Tahuya River Apiaries, how we have missed your wildflower honey these many weeks. See, it turns out that honey is seasonal, too. I mean, duh. But who ever thinks about it? Honey is shelf stable, so it seems it is always around. Heck, it is one of the most shelf stable foods there is, because it is naturally anti-bacterial. There's just one catch: honey still needs to be made by bees. And this year, with our cold, wet weather, that has not been easy, particularly for bees making wildflower honey. See, first off, bees need the air temperature to be warm enough for them to function, and with temps well below normal this year, the bees got a late start. Add to that our record snow pack in the mountains, which resulted in very late melt, and thus very late wildflowers. And since Tahuya's bees do their work collecting pollen from wildflowers high up in the Olympic Mountains, they are way behind in honey production this year. And that meant Tahuya ran out of honey to sell at your Ballard Farmers Market for the first time in years. But finally, they have honey again, and they make their triumphant return today. Been missing your wildflower honey? Well, it's back!
We've also missed Deborah's Homemade Pies for a couple of weeks. I don't know if she was running for her life, of just for fun, but it seems every year around now she disappears to somewhere to run. See, Deborah is a marathon runner. She also makes the best flippin' pies west of the Pecos. So get you one today, now that she's back!
Just 10 days left for you to vote for your Ballard Farmers Market in the 2011 America's Favorite Farmers Market Contest. To vote, just click here now. Plus, you can click the image above to easily download a printer-friendly poster you can post just about anywhere, so everyone you know can just scan it with their smart phones to vote! Bring it to your office this week. Post in on your street. Put it up in the window of your shop. Help us win!
Loki Fish has brought back it's salmon candy for the first time this year. Salmon candy is the smoked bellies of the salmon. The bellies are often trimmed off when the fish are filleted, but they are the fattiest part of the fish, and they are considered a delicacy amongst natives and fishers alike, who eat them smoked like candy, ergo the name.
Farewell, sweet Alice of Oxbow Farm. Alice just headed off to Michigan for graduate school. She's been a fixture here at your Ballard Farmers Market now for several years, first working for Full Circle Farm, and then Oxbow for the last two years. Alice, we'll miss you. Come back and visit, and don't forget to write!
If you've seen me around the Market taking photos for this blog, then you know that the vendors let me move stuff around to enhance the images I get. After all, it is in their interest, as I am promoting them. And they trust me to be careful while handling their delicate produce. But let's face it: the farmers often arrange their displays so perfectly that any manipulation by me would only detract from it. Case in point, this unadulterated display of cherry tomatoes and okra on the tables of Alvarez Organic Farms at our Wallingford Farmers Market this past Wednesday. Hey, if the first bite is with the eye, then a spectacular display goes a long way towards getting folks to buy one's food, right?
Also stunning is this Frenched rack of pork from Sea Breeze Farm. When you look at the meat they bring every week, and heck, once you've tasted it, the "meat" at the Big Box store simply cannot satisfy you anymore, regardless the price.
Big dog, little dog! Your eyes do not deceive you. That is one enormous dog next to one tiny one. In fact, I think the little guy's name is "Tiny." I love how gentle the big lug was with the little one. I mean, he could eat and swallow the little dog in one bite. And yet, somehow, most dogs, when they encounter each other, seem to respect each other as equals. They don't see huge disparities in size or appearance. They just see a fellow canine whose butt they need to sniff. You know, we humans could a lot from dogs.
Seems we always have baby bok choy at your Ballard Farmers Market, but we rarely have bok choy. And yes, there is a difference! This is bok choy. It is a completely different plant from baby bok choy. Note the big, white ribs and the dark-green leaves. It is not just the grownup version of the baby stuff. Well, Nash's Organic Produce has true bok choy now, so enjoy it while you can. It is wonderful stuff.
These white nectarines from Collins Family Orchards are amongst the sweetest of all stone fruits. Their white flesh is very high in natural sugars that make them like candy. If you want to try a truly sweet, juicy fruit, these are not to be missed.
We finish this week's installment with a necessity, if you plan on making any kind of dill pickles this summer: pickling dill. This pickling dill from Stoney Plains is what I rely on every year, along with their pickling cucumbers, to make my famous pickles. Now, if you are new to pickling, and you are wondering, "can't I just use any dill and cucumbers?" Well, no, not really. See, the flowers on this dill are what pack the most intense dill flavor, and the skins on pickling cucumbers are more porous, allowing them to more easily soak up all the delicious herbs, spices, salt and vinegar you pack them with. Now, I could just give you my entire pickling recipe, but then, I'd have to kill you.
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!