August 2nd: Familiar Faces, Great Food, Our Favorite Market!

Janelle Stokesberry holding a chicken and a dozen eggs from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm in Olympia. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons. Stokesberry Sustainable Farms is just one of the many farms represented at Ballard Farmers Market. Janelle Stokesberry, above, holds some of their eggs and chicken that you will find on the menus of many of Seattle's best restaurants. It is local family farmers and food artisans like Janelle that make Ballard Farmers Market, and the products we find here, so special. It is my favorite farmers market. Is it yours? If so, vote for it now in American Farmland Trust's America's Favorite Farmers Market campaign. You have until August 8th to vote, so vote now, and spread the word. Click the link above. Then enter "Ballard" in the search field and click "vote".

Hey Jose! Nice melons! (Alvarez grows many varieties of melons.) Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Here is Jose from Alvarez Organic Farms holding three different varieties of melons the farm grows. These smaller melons are referred to as "icebox melons," and many of them are being tried and researched by Dr. Carol Miles of Washington State University.

Hey, by the way, Happy National Farmers Market Week! Yep, August 2-8, 2009 is National Farmers Market Week. Woohoo!

Behind every package of Pete's Perfect Toffee is, well, this guy. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ballard Farmers Market offers many great products from many great personalities. Take Pete and his Pete's Perfect Butter Toffee, for instance. If you are one of the few folks who has never tried his toffee, swing by his tent today, and he'll give you a taste. Mind you, there is no turning back. You will have to buy some. You know, Pete's is just one small cottage business that has been incubated by Ballard Farmers Market over the years. Many of our vendors have gone from startup to legendary with the Market's help. Others include Tall Grass Bakery, Veraci Pizza and Anita's Crepes.

Sam holding some of Zane & Zack's award winning hot sauces. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One of our true rock star vendors is Sam from Zane & Zack's World Famous Honey Company. Some people call their businesses "world famous," though few have heard of them outside of their own neighborhoods. But Zane & Zack's is, in fact, world famous, having won awards for their sauces and honeys far and wild. Above, Sam holds just three of their award winning products -- winning top honors at the Scovie Awards and the Fiery Foods Festival. Another one of our award-winning vendors is Estrella Family Creamery, which has won awards at every major cheese competition on earth.

Gene Panida of Wilson Fish proudly showing of his "Bag-O-Fish." Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wilson Fish brings to Market big personalities with its salmon and halibut. Why, you ask? Just for the halibut, but you already knew that if you have ever interacted with these guys. Ask them why it takes so long for them to smoke salmon. Ask them how fresh their fish is. Ask them just about anything. Then get ready for a great answer. Oh, and don't forget to get your fish while you are there.

Communi-Tea Kombucha man, Chris Joyner, riding off from the Ballard Farmers Market with a bicycle trailer full of his display, and... is that a porta-potty? Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Of course, Ballard Farmers Market is full of industrious, eco-minded folks like Communi-Tea Kombucha's Chris Joyner, who often comes to Market with his full display on his bicycle. But what I love about this photo is that it truly shows just how much he can fit in a small bicycle trailer. Is that a porta-potty? Well, that oughta shame those other vendors with their big trucks, eh?

Ramon Ayala of Ayala Farms in Outlook examined the blossoms on one of his cherry trees in April, 2009. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ramon Ayala mostly grows asparagus. Lots of asparagus. He has 120 acres of it in Outlook, Washington in the Yakima Valley that he has been wholesaling. But this year, he decided to try his hand at farmers markets, and he started with us right here in Ballard. Above, he is inspecting the flowers on one of his cherry trees during my April visit to his farm.

That is just a small sampling of the many characters of the Ballard Farmers Market. How about you make your way down to the Market today to make the acquaintance of these folks yourself.