Sunday, January 31st: Fungi, Soapy, Fishy, Fruity, Leafy, Smoky & Spicy Goodness

This has been the warmest January ever recorded in Seattle, and that means, among other things, that this has been a rockin' year for local wild mushrooms from the good folks at Foraged & Found Edibles. Check out these gorgeous yellow foot chanterelle mushrooms. They've also had a healthy supply of black trumpet and hedgehog mushrooms lately, too.

Full Circle Farm’s availability of various greens keeps getting better every week. Above, you can see bags of braising greens from red chard (upper left), to green chard (upper center & right), to red kale (lower center), tomixed braising greens that include red & green chard and red & green kale.  They also still have baby bok choyrapini greens, and much more.

For the last couple of weeks, we've been able to enjoy fresh true cod from the Washington coast from Wilson Fish. Another one of the many benefits of El Nino we are enjoying this January seems to be that the waters off the coast of Washington have been much calmer than usual, meaning Wilson Fish can actually get out to catch some of the other wonderful fish other than salmon and halibut out there, like true cod, rockfish, sablefish, etc. This true cod is moist and mildly flavorful, just waiting for you to apply a nice spicy coating of breading for a lovely pan fry.

Speaking of adding some spice, how about some paprika from Some Like It Hott! Above, you will see just five of the many varieties of paprikas they have to offer. They grow, dry and smoke their chili peppers on their farm in Port Townsend, and you can purchase them by vintage -- yes, the peppers vary from year-to-year. I enjoyed some of the alder smoked pimiento desplelete paprika mixed in with the breading of the true cod from Wilson Fish I fried this past week. Yum!

Michaele Blakely of Growing Things Farm is first and foremost a farmer. So some may wonder why she has soap on her tables at Ballard Farmers Market. The simple answer is that her handmade soaps are themselves a farm product. Indeed, soap making is a time-honored farmstead craft. Blakely makes her soaps from the rendered beef tallow and lard of animals she raises herself. She is one of those renaissance farmers who does it all, from raising livestock and egg-laying hens to growing row crops to making jams and soap. You shop at Ballard Farmers Market to know where your food comes from, right? Why not include your soap in that equation?

Warmer and dryer, or not, it is a great time to plant succulents. And lucky for us, Phocas Farms, from Port Angeles, returns to the Market today with its many dozens of varieties of these lovely, colorful and draught tolerant plants. Plant them now, when at least it is raining regularly, if not a lot, and they'll be all set for a long summer of your neglecting them.

Still lots of great fruit available at your Ballard Farmers Market, like these honey crisp apples from Collins Family Orchards. Collins still has several varieties of apples and pears for you to enjoy.

Now that is a gorgeous display of meat, isn't it? From fresh pork and lamb to sausages, pâtés, rillettes, porchetta, pancetta and more, Sea Breeze Farm offers up some of the finest meat you'll find around here. See that pork shoulder steak on the left? I enjoyed that simply grilled over natural charcoal with olive oil, Celtic sea salt and fresh ground pepper this past week.  Need I say more?

Remember, your Ballard Farmers Market is chock full of all sorts of goodness for your kitchen and beyond. For a fuller accounting of what you’ll find at the Market today, go to “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner.