November 1st: Puget Sound Keta Salmon, Sunchokes, & Did You Set Your Clocks Back?

Yes, there still is a local salmon fishing season happening, and it is happening right here on Puget Sound. It is Puget Sound keta salmon season, and Loki Fish has them. Keta is a milder salmon than king, coho or sockeye. It takes well to many applications, from smoking to grilling, from rubs to sauces. This is truly our local salmon.

This may be the last week for Billy's Organic Produce. It is routinely getting well below freezing in the Okanogan Valley, and Billy's is simply running out of crops to sell. But they still have some great stuff, including these storage onions and some shallots, both of which you are going to want all winter. But get them now, while you can. They keep well in a cool, dry, dark place. So stock up!

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Winter squash continues to be abundant throughout your Ballard Farmers Market. Another great storage crop, you can stock up on winter squash, and it will keep for months. Warm your house up with squash roasts, sautés, soups, risottos, and more. Check out these lovely kabocha squash from Prana Farms. It's one of my favorites.

Okay, Halloween is past, but I just love this pie on the table at Deborah's Pies last week. And even if Deborah is done with her "spooky" pecan pie for this year, she will still be making pecan pies without the "spooky." Mmm. Pecan pie.

Mustard greens are abundant through the Market right now, and they are wonderful. They range from this mild, red-leafed variety from Growing Things to spicy, spikey green-leafed greens from Sidhu. Pickup a bunch or three, add them to salads, sauté them, even add them to soups.

Stoney Plains has the first sunchokes of the season. This native North American crop was a staple of many colonists. A relative of the sunflower, it is neither from Jerusalem, nor an artichoke, though many know them as Jerusalem artichokes. They can be used in many applications like potatoes. I like throwing them in with my root roasts, or you can give them a brief boil until tender, then brown them in butter in a hot skillet and eat them like home fries.

As we all start gearing up for the holiday season, remember that in addition to all the great food for the holidays you will find at your Ballard Farmers Market, you will also find beautiful gifts directly from the local artists who hand-crafted them. Corrine "Gypsy" Mirenda creates gorgeous jewelry and clothing for her Gypsy Beaded Creations.

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Phocas Farms from Port Angeles is back at the Market with their Washington-grown saffron. In fact, it is saffron season right now. Phocas Farms is harvesting hundreds of tiny saffron blooms by hand every day, then carefully drying them. It is a painstaking process that frankly justifies saffron's reputation as being the most expensive spice on earth. But considering the price at Phocas Farms is the same as the imported stuff at local fine spice shops, and the quality is excellent, why pay for all those imported saffron frequent-flyer miles when you can support a hardworking farmer right here at home?

Okay, that's it for me this week. But there is so much more waiting for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. For a full accounting, click on "What's Fresh Now!" in the upper right-hand corner.