Sunday, May 16th: Mothers, Crowds, Eagles & The Return Of An Empire!

For the second consecutive year, Mother's Day was a record-breaking attendance day for your Ballard Farmers Market. But if you were here last week, you already know this. It seems that everyone and their mother (sorry, couldn't resist) loves the Ballard Farmers Market. If you weren't with mom at the Market, you were there getting something for mom. The only logical conclusion from this is that mom's love Ballard Farmers Market, and you know it. So your gift to her on her special day had to either be bringing her to the Market, or bringing her something from the Market. And since we all know that mom knows best, you should listen to your mother and come to Ballard Farmers Market more often! (If you don't, you will feel guilty.)

The lines at each of the flower vendors last week were extraordinary, even by Mother's Day standards. Just look at this line in front of Alm Hill Gardens. At one point, I saw a line at Mee Garden that was at least 15 people deep. Thank you for remembering that while moms love flowers, they love them even more when they are local, without having to be flown in from all of the world, thus creating more demand for oil.

I love this image of all hands on deck at Mee Garden, making beautiful bouquets as fast as they can, with customers stacked up like cord wood in the background. And from the looks of all the empty farm tables by the end of the day last week, you all fed mom pretty well, too.

But perhaps my favorite image from Mother's Day 2010 was Ma & Pa bald eagle circling high above Ballard Farmers Market midday. I'm not sure whether they were simply enjoying the beautiful day like the rest of us, or if they were eyeballing some of those cute little dogs so many of you bring each week, thinking to themselves, "Hey, let's pick up something for dinner at Ballard Farmers Market." Whatever the case, this wonderful pair of eagles clearly seems to enjoy the Market as much as we all do.

The arrival of warm weather means ice cream. Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company had long lines itself at times last week, as moms and kids alike enjoyed a cool treat while walking the market. And speaking of ice cream, Empire Ice Cream returns to Ballard Farmers Market today for the first time in 2010. Empire is known for making gourmet ice cream using fresh, local ingredients, many of which come from Market farmers. Empire even sources its sugar somewhat locally -- from Idaho.

Believe it or not, you can already find lovely, large heads of lettuce in the Market. Check out the lettuce, above, from Colinwood Farms. And these aren't even the biggest ones! And Summer Run already has big heads of lettuce, too.

Cape Cleare is back today with its superb flash-frozen at sea Alaskan salmon. They actually come to Ballard Farmers Market from their homeport of Port Townsend by bicycle each week, pulling their fish coolers to Market on their custom trailers.

Don't forget to pick up some delicious caramels from Jonboy Caramels during your Market visit today. These guys use all local dairy from family farmers to make their incredible treats.

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.