Sunday, January 16th: Carrots, Goat, Squash, Apples, Mustard Greens, Cookies & More Carrots!

When I saw these words of wisdom from Nash's Kia Armstrong, I had to share them with you.

"This time of year, every single carrot is personally plucked from the sweet Sequim soil and then washed and hand-packed for your crunching munching pleasure... IF, for some reason, you find yourself bemoaning their (still very fair) price, I suggest putting things in perspective....try the following:

  1. Step outside of your warm home/office/kitchen and if it doesn't happen to be raining, find a hose and give yourself a good soaking.
  2. Locate the nearest patch of ground. Claw at it with your hands like an animal. Kneel down, keep clawing. Get up, bend over, keep clawing. Dig like your life (or your livelihood) depended on it.
  3. After 10 minutes, when you start to get tired, find something that weighs about 30 lbs, carry it a few dozen feet, and lift it over your head as though you were tossing a 5-gallon bucket of muddy carrots into a big wooden bin on a flatbed truck.
  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 for several hours, occasionally soaking yourself with the hose."

Just something to think about as you are crunching that sweet local carrot while whining about La Nina.

Mmm. Goat. It is, after all, the most commonly eaten meat on earth. Really. And it is delicious and lean, too. In fact, I enjoyed a lovely leg steak from Quilceda Farms grilled over charcoal just the other night. Awe-friggin-some, I tell you. They've got some great roasts and shanks for slow-cooking this time of year, too, and sausages. Plus they've got recipes for just about every dish imaginable using goat meat, in case you are lacking creativity at the moment.

There is still plenty of sweet winter squash at your Ballard Farmers Market, like this lovely Carnival squash from Colinwood Farms. And if for some reason cooking winter squash intimidates you, you don't have to make some magnificent stew, soup or gratin with it to enjoy it, in spite of what your kitchen-savvy friends tell you. Heck, you can split one of these Carnival squash in half, scoop out the seeds (which you should save and roast), slather the two halves in olive oil and lay them facedown in a baking dish and bake them in a 350-375 degree oven until tender (about 20-30 minutes), and then eat the whole thing, skin and all! As for those seeds, separate them from the stringy, gooey stuff, toss them with olive oil in a pie tin, salt, and bake in the oven alongside your squash. They'll be done in 5-10 minutes, so you can snack on them while the rest of dinner is cooking.

I love have many varieties of apples there are. In fact, there are apparently 7,500 of them! Holy Apple Sauce, Batman, that's a lot of apples! No wonder you find completely different kinds of apples from one farmer to the next at your Ballard Farmers Market. Like these gorgeous Crisp Cameo apples from ACMA Mission Orchards. It's a Cameo, but not. It is actually a hybrid of a Cameo. That's why they offer up samples of all their apples, so you can find the one that'll help you keep the doctor away, eh?

Hey, there are still greens at your Ballard Farmers Market, despite this winter of our discontent. Just check out these red mustard greens from Full Circle Farm. I love 'em. They are tender and spicy and can make a great salad, or give them a quick saute with some olive oil and garlic for a lovely side dish. Heck, throw them in soup. Who's stopping you?

Cooo-keee! Apparently, these are Sara's favorite. At least that's what the label says. They are Saretti cookies from Pasteria Lucchese. Well, that's not entirely true. Actually, it is a frozen loaf of Saretti cookie dough, which you just thaw and cut disks off of and bake. You can use a little at a time, if you just warm your knife up in hot water and slice disks off while still frozen, or you can buy like six of them and impress your friends at your Super Bowl party with fresh, home-baked cookies while you cheer on the Seahawks as they redeem themselves against Pittsburgh! (That'd be sweet, eh?)

And more carrots. Purple Haze carrots from Anselmo Farms. What? Purple carrots, you say?!? Um, yeah. In fact, it is orange carrots that are the new color in the carrot kingdom. If you are curious about carrots, or just have way too much time on your hands, like me, check out The Carrot Museum online. It is a wealth of information about all things carrot, including how the Dutch may have created orange carrots to honor the House of Orange in the 16th century. In the meantime, pickup some of these purple beauties. They are great roasted!

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. But please note that due to our recent cold weather, some crops may not be available as anticipated.