Sunday, May 27th: Sea Beans, Cardoon, Olympia Oysters, "Baby" Bok Choy, Pea Vines & Other Stuff That'll Make You Go, "Hmm?"

Sea beans are not beans at all, but instead are a type of succulent that grows in saltwater marshes. They are also brinilicious. Foraged & Found Edibles gathers these for us from the wilds this time of year. And rumor has it that, finally, they will have a bunch of morel mushrooms today, too, as well as watercress and a few porcinis, while they last.

Cardoon is from the artichoke family, and these are the leaf stalks. They are good stewed or in soup and impart an artichoke-like flavor. Needless to say, the Italians, who are obsessed with artichokes, have many fine recipes for them. This was the perfect winter for growing them, and Oxbow Farm has them right now.

Pea vines may not be all that unusual, especially if you've ever eaten the "seasonal vegetable" in a Chinese restaurant around here. But truth be told, many people are intimidated by them. Baffling, really. Few vegetables could be simpler to prepare. Slice up some green garlic, which is abundant now, and start it sauteing in some olive oil. Once it begins to soften, toss in the pea vines and sauté until they wilt. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You'll want to cut off and discard any woody ends, of course, and cut the vines into 4-6" strands to make them easier to eat. See, now you can order something else at the Chinese restaurant. Get your pea vines today from Gaia's Natural Goods.

Nothing particularly unusual about bok choy, either, except that this is baby bok choy. No, not baby bok choy, which is a separate plant unto itself. This is simply young bok choy. Confusing, isn't it? But while the two plants look similar, they taste quite different. And baby bok choy usually has a light green stalk, while bok choy has these white stalks. This is bok choy, from Alvarez Organic Farms. Its sturdy stalk hold up well to stir-frying. Cook it up with some marinated tofu and some chili sauce. Yeah, baby!

Sure, these look like any ordinarily delicious fudge brownies, right? And frankly, they taste like them, too. But these brownies are gluten-free!!! Seriously! Dolce Lou makes all manner of gluten-free spectabulousness that will delight anyone on a gluten-free diet who has been suffering with, well, crap that tastes like sawdust. And people who aren't on a gluten-free diet will love Dolce Lou's goodies because, well, they're good!

Okay, so succulents aren't so unusual around here. (Heck, this is the second time this post I am writing about them!) But the guy who raises them at Phocas Farms is. In a Market full of characters, Jim stands out nevertheless! And let's face it, they look pretty cool this time of year, especially in this particular photo. Fun with depth of field. woooOOOO! WOOOooo!

Carrots? What's unusual about carrots? Well, I'm glad you asked! What's unusual about carrots is that we haven't had any at the Market much lately. That is, until now. These beautiful bunch carrots are from Colinwood Farms. And they are absofrigginlutely fantabulous. (Okay, Wordpress spellcheck... you actually think "fantabulous" is a word? Fascinating.)

These tiny oysters are called Olympia oysters, and they are Washington state's only native oyster. And that is not an optical illusion. They really are as small as that penny. But their flavor is enormous. Hama Hama Oyster Company has one of the few remaining commercial Olympia oyster beds. Give 'em a try, if Dan has some today.

Okay, I admit it. There is nothing at all unusual about spinach. Although this spinach from Nash's Organic Produce is unusually delicious! So get your Popeye on, get some of this spinach, munch it down, and then go pick up a Volkswagen, or better yet, a Buick! That oughta impress Olive Oil.

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.