses. A hint from our busy market master is to "Be sure you have one or more of these soups in your freezer for those times when everyone comes home hungry, tired and needing to eat right away."  These are real meals, made from local farm produce that are ready in no time at all.  And while the soup is heating, you can add a hearty side dish, such as Cornbread with Caramelized Apples and Onions with Thyme.  Find it on our website at sfmamarkets.com in the Recipes section.   This is an easy, elegant and yet quick answer to those moments you need a dinner fast.  They are also excellent for those times, like the Ides of March, when only comfort food will do.

Under the heading of, "We continue to bring everything of the highest quality that you could possibly need for your kitchen table from local producers" category, how about local Saffron? This herb adds a perfect and sumptuous flavor to feed your soul and body.  Ballard Farmers Market is proud to be the exclusive outlet for Jim Robinson, who grows this delicate herb at his farm in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains in Port Angeles, Phocas Farm. This is superb saffron that has become a favorite with many of the best chefs in Seattle. Why buy Iranian-grown saffron marketed as "Spanish" in the Big Box stores, when you can get better saffron locally?  Use it to flavor your chicken & rice soup and experience greatness.


Speaking of Chicken!

Are you feeling a bit windblown and dreary these recent damp Spring mornings?  Maybe a little grey, or mossy,  or perhaps even chilled? Ballard Farmers Market has the cure for that.  Chicken broth made lovingly out of these products from our impeccable farms.  Place the washed bird into a deep pot, add water, a chopped onion, garlic, a dash of salt, and dry herbs you love.  Bring to a gentle simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, or until it begins to fill your home with comforting aromas.  Turn off the heat, let sit until you can place the pan into your fridge.  Let it get cold.  Remove the meat from the bones and put back into your broth.  Add any great veggies you love, roots first, and simmer again. Coarsely chop greens and add to the pot about 10 minutes or less before you want to eat.  Serve with a garnish of your choice.  Try finely sliced Swiss Chard or spinach from Colinwood Farm, shredded cabbage, collards, or kale from Nash's,  Growing Washington, Stoney Plains Farm, or Kirsop Farm, and garnish with mint or cilantro from Children's Garden.  You get the idea, Ballard is seeing more of these leafy gems appearing every day.

If you need some chicken broth immediately, stop at the Stokesberry Sustainable Farm to pick up a nice cup of the warm and soothing broth that they make at the farm.  You'll be glad you did.

Check out all of the fine choices available from the local farms at Ballard Farmers Market.

Whole pastured chicken from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

SeaBreeze Farm at Ballard Farmers Market.  Copyright Zachary D. Lyons

Skagit River Ranch. Copyright by Zachary D. Lyons.

Stokesberry Sustainable Farm Copyright Zachary D, Lyons


Yes, these beautiful Fuji apples, and a great variety of other wonderful fruit, including dried fruit, can be found at Tiny's Organic Produce. These are perfect for an energy boost or as an added ingredient in cornbread.  Check out our recipe pages at sfmamarkets.com  Just in case you want to mix it up a little, you can also find a very easy and delicious recipe for Potato and Leek Soup while you explore the recipes. 

Your Ballard Farmers Market is chock full of all sorts of goodness for your home, from  all the freshest fruits and veggies, meats, seafood, poultry, cheese, to baked goods, sauces, confections, fresh-cut flowers and fresh milled flours, plants for the garden, wild mushrooms, and on and on.

Wednesday, March 11th: Oysters, Holiday Hams and Spring Flowers! Yeah, Spring is Coming!!!

Did you miss oysters at your Ballard Farmers Market this past Sunday? Welcome back Hama Hama Oyster Company after their little hiatus last week.  This family business has been farming oysters since 1922, and they provide some of the finest, sweetest oysters you will find anywhere. Plus, they pickle them and they smoke them. Yes, today is a happy day indeed. Oysters are back, baby!

 

It's time to order that ham for Easter Sunday. Can you believe that Easter will be here in only three weeks? Time does fly!  Stop by Skagit River Ranch, Olsen Farms, Sea Breeze Farm or Samish Bay Cheese to place your order.  They've got them on sale right now, and getting an order in to your favorite grower is the best way to assure you have one ready to go when April 4th comes around.  You know these are some of the best hams you can find anywhere, so don't miss your chance.

Now, it may be early but it sure looks like spring!  Alm Hill Garden tulips and all of our favorite Hmong farmers with their variety of spectacular flowers have returned to Ballard Farmers Market. Welcome them all back and pick out one of their fabulous bouquets to brighten your day, or the day of someone special.

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market.   Plan on visiting the goodness this coming Sunday.

Sunday, March 1st: Nettles, Chard, Dandelion Greens, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Albacore, More Flowers & Street Pizza!

Nettles from Foraged & Found Edibles at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons. Just another sunny weekend in "winter" in the People's Republic of Ballard, eh? Wow! And the spring crops are starting to come on with a vengeance now. Like these first of the year wild stinging nettles from Foraged & Found Edibles. Make yourself some tea or pesto, or whatever you like best, and enjoy a nice boast of healthful deliciousness! Oh, they've also got wild miner's lettuce this week, too. High in vitamin C, it gets its name from being the wild green that helped keep many a miner alive when other greens, and any sources of vitamin C, were scarce at the end of winter. I love them simply dressed with a little oil and some lemon juice as a nice salad.

Chard from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Yes, this is chard. No, this is not a file photo. I took this last Sunday, in fact. These gorgeous, tender, colorful leaves of chard are from the greenhouses of Colinwood Farm in Port Townsend. They also have the most amazing dino kale raab right now that tastes like broccoli, as well as spinachcollard greens and more!

Dandelion greens from Stoney Plains Organic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Another sure sign of our early spring is these dandelion greens from Stoney Plains Organic Farm in Tenino. An intensely bitter green, you can make tea and soup with them, but I love to toss them with anchovies and avocado and make for one amazing and nutrient dense salad! Stoney Plains also now has green onionschickweed and other early spring delights!

Daffodils from Mee Garden at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Mee Garden has returned to your Ballard Farmers Market up on the 22nd Ave end. They have beautiful fresh-cut daffodils right now, as well as dried flowers and more!

