Sunday, July 29th: Tieton Cider Works, Organic Sweet Corn, The Cherry's Cherry, Heirloom Tomatoes & Oh, So Much More!

Happy Sunday, good citizens of the People's Republic of Ballard, as well as our regular readers in Qatar, Norway and Pakistan, and even the four of you in England who apparently spent the day yesterday reading this blog instead of paying attention to the Olympic frenzy that has embroiled your fair nation! It is the last Sunday of the month, and that means we get a visit from another member for the Washington Cider Association in the place of Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Today, we welcome Tieton Cider Works with a lovely variety of ciders they like to call, "Traditional Ciders, Re-Invented." Stop by, say hello, and grab a bottle or three. You can thank me later.

Okay, the wait is over. Organic sweet corn has arrived from Alvarez Organic Farms at your Ballard Farmers Market! Woohoo! But wait, there's more! Alvarez also now has tomatillostomatoeseggplant, okra and soon, peppers! Oh, I so love this time of year.

Vans cherries from Collins Family Orchards are the cherry's cherry. They are the dark cherry, with a beautiful, deep, rich flavor that is not overly sweet or watered down. If you like cherry that smacks you upside the head while you exclaim, "Boy, howdy!" at the top of your lungs, then try some of these bad boys. Because Rainiers and bings are not the only cherries out there... heck, they're not even the best cherries out there. But vans have a relatively short season, and not too many farms bring them to Market, so take advantage of this opportunity to try them today.

Is not this buttercrisp bibb lettuce from Nature's Last Stand gorgeous? Delicious and refreshing, too! And look at that beautiful heart. Seriously, you are imaging munching on it right now, aren't you? Of course you are!

Dear summer. Thank you for heirloom tomatoes. Sincerely, everyone! Yes, that's right. Billy's Gardens is now harvesting the heirloom tomatoes for which they are famous, including these Japanese truffle tomatoes. Stunningly beautiful, and equally tasty. It's time to celebrate! Grab some basil from Alm Hill Gardens and fresh mozzarella from Golden Glen Creamery, and makes you some caprese!

Peppers, yo! Yes, those crazy cats at Colinwood Farms just keep winning the race to be the first to come to Market with one crop after another -- this time, with these lovely peppers from their greenhouses. And for those of you who think greenhouses are cheating... are you out of your minds? I keep hearing people saying, "Oh, but that's from a greenhouse...", like something is wrong with greenhouses? No, what's wrong is the headedness of people who think that way. Greenhouses have been around for a very long time. They are just another tool farmers use... you know, like tractors... and dirt! I suppose these pretend purists would  rather have a shorter harvest season. Heck, let's forget tomatoes altogether in Western Washington, for that matter, because I have yet to meet a farmer who doesn't use a greenhouse to at least start their tomato plants. As if.

Speaking of stunning, how's about these flavor supreme pluots from Tiny's Organic Produce? I think they might be the most beautiful of stone fruits. (Coolest looking is reserved for donut peaches, also in season now.) Pluots, a cross between plums and apricots, are firmer than both while still being plenty sweet and juicy. And they come in all sorts of varieties. Now's a great time to experiment with them, as so many are currently in season.

These squash blossoms from Growing Things Farm are so brilliant, it seems a shame to eat them. But hey, if you don't, they're just going to shrivel up and turn to mush in a couple of days, so you might as well stuff them with some fresh goat chevre from Port Madison Farms and fry them up for dinner tonight, eh? Oh, and with these flowers comes summer squash, too. Growing Things has their famous baby squash available now, too!

Shiro plums are the pride and joy of Japan, and they make for some absolutely amazing wine. But not too many folks grow them around here. Lucky for us, our own ACMA Mission Orchards does! This mildly flavored, sweet, juicy little plum is a delight, but only for a few weeks do we get to enjoy it, so grab some while you can.

One of the most beautiful of vegetables, for my money, is this treviso radicchio from Full Circle Farm. This is also my favorite radicchio. When cooked, it is the sweetest of these bitter chicories. Try slicing it down the middle, lengthwise, dousing it in olive oil, and grilling it, finished with a nice sea salt and some good balsamic vinegar. Or cut it up and sauté it with some nice, smoky bacon. It is a perfect side for a nice steak or chop!

Last but not least today, we remind you of last week's return of Boistfort Valley Farm after an unusually long winter hiatus this year. But they came in as strong as ever, making it worth the wait. Boistfort Valley is known both for its stunning produce and its stunning displays, and as one small example, just look at this red oakleaf lettuce. Spectacular, eh? And yummy! Stop by and welcome them back, and pick up some amazing deliciousness from Southwest Washington.

Finally, another reminder to please bring your own bags today, and every Sunday, as Seattle’s single-use plastic bag ban is now in effect. Also, please take note of our new green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Ballard Farmers Market, and please make an effort to use them correctly. Each container has what’s okay to put in it pictured right on the lid. Please do not put the wrong materials in, because that drives up the cost of recycling and composting, and it can result in the entire container being sent instead to a landfill. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.

There is plenty more 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.