Sunday, July 24th: Sweet Corn & Spinach Together In July! Oh, the Wonders of the Non-Summer of 2011!

Okay, just when I was about to give up on corn altogether this summer, along comes Alvarez Organic Farms with the first sweet corn of the season. And if that doesn't give you hope, or at least something to keep living for, they have also begun harvesting watermelons and pickling cukes. Excited? Me, too! So, while you are excited, we would like you to take a moment right now, even before you head to your Ballard Farmers Market, to please remember to vote for your Ballard Farmers Market in the 2011 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest! And thank you.

You know, in as much as the appearance of sweet corn this summer is a pleasant surprise, whereas any other year it would have be expected, another pleasant surprise, and a side benefit of our ridiculous weather, is that Boistfort Valley Farm still has spinach! Lots of it, in fact. Their radishes are about done, but hey, they should've been done over a month ago. And they've got some romaine lettuce that is the size of a small child! Go figure. And enjoy!

Look, another crop of summer... finally. Blackberries are in at Hayton Berry Farms. I'm not even sure if the invasive, feral ones in the parks are even blooming yet. But the really good ones are here, now. So start making jams and pies, people!

Magda summer squash from Alm Hill Gardens. This has long been my favorite summer squash. But this year, it just seems a little bit sweeter yet. Particularly these puppies, grown up in Whatcom County, in what is arguably the coldest part of the state right now, in the coldest summer ever. But hey, I'm a glass-is-half-full kinda guy. If a cold summer means I have to suffer with the best summer squash ever, so be it!

Ah, blueberries from Sidhu Farms. Now we're talkin'. The rest of the country is sweltering. Their crops are withered or flooded out. So it's a little chilly and damp around here. We have blueberries!

Pearl onions from Full Circle Farm. Bacon from Skagit River Ranch. Green Beans from Alvarez Organic Farms. A match made in heaven. Fresh pearl onions have a very short season, and very few people grow them. You probably thought they only came in a can, didn't you? Enjoy them now, while you can!

Vans cherries, like these from Bill's Fruits, are one of my favorite cherries. They have a deep, dark, delicious flavor. They don't get all the hype of bings and Rainiers, but I'd choose them over those two any day of the week. Haven't tried vans? What are you waiting for?!?

Billy's Gardens is really hitting its stride now with heirloom tomatoes, like these yellow brandywine tomatoes. With their amazing selection of varieties, in every shape, size and color, you'll find the perfect tomato for flavor, application and acidity just for you. Of course, that means lots of quality control testing. You'd better by some of each!

Hey look, kids! Romanesco from Growing Things Farm. It's the only vegetable that grows in fractals! Pretty cool, huh? Just check out those tight spirals. Of course, romanesco is not just another pretty face. A cousin of cauliflower, it can be used similarly. Sometimes, I just steam it and top it with fresh-grated parmesan. Or you can roast it in the oven, or even pan roast it with pancetta and bread crumbs.

When you approach Pipitone Farms today to get yourself some of these red haven peaches, don't go fondling them. They are carefully put into these protective trays for a reason. See, Jerry Pipitone picks them at the peak of ripeness, and then he puts them into these trays. Those are the only two times these peaches are touched before you get them. Perfectly ripe and juicy and sweet, and no bruises!

Here's a thought. How about we take some of these spectacular squash blossoms from Stoney Plains Organic Farm, and we stuff them with some fresh goat chevre from Silver Springs Creamery? Then we can pan-fry them. Nuff said.

And let us finish off this week with these lovely little shortcakes from Grateful Bread Bakery. They are the perfect vehicle for all those berries you are getting every week. Again, nuff said.

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!