Albacore tuna loin portion from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is the first Sunday of the month, and that means it is local albacore tuna day at your Ballard Farmers Market. Yes, Fishing Vessel St. Jude joins us today with cannedsmokedjerkied and frozen albacore that is high in beneficial omega-fatty acids and low in heavy metals. It is sashimi grade, and it is the finest tuna you will ever taste!

Purple sprouting broccoli from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D, Lyons.

For a very limited time, you will find this purple sprouting broccoli from Nash's Organic Produce! It has a very short season, so get it while you can. They also have leekscollard greensNash's red & green kale and red Russian kale, and even a few more carrots! They are also featuring dried Diana fava beans this weeks. "These tasty little nuggets are perfect in soups and stews, offering a hearty, meaty, delicious taste," says Devon. "With 23% protein (the highest of any legume we grow on the farm), they're sure to fill you up, too!"

Loading pizza in the mobile oven at Veraci Pizza at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

We finish this week's epistle with the news that Veraci Pizza has been told to "hit the bricks" from the private side lot next to the Ballard Inn they've called their Sunday home for many years. So hit the bricks they did. Currently, they are setting up in the Market itself, on the bricks up at 22nd Avenue. They will hang out there at least until we hit peak season for farmers.

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, February 22nd: Sprouts, Greens & Springy Things!

Microgreens from Kirsop Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons. Spring continues its early advance this week, as we in Seattle enjoy the best weather in the country. (It was warmer here than it was in Fort Meyers, Florida the other day!) All the cherry trees in Seattle are in bloom, and all the shrubs are pushing out leaves. Heck, they are already talking about the pollen count on local weather reports! We will enjoy this in the form of deliciousness like these yummy microgreens from Kirsop Farm, great in salads, on sandwiches, as a garnish for soups and many dishes and more.

Nash's Best Carrots from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And with the onslaught of our early spring, some of our winter crops are on the way out early, too. For instance, this is the last week for carrots from Nash's Organic Produce for a while. But they are just beginning to harvest their over-wintered leeks, purple sprouting broccoli, collard greens, red russian kale, and even possibly flat leaf parsley.

Braising mix from Stoney Plains Organic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter greens kinda took a hit in November and December freezes, but they've come roaring back. Stoney Plains Organic Farm has these great braising greens right now with lots of tender young leaves of collard greens and various kales. Nummers!

Pink Lady apples from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One fall crop is still going strong: Pink Lady apples from Tiny's Organic Produce. Pink Lady's are a terrific eating apple -- crisp and sweet -- and they are an excellent keeper, which means they are great deep into the late winter and early spring!

Pork chops from Olsen Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

For a year-round crop, how's about some delicious, pasture-raised pork from Olsen Farms. These pork rib chops are beautifully marbled, and they grill up wonderfully. Of course, they also have yummy spuds for you, too, in many varieties. Potatoes are almost a year-round crop, themselves.

Hazelnut oil and butter from Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

You already know that Lynden's Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards grows and sells amazing hazelnuts. But did you also know that they make hazelnut butter and hazelnut oil from those hazelnuts, too?

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

Spread some of that hazelnut butter on a slice of one of these incredible loaves of artisan breads from Ballard's own Tall Grass Bakery. The various earthy breads in the image above are all perfect vehicles for hazelnut butter... or oil: HominyOat & HoneyPain au Levain and Compagnon.

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, February 15th: Spring Has Sprung In Seattle... A Month Early!

Bok choy and baby bok choy from Kirsop Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons. We hit 60 degrees again Saturday in Seattle. Crocus, daffodils and cherry trees are in bloom. Meanwhile, it is snowing again in Boston. In fact, Boston has a bigger snowpack than the Cascades. That might cause trouble for us in August, but for now, Boston can keep their Super Bowl trophy... and their blizzards! Because while they can't even find their cars under snowbanks, we have these fresh, gorgeous greens... what up!? Yes, Kirsop Farm has already begun to harvest a new crop of bok choy and baby bok choy on their farm in Tumwater. This time last year, we were just thawing out from a deep freeze, and fresh, tender greens like these would not be seen until April. Hey, we still love our Hawks, but we love us some fresh veggies and shirtsleeve weather in February, too!

Daffodils from Children's Garden at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Yes, I did say daffodils! Children's Garden just started harvesting them over in Fall City. Brighten up your home on this beautiful long weekend with these harbingers of spring!

Spicy salad mix from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Last year, it was so cold in early February that Colinwood Farm's famous salad mix was pretty much all collards and kale. This year, it is loaded with arugula, spinach, mizuna, mustards and more, as well as collards and kale. It is spicy and crisp and incredible!

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

Did you know that the good folks at Nash's Organic Produce have been developing their own varieties of crops that will thrive on the North Olympic Peninsula? One such crop is this wonderful Nash's red kale. Again, this time last year, we didn't even have kale around. Yikes! But it is young, tender and delicious right now. Woohoo!

Shiitake mushrooms from SnoValley Mushrooms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And even though these shiitake mushrooms from SnoValley Mushrooms are grown indoors, they still are rocking right now. Plus, imagine tossing some of these in with some of that baby bok choy from Kirsop. That's what I'm talking about!

New jams and jellies from Soda Jerk Fresh Sodas at Ballard Farmers Market. Photo courtesy Soda Jerk Fresh Sodas.

Finally, how about some fresh jams and jellies from Soda Jerk Fresh Soda? Yes, now you can spread the same quality of deliciousness on your toast that you've been enjoying by the glassful for the last couple of years!

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, February 8th: Spinach, Sheep Yogurt & Things That Say (or taste like), "I Love You!"

First-of-the-year fresh tulips from Alm HIll Gardens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons. Just as we all crawl back out from in front of the nearest big screen TV to have to face the world for another eight months without Seahawks football (for which we, here at your Sunday Ballard Farmers Market, thank the NFL, cuz it gets kinda lonely here on game day), I must remind you that it is time to make plans for that special someone in your life who is already wondering what your are going to do for them this year. No pressure! Yes, Valentine's Day is coming up this week. Why not get a jumpstart on the gratuitous, if not greeting card company induced, love fest this year with a bouquet of fresh tulips from Alm Hill Gardens? And if you get buds that are still pretty tight, they'll be in full bloom come that magical day.

Baby spinach from Colinwood Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey, I love root vegetables and kale just as much as the next guy, but it is nice to know that Colinwood Farm in Port Townsend is looking out for our culinary sanity by offering us something else out of their greenhouses this time of year. Like this beautiful spinach. No, this is not a stock photo taken in the summertime. This is an honest-to-goodness February image. Enjoy!

