Sunday, June 26th: Fava Beans, Cauliflower, Fennel, Carrots, Cucumbers, Kohlrabi, Fresh Alaskan Sockeye Salmon & Other Sure Signs It Is Summer!!!

Yes, it's been a cold, wet year so far. And yes, most crops are way behind schedule. But that doesn't mean your Ballard Farmers Market isn't full of all sorts of local goodness, much of which is just now coming into season. Indeed, lotsa stuff is back this week! Like this cauliflower from Summer Run. Honestly, I think this is the longest I can ever remember the Market going without cauliflower. The last we saw any was back before last Thanksgiving, I believe. And mind you, it's just beginning, so get there early if you want some today!

I guess I am delivering a mixed message today. Yes, we've got lots of crops in the Market now. But also, many of our farmers are hurting from this historically difficult year of cold, wet weather. For instance, these carrots from Oxbow Farm were planted in late winter, and while they are ridiculously sweet, like you've come to expect of Oxbow carrots, the yield on this first planting of theirs is below 20%. In other words, they'll go fast. For us, it's a bummer. For our farmers, it's a nightmare. Now, this means two things for you, the faithful shoppers of your Ballard Farmers Market:

  1. You need to get to the Market early today if you want some of these carrots; and
  2. Your Ballard Farmers Market farmers need you to support them by purchasing the other things they have on their tables, even if they are not the sexy new items or the things you've been missing.

Buy lettuce and collard greens, people, like you've never tasted anything so good in your life. Do it for your farmers, because they are struggling right now. Me, I love collard greens with some green garlic and pancetta. Just sauté them until they're tender. You can't go wrong. See, now's not the time to get stuck in a Seattle Foodie rut where you have to have to newest, coolest, bestest thing ever. Show your farmers the love and buy your next door neighbors some kale! And together, we will get our farmers through this year as a community. Can I get an amen?!

Hey, the Knutsen boys of Loki Fish are hard at work up in Alaska catching salmon right now and sending it down to us here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Dylan tells me they'll have some of this lovely fresh sockeye available today, along with fresh ikura, the roe of keta salmon that they salt and jar right on the boat. And you know, isn't this why your Ballard Farmers Market is your favorite farmers market? Well, show your favorite farmers market some love today, too, by voting for it in the 2011 America's Favorite Farmers Market Contest. We came in fourth last year. Let's win it all this year! Just click on "Ballard Farmers Market" in the link.

Alvarez Organic Farms now has fava beans, folks, as well as English shelling peas, snow peas and sugar snap peas, and they still have asparagus, too! If these don't cheer you up, I just don't know what will.

And look. It's kohlrabi. From Growing Things Farm. You know, I would love it if some of you Ballard faithful would share with your neighbors your favorite recipes for kohlrabi on our Facebook page, or by posting a comment here. It really is one of those veggies that mystifies a lot of folks, and we need to rectify that. Let's here it, Eastern Europeans amongst us! And don't forget to visit Growing Things at their new location at the top of the Market by 22nd Ave NW.

Hey gang! Our buddies at Bastille, who you'll see every Sunday shopping the Market for their menu, decided they'd start grilling up some of their house-made sausages in their Back Bar patio area on Sundays during the Market. Don't feel like a full-on brunch? Don't want to wait in line for a table? Shoot on back to their charcoal grill for a sausage and a pint before finishing up your Market shopping.

More cherries! Woohoo!!! These are Tieton cherries from Collins Family Orchards. Tietons are an early, sweet cherry that looks a lot like a bing. Try 'em. You'll like 'em!

And how about cucumbers, eh? Now, if these don't give you hope, nothing will! Thank you, industrious fellows of Colinwood Farm for going greenhouse crazy and being the first in the Market to bring us cucumbers, right when we need them more than ever!

Tiny's wins the "what fruit will be next" sweepstakes with these early apriums out of their orchards in Rock Island, a lovely little micro-climate just downriver from Wenatchee. Yup, the produce in the Market is indeed getting more diverse, colorful and plentiful.

I grilled some of this baby fennel from Alm Hill Gardens Saturday night. Oh, baby. It is so sweet and fennelicious, lathered up with a nice olive oil and finished with some sea salt. Now, that's living! Hey, Alm Hill's got purslane now, too, and lots of other great stuff!

Blessed are the cheese makers. Especially when they bring milk and yogurt with them, too. Silver Springs Creamery does just that. They milk goats and jersey cows, and they make aged, raw milk cheeses, fresh fromage and chevre, award-winning yogurt and milk. And you can get that milk with chocolate, too!

I finish this week's epistle with some ravishing red radishes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm in Tenino. Honestly, it is hard to identify the crop that the Meyer clan doesn't grow. They've got like 40 different crops on their tables right now -- more than anyone else in the Market -- and that's not even counting all of the plants they have to add to your garden. Of course, they've been at this farming business longer than most everyone else, too.

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check What’s Fresh Now! for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now. And please remember to vote for your Ballard Farmers Market in the 2011 America's Favorite Farmers Market Contest!