Sunday, June 5th: Of Sunshine, Sugar Snap Peas, Carrots & Lotsa Lettuce!

This past Sunday, big, happy crowds enjoyed a sunny, mild Ballard Farmers Market on Memorial Day Weekend. And Ballard faithful, please know that our farmers appreciate your patience and understanding with how late all the crops are this year, due to our absurdly long, cold, seemingly endless -- until this weekend, anyway -- winter. But there now appears to be a light at the end of that long, dark tunnel, and it may not be the headlamp of an oncoming train after all! Yesterday, we recorded the warmest temperatures in Seattle since, well, last Labor Day Weekend. Babies were conceived and born in that stretch on time! Yikes!!! But with this burst of warm, sunny weather, we will finally, it seems, see an acceleration in the growth of local crops. Read on, and celebrate the return of a few overdue favorites! And while you are at it, please vote for your Ballard Farmers Market in the 2011 America's Favorite Farmers Market Contest, which launched this past week. And tell your friends and family! Use that Facebook and Twitter account of yours for something productive! We came in fourth last year. With your help, this year, we're gonna win it all!

So, did I lie? Yes, this is a photo I took yesterday at Georgetown Farmers Market of fresh sugar snap peas from Alvarez Organic Farms. I did some quality control testing on these -- you know, because I care some much about you and all that -- and I can vouch. These puppies are sweet and crunchy and delicious, and if you plan to do anything else with them aside from eating them right out of the bag before you even get home today, you will need to buy yourself twice a many as you think you'll need! Just get there early, as this is the first harvest. They will run out.

Lettuce Exhibit #1: Red summer crisp lettuce from Oxbow Farm. Beautiful. Refreshing. Delicious. Nuff said.

Here's another crop we've been longing for: carrots! Woohoo!!! Oh, happy day! Ding, dong! Do I really need to go on and on? I don't think so. But beeline it to Stoney Plains today first thing to get a bunch for yourself. If you're that guy that rolls into the Market all bleary-eyed at 2:17 p.m., you will not find these!

Lettuce Exhibit #2: Butterhead lettuce from Red Barn Farm. Magnificent on sandwiches. Terrific in salads. Great for wraps. Just plain lovely.

Radishes are bursting out all over the Market now, and while they've been around a few weeks now, and as such aren't quite as exciting as carrots and peas (or is that peas and carrots?), they still are delightful, colorfully, crunchy, spicy little jewels, are they not? When it finally gets hot, they will disappear. So enjoy them now, good people of Ballard. March on over the Full Circle Farm and rack 'em up!

Lettuce Exhibit #3: Red & green leaf lettuces, adorned adoringly with nasturtiums from Colinwood Farms. I look at this wonderful display of lettucelisciousness, and I can't help but wish for a nice dressing for it, and a really big fork!

From the "cool, wild stuff" category, how about some Goose Tongue salty sea grass from Foraged & Found Edibles? This is some tasty, salty stuff folks. Honestly, I haven't quite figured out how to use it yet, but I am certain that amongst the good people of Ballard, there are more than a few who can give me some tips. Weigh in with your tips for enjoying Goose Tongue sea grass using the comments form. Thanks!

Lettuce Exhibit #4: Romaine lettuce from Alm Hill. Imagine the BLTs. Ponder the lettuce wraps. Heck, grill it! In the immortal words of Eric Clapton, "It's all right, it's all right, it's all right... romaine!" (And no, I'm not sorry.)

And now, a pitch for your favorite father, even it that turns out to be someone else's. Father's Day is coming up in just two weeks. Show your favorite dad that you put some thought into your annual "thanks for being a great dad" acknowledgement gift. Get him a new shaving kit that is locally made! Brown & Butterfly's shaving soap is peerless. Heck, I use it exclusively, and you all know how handsome I am! Besides, using shaving soap and a brush eliminates the need for dad to use shaving foams from aerosol cans that create waste and release sketchy gases.

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.