Pink Lady apples from Collins Family Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Pink Lady apples from Collins Family Orchards not only help keep the doctor away all winter long, but they also are just plain delicious! Still plenty crisp, they are one of my favorite eating apples.

First of the new year sheep's milk yogurt from Glendale Shepherd at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

The ewes up on Whidbey Island are making milk again, and that means more fresh sheep's milk yogurt from Glendale Shepherd! I love this stuff. It is part of my morning routine year-round. And I love how the flavor changes with the seasons. You can actually taste the changes in the forage the sheep eat.

Kale-spinach tortelloni from Pasteria Lucchese at Ballard Farmers Market. Photo courtesy Pasteria Lucchese.

Having trouble getting a reservation for Valentine's Day? Why bother? Make dinner at home! We've got the spinach salad and flowers covered above. Grab some fresh artisan pasta made with market-fresh ingredients from Pasteria Lucchese for your main course. They have a wonderful selection of pastas from which to choose, they can give you tips on how to prepare it, and they even have a great lineup of sauces, too!

Gift box of dairy-free truffles from Soulever Chocolates at Ballard Farmers Market. Courtesy Soulever Chocolate.

How about a nice box of dairy-free chocolates for that special someone, even if that special someone is you! Made by Soulever Chocolates in West Seattle, they are made using many local, and always the best, ingredients!

Raw pet foods from Porter's Pride at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Don't forget the love for Fido or Mittens! Stop by Porter's Pride and check out their raw diet pet foods for cats and dogs. Made with human-grade, locally-raised meats and other ingredients, this is food you can feel good about feeding your four-legged loved ones. And they will slobber and shed all over you with affection in return!

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.

Friday, February 6th: Patty Pan Grill Makes Own Tortillas with Nash's Flour!

The Patty Pan Grill crew, proud parents of new tortillas at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons. Patty Pan Grill has been pioneering eating local at farmers markets since 1997, which in modern farmers market terms is just about forever. Back then, there were only two neighborhood farmers markets in Seattle. Now, there are 15! They were the first to use lots of market-sourced ingredients and the first to become a worker-owned cooperative business. And now, with your help, they have become the first to make their own fresh tortillas using local flour!

Fresh, homemade tortillas from Patty Pan Grill at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Made from hard red wheat flour grown and milled by Nash's Organic Produce in Dungeness, Patty Pan's tortillas are made from only four ingredients: whole wheat flour, water, olive oil and salt. It doesn't get much simpler, or much more local, than that! And why did Patty Pan do this? Because for years they have looked for a local tortilla factory that would make tortillas for them from local flour, but none of them would budge. So they did it themselves... with a little help from their customers -- that's you! --  who successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign to help make it happen. That helped Patty Pan invest in the commercial kitchen equipment necessary to produce their own tortillas on a scale that can keep up with their farmers market sales. So stop by Patty Pan Grill this Sunday at your Ballard Farmer Market, and taste their latest pioneering innovation!

Super Bowl Sunday, February 1st: We're Open! Go Hawks!

The 12th Sheep from Glendale Shepherd at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons. Few things have ever closed your Ballard Farmers Market. Well, only two things, actually: Christmas Day and New Year's Day. So open we will be this most epic of Super Bowl Sundays. That means you can visit your favorite vendors today to pick up your weekly groceries and a few last minute goodies for your Big Game party before kickoff at 3:30 p.m. For instance, the 12th Sheep from Glendale Shepherd brings with it the first sheep's milk yogurt of 2015. Woohoo! (And can I get a "Go Hawks!" whilst sounding like a sheep, good people of Ballard? Let it out, loud and proud!)

#12 Super Bowl Cheese Plate from Samish Bay Cheese. Photo courtesy Samish Bay Cheese.

Samish Bay Cheese is offering a special Super Bowl Cheese Plate for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market: #12 Fresh Cheese Plate, $12: (Choose two of the cheeses listed below), or Double Your Pleasure 
Family Size Fresh Cheese Plate, $24
(Larger portions than the #12 plate: 
Choose three of the following, while supplies last): Ladysmith, Aged Ladysmith, Chive Ladysmith, Arugula Ladysmith, Queso Jalapeño, Queso Diablo, or Queso Seco.

Whole smoked side of King salmon from Wilson Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Some of the biggest 12s amongst our Seahawks crazy vendors are the folks from Wilson Fish. There is no place they'd rather be on Sunday than watching the Hawks play... well, except right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, where they hook you up with fish while listening to the game on the radio. Why not honor their commitment and sacrifice by serving your Big Game party guests one of their sides of smoked King salmon!

Eaglemount Red Wine defies gravityat Ballard Farmers Market! Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Some local wine and cider from Eaglemount Wine & Cider will certainly endear you to your hosts when you show up to their house to watch Seattle pummel New England today.

Sweet potato chips from Lyall Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

How's about some yummy sweet potato chips from Lyall Farms? What a delicious, healthy and local way to par-tay today, wouldn't you say?

Baba ghanoush from Uncle Eyal's. Photo courtesy Uncle Eyal's.

Uncle Eyal's has stocked up on all of their great dips and sauces today at your Ballard Farmers Market. So grab some mint sauce, some hummus or some baba ghanoush for an awesome game day spread!

Olive fougasse from Tall Grass Bakeryat Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Some of this olive fougasse or fougasse loaf from Ballard's own Tall Grass Bakery will go quite nicely with any of those spreads, though I could eat one on my own all by itself! (So you'd better get three.)

Spicy fermented pickles from Britt's Pickles. Photo courtesy Britt's.

Some naturally-barrel fermented pickles from Britt's Pickles are also great additions to your party spread. And you can't rock sausage much harder than with their various krauts.

Fresh sausages from Sea Breeze Farmat Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And if you need those sausages still, Sea Breeze Farm will have a healthy supply of their farm-fresh links today in a wonderful variety of flavors.

Growlers and growler coolers from Soda Jerk Fresh Soda at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

For the kids, an alternative to booze and a mixer for cocktails, grab a growler or three of fresh soda from Soda Jerk Soda.

The 12th Brownie from Nuflours Gluten-Free Bakeryat Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for gluten-free goodies? Stop by Nuflours Gluten-free Bakery for these gluten-free 12th brownies!

