Sunday, January 23rd: Fresh Duck, Smoked Salmon, Chocolate Croissants, Sunchokes & More!

Okay, duck fans. Here's the tip of the day, but you're gonna have to get to your Ballard Farmers Market early to score on this one. Stokesberry Sustainable Farm has about 15 fresh whole ducks at the Market today. Yeah, baby. Been craving some roast quack? Well, here's your chance. And they are organic ducks at that. Plus, they will take your plastic if you don't quite have the cash with you, though remember, cash is better, since the Big Bad Bank takes a hefty cut of every credit or debit card transaction.

Stoney Plains is still pulling some carrots out of the ground, and this time of year, carrots are super sweet. Indeed, I had some last week, and they were fantabulous! (Hey, spellcheck actually accepted that as a word!) See, when it drops below freezing, plants actually produce more sugars as a means of protection, as sugar is a kind of antifreeze for them. That means that what survives freezing weather is always sweeter. Pretty sweet, huh?

It's been a while since our buddy, Calvin Collins, patriarch of Collins Family Orchards, has graced us with his presence at your Ballard Farmers Market. See, he's been busy tending the orchards over in Selah. And they are amazing orchards. I got a personal tour of them from Calvin a while back. He has a dizzying number of fruit varieties growing on his land. And that fruit is awesome. Well, Selah is frozen and snow-covered this time of year, so Calvin has come a callin' on Ballard. Here he is two weeks ago, standing proudly behind a big bin of his Pink Lady apples. Stop by and say 'hi' today, and grab some apples and pears while you are at it.

You have heard me talk about Cape Cleare Fishery and that they ride their bicycles to market with their fish every week, but have you actually seen those bikes? Well, now that they are stationed up at the end of the Market, by 22nd Avenue, it is easier for them to leave their bikes hitched to the fish trailers. And they are wicked cool bikes. Plus, they have this amazing little smoker built onto one of their trailers with which they cook up samples of their delicious, frozen-at-sea salmon. If you haven't tried their salmon before, stop by for a taste, and check out their bikes. You'll be hooked... if you'll pardon the expression.

Oh, sweet temptress! Chocolate croissants from Grateful Bread Bakery. You know, I lived off of these all summer at our other four markets. And now, Grateful Bread is right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Yep. But I must forewarn you that these suckers are addictive.

Mmm. Winter squash. From Full Circle Farm. It's sweet. It's pretty. It's delicious. It's not a root, and that makes it pretty special right now. Not that there's anything wrong with roots, mind you, but we cannot live on roots alone. (Okay, maybe we can, but work with me here.) The point is, there is still a decent supply of winter squash around, kids, so roast it, saute it, soup and stew it. Enjoy it now. You'll miss it soon enough.

I hope I haven't offended all the roots now. Heck, I love roots, too, don't get me wrong. In fact, have you ever tried sunchokes (a.k.a., Jerusalem artichokes), like these from Nash's? They are actually the tuberous root of a member of the sunflower family, and they are native to North America. They make amazing soups and dips, are great mixed into your root roasts, and you can use them like potatoes in many applications, like home fries, for instance. Just cut them up in 1/2" to 1" cubes and boil them until just fork tender. Then brown them in a hot pan with melted butter, browning one side fully, then tossing them about with salt, pepper and thyme until lightly golden on the other sides, and serve as a great side dish. They are a nutritional powerhouse that sustained the earliest European settlers to this continent, thanks to a generous education from its prior inhabitants. So, fear not these gnarled little mysterious jewels, and learn to embrace, and eat, them

Four Sisters Chili Sauce is made from a recipe that four Vietnamese sisters brought over with them from Vietnam when they left as children 30 years ago. And now they are sharing it with us. Concerned about getting chili sauces in stores made from who knows what from who knows where? Then visit Four Sisters today at your Ballard Farmers Market for a taste of some of the local stuff.

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.