Seafood Fest & Colorful Food

A beautiful, and busy, day at Ballard Farmers Market on July 26th. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons. Sunday, July 26th brought another spectacular, sunny day to the Ballard Farmers Market... and the Ballard Seafood Festival. So I thought it appropriate to capture this image of the throngs of Market faithful from a perch atop one of Wilson Fish's coolers. Seafood Fest certainly filled the neighborhood and parking, and it clogged Ballard streets. It was fun, but it did make it challenging for some to visit the Market, so we will excuse you if you missed the Market on July 26th. Besides, it gave us an opportunity to introduce the Market to many new folks. And we look forward to seeing you back next time.

A gorgeous display by Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For those who braved the Seafood Fest crowds, you were rewarded by some of the most spectacularly colorful displays of food of the year. Just take a look at this display of bountiful deliciousness from Nash's.

A rainbow of labels on cans of St. Jude tuna. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And Fishing Vessel St. Jude's display of their canned tuna looks like a rainbow. St. Jude catches juvenile albacore as it swims south along the Washington coast, when it is still full of omega-fatty acids that protected it in cold North Pacific waters, and while it is still young and with little mercury, unlike its tropical adult elders. St. Jude comes to the Market every other week, so look for them next on August 9th.

Fresh, brilliant and fragrant lavender from Floating Leaves Lavender Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Floating Leaves Lavender Farm returned to Ballard Farmers Market for the 2009 season. The fresh lavender harvest is now at its peak on the North Olympic Peninsula, around Sequim, the lavender capitol of North America. With the 2009 Lavender Festival last week behind them, lavender farms like Floating Leaves and Moosedreams are back at the Market in all their glory. Enjoy this special Northwest harvest while you can.

Growing Things cheddar cauliflower. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Check out this aptly named cheddar cauliflower from Growing Things. Growing Things grows several varieties of cauliflower, including graffiti, which is purple, and this lovely stuff, which is probably really good with, um, cheese. (Sorry. I just couldn't help being cheesy here.)

This magnificent display comes to us courtesy of Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When I am coaching new vendors about how to improve their displays, the first place I send them is to Boistfort Valley Farm's stall to study how they do it. This little snapshot of Boistfort's display on the 26th accounts for maybe 15% of their total display, tops. It sings beauty, freshness, quality, variety, abundance and choice, just what we all are looking for at the Market.

Sunflowers from The Old Gardener. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers. They are just so large and in charge. Well, it is sunflower season, and many farms have them now, like these from The Old Gardener, mid-market, near Wilson Fish.

A colorful mix of berries from Jessie's Berries. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Berries continue to brighten up the Market, like these mixed berry flats from Jessie's Berries. For folks who want a potpourri of berries, this is definitely the way to go.

Chinese spinach from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Chinese spinach may in fact be the most beautiful vegetable on earth. Just look at this Chinese spinach from Children's Garden. It's incredible.

Lovely and edible garlic flowers from Red Barn. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let's finish our little journey down colorful lane with these wonderful garlic flowers from Red Barn Farm. If you have never seen garlic in the field when it goes into bloom, this is what its flowers look like. Picture, if you will, chives when they flower, then picture them a lot bigger, and you can imagine garlic flowers. Or, you can just go to Red Barn and see them... and eat them, too.

Seafood Fest is gone for another year. It is safe for you to return to Downtown Ballard. We'll see you next time at the Market.