Blooming succulents from Phocas Farmsat Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And last, but by no means least, we welcome back Phocas Farms to your Ballard Farmers Market for 2015. Jimmy returns with a great variety of succulents at a perfect time of year to get them in the ground, so they will thrive all summer. And if we're lucky, he may also have a few packets of local saffron, too!

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, January 25th: Local Meat, Winter Greens, Super Sweet Carrots & Coastal Fish!

Certified organic beef chuck roasts from Skagit River Ranch at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons. Hey, kids! It's a Sunday with football! (Well, there's the Pro Bowl, but seriously...) What are we going to do with ourselves? We could start be stocking up on fresh, nutritious localiciousness at our very own Ballard Farmers Market! It may be January, but there is still plenty of farm-fresh goodness just waiting for you right here! Like these certified organic, grass-finished beef chuck roasts from Skagit River Ranch. Cook it low and slow, filling your kitchen with warmth and aromas, then devour its big, beefy flavor, and remember what real beef, raised humanely and naturally, really tastes like. Pick some up this week, and cook it up for your Super Bowl party next weekend.

Winter braising mix from Growing Washington (Alm Hill Gardens) at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Washington (Alm Hill Gardens) has plenty of this gorgeous, colorful and hearty winter braising mix available now, freshly harvested from their fields in Everson. This mix includes collard greens, various kales and cabbage, and I've been enjoying it all week, sautéed with some Jarvis Family Garlic Farm garlic.

Super sweet carrots from Stoney Plains Organic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Don't let the fact that these bulk organic carrots from Stoney Plains Organic Farm are all different shapes and sizes, with the ends trimmed off, discourage you. They are incredible sweet and satisfyingly crunchy, and they will make your body and soul happy in the dead of winter.

Fresh, local Rockfish from Wilson Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Wilson Fish still offers fresh fish most Sundays at your Ballard Farmers Market all winter long. Of course, it all depends on the previous week's weather if, how much and what kind of fish they will have. Two Sundays ago, they had a great supply of this rockfish in their coolers. Last week, it was true cod (what the FDA now insists is "Pacific cod." Whatever.). Regardless of the species of the week, do get here early, as Wilson always sells out of fresh fish early. Then again, you can always bring home some of their amazing smoked king salmon, if push comes to shove.

Spicy salad mix from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Spicy salad mix from Colinwood Farm keeps me going all winter long. Grown in their Port Townsend green houses, it is made up of kales, chards, mustards, arugula, and other freshly harvested greens that will keep you true to that hardest of New Year's resolutions.

Gruyere bread from Snohomish Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Yeah, yeah. You're cutting back on the carbs as put of your new diet. But I am quite certain that if you read the fine print, the rules of your diet clearly make room for you to enjoy one of these awesome loaves of Gruyere bread from Snohomish Bakery.

Lavender-infused honey from Brookfield Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you met our new (well, sort of new) honey producer? Brookfield Farm produces and sells wonderful wildflower honey from its own hives, and it also sells honey from other local producers. They offer various natural and flavor-infused honeys that will pep up your tea, toast or biscuit!

Seahawks quiche from Deborah's Homemade Pies at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally this week, real 12s eat quiche -- fiesta quiche from Deborah's Homemade Pies to be exact. Is it ironic that her quiche last week came in Packers green and gold? Not if you picture a group of Seahawks fans devouring it!

Go Hawks!

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, January 17th: Storage Crops (Go Hawks!)

The 12th Potato from Olsen Farms at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons. Another Sunday, another big game. That's been our reality here at your Ballard Farmers Market during football season the last two years. And in order for us to get us localicious on, we all have to do a little adapting. This week, with a 12:15 PM start time, we recommend that you come to your Ballard Farmers Market between 10 AM and noon, or step out of one of the many bars and restaurants on Ballard Avenue featuring the game on their televisions during halftime, if you want to catch the game and get your grocery shopping done, too. And if you focus on these great storage crops featured in this week's epistle, like these potatoes from Olsen Farms, you can easily leave them in your trunk while you enjoy the game somewhere here in Downtown Ballard. (Oh, and if you are not planning on watching the game, coming to Market during the game will be a pleasure for you!)

Dried grains, beans and seeds from Nash's Organic Produce at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter is a great time to utilize and enjoy dried beans, grains, seeds and milled products from Nash's Organic Produce. From freshly milled cornmeal and gluten-free buckwheat flour, to whole grains like triticale and naked oats, from mustard seeds to dried fava beans, Nash's has an amazing, diverse and versatile selection. I love adding the naked oats to chicken soup, and using their cornmeal to bread pan fried oysters from Hama Hama Oysters, or true cod from Wilson Fish.

Mixed roots from Growing Washington (Alm Hill Gardens) at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for a quick and easy dinner idea? How about a root roast? This handy root mix from Growing Washington (a.k.a., Alm Hill Gardens) is just the ticket. The key to a successful, low maintenance root roast is to cut your roots into appropriate sizes based on their density, so that they all will be ready at the same time. Rutabagas are the densest, followed by carrots and beets, and then potatoes. Sunchokes and parsnips cook the fastest. The denser the root, the smaller the pieces. Follow this rule, and you will have great, simple, delicious root roasts. Just lather them up with your favorite oil, salt and pepper to taste, and slide them in a hot oven until tender. Give them a toss about midway through.

Frozen blueberries from Sidhu Farms at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

I add a handful of these frozen blueberries to my hot cereal every morning. Sidhu Farms harvests them at their peak of ripeness, and quickly freezes them, so that we can enjoy them all winter long. If you do plan to shop the Market and then watch the Big Game in the neighborhood, we recommend that you bring a small cooler with some ice to keep your blueberries frozen.

Red storage onions from Colinwood Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

2014 was a great year for onions, and we will enjoy them all winter long. Just take a gander at these beautiful red storage onions from Colinwood Farm, for example. They are a great long storage onion, have a nice, intense oniony bite to them when raw that is great for salads and sandwiches, and they sweeten up beautifully when caramelized.

Dried beans from Kirsop Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Besides all of their great veggies, Kirsop Farm produces many different kinds of dried beans, including hurreritetiger, black & pinto, as well as hard red wheat. All are great for hearty fall soups, stews, salads and more, and they will keep for months!

