Sunday, March 11th: Spring Forward With Shamrock Cookies, Goat Milk, Stinging Nettles, Filler-Free Burgers & Garden Starts

The Ides of March approacheth, and that means Daylight Savings Time is here -- that annoying, archaic leftover from the Industrial Revolution that was meant to save energy and make us more productive, but that really ends up scrambling all of our brains for a week or two every March, resulting in billions of dollars in lost productivity. (I love you, Ben Franklin, but was this really necessary?) Of course, it also means St. Paddy's Day is upon us. Time for everyone to dress up in kelly green, pretend to be Irish, eat corned beef, drink green beer, and party in blissful ignorance that St. Patrick was the guy credited with crushing the last remaining Pagans of Ireland under the weight of the Roman Catholic Church way back in the 5th Century. (See, there were no snakes in Ireland. The snakes Patrick drove out actually refers to the Pagans.) But hey, like so many other holidays that I enjoy more for their tradition than their true origins, I do enjoy reveling in my own Irish roots with some corned beef made from Skagit River Ranch beef, some cabbage from Nash's, some potatoes from Olsen Farms and some rutabagas from Boistfort Valley Farm... all washed down with a little Rockridge hooch. And why not finish it all off with some of these lovely shamrock cookies from Grateful Bread?

Up at Silver Springs Creamery in Lynden, just south of the Canadian Border, the goats have been kidding now for a few weeks, and that means that goat milkfresh chevre and goat yogurt are back, baby! No kidding! (Sorry.) So if you've been suffering woe these past two months without your goat dairy products, while the girls up in Whatcom County were taking their winter break, suffer no more!

Go ahead. Stick your hand into these leaves. I dare you! (Okay, not really. Cuz your hands will hurt for hours.) Yup, its wild stinging nettles season again, boys and girls, and Foraged & Found Edibles has 'em for you today. Make tea, pesto, sauté them, do that voodoo that you do with them. Just de-sting them, first!

It is time to start thinking about gardening again, and Stoney Plains Organic Farm already has garden starts for you -- stuff you can plant right now that'll make you so happy in May! Like these lovely rhubarb plants. Mmm. Homemade rhubarb crumble, strawberry-rhubarb jam, rhubarb ice cream.

At your Ballard Farmers Market, we offer you access to grass-finished beef direct from the farmer, like this ground beef from Skagit River Ranch. You will never find any "pink slime" added to their meat. Live life free of "pink slime". Eat real meat from local farms at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Someone asked over on our Facebook page what "grass-finished" means. Sometimes you will see the term "grass-fed" associated with beef. However, use of the term "grass-fed" does not guarantee that the cattle were never fed a grain diet. In fact, much "grass-fed" beef is "finished" on grain in order to increase marbling. However, feeding cattle grain also increases cholesterol, saturated fat and the acidity in their stomachs, which in turn increases the likelihood of the presence of dangerous forms of E-coli in their digestive tracts. "Grass-finished" beef is from cattle that eat a diet of grasses and other leafy forage their entire lives. Their meat is lower in cholesterol and saturated fats, higher in beneficial omega-fatty acids, and as their digestive tracts stay in their natural alkaline state, they are less able to pass along to most dangerous forms of E-coli that thrive in an acidic environment, which includes human stomachs. Eat Wild is a great source for more info on the benefits of raising beef on natural grasses.

And just because they are so gosh-darned cute, let's finish off this week with these baby leeks from Colinwood Farms. I mean, don't you just want to give them a hug? Okay, maybe not, but they are delicious. And Colinwood has got all sorts of goodies coming out of their greenhouses right now. Stop by for a taste of the Banana Belt!

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.