Sunday, November 22nd: Bastille's Chef Shannon Galusha Cooks Local For Thanksgiving!

Celebrated an intimate Thanksgiving dinner this week with just a few family members and/or friends? Don't need a huge turkey, or just don't want turkey? Do what I've done on more than a few Thanksgivings: roast a local chicken from Growing Things Farm. These happy, pastured chickens are better tasting than any chicken I've ever gotten from a grocery store, and they are just the right size for a smaller dinner.

Speaking of local (like I am ever not speaking of local, right?), Chef Shannon Galusha, from neighboring Bastille restaurant, will be performing a cooking demonstration today at noon in the middle of the Market as part of the Eat Local For Thanksgiving campaign. Come get some great recipe ideas for your Thanksgiving table, and click on "chef recipes" in the right-hand menu for some simple Thanksgiving recipe ideas from local chefs.

You'll want some nice greens as a lovely side on your table this Thursday.  How about some of these gorgeous mustard greens from Red Barn Farm? Mustard greens vary in flavor and spiciness depending on the variety. Ask Julie about them. She's a wealth of information.

Oh, and Nash's Organic Produce is bringing freshly milled hard red wheat flour for the first time today, just in time of all those holiday baking needs. From a variety of wheat called "Hank," it makes a flour that weighs in at 14% protein that is high in gluten for excellent rising.

Everything is better with butter, especially on Thanksgiving. Be sure to stock up on it at Golden Glen Creamery, our only local butter maker.

Viking purple potatoes from Olsen Farms are the perfect mashing potato for Ballardites. They have a creamery white flesh that mashes wonderfully and takes well to butter, and they are named "Viking" and are grown by people named Olsen. (Or course, Olsen grows more than 20 varieties of potatoes, so ask them about their other kinds, too.)

Whether it is stuffing, a nice dish with grain, or gravy, you'll need mushrooms. Foraged & Found Edibles always has great, local wild mushrooms, like these black trumpet mushrooms. And they should have fresh cranberries this week, too.

The flower bouquets that our local Hmong farmers bring to the Market every week never cease to amaze me. Just look at these magnificent November arrangements from The Old Farmer. No matter the season, they always present us with spectacular foliage that surprises and delights us. Brighten up your holiday table with one of their creations this week.

An excellent vehicle for that Golden Glen butter, for sopping up gravy, or for making turkey sandwiches is this sour dough bread from Tall Grass Bakery. But there remains some debate over whether the monogrammed "TG" on the loaf stands for "Tall Grass" or Thanksgiving."

What? You don't get what sausage has to do with Thanksgiving dinner?!? Oh, pity you! Think sausage stuffing. Or sausage gravy. Or sausage with kale or collard greens. Heck, sausage should really start with a "b", so it can fall into the "everything's better with" category of b's, which includes, or course, butter, bacon, bourbon and beer. In any case, Skagit River Ranch is your sausage connection. A frustrated ex-pat New Yorker, when it comes to Italian sausage out here, I am a particular fan of their sweet Italian sausage.

Pie. You'll need pie! Thankfully, Deborah's Homemade Pies has a great selection of pies, from classic pecan or the best chocolate decadence I've ever tasted (and it's gluten-free!), to various fruit pies made from local ingredients, let Deborah take a little pressure off of you.

How do you keep your guests out of your way in the kitchen while you are putting the perfect finishing touches on a spectacular Thanksgiving feast? Easy. Lay out a spread of fresh, delicious local cheeses on some platters, like these from Samish Bay Cheese, and plunk them down in the general proximity of the Lions/Packers football game, maybe with a little Loki Fish Company's smoked halibut on the side.

And while you are stocking up on all these Market delicacies for the coming week's trough, don't forget that the gift-giving holidays are just around the corner. Take Black Friday off and go for a walk or relax with family. Instead, pick up handcrafted local gifts from the artists who created them, today or next Sunday, right here at Ballard Farmers Market. For example, Lizanne Fisk, of Edith & Wallis, makes lovely felt bowls, boxes, acorn, pumpkins and more to liven up your home or brighten a dear friend's day.

Sorry I am posting this puppy so late, or more accurately, so early. My keyboard, Wordpress and my internet connection all went on strike during much of the day Saturday. But heck, you kids weren't gonna read it until morning anyway, right? But please forgive me if I am stupid with fatigue (stupider than usual, that is) during the cooking demonstration today.

And remember, really, everything you need for the most extraordinary Thanksgiving dinner you and your guests have ever had, save, perhaps, the salt and pepper, you will find today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Eating local for Thanksgiving couldn't be simpler. For a fuller accounting of everything you'll find today, click on "What's Fresh Now!" in the right-hand menu, and we'll see you today at your Ballard Farmers Market! (I'm going to bed now, for a couple of hours.)