Sunday, June 18th: Hayton Strawberries, Finnriver Hard Cider, Hama Hama Oysters, Pasteria Lucchese Cannoli... Happy Fathers' Day Indeed!

Say Happy Fathers' Day with strawberries from Hayton Berry Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. What says, "I love you, dad!" better than strawberry shortcake? Am I right, people? Hayton returns to Ballard today for the 2011 berry season. And hey, Hayton's strawberries are transitional to organic, which means you won't be finding the residue of nasty agri-chemicals in these beauties, which will really show dad you care!

Welcome our newest farm to your Ballard Farmers Market, just in time for Fathers' Day: Finnriver Farm & Cidery. They're from Chimacum, over in Jefferson County. They make old-school hard ciders and fruit cordials from their own fruit. Grab a couple of bottles for dad to wash down all those oysters. What oysters, you say?...

These oysters! Yes, Hama Hama Oyster Company returns to your Ballard Farmers Market today, and dad's all over Ballard couldn't be happier! You see, they had their truck with all their farmers market equipment stolen right out of their storage facility here in Seattle a couple of weeks ago, which is why we've missed them the past two weeks. But they've got a new truck and a new setup, and they are back today with live oysters and clams, and smoked, pickled and fresh-shucked jar oysters. If you just get dad the first three items on today's checklist, you will be good with him for the next year. But wait, there's more!

For the dad with a Popeye complex, we've got a new crop of spinach from Nash's Organic Produce!

For the dad that likes to spit pits, we've got these early Rainier cherries from Lyall Farms. And for all of you who are asking, how the %$#@#$!!! can Lyall Farms have Rainier cherries already, here is how. See, this is an early variety bred by WSU researchers specifically for Washington. It is ripe a good 10 days before other Rainiers. Add another 10 days for the location of Lyall's orchard in Prosser, which is both extra sunny and extra warm, and that's a three-week advantage. Now you know!

For the sensitive dad, how about a bouquet of these beautiful irises from Children's Garden. Hey, dad's like flowers, too, you know!

And for the dad who needs a boost, how about some kombucha from CommuniTea? Chris now bottles his kombucha in these convenient, single-serving bottles. (Thanks, Chris!) And better yet, all his bottles are reusable. Just return it next week when you get your next supply! I guess that would also make this for the "green" dad, too, then. Just remember, Junior, to have mom buy it for dad, as you have to be 21 to purchase this stuff in Washington.

I see a Fathers' Day barbecue in your future. Don't forget the bread! In fact, get dad some fougasse from Tall Grass Bakery, full of olivy-oniony goodness. Get it in the traditional pretzel-like form, or in a lovely loaf for the slicing. Either way, get two -- one just for dad and one for the rest of the family. Trust me on this one!

What yuh eatin'? Mutton. Does dad like his meat a bit on the gamey side? Well, Sea Breeze Farm has some true mutton this week! Mutton is from two-year-old sheep, whereas lamb is usually six-months old or less. Mutton has a much stronger flavor than lamb. Never had it? Give it a try this week.

And I bet dad would love some great, local cheese, eh? Well, you are bound to find something for any dad's palate at Mt. Townsend Creamery. They have a dozen or so styles of cheese available here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Stop by and do some "quality control" (read: sampling), and then grab the kind that'll please your dad.

Ooh! Spicy salad mix from Alm Hill Gardens. That's the trick. Let's see. We've got kombucha, cheese and oysters to balance dad's equilibrium, then hard cider, mutton, spinach, spicy salad mix and fougasse for dinner. You've got a bouquet for the table, cherries for the pit spitting contest and strawberries for shortcake. But it seems like something is still missing. Hmm. Oh, I know what's missing!!!

Cannoli!!! How could I forget?!? Yes, dad will need a cannoli for dessert. Heck, he may need two or three! I mean, have you had one of Pasteria Lucchese's cannoli? Boy, howdy! They make outrageous pastas at Pasteria Lucchese, but their desserts are positively out of this world.

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.