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms at your Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, don't forget the wonderful Beauregard sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Great roasted on their own, steamed and mashed with garlic and chipotle peppers, roasted with parsnips, made into soup or pies, or however you enjoy them best, they are sure to warm your belly and your soul on a cool, damp Northwest night.

Go Hawks!

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, January 11th: Tulips, Honey, Hazelnuts, Microgreens,

First-of-the-year fresh tulips from Alm HIll Gardens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons. It's January 11th, and that means it's tulip season at your Ballard Farmers Market, of course! Yes, Alm Hill Gardens has harvested the first fresh tulips of the year from their greenhouses up in Everson, just south of the Canadian border. It may not feel like spring outside, but you can bring some spring into your home with some of these beauties!

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

Nash's Organic Produce is featuring both carrots and Brussels sprouts this week at your Ballard Farmers Market, and to that end, Patty has sent us this great recipe to enjoy them both together!

Glazed Carrot/Brussels Sprouts Sauté

  • 1 lb. carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 lb. cleaned Brussels sprouts
  • 3/4 cup chicken or veggie broth
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper

Blanch carrots in salted water for about 4 minutes. Remove and cool. Blanch sprouts for about 5 minutes. Drain and hold separately. Refrigerate if making ahead.

Bring stock, butter, brown sugar, vinegar and salt to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves and mixture is reduced to about half. Add carrots and shake pan to coat them. Cook for about 6 minutes. Add the sprouts and pepper and cook 4 minutes more, stirring or shaking until all is coated thoroughly. Serve immediately.

Washington honey from Brookfield Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Please welcome back one of our old friends, Brookfield Farms, returning after a hiatus of several years. Brookfield offers local honey from their own hives, as well as the hives of some friends. They also offer lovely wool products, too!

Got Soup?'s Jerry Baxter stirring a steaming caldron of soupliciounsess. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Earlier this past week, I pulled a quart of Manhattan clam chowder from Got Soup? out of my freezer. It was the best of its ilk I have ever tasted. With a deep, rich flavor, thick with nice chunks of veggies and clams, it was nothing like the thin, watery versions I'm used to, and amen to that! Perfect on a bleak, foggy January day. Here is what Got Soup? is featuring this week at your Ballard Farmers Market:
Orange & Cumin Sweet Potato-Vegan: Vegetable stock (water, onion, carrot, celery, tomato, parsley) sweet potato, onion, celery, oranges, cumin, cilantro, jalapeno.
Cassoulet: Chicken stock (chicken, onion, carrot, celery, tomato, parsley) onion, white beans, carrot, celery, tomatoes, pork shoulder, garlic sausage, garlic, white wine, bay leaves, parsley, thyme.
Northwest Chowder: Fish/clam stock, onion, potatoes, celery, leeks, red pepper, salmon, clams, milk, butter, GF flour, parsley, chervil, chive, thyme, peppercorns.
Thai Style Pumpkin & Coconut-Vegan: Vegetable stock (onion, celery, carrot, tomato, parsley) Pumpkin, coconut milk (water, coconut extract) onions, cilantro, ginger, red curry, tamarind, coriander.
Corn and Mushroom-Vegan: Vegetable stock (onion, carrot, celery, tomato, parsley) corn, onion, mushroom, red pepper, coconut milk, spinach, cilantro, thai chilis, tamarind.

Farmbox Greens' vertical farm in West Seattle. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Get a big boost of nutrient dense deliciousness in the new year with microgreens from Farmbox Greens. Grown in their vertical farm in West Seattle, Farmbox offers a variety of microgreens, from radish to arugula to broccoli and more! And because microgreens are the tiniest of baby vegetable plants, they are packed with nutrients to help them grow and mature. Juice them. Use them as a garnish for salads, soups, sandwiches and proteins. Eat them right out of the container. Nummers.

Preserves from V Smiley Preserves at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you met our newest maker of preserves and spreads? V Smiley Preserves takes wonderful local ingredients and honey, adds a few exotic flavors and a lot of love, and you get amazing toast! Stop by for a taste today!

Fresh eggs from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

We expected the return of Growing Things Farm, with their amazing pasture-raised chicken and eggs, last week. And then it rained over Saturday night. It rained, and it rained, and by the time they arrived at your Ballard Farmers Market last Sunday morning, they got word that both the Tolt and Snoqualmie Rivers were rising fast. See, the farm is located between the two rivers, right where they meet each other, and that spells trouble when we get a warm, heavy rain in the mountains in January. The result was one of the largest floods in the history of the Snoqualmie Valley. The good news is, Growing Things Farm raised its farmhouse last year (with your help, I might add), and they built and critter and equipment pad, so all the animals -- chickens, goats, humans, etc. -- and tractors managed to stay high and dry. And now, they've got an extra week's worth of eggs to sell! But they always go fast. Get here early.

The Loki Special breakfast hash from Loki Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Loki Fish is mixing it up a bit at their grill, adding breakfast and chowder to their lineup of salmon sliders. Pictured above, The Loki Special is a potato hash that features a fried Skagit River Ranch egg, smoked Loki coho salmon, Skagit bacon, and Market veggies. It'll cure what ails you!

Natural hazelnuts from Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And don't forget these amazing local DuChilly hazelnuts from Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards. Indeed, this particular variety of hazelnut, native to Washington, it on its way to extinction. There is a virus killing the trees. And that actually explains why you'll see "Product of Canada" on some of the bags. See, while Holmquist is replanting their Lynden orchards with a European variety of hazelnut that is not vulnerable to this virus, they are needing to supplement their harvest, which is now down over 90% from its peak, with DuChilly hazelnuts from a handful of orchards just over the border in British Columbia. These orchards are within 30 miles of Holmquist, south of the Frasier River, and they are also infected and in decline. Holmquist is helping those orchardists out by taking their entire harvest as Holmquist waits for its new trees to mature. So enjoy our native hazelnuts while you can. They are the best in the world, and we will miss them when they are finally gone.

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, January 4th: Honor Your Eat Healthy Resolution At Your Ballard Farmers Market!

