Sunday, February 28th: Forecast Sunny with a 100% Chance of Broccoli

Only the leafless trees along Ballard Avenue spoil the impression that this imagine might be taken in late spring or early summer. But this is Ballard Farmers Market just last week. And as a full moon blazes through a cloudless sky as I write this epistle, all accounts say today with be warmer and sunnier than last Sunday. Enjoy these sunny market days now, as you just know it'll be gloomy and wet come June, right?

You know it's spring in February when our favorite Hmong farmers, like The Old Farmer, return with their spectacular flower arrangements. Just look at this one. It is downright mind-blowing, if you ask me.

These gorgeous quarts of wildflower honey from Tahuya River Apiaries look like sunshine captured in a bottle, don't they? And in many respects, that is exactly what honey is -- sunshine in a bottle.

Back for one more week is Booth Canyon Orchard with their absolutely incredible D'Anjou pears. They are just about out of fruit, and this will be their last week at Ballard for this season. So don't miss out on your last opportunity to get these pears for some time. You'll be kicking yourself if you do, as your neighbors are wiping pear juice from their chins in front of you.

Okay, now I'm just screwing with you, you are thinking. Cilantro? In February? Yup. Stoney Plains has it, and lots of other spring greens. Don't worry. It's not a sign of the apocalypse -- just of an El Nino winter.

It's kind of a fun game to guess what varieties of apples ACMA Orchards will show up with from week-to-week. I figure they just pull the front stack out of their controlled atmosphere storage unit and share with us what apples happen to be contained in those boxes. Whatever the process, they keep bringing us one interesting apple variety after another, like these Galaxy Gala apples that they had last week. So stop by ACMA today to see what is in this week's stack.

Nash's Organic Produce is located near Sequim, which is also known as the Banana Belt because of the mild, dry weather they get, courtesy of the Olympic Mountain rain shadow. As a result, stuff just grows there faster and earlier than anywhere else in the state. So they decided to take advantage of this whacky, warm winter weather we've been having to put together one of the most interesting braising mixes you will find anywhere. Besides the kales and chards that you'll find in everyone else's braising mixes, theirs has all kinds of other stuff, including chickweed and broccoli.

Speaking of broccoli, it's back! Oh, happy day!!! Just look at these magnificent specimens of broccoli from Alm Hill Gardens, glistening in the sun last week. And there will be more today, as Clayton was busy harvesting it up near the Canadian border this morning when I spoke with him.

And remember, your Ballard Farmers Market is chock full of all sorts of goodness for  your kitchen, from meat, seafood, poultry, cheese, to all sorts of fruits and veggies, baked goods, sauces, confections, fresh-cut flowers and fresh milled flours, plants for the garden, wild mushrooms, and on and on. 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.