Sunday, September 12th: Don't Stop Believin'! New Crops In A New Year!

Okay, I admit it. It is really, really late on Saturday night (okay, early Sunday morning, if you must know), and I found myself thinking, "What the heck is going to be my focus this week?" Then it occurred to me that a whole bunch of new crops have suddenly begun to appear at your Ballard Farmers Market, partly in spite of, and partly because of our relentlessly cold and damp "summer" of 2010. Then it occurred to me that we just entered a new year on the Hebrew calendar on Friday -- 5771 (can you believe it?!?) -- so why not celebrate a new year, albeit the Jewish New Year, and all the new crops that are, finally, coming along with it, after weeks of seemingly the same stuff during a time of year when that should not have been the case. And then that ultimate mega-ballad of late 70s & early 80s (heck, of all time, when you really think about it) by Journey, Don't Stop Believin', popped into my head, in keeping with the idea that we shouldn't give up hope on this year, because lots of local goodness is still in store (and in Market) for us. And since the song just won't leave my head, I thought by writing about it, I would at least have lots of company today with that song rattling around in our brains. So, feel free to yell, "Don't stop believin'!" at me in the Market today when you see me, and be sure to spread this musical virus. We're gonna have all manner of great local food to celebrate in the coming weeks as we finally exit the long summer of our disconten that was the summer that wasn't. So let's start with a photo tribute to all the great stuff that's new at your Ballard Farmers Market this month, like edamame from Stoney Plains.

And Thai basil from Nash's. Actually, Nash's has several really cool new Asian crops on their tables. Stop by and check them all out!

Boistfort Valley Farm grows amazing rutabagas, and if it's not gonna be hot this year, we might as well heat up the kitchen while roasting or steaming some of them, right?

How about these wild blue mountain huckleberries from Foraged & Found Edibles? These have a short season, so enjoy them while you can!

It's taken for friggin' ever, but finally, we have some honest to goodness shelling beans in the Market! Yup, Alm Hill Gardens has cranberry beans. Woohoo! Now we can get thpthpthperious about thpthpthpuccotash!

Suncrest peaches are sweet, juicy, delicious, and as big as your head. Stop by Collins Family Orchards to get some, or just to be mesmerized by them.

Rapini. Isn't that a spring crop? Ahem. Perhaps you were in Nebraska all summer and didn't notice that it never got out of spring this summer, save for a week to two. So why not? Thank you, Full Circle Farm, for recognized that when the year gives you lemons that you should make lemonade -- or spring crops instead of summer ones, anyway.

The ultimate frying potato, these Kennebeck potatoes from Oxbow are plenty starchy. Need some serious home fries? These are the spuds for you!

Our endless spring also meant it's been a great year for radishes. And Growing Things has absolutely been rocking the radishes this year. These Ostergus radishes are a particular favorite of mine, as they are rip-roaring hot. Tired of wimpy-assed radishes. You will love these babies!

Sea Breeze raises some tasty chickens, sure, but take a gander (if you'll pardon the expression) at that duck breast to the right of the chicken, above. Do you see that thick layer of fat under its skin? And that deep, red, beautiful flesh. Oh, my. I had one of those this past week, simply pan seared, and it was marvelous.

Boom! That's what I'm talking about. An explosion of flavor from a pluot that is also stunning to look at. It's the Flavor Grenade pluot from Tiny's.

Summer Run is one of the few Westside farms that has had much in the way of beautiful heirloom tomatoes so far this year, and let's celebrate that fact with this photo of their magnificent yellow brandywine tomatoes. They are huge, juicy and delicious.

And Pipitone Farms, from Cashmere, has been absolutely raging with the Italian heirloom tomato varieties in the last few weeks. Few places on earth take their tomatoes as seriously as Italy does, and the tomatoes they prize are prized the world over. Like these Costaluto Genovese tomatoes. And you have to admit, they are wicked cool looking, too, aren't they?

Melons have not faired so well in our summer that wasn't of 2010, but Lyall Farms still has been producing quite a nice selection of them. Above, you can see Tiger, Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Banana Cantaloupe and Water melons. A-friggin-men that someone is rockin' the melons this year.

Heck, even our creameries have rolled out some new stuff lately, like this Garlic & Sea Salt butter from Golden Glen Creamery. Just add baguette!

And returning for the fall orchard harvest is Jerzy Boyz, with all manner of apples and pears, like these purple goddess pears. At least some crops seem to be on schedule, eh?

And there is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check the What’s Fresh Now! listings in the upper right-hand corner of this page for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now!