Sunday, May 1st: May Day! May Day! (Don't Panic. It Is May Day, After All! Time To Celebrate Spring!!!)

Now, I am certain it is spring! Oxbow Farm returns today. Welcome back Luke and the gang for another great year of deliciousness. Luke tells me they'll have parsnips, russets, wild nettles, spinach, various raabs and a bunch of plants, including their famous tomato starts and a variety of brassicas.

Hey, as much as I talk about it being spring, and today it will really feel like it, the Pagan calendar considers May 1st to be the beginning of summer, and they mark it with the holiday of Beltane. So celebrate looking forward to a great harvest, and celebrate fertility! Set a bonfire! Color some eggs and hang them from trees! (Oh, by the way, those colored eggs eventually led to the Easter egg hunt, after early Christians stole the Pagans' eggs and buried them.) Today is also the international day of workers, so thank yourself, and someone working for or near you, for keeping things moving, in spite of Congress, the banking industry, oil companies and the lot. Oh, and today a bunch of anarchists will likely march around the streets of Olympia and do a dance with local authorities.

Magana Farms also returns today for the 2011 market season with lots of Yakima Valley asparagus. Yup, it's time to get your asparagus on, folks. In fact, not only Magana, but also Lyall Farms and Alm Hill Gardens will have asparagus today. Woohoo!!!

No, this isn't a file photo. These are squash blossoms photographed by yours truly just last Sunday. Colinwood Farm grows them in their greenhouse every spring, just to please us and confuse the heck out of us. But hey, stop questioning. Instead, grab some of these beauties, and then get some chevre or fromage from one of our various cheese makers and stuff these bad boys and fry 'em up! You can thank me later. Oh! They have adorable little baby squash ripe for the sauteing, too!

I've never understood why some people trim the belly fat off of their salmon. I mean, when are people gonna get it through their thick skulls that not all fat is bad? In fact, fat is a necessary part of our diets, and without it, our brains literally cease to function. That's why fish is good brain food. And cold water fish is even better brain food. It's got all those omega fatty acids that make our brains and our hearts so happy. And those salmon bellies so many of you are eschewing are full of them. Not to mention the fact that they are friggin' delicious! Honestly, I was at this fish market in Florida -- a place I already established two weeks ago with you as devoid of real farmers markets -- and in addition to the great local seafood they had in their cases, they had wild Alaskan salmon... with the belly fat all trimmed away. In horror, I asked, "Why?!?" They said most people wanted it that way -- more evidence that that state is just fundamentally twisted. So then I asked, "Do you at least save the bellies for yourself?" And they said, "Of course. That's the best part of the fish!" Yes, a voice a reason in an unreasonable place. Blessed are the fishers and fishmongers! Well, salmon bellies are something many of us understand around here, and Loki Fish decided it was high time they canned some of them just for us. (I can only assume that Dylan and Pete simply had more salmon bellies than they could possible eat by themselves!) So come pick up a can of Loki's smoked salmon bellies today. Okay, get three, and tell your family you got two, and then eat the third of them in your car in the driveway.

Radishes are absolutely rocking right now. Just look at these lovely specimens of radiliciousness from Alm Hill Gardens! Slice them over some spicy salad mix, for which Alm Hill also has you covered, dip them in some butter and truffle salt, or just eat them straight. Yeah, baby!

I had a chance to visit Woodinville Lavender Farm amongst the wineries and distilleries of Woodinville on Thursday afternoon. It is rather extraordinary what can be produced on just a 1-acre lavender farm. They are infusing their lavender into soaps, bath salts, candles, neck & eye pillows, mists, and all sorts of things. In fact, just in time for Mothers' Day, they've put together a little gift bag that'll make any mom giddy.

"Lettuce entertain you." Sorry. But every spring, the first lettuce of the year gets me singing that Queen song in my head. This green leaf lettuce is one of several varieties of the leafy wonderfulness offered up by Stoney Plains already this spring. Oh, happy day!

Emmer is just simply a beautiful grain in so many ways. This is it still in the husk last fall from Bluebird Grain Farms. They then husk it to extract the whole grain, which they sell as is, or milled as flour or cracked emmer. Bluebird returns to your Ballard Farmers Market today with all manner of emmer and other grain products.

Speaking of Mothers' Day, it is just next Sunday. No time like the present to grab some wine or cider from Rochridge Orchards in preparation. Then drink it this week, and come back next week, with mom, and buy some more to share with her!

Don't you just love fresh mint? Of course you do! And the Kentucky Derby is next Saturday, you know. You will need plenty of mint to make proper mint juleps or iced tea for the occasion. So stop by Children's Garden today and pick some up!

Chocolate milk, oh, how I love thee. And thank you, Silver Springs Creamery, for blessing us this day with delicious chocolate milk made with your wonderful Jersey cow's milk. Okay, everyone, I'll race you to Silver Springs' tent for the last bottle!

And for those of you who simply are not yet sweet enough, stop by Little Prague European Bakery for some of their famous strudel, and sweeten yourself up a bit. Believe me, we will all be the better for it!

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.