Sunday, June 27th: Apricots, Summer Squash, Pea Shoots, Tomatoes, Plus Q & A With Olsen Farms' Butchers!

It's apricot season! Pipitone Farms has their wonderful, organic apricots back at your Ballard Farmers Market today. They just began this year's harvest on Monday. Come get the first cots of the season. Lyall Farms has new crop apricots today, too. And there are ever more cherries arriving at the Market each week. Among this week's varieties, you will find Chelan, Tieton, Rainier, Bing and Super Bing cherries, and we welcome the return of Martin Family Orchards this week for another season.

Just thinking about all this delicious stone fruit reminds me of one of the many reasons why Ballard Farmers Market is my favorite farmers market. Is it yours? Then say so! Vote for Ballard Farmers Market now in American Farmland Trust's America's Favorite Farmers Markets contest. Just click the link, type "Ballard" in the search field and vote. Please tell your friends and neighbors, too!

Amazing what a little (finally) heat in Eastern Washington will do. In just a week, Alvarez Organic Farms went from having no summer squash to having six different varieties of it. And before this summer is over, they will have upwards of 10 varieties. This week, they have Italian, Lebanese, yellow, 8-Ball, and green zucchini and crookneck squash. They also have a limited supply of squash blossoms, ready to stuff with some goat cheese from Port Madison, bread with some flour from Nash's and milk from Golden Glen, and fry. Yum!

Nash's is rockin' the pea shoots right now. These are the shoots of the field peas they will harvest and dry later in the year. I think one of my favorite things about these, besides how delicious they are, is that field peas are used mostly by farmers as a nitrogen-fixing cover crop. Yet Nash's recognizes that they are a perfectly wonderful food crop, too. In fact, if you count the shoots and the dried peas, they are two wonderful food crops! Nash's also has some great organic strawberries, pastry flour (for making a base for those strawberries, I suspect), and horse radish (not to be combined with the strawberries, but I bet you could find lots of great savory uses for it).

Do you ever look at all the beautiful cuts of meat farms like Olsen Farms bring to Market and wonder things like what part of the animal a cut is from, how it got its name, the best methods for cooking it, etc.? Well, the butchers from Smokey Ridge Meats -- that's Olsen Farms' butcher shop -- will be at your Ballard Farmers Market today to answer your questions. Come see if you can stump the butchers, or just settle that long-standing bet you have with Cousin Jimmy as to the origins of the term, "Boston Butt" used for pork shoulder roasts.

Billy's has all sorts of heirloom tomatoes already, including these Striped German tomatoes (above), Big Beef, Paul Robeson, brandywine, Japanese Truffle, vintage wine, and yellow brandywine. Just think of the sauces, salsas, salads, soups and sandwiches you will make out of these babies.

Summer Run grows spectacular heads of lettuce, gorgeous chard and collard greens, beautiful broccoli, and this incredible cauliflower. This cauliflower is so wonderful, Chef Dustin Ronspies of Art Of The Table could not help but wax poetic about it during his cooking demonstration at Wallingford Farmers Market this past Wednesday.

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.