Sunday, October 3rd: Winter Squash, Heirloom Apples, Shelling Beans, Fresh Peanuts,

Have you noticed that the sunny days we do get are just a little crisper these days, and once the sun goes down -- a lot earlier, mind you -- the evening air chills much faster? It is definitely fall, no matter what our screwy 2010 weather is telling us. Let's enjoy it! Let's cook like it's fall. Winter squash, like these beauties from Nature's Last Stand, are truly one of the joys of the return of fall each year. Think of the soups, the roasts, the sautes, the salads, the pies! Imagine it roasting in your oven while the whole house warms up. Summer is wonderful for play... most years, but fall is just plain homey. It's like a big cosmic hug.

The leaves on the huge black walnut tree in my back yard are starting to turn gold. In days, the tree will look like its ablaze, and then it will dramatically dump all its leaves at once -- just sorta push them all off. I heard a scientist once say fall should really be called "push" or "shove" because leaves don't usually just fall off of trees. The trees actually go through a process of pushing them off. How cool is that? I love looking out my big picture frame window in my kitchen at that big black walnut as it lights up the neighborhood in gold every October. I can just picture making some applesauce with these pink pearl apples from Jerzy Boyz, cutting the apples, stirring the pot, and running them through my mill, while watching the torrent of leaves cascading down from that tree. You know, pink pearl apples may be the most commonly eaten apples in the U.S. you've likely never heard of. That's because most of them make their way in applesauce. They are sweet-tart, and you have to admit, they're pretty darned cool looking, too.

Ah, shelling beans -- fresh ones -- already shelled from Alm Hill Gardens. You know, once shelling beans fully dry, they are not the same as when they are fresh like this. The cooking and the taste both change a bit. There's nothing wrong with that, but I particularly like the flavor, and the ease, of fresh shelling beans.

I bet a lot of your fall recipes call for celery root, a.k.a., celeriac. Boistfort Valley Farm has some for you right now, so you can enjoy those fall recipes without delay!

Fresh peanuts. They're only available for a few weeks each fall from Alvarez Organic Farms. And yes, they do grow them. I've seen the plants. Do you love boiled peanuts and miss them from the South? Grab some fresh peanuts, get your stock pot filled with good, salty water -- maybe some chili peppers for spice -- and boil those peanuts. You can also roast them in your oven, before boiling, or after, if you want them salty as well.

More and more farms around here are growing celery, finally. I mean, it must be the most underrepresented staple crop at farmers markets, don't you think? Then again, it is a bit dicey to grow. But Stoney Plains is growing it.

Aren't these red-leafed beets from Nash's cool looking? I know, you are thinking, "aren't most beets red?" Well, yes, the beets are. But not so much the stems and leaves, which tend toward green. And if you aren't eating your beet greens, shame on you. I mean, heck, you are getting a 2-for-1 deal on those beets, what with the roots and the greens, and you are throwing one meal away! Beet greens are delicious, nutritious, and quick and easy to cook. Treat them like chard, which is a cousin of theirs. Me, I like them simply sauteed in olive oil and fresh garlic. Yummers!

It's roasting season! Time to stock up on some delicious goat roasts from Quliceda Farm. You know, goat meat is the most commonly eaten meat on earth. Really. Personally, I love the stuff. It is a bit milder than lamb, very lean, and just plain satisfying. And Quilceda helps us out by supplying a huge selection of recipes, too. Try some. You'll thank me later.

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!