Sunday, April 18th: Oxbow, Ayala & Red Barn Farms Returns!

Oxbow Farm is just one of the several farms returning to your Ballard Farmers Market today for the 2010 season. Given the sassy tone of his recent emails, it sounds like Luke is chomping at the bit to be back at the Market today. Luke says he will have purple sprouting broccoli, some baby carrots, cauliflower rapini, tomato plants, and some other things they manage to liberate from the farm.

Ayala Farms is back at Ballard Farmers Market today with asparagus. Ramon Ayala has 120 acres of asparagus near Sunnyside, Washington, as well as fruit trees, like the cherry tree he is tending above, and he grows a wide variety of vegetables and melons, too.

Back with gorgeous vegetable starts today is Red Barn Farm from Enumclaw. Red Barn is located in the shadow of Mt. Rainier on damp, fertile volcanic soil that produces spectacular food for our tables. In fact, I do believe the finest rutabagas I have ever eaten came from Red Barn.

Every week brings new deliciousness from Sea Breeze Farm. From fresh meat and poultry to charcuterie to milk, wine, eggs and cheese, Sea Breeze does it old school out of their refer cases. I like just checking out their cases every Sunday to see what surprises they hold, and then building a meal around them.

Spring means some much rebirth and goodness at the Market, but perhaps above all else, spring means radishes, like these from Full Circle Farm. Radishes are beautiful, colorful, spicy, sweet, round, cylindrical, and just plain delicious. And unlike other root crops, they don't like the cold, making them a true arbiter of spring, and as good a reason as any to soldier through any winter.

A holdover from fall, these sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms won't be around for much longer. Lyall Farms was the first farm ever to bring Washington sweet potatoes to Ballard Farmers Market this past fall. And they are wonderful. I had some for dinner last night. Deeply sweet, they roast up beautifully in the oven, or you can cube and steam them , then mash them with canned chipotles in adobo sauce and a touch maple syrup for a peppy side to a steak.

Harmonys Way Farm, on the Olympic Peninsula, makes goat milk soap from the milk of its own goats. Goat milk soap is very mild -- perfect for people who have skin sensitive to stronger soaps. It is creamy and delicate. If you have been looking for a mild soap, treat yourself to some goat milk soap from Harmonys Way today.

Sunseed Farm returned to Ballard Farmers Market recently with a fantastic selection of vegetable, herb and flower starts for your garden. Just imagine these red cabbage starts coming to maturity this summer, making a great cole slaw for that summer picnic. Take a look at all they have to offer today, and plant your own little Victory Garden.

Our local forests continue to offer up more and more spring delicacies, like this wood sorrel. Find it, and other wild foods, from Foraged & Found Edibles.

Looking for some sweets for the sweet? How about some Jonboy Caramels. They make them from local cream and butter, and they rock. Stop by for a sample. And since my dentist told me I had to choose between my cap and J0nboy's caramels, I ask you to enjoy as many of these lovelies as you can, so that I might still enjoy them, if only vicariously through you.

Olsen Farms has beef brisket on sale this week for $7/pound, and lamb loin chops for $19/pound. Oh, and they have a whole lot of sausages just waiting for you to enjoy, too. They even have some seed potatoes, if you want to grow some of your own. Got Soup? has the following soup offerings this week: Broccoli Cheese; Cioppino; Corn & Shiitake; and Orange & Cumin Sweet Potato.

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.