Organic Carrots from Kirsop Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons. Okay, who here resolved to eat healthier in 2015? Come on. Get those hands up high in the air. Wait, keep them up. I'm still counting! Wow, that's a lot. And I am assuming the rest of you, if you are reading this post, already think you eat healthy enough, or you don't believe in making New Year's resolutions. Whatever the case, your Ballard Farmers Market is here to serve you! We've got plenty of fresh, locally-grown, and offered to you direct from the farm, nutritious produce, even this time of year. Like these gorgeous carrots from Kirsop Farm, our newest year-round farm at your Ballard Farmers Market.

Braising mix from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Starting off the new year with some roughage will make your body happy, and will please your palate in the process. Stop by Colinwood Farm for some of their lovely braising mix for said purpose!

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

Nash's Organic Produce is rocking the rutabagas right now. One of my favorite roots, I love them simply steamed and mashed with good Irish butter. But Patty sent along another great way to enjoy them, and here's the recipe:

Golden Rutabaga Sunset

Yield: 5 to 6 servings

  • 1 large rutabaga, coarsely shredded
  • 1 medium yam, about coarsely shredded
  • 1 medium onion, sliced vertically into half moons
  • 1 large leaf kale, rib discarded, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Pinch cayenne, salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped green onions for garnish
  • 1 sprig fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil) for garnish

Combine the rutabaga, yam, onion, and kale in a large, deep skillet. Add the water and cook, stirring over high heat for 4 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to cook the vegetables and prevent burning. Add the raisins and cayenne, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with the green onions and herbs. Recipe adapted from http://www.vegparadise.com/highestperch4.html.

Whole pastured chicken from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Perhaps a nice, local pasture-raised chicken from Growing Things Farm will warm your soul and be a nice change of pace from heavier holiday foods. And hey... you could make some chicken soup with it, which is always a good boost to the old immune system, especially when you add...

Shiitake mushrooms from SnoValley Mushrooms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Shiitake mushrooms from Sno-Valley Mushrooms. Considered both a culinary and a medicinal mushroom, these babies with cure what ails you while adding a big boost of flavor to any dish!

Siberian garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And there is no such thing as too much garlic! This Siberian garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm will ward off colds and vampires (and perhaps a few unworthy friends who don't appreciate your garlic breath), and it packs some powerfully delicious flavor, too!

Local albacore tuna loins from Fishing Vessel St. Jude at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons..

Fishing Vessel St. Jude makes it's monthly visit to your Ballard Farmers Market today. Come get some of their most excellent local albacore tuna, full of beneficial omega-fatty acids, which your doctor (or your PBS guru) will tell you is very, very good for you!

Sunchokes from Alm Hill Gardens (Growing Washington) at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sunchokes are sometimes called Jerusalem artichokes, but sunchokes have no relation to artichokes whatsoever. They are, in fact, a tuberous vegetable produced by a member of the sunflower family, and they are native to North America. Sunchokes, like this from Alm Hill Gardens (Growing Washington) are loaded with nutrients, and while they can be prepared any way a potato is, they actually have the opposite effect on your blood sugar, which makes them great for diabetics!

Golden Russet apples from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And, of course, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? So stock up on apples from Booth Canyon Orchard, like these super yummy, if not super attractive, Golden Russet apples.

Freshly shucked oysters on the half shell from Hama Hama Oysters at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Lauren McCool.

Finally, as we welcome back Hama Hama Oysters from their holiday hiatus, let us not forget that oysters are loaded with zinc, which can help you ward off those winter colds. And rumor has it that oysters are good for other healthy things, too, but this is a family show.

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 28th: Happy New Year! 2015 - Can You Believe It?!?

Bottle-fermented hard ciders from Finnriver Farm & Cidery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons. Nothing says, "It's time to par-tay!" like the prospect of new calendars! Am I right, people? This coming Wednesday night, we're going to eat expensive, rich foods, drink irresponsibly, watch stuff get blown up and kiss perfect strangers in the strangest of all our annual celebrations -- the celebration of new calendars. Woohoo! And we'll need a cork to pop at midnight, folks. I suggest a bottle or three of this bottle-fermented hard cider from Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Its natural effervescence will tickle your nose and please your palate!

Chicken (top) and duck eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Then, on Thursday, after we've hung our shiny new calendars in our favorite calendar spot, we will dig out our favorite stretchy clothes, make a huge breakfast, and spend the rest of the day sitting around, watching football, dog shows or Rick Steves marathons on TV, or maybe going for a nice walk, while we make grand pronouncements of resolutions for the new calendar year. We can't help you with your list of resolutions (beyond your commitment to eating more local food!), but we can help you with that big breakfast! For that, stop by Stokesberry Sustainable Farm for some of their eggs. These are the eggs that the Seahawks eat, and they'll have lots of them today!

Whole smoked side of King salmon from Wilson Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

But back to that New Year's Eve party. Your Ballard Farmers Market has everything you'll need for it. And if we don't have it, you don't need it! Like how about whole sides of smoked local king salmon from Wilson Fish? This is the smoked salmon of my dreams! And it'll make your party the best ever.

Growlers and growler coolers from Soda Jerk Fresh Soda at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Soda Jerk Sodas's fresh sodas will keep your teetotallers and designated drivers happy, and their syrups and sodas make for great mixers for the rest of your guests!

Seastack cheese from Mt Townsend Creamery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Some nice Seastack cheese from Mt. Townsend Creamery will suit your guests just fine, either on its own or on a nice cracker or a slice of crusty bread.

Keta Ikura from Loki Fish at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And try a nice dollop of ikura from Loki Fish on top of your Seastack, or as a delicious, salty accent to any number of apps and dishes. Loki makes their ikura from the eggs of local keta salmon, and they are delish!

Nut Crunch from Pete's Perfect Toffee at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And don't forget to indulge that sweet tooth one more time before those resolutions kick in with some of this nut crunch from Pete's Perfect Toffee! Or some of their fudge, brittle or other great toffees.

Beef rib chop from Sea Breeze Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Before you head to that late night party, treat yourself and your sweetie to one of these Flintstones-sized beef rib chops from Sea Breeze Farm. Or maybe some nice duck breasts. And grab some of their awesome pates and sausages for your party, too!

Cannoli cream puffs from Little Prague European Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Finish off your pre-party dinner with some sweets for the sweet in the form of these cannoli cream puffs from Little Prague European Bakery.

Fresh kombucha from CommuniTea at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

But come New Year's Day, let the recovery begin! Start with a bottle or two of our local kombucha from CommuniTea Kombucha. It will give you a boost of energy, fill your belly with lots of friendly little critters, and it just plain tastes great, too!

