Sunday, January 8th: We're Back & We Missed You, Too! Farewell Christina. Thanks for the Food Love.

With sadness, we share the news of the passing of Christina Kim Choi, a talented young chef who spent many days working at Ballard Farmers Market for Foraged & Found Edibles, which she co-founded with Jeremy Faber, as well as as a shopper. She dedicated herself to local, sustainable food. Christina passed away on Wednesday, December 28, 2011 from a brain aneurism at the age of 34. Rest well, Christina.

Jeremy Faber of Foraged & Found Edibles let me know that he will have his first Washington black truffles of the season today at your Ballard Farmers Market. This rare treat is lovely enjoyed simply shaved over some buttered emmer pappardelle from Pasteria Lucchese. Stop by, pickup some truffles, maybe some chanterelles, pay your respects to Jeremy, then go home tonight, cook up some amazing, local deliciousness with your love ones, give them a hug, and raise a glass to Christina. Because if you love Seattle's locavoric food scene, whether you realize it or not, Christina's fingerprints are all over it.

We are sooo glad to be back today at your Ballard Farmers Market today. We've missed you woe these three long weeks. You know, it is a bit of a crap shoot for me today to tell you what you'll find on the tables of the farmers at your Ballard Farmers Market in advance of them arriving this morning, since we haven't seen them since December 18th. So I am shooting from the hip here. Last I recall, Jerzy Boyz assured me that they would have these gorgeous purple goddess pears for a while. Lets hope "a while" includes today. But if not, I am sure they'll have plenty of other fruit for you to enjoy!

And I am fairly certain Nash's Organic Produce with have more of these loverly cabbages today. Hey, we've got a favor to ask of you. Please help us save the Farmers Market Nutrition Programs from the Governor's budget axe. This federal-state partnership program leverages $900,000 of federal funds into our state with just a $100,000 state investment. It is also a rare government program that works, and that, in the end, actually pays for itself by generating local economic activity. Please call your state legislator tomorrow or Tuesday at (800) 562-6000 with this simple message: "restore funding for the Farmers Market Nutrition Programs." To learn more about these program, see yesterday's blog post on the subject.

This jersey cow yogurt from Silver Springs Creamery took top honors in its class at the 2010 American Cheese Society Awards. And it's no wonder. This is some of the most amazing yogurt you will ever taste. It comes with a thick, creamery cap atop it that is as rich tasting as any yogurt you've ever encountered. If you've been looking for some yogurt with some body, with an attitude, that ain't no wussy yogurt, this is for you. And best of all, it comes to you directly from your local dairy!

The weather's been pretty mild since we saw you all last, and so I am going out on a limb and predicting that Full Circle Farm will have some of these mustard greens today. See, we haven't gotten completely frozen out yet, so hopefully these beauties are still hangin' in there. But if not, you can count on them to have plenty of other good vege today.

Mmm. Bacon. Salty, smoky, fatty porkiliciousness for any season, direct from George and Eiko at Skagit River Ranch. But get there early today, cuz just like their eggs, their bacon always sells out. Mmm. Bacon.

And, of course, Olsen Farms will have all manner of spudtasticness today, with potatoes of every shape, color and size. I am a particular fan of these desiree potatoes. They have a waxy, yellow flesh that is perfect steamed and slathered with lots of good butter. And they stand up well to being thrown in the pot with your corned beef, too.

Fishing Vessel St. Jude makes their monthly appearance today with the best albacore tuna you will find anywhere, made all the better because it comes to you right from the boat that caught it off the coast of Washington. This tuna is high in beneficial omega-fatty acids and low in mercury, because they catch it young as it is swimming from the cold waters of their birth in the North Pacific on their way to the tropics to get their party on as young hipsters. Get it as frozen loins, ready to sear or eat raw as sashimi, or get it smoked or dried, and it is the best canned tuna you will ever taste. Just don't drain off the liquid when you open the can. That's not water. It's the flavorful natural juices of the fish!

Let us finish with dessert. Mind you, I am a charter member of Dessert First! But most folks eat it after their meal. Go figure. Well, Deborah -- the Deborah of Deborah's Homemade Pies -- tells me that she just may have some of these incredible, gluten-free chocolate muffins and chocolate decadence cake today. Seriously, this stuff is amazing. The muffins are moist and delicious, and the cake is rich, dense and, as it should be, decadent. You've had a week to get over your holiday gorging. It's time to treat yourself again!

Just a reminder to please help us save the Farmers Market Nutrition Programs from the Governor's budget axe. This federal-state partnership program leverages $900,000 of federal funds into our state with just a $100,000 state investment. It is also a rare government program that works, and that, in the end, actually pays for itself by generating local economic activity. Please call your state legislator tomorrow or Tuesday at (800) 562-6000 with this simple message: "restore funding for the Farmers Market Nutrition Programs." To learn more about these program, see yesterday's blog post on the subject.

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.