"On Monday, May 24th, a severe house fire nearly destroyed the home of Ben Craft and Gretchen Hoyt, founders of Alm Hill Gardens and long-time leaders in the local food movement," said Clayton Burrows of Growing Washington, which manages Alm Hill Gardens. "Both Ben and Gretchen are ok, but their house is in complete disarray. The fire itself damaged about half of the house, and the combination of smoke, soot, and water from the firefighters left the entire structure and all of the possessions within damaged or altered.
"Ben built the home by hand shortly after returning from Vietnam back in the early 1970’s. Its geodesic dome shape and hand-crafted woodworking made the home particularly beautiful and unique. It also makes the home uninsurable; it lacks the uniformity needed to fit into modern codification. While the possessions inside were partially covered by insurance, the home itself was not."
Donations to help them rebuild their house are being collected at the Ballard Farmers Market Market Information tent, located at the Vernon Place end of the Market.
Okay, I am somewhat flying by the seat of my pants today, since I left my notebook with all my notes on what farmers will have anew today down in Georgetown Saturday, while I was working at our new Georgetown Farmers Market. Whoops. Of course, normally this would not be an issue for me, because I would have photographic evidence of all the new crops. But, in some more sad news, my beloved 10-year-old Olympus digital camera passed away suddenly last Sunday during the Market.
As you know from this blog, this camera took remarkable photos, given it was one of the first digital SLR cameras built. While most phone cameras take higher density photos today, they simply do not have the lens that my Olympus was built with 10 years ago. So for all of you who have enjoyed my Market photos on this blog, please take a moment to say a quiet prayer of thanks, and perhaps lift a glass at some point in the spirit of my Irish ancestors, in loving memory of a great and loyal camera that served us all well for many more years than anyone could have ever expected. And all that said, please bear with me as I do my best without my notes and but a few new photos. And trust me, today you will find absolutely tons of great stuff at your Ballard Farmers Market, so just show up, okay?
Oh, and here, above, in one of my camera's last photos, is evidence that Estrella Family Creamery is finally getting close to being completely back to normal: the return of bleu cheeses!
Cherry season is now kicking into full swing. Just look at these gorgeous Chelan cherries from Lyall Farms. Lyall also has begun harvesting Titans, as well as a small number of Rainiers. Also with cherries this week are Collins Family Orchrads, ACMA Mission Orchards, and Bill's Fruits, which returns today to your Ballard Farmers Market.
As Murphy would have it, Jessie from Colinwood Farm went out of his way to call me this week to tell me of all the cool new things they have to bring to Market this week, and of course, that info is all in that notebook (which fortunately has been found). So, let's see what I can remember. First, I wanted to share with you this kinda cool photo of Colinwood's pea vines from last week. I like it for the beautiful little purple flowers on it, and because it is, in fact, the final photo my camera ever took. I do recall that Jessie told me they would have the first new potatoes of the season today, as well as a very limited supply of sun gold and Washington cherry tomatoes, and a bunch more zucchini and squash blossoms.
Billy's has actually begun harvesting tomatoes from its greenhouses, like these Big Beef tomatoes -- big, juicy, and great for slicing. Billy's will have some other varieties today, too, but again, they will go very, very fast!
I love mustard greens. They are both bold and delicate. Raw, they make for a salad that will kick you in the behind and open your sinuses. Lightly sauteed with just a touch of garlic, salt and pepper, they sweeten up and lose their edge, making a delicious side to pork or salmon. Stop by Red Barn today for some of Julie's gorgeous mustard greens.
Growing Things has a fresh crop of their magnificent pasture-raised chickens today. Honestly, if you are still buying chickens at the Big Box Store, you have no idea what you are missing. These birds from Growing Things are so good, they have become a Thanksgiving traditions in my family, replacing turkey. Come try a chicken that actually tastes like a chicken, and in the process, learn for the first time, or perhaps be reminded after a long absence, what chicken is supposed to taste like.
In what is turning out to be a very red-themed kinda day for fruit in this post, Hayton Berry Farms is back at your Ballard Farmers Market with their famous strawberries. And with a burst of sunshine and a little warmth over the past couple of days, their berries are suddenly plentiful and ready for action. Others with strawberries today include Collins, Sidhu, Tiny's and Stoney Plains.
Another of the last photos from my dear old Olympus, these sugar snap peas from Children's Garden are emblematic of what is rapidly becoming this season's onslaught of all things peas -- from sugar snap to snow to English shelling peas, which you will find today from Alvarez. Lots of peas throughout the Market today. But their season is short, so enjoy them while you can.
Okay, I am feeling a bit like a fish out of water here, so I am going to call it a day now. But before you click on the What's Fresh Now! pages to see what all else is in season right now, please take a moment to vote for Ballard Farmers Market in American Farmland Trust's America's Favorite Farmers Markets contest. Just type "Ballard" in the search box, and it'll take you right to the page where you can vote for us. Thanks. And I will see you at the Market today, sans camera. Sigh.