Sunday, November 27th: It's "Buy Direct From The Local Producer" Sunday! (Okay, I just made that up, but you get the point.)

Okay, folks, we've made it through the Thanksgiving gorge, the Black Friday riots, and Small Business Saturday (which we fully endorse, as small businesses have created 65% of all new jobs over the last 17 years, even without government bailouts and tax breaks). Now, it's time for what I like to call, "Buy Direct From The Local Producer Sunday." And where better to do that than right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, where every vendor is a local producer. Yes, these folks are small business owners, but more importantly, they are all producing what they are selling right here in Washington, then selling it directly to you. You can't get much more of a face-behind-the-product than this. So give a gift with true meaning. It'll be unique, local, have a story and face to go with it, and it will create local jobs, which in turn might end up ultimately saving yours! Pretty cool, eh?

Today, we welcome back Finnriver Farm & Cidery, and their amazing line of estate ciders, fruit wines and brandies made on their farm in Chimacum with much of their own fruit. Heck, they even grow most of the hops used in their hopped cider. And today, Ballard Farmers Market will be the only place in Seattle to get a bottle or three of their Spirited Apple Wine, pictured above. (Go to the Ballard Farmers Market Facebook page for info on a special offer just for you today from Finnriver!)

Not the sexiest photo ever, but what you see here is something revolutionary. These are three cups of tea -- one in plastic, one in glazed ceramic and one in a Naked Pottery cup. It is part of an informal taste test we did this past April. See, Naked Pottery likes to rave about how their pottery actually improves the flavor of, well, just about everything, from whiskey to breakfast cereal to, um, tea. It's some sort of a chemistry thing between the particular clay they use and the food or beverage in it. In most cases, the result is a cleaner, less bitter flavor. Now, I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't experienced it firsthand. but indeed, the tea in the Naked Pottery tea cup was smoother and less bitter tasting than the glazed ceramic cup, and, of course, the plastic had a chemical taste. We also tasted one of their bowls against a steel bowl with some of Daddy's Muesli and soy milk. Again, the Naked Pottery bowl's food tasted better. Give it a shot this week, and then buy it for everyone on your gift list this holiday season!

This may be the last week for Alvarez Organic Farms at your Ballard Farmers Market for the 2011 season, so now's the time to stock up on garlic, onions, potatoes, dried peppers, dried beans, winter squash and their amazing pepper wreathes and strands.

Sip-T has returned to your Ballard Farmers Market with their wonderful artisan tea blends they handcraft in Bellingham. Stop by for a sample, and then grab some herbal deliciousness to warm you up during the long, dark, wet, cold Northwest winter. And hey, their teas make for great stocking stuffers, too!

Look kids, Pete's Perfect Butter Toffee has branched out again -- this time to the glorious world of peanut brittle. Woohoo!!! Break out the good set of chompers, grandpa, and run (or shuffle) down to see Pete right this very second! Trust me, you will not survive another week without this stuff.

Let me put this as simply and clearly as I can... Brown Butterfly makes the finest shaving soap I have ever used. If that special person in your life uses shaving soap, they will be eternally grateful for a gift of this shaving soap. And notice that I was gender neutral here. Yes, this stuff works just as well on faces as it does on legs. And it is formulated in a way that nurtures, instead of harming, your skin. And if you are still using foam from a can, it is time to kick that habit. This stuff is less wasteful, less destructive to the environment, better for your skin, less expensive, and best of all, you get it direct from the people who make it. And if you, or your special someone, needs to kick the can and join the shaving soap revolution, Brown Butterfly has these complete shaving kits to get you and yours started.

Corrine Mirenda makes a lovely collection of knitted wares and beaded jewelry that is bound to fill a slot on your holiday gift list. Everything she makes is truly unique -- one-of-a-kind items for your one-of-a-kind loved ones. This year, give a gift that truly does have meaning, a story and a face behind it.

Looking for a unique, delicious and healthy snack, especially after your Thanksgiving gorge? How about some of these kale & collard chips from House of the Sun? They use local ingredients from Market farmers to make them, and they are both raw and vegan. What? Raw? How's that, you say? Simple. They dehydrate them instead of roasting them. Mystery solved. Appetite quenched. Deliciousness had by all.

We all know and love Bluebird Grain Farms and their incomparable emmer, right? Well the good folks at Pasteria Lucchese have begun making pasta from it -- emmer pappardelle and emmer fettucine. They use Bluebird's emmer flour to make a toothsome, nutty, whole grain pasta that is perfect this time of year. Toss some of it with some of Wilson's smoked king salmon and some frozen peas, or toss it with some Golden Glen Creamery butter and grab some Washington black truffles from Foraged & Found Edibles to shave over the top. Oh, yeah, baby! That's living!

And our bodies need a little extra boost to get us going on a cold, dark, wet morning, right? How about one of these yummy turnovers from Little Prague European Bakery? They've get 'em in chocolate and apple. Oh, the sweet deliciousness!

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.