Sheep's milk yogurt from Glendale Shepherd. Photo courtesy Glendale Shepherd.

Some lovely sheep's milk yogurt from Glendale Shepherd will also make your body happy in the new year. It is a nice dose of healthy protein full of live cultures that will get the pipes moving again!

Kraut and kimchi brine from Britt's Pickles at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And a shot a day of one of these delicious kimchi and sauerkraut brines from Britt's Pickles is just what the doctor ordered. See, when their krauts and kimchis are finished fermenting, and they pull them out of their crocks to pack them in jars for sale, the bottom of the crocks are full of the juices produced by the fermentation process, complete with all the flavors of the finished products. Plus, these brines are full of lots of living beneficial bacteria that will cure what ails you!

Paglia e Fieno fettuccine from Pasteria Lucchese. at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Don't forget the long life noodles for a healthy new year! For that, we recommend fresh pasta from Pasteria Lucchese, like this fettuccine, some of their pappardelle or some tagliatelle.

Braising mix from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And then there is roughage. We've spent the last month eating simple carbs and protein. Reintroducing ourselves to leafy greens will be an excellent career move! Stop by Colinwood Farm for a couple bags of their great braising mix! You'll thank me later.

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 21st: Happy Solstice! (And Chanukah, Christmas, Festivus, Kwanzaa, Yule, Zappadan & Any Other Holidays I Missed!)

Holiday wreath from Alm Hill Gardens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons. I've got the Andy Williams Christmas Album playing on the iTunes, and that can only mean it is time for our annual Winter Solstice, Chanukah, Festivus, Zappadan, Kwanzaa, Yule, and, of course, Christmas Ballard Farmers Market Blog Holiday Extravaganza! So deck the halls with one of these giant, natural wreaths from Alm Hill Gardens, and sing along with Andy, cuz it's time to get our holidaze on, good people of Ballard!

Chef Jason Stoneburner of Bastille and Stoneburner during his 2013 Eat Local For The Holidays cooking demonstration at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

"So hoopdeedoo, and dickory dock, and don't forget to hang up your suck, cuz just exactly at 12-o'clock, he'll be coming down the chimney, down!" And to get you further in the holiday spirit, our buddy, Chef Jason Stoneburner from Stoneburner and Bastille will perform an Eat Local For The Holidays cooking demonstration today at noon!

Hams for the holidays from Olsen Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

"It's the most wonderful time of the year (ding, dong, ding, dong)." And yule need a nice roast beast for your holiday table to help ring in the season. Perhaps one of these lovely, freshly smoked holiday hams from Olsen Farms will hit the spot. Or maybe a nice leg of lamb, or a beef rib roast, will do the job.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And if you set some of these gorgeous Beauregard sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms on your holiday table, you will hit a high note with your guests that could very well send the kind of chills up and down their spines that we all get when Andy Williams hits those high notes when he sings, O Holy Night.

Cipollini onions from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

"It's Christmas time pretty baby, and the snow is falling down..." Sing it, Elvis! And what could be sweeter than listening to An Elvis Christmas while enjoying some caramelized cipollini onions from Colinwood Farm atop some of their delicata or blue hubbard winter squash, eh?

Kale from Kirsop Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

"Uh-hubba-hubba, uh, here comes Santa Claus..." I think only Bruce Springsteen's version of this song even comes close to Elvis's. It's that Delta Blues influence that makes it so much fun! And Santa will be quite please with you for setting out a nice plate of sautéed kale from Kirsop Farm with a nice glass of boozy eggnog. After all, we're one of his last stops here in the Pacific Time Zone, and that means he'll be all bound up on cookies and milk, and he'll be ready for some fiber and a cocktail!

Pink Lady apples from Collins Family Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

"And when those blue snowflakes start falling..." I think Elvis was missing his Pink Lady when he sang those words... his Pink Lady apples, that is, from Collins Family Orchards. And who wouldn't? They're at their peak right now, crisp and sweet. They are like candy, without the big bill from the dentist!

Organic cranberries from Starvation Alley Cranberry Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Giles Clement.

"Don't fill my sock with candy... no bright and shiny toys..." Santa, bring Elvis's baby back to him already. And throw in some of these wonderful organic cranberries from Starvation Alley Farm, too, please!

Stöllen from Snohomish Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

"It doesn't show signs of stopping, and I brought me some corn for popping..." Just something about the swagger with which Dean Martin signs these word. And let it snow right here on the blog for your Ballard Farmers Market! Oh, and to really crank up the spirit, grab a loaf of stöllen from Snohomish Bakery. This traditional German holiday loaf is as much fun to pronounce as it is to eat, and it comes with its own little coating of snow, in the form of lots of powdered sugar!

Drinking chocolate from Soulever Chocolates at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

"But baby, it's cold outside..." Dean had better break out some of this drinking chocolate from Soulever Chocolates, and the discussion would be over in a heartbeat.

Raw pet foods from Porter's Pride at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

"The snow is snowing, and the wind is blowing, but I can weather the storm. What do I care how it may storm? I've got my love to keep me warm." I think Dean was talking about his dog and his cat in this song. Heck, they come with their own fur coats, after all. So why not treat your best friends with some locally-made with local ingredients raw pet food from Porter's Pride?

Salish sea salt and madrona smoked sea salt from San Juan Island Sea Salt Company at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

"It's the Little Saint Nick (oohoohoohooh)... Run, run, reindeer... (he don't miss no one)..." Yes, the Beach Boys had it right. And you'll have it right with this delicious stocking stuffer. These little sample bottles of sea salt and madrona-smoked sea salt from San Juan Island Sea Salt Company are just you need for those little extra gifts. Oh, and you can cook with it, too!

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

Okay, like Santa, I've got a lot of ground to cover here, so I will spare you additional quotes from my Joan Stafford, Liberace and two Chimpmunks Christmas albums. (Although Liberace's Twas The Night Before Christmas is an absolute classic!) For me, it just ain't the holidays without steaming up some rutabagas from Boistfort Valley Farm and mashing them with some really good better. Yeah, baby!

Black trumpet wild mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

This has been an epic fall for wild mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Treat yourself to some of these awesome black trumpet mushrooms, or maybe some yellowfoot chanterelles or hedgehog mushrooms during the holidays!

