Of Wilson Fish, Pickled Asparagus, Barbecues & Very Small Buskers

This warm, sunny Sunday business at the Ballard Farmers Market is almost becoming routine, but it's a routine we're all happy to live with. And if you missed the market on May 17th, you missed even more sunshine in the form of Alm Hill Gardens founder Gretchen Hoyt who attended the Market for the first time, even though her farm has been here for years. Gretchen proved she can still make a bouquet of flowers as beautiful as she is. And not surprisingly, she told me that now she understands why the kids from the farm always rave to her about our market. Alm Hill's Gretchen Hoyt making beautiful bouquets at Ballard Farmers Market on May 17th. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wilson Fish finally returned this week with gorgeous Washington coastal king salmon. Of course, Gene Panida had to call me at 2:24 a.m. Sunday morning to tell me they had fish to sell. I got myself a nice piece of that fish and grilled it up Monday evening. It was like buttuh. Remember, this fish was swimming on Saturday, at the market on Sunday, and on my plate on Monday. You can't find fresher fish unless to catch it yourself! And at $22/pound, it swims circles around that Alaskan stuff you have to sell off your first born to afford.

Gene Panida of Wilson Fish showing off some beautiful pieces of king salmon on Sunday, May 17th that was still swimming on Saturday, May 16th. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Of course, we also missed Wilson Fish for their humor over the first to Sundays of May, like that sign over Gene's right shoulder, above, that reads, "Vegetarian: Old Indian Word for 'Bad Fisherman.'" Speaking of vegetables...

Colinwood Farm, from Port Townsend, gets the "Big Head of Lettuce" photo of the week. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another week, another farm with gargantuan heads of lettuce. One of these heads from Colinwood Farm could feed a family of twelve for a week!

Flowering chives from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

More and more spectacular green things are arriving at the Market every week now, from green Walla Walla Sweets from Alvarez to green garlic from, well, just about everyone to green, fragrant mint from Mee Garden, Stoney Plains and Children's Garden to these colorful green and violet flowering chives, also from Children's Garden.

Fresh 2009 pickled asparagus from Ayala Farms in Outlook. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I got to visit Ayala Farms' 120 acres of asparagus a few weeks ago. It gives one an entirely different perspective on asparagus to see it growing in the field. Every day, they have to walk every row of every acre and cut that day's shoots -- sometimes twice a day. It takes a lot of hard work to deliver this true treat of spring to you at the market. And now Ayala Farms has pickled some of their asparagus. Find it right next to their fresh asparagus, ready to garnish that salad... or that Bloody Mary.

Sutter Home & Hearth on Ballard Avenue is now open during the Market. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ballard Farmers Market has shared Ballard Avenue with Sutter Home & Hearth for years, but until this month, the latter has never been open during the market. Fortunately for us, though, Sutter, which is Seattle's premier barbecue and fireplace store, is now open to hook you up with your lump charcoal to cook your Quilceda goat meat, your alder chips to smoke your Wilson, Loki or Cape Cleare salmon, or to get you fully outfitted with a new 22" Weber Bullet Smoker to host a few racks of ribs or a nice brisket from Skagit River, Samish Bay, Olsen, Stokesberry or Sea Breeze.

Zac (left) and Ale Grynberg performing at Ballard Farmers Market on May 17th. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And, of course, there were lots and lots of street performers this week. But have you noticed that they are starting to shrink a bit? You gotta love that kids are coming out to the Market to strut their stuff, and learning that their artistic expression can garner generous rewards as all you lovely Market shoppers tip them.

Wild wood sorrel at Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The moral of the story is, don't miss another week of the Ballard Farmers Market, or you may very well miss the entirety of wild wood sorrel season.