Sunday, September 25th: Bragging Rights, Salmon Reprieve, Colorful Cauliflower, Fruit Phonics, Delicious Displays & A Word About Your Dog!

Judy Kirkhuff, the Market Master of your Ballard Farmers Market, and her son Gil, proudly gloat over our pair of "Best Of Seattle 2011" awards from Seattle Weekly. And why not? We won both the Editors' Choice and the Readers' Choice Awards for Best Farmers Market. Woohoo! And thank you, editors and readers for this honor. It means a lot to us. And we love you, too!

Hey kids, look! More fresh king salmon from Wilson Fish. Gene and the boys managed to score an opening in Oregon waters, courtesy of the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, and we are the beneficiaries. Yippee! A reprieve! Enjoy ‘em while you can, because this, too, shall pass.

I swear, these orchards are like a bunch of mad scientist hybridists, creating new kinds of stone fruit every year. There are apriums, which are 70% apricot and 30% plum genetically. Then there are pluots, which are 70% plum and 30% apricot. Then came nectarcots — part nectarine, part apricot. And now we have, from Collins Family Orchardsnectarplums, a cross between nectarines and plums. Personally, I am still holding out for nectareachs! When they finally cross a peach and a nectarine, then I will be truly impressed. Oh, and it is not true that cherry tomatoes are a cross between cherries and tomatoes, BTW.

Fall began on Friday, though the weather didn't really reflect it until today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Perfect timing to heat of the kitchen with this beautiful winter squash from Stoney Plains. Roast it. Soup it. Stuff it. Fry it. Love it!

If we gave awards for spectacular displays, this display of carrots and radishes by Big Dave from Full Circle Farm would without question be in the running. I mean, don't you just want to reach into the photo and grab one of those carrots to munch on? Our local farmers grow some of the finest produce to be found anywhere, but they say the first taste is with the eyes, and thus it is often the brilliant artistry of each farm's Market staff that ultimately catches your attention. It also makes we photographers very happy!

I feel like I should entitle this photo, "Union Break for Farmers." If only! But if a picture tells a thousand words, this one illustrates the family that is your Ballard Farmers Market community, and behind that, it speaks to a deeper level of community that farmers markets give to farmers. After all, farming has the highest suicide rate of any profession, because so many farmers suffer the economic woes of their work in isolation in rural countrysides. But at farmers markets, not only do farmers enjoy access to the full retail value of the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor, but they also get to enjoy the appreciation of grateful public week after week, and they get to interact on a regular basis with their fellow farmers. I mean, Kia Armstrong of Nash's Organic Produce comes to Ballard from Sequim, and Wynne Weinreb of Jerzy Boyz Farm comes to Ballard from Chelan. The two have Puget Sound, a huge city and the Cascade Mountains between them. But they get to see each other at Ballard every week! Pretty cool, huh?

Hey, another sure sign of fall is grapes from Magana Farms from over in Sunnyside. You know, it used to be that people identified fall with apples in this state, but now, grapes are just as strong an association. We are, after all, the #2 wine producing state in the nation. Wanna practice making your own wine? Or maybe some jelly? Now's the time! But maybe not raisins. These bad boys have seeds in them.

Oxbow Farm is absotively possilutely blowing the doors off their cauliflower right now. Just take a gander at these fabulous heads of galactic purple cauliflower they've got this week, and their white cauliflower is pretty awesome today, too! This is the best year for it in a very long time, so have at it people!

These focaccia rolls from Grateful Bread Baking are a perfect quick snack on the go. They’re chewy, cheesy and vegetably, and they’re loaded with yummy, local goodness. Of course, they also have plenty of artisan breadsbagelscookiesmuffins and pastries, as well as some great challah for your Sabbath dinner or some screaming French toast!

Yes, peanuts do grow in Washington. And these are raw peanuts – green peanuts still on the vine, in fact. Alvarez Organic Farms is in the midst of its annual peanut harvest right now, and that means we get to enjoy fresh, local peanuts to roast, boil, stir-fry and more at home!

Here's another display fit for a postcard! This is truly the perfect basket of tomatoes, is it not? Summer Run Farm gets the props for this one. And you know, many of us never get to see farm tables that look like this, as this is what they tend to look like at the start of the Market, right before we hungry masses descend upon them and mess them up!

The good folks at Boistfort Valley Farm are almost a bit apologetic about calling these beauties "baby artichokes". See, they harvest these young pups before they develop the "choke" in the name artichoke -- you know, that hairy inside with the spikes? These are the lovely, tender, chokeless artichokes. Maybe we should just call them "arti".

Finally today, a note about your best friend. We welcome your pooch at your Ballard Farmers Market, but only in a bag, or on a short leash, and under your control at all times. See, dogs take their lead from their human, and unfortunately, while most dogs are very good at following instructions, many humans are not. If you like bringing your dog with you to Market, we need you to keep your dog short-leashed. That means that another person should not be able to walk between you and your dog at any time. Yes, we know you have the most well-behaved dog on earth. Everyone does, apparently. Just ask them. But if that was true, we wouldn’t have to be giving you this reminder right now. Please follow this simple rule, or leave your pup at home. And thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Hey, there is plenty of local deliciousness waiting for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Just check What’s Fresh Now! for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now.