Polish hardness garlic from Jarvis Family Garlic Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Not only is there no such thing as too much garlic, but you'll need it for all sorts of holiday dishes. Plus, garlic makes a great stocking stuffer, too. Seriously! Garlic is known as the stinking rose, and who doesn't like roses? Am I right, people? Think of the gourmand on your list for whom you need that little surprise gift. Then visit Jarvis Family Garlic Farm today at your Ballard Farmers Market, and let them introduce you to their wonderful selection of heirloom garlic varieties that will please you, and the recipient of your garlicky gift.

Bartlett pears from Martin Family Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Whether you are poaching them, baking them, saucing them, adding them to salads, or just eating them right off the core, you can't go wrong at the holidays with a bunch of these great Bartlett pears from Martin Family Orchards.

Chanukah pecan pie from Deborah's Homemade Pies at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Lest anyone think this post is too Christmas heavy (and really, it's just Christmas music heavy!), check out these special Chanukah-themed pies from Deborah's Homemade Pies. She's got them in peachpecan and several other flavors, as well as some with snowmen on them, and others with reindeer! Save yourself some work in the kitchen this week, and bring home the best pies in town!

Spirited Apple Wine from Finnriver Cidery & Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

You'll really get in the holiday spirit with some of this Spirited Apple Wine from Finnriver Farm & Cidery. This is their cider taken in a wine cordial direction, then they add a bit of extra bunch that'll make you smile. Just don't plan on driving for a while. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the day!

Beautiful, unique necklaces from Gypsy Beaded Creations at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Let's take one more crack at that holiday gift list of yours. Remember, you will find truly unique gift items, direct from the local artists who created them, right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Like these stunning necklaces from Gypsy Beaded Creations. Heck, you can actually watch Corrine make some of her pieces right in front of you at the Market! So give a gift with a real person behind it.

Beautiful, hand-turned wooden tableware from Vern Tater at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And Vern Tator, Woodturner, joins us today for his only pre-holiday visit of the 2014 season. Vern makes these magnificent works of functional art using wood from his own property. He turns, sands and polishes them by hand. And you get to give someone very special a spectacular set of wooden salt and pepper mills, a fantastic wooden salad bowl, a gorgeous wooden rolling pin, heirloom-quality wooden pens, and more!

Shucked oysters from Hama Hama Oysters at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, we look a week ahead to New Year's Eve. While your Ballard Farmers Market will be open next Sunday, December 28th, for you to stock up to celebrate the coming of a near year, Hama Hama Oysters will be absent. Why not stock up on shucked oysters today? They'll have a freshness date that will carry through the changing of the calendar, and you'll be all set for the big party!

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 14th: Eat & Give Local For The Holidays!

Chef Dustin Ronspies of Art of the Table during his 2011 Eat Local For Thanksgiving cooking demonstration at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons. There are just two Sundays left before Solstice and Christmas, and only one before Chanukah to get your local on for the holidaze at your Ballard Farmers Market! And we've got everything you'll need right here, from the greenery to decorate your door to the pie for dessert; from the wine and cider to muddle to the roast for your oven; from local salt to season your food to treats for Fido to gifts for under the tree, in the stocking or behind the couch. Make this holiday season a local one, and give a truly unique gift with a local face behind it. Heck, we've even got a chef to give you cooking tips on how to make it great! Yup, Chef Dustin Ronspies from Art of the Table joins us today for an Eat Local For The Holidays cooking demonstration today at 11 a.m.!

Smoked hams for Easter from Skagit River Ranch at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don't forget the roast beast for your holiday table! Skagit River Ranch still has plenty of holiday hams available, and these beauties are delish! They'll also have some pork rib roasts today, too. And plenty of sausage to working into your holiday dressing.

Mixed kale from Alm Hill Gardens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

The kale at Alm Hill Gardens (Growing Washington) came through our second early deep freeze surprising well, Clayton tells us. And keep in mind that the farm is within a stone's throw of the Canadian border, where it takes the frosty outflow of the Fraser River Valley right in the teeth. And while it was warmer this past week, Clayton and the crew spent most of it battling high winds instead, repairing row tunnels and harvesting deliciousness, just to bring you the freshest local food. Show your appreciation by making this an Eat Local For The Holidays kinda year!

Carrots from Kirsop Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Between freezes and floods, we've already seen quite a few farms leave your Ballard Farmers Market earlier than usual this fall. But the good news is that in the midst of all of this, we actually added another farm: Kirsop Farm from Tumwater! A veteran farm, they are new to us here at your Ballard Farmers Market in the last month. Their organic produce is as good as any in the state, like these carrots -- crunchy and sweet. Image them buttered or roasted alongside your roast beast, sprinkled about your salad mix from Colinwood Farm, or simply as a vehicle for transporting some hummus from Uncle Eyal's into your mouth!

Huge Sweet Salmon & Sweet Meat winter squash from Nash's Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Devon tells me that Nash's Organic Produce will be rocking the Nash's red kaleBrussels sproutsgreen and savoy cabbage, and more, all of which came through the freeze fine, as well as bringing back their famous root medley bags which make for easy root roasts and stews. And don't forget their huge Sweet Salmon and Sweet Meat winter squash, too!

Beef roasts from Olsen Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of roast beast, Olsen Farms will have freshly smoked holiday hams and beef and pork roasts, and leg of lamb, today and next Sunday. In fact, if there is a particular roast or size you desire, they'll be cutting more this coming week, for you to pick up next Sunday. Stop by and talk to Allen and let him know what you want, and he'll set it up for you. And don't forget potatoes!

D'Anjou pears from Booth Canyon Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Booth Canyon Orchard still has lots of apples and pears, like the versatile keepers, these D'Anjou pears. They are a great eating pear, are great added to salads, and they are a wonderful cooking pear, too!

Colorful skirts from Marmalade Originals at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And don't forget all the wonderful local artists who bring their handcrafted goods to you here at your Ballard Farmers Market this time of year. Like Marmalade Originals, which makes these beautiful, colorful skirts by hand. Anyone can buy a garment from a Big Box store with some corporate logo on it, made in a sweat shop in Bangladesh, so the recipient will look "different" by looking exactly like everyone else. Only you can invest in a truly unique piece of clothing artwork that will make your special someone stand out from the herd!

Don't forget to check out our midweek update for lots more info about this week's offerings. And 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.