Sunday, January 22nd: No Snow, We Promise! Instead, Find Collard Greens, Purple Top Turnips, Gala Apples, Beautiful Beef, Kimchi Brine, Buckwheat Flour, Crabapple Jelly & So Much More!

Thought we could all use this warm, sunny image from last May. Ah, doesn't that sunshine feel good? And just look at that blue sky! Well, the good news is that the muck, slop and slush are just about gone, and things are getting back to normal. The kiddies will be back in school tomorrow, finally, and you'll be back at work. And you will need nourishment to get you through it. So many of you were scared off from attending your Ballard Farmers Market last week for fear of snow that I imagine many of you practically starved to death this past week. And that is a shame, since we didn't have any snow at your Ballard Farmers Market last Sunday - none! We could see it falling on Queen Anne -- where it belongs, frankly! -- but here in the People's Republic of Ballard, it was like a magic force field had been erected, and we remained snow-free, with a full compliment of vendors! And we'll have close to a full house today, too.

So come on down support your local farmer, and get some delicious local food in your belly after that long last week. Like these spectacular collard greens from Colinwood Farms. They will absolutely recharge you. And Colinwood will have salad mix, braising mix, some righteous kale, parnips and more today, too!

Tiny's Organic Produce will be in attendance today with lots of these gala apples, and a bunch of other organic apples, too. And given how many sniffles I heard while I was out and about on Saturday, you are gonna need some of these beauties in order to ensure that you keep the doctor away, right?

You know, being holed up in my house for a week, foraging out now and then for a brief walk in the frozen tundra of North Ballard, only to find almost every business, bank and library closed, I kinda started to develop a bit of a hankering for milder days, when I would fire up the barby on my deck to grill up a nice grass-finished beef steak from Skagit River Ranch. But this is Ballard, and a milder day simply means my Smokey Joe ain't encased in ice. So grill I will tonight!

I'm thinking a nice root roast, and some of those aforementioned collard greens, will side my steak nicely, eh? Full Circle Farm has these lovely purple top turnips now, ripe for the roasting, as well as some gorgeous celeriac, and plenty more.

You know what else those turnips would go well with? Some of this kimchi brine from Firefly Kitchens. You've had their outrageously good kimchi, right? Well, this is the juice left in the crock after the kimchi is fermented, then removed to be bottled. This stuff is incredible, and it'll put some kick into all sorts of dishes. And like their various fermented foods, this stuff is alive with pro-biotics, and if I am anything, I am pro-biotic! Stop by and visit them for a sample taste. You will be going home with a bottle.

Back in 1999, during my first year as Executive Director of the Washington State Farmers Market Association, we had our board retreat in the tiny little city of Waterville, perched high up above the Columbia River gorge on Highway 2, surrounded by wheat fields. We met there then because grain, one of Washington's largest crops, was essentially unheard of at farmers markets, and we wanted to be reminded of that while we met. 13 years later, much like wine, meat and cheese, we cannot imagine our Ballard Farmers Market without local grain products direct from area farms, and lots of baked goods made with local flour. But what we still have not had, until now, has been gluten-free flour. That changes today! Welcome buckwheat flour from Nash's Organic Produce. Yup. You heard right! Enjoy!

Golden Harvest Bee Ranch was one of the few vendors unable to make it last Sunday due to weather. Seems Whidbey got the gift of snow on Saturday last week. Ah, the glories of the Convergence Zone. (I mean, do you ever find yourself talking to someone from outside the Puget Sound area, and you mention the Convergence Zone, and they have no idea what you are talking about? You can find it on weather maps, but not Google maps!) Well, they are back today, with their wide assortment of local honey flavors, like this lavender honey.

I love these kale, zucchini & collard chips from House of the Sun. These guys make all sorts of great raw, vegan foods using local ingredients. But these chips baffle people. How do they make 'em with cooking 'em, folks wonder. Simple. They season them, and then they dehydrate them. Genius! Sure, we could do this at home, but it is so much simpler, and most likely tastier, to get some from House of the Sun at Ballard Farmers Market. And guess what? They no longer package them in plastic containers! That's right. They've gone to fully compostable paper bags lined with natural cellophane!

"Blessed are the cheese makers." Thank you, Monty Python, for that. And thank you, Samish Bay Cheese, for being one of those blessed cheese makers. Samish Bay makes quite a variety of cheeses these days, from mild to sharp, and seasoned with from chives to chocolate. This photos shows just six of them! Are you getting enough cheese?

Rebecca tells me she found the crabapples for her Deluxe Foods crabapple jelly right here in the neighborhood, if I'm remembering the tale correctly. See, not a lot of crabapples are grown commercially around here, which is a shame. Cuz crabapples are seriously old school. You know, Deluxe Foods specializes in heirloom jam recipes like this, made with amazing local ingredients. Stop by for a taste today, and give your toast a little more class tomorrow morning!

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.