Sunday, August 5th: Nothing Says National Farmers Market Week Like Ripe, Juicy Melons!

Happy Sunday, dear citizens of the People's Republic of Ballard! It's National Farmers Market Week, it's the hottest day in two years, and it's August! Let's have some fun with silly stuff, gorgeous still, visiting stuff, uncommon stuff and just plain delicious stuff. And let's get this party started with the perfect summer treat for a hot day like this: melons! Yes, melons have arrived this week in abundance at your Ballard Farmers Market. Just check out these lovely organic cantaloupe melons from Alvarez Organic Farms. They're juicy, sweet, and they'll even rehydrate you on a hot day! What's not to love?

BTW, thank you for voting your Ballard Farmers Market "Best Farmers Market" for the umpteenth year in a row in Seattle Weekly's annual "Best Of..." poll. Oh, hey, and in honor of National Farmers Market, we'd like to ask you to take a moment to show your appreciation for your Ballard Farmers Market by voting for us in the 2012 America's Favorite Farmers Market Contest. Click this. Then click "Ballard Farmers Market." Answer a couple of questions, and you're done!

Whether or not Oxbow Farm actually brings any fava beans to Market today, you just gotta love this sign from last Sunday. And for those of you who don't know the man behind the farm that is Oxbow, you might not get the full humor of this sign. You see, that man is Luke Woodward, and he grew these favas. Get it now? (Thanks, Siobhan, for that devastatingly charming wit of yours!)

These little mountain magic tomatoes from Billy's Gardens are richly flavored and nice and fleshy, making them an excellent cooking tomato. They will hold up just fine on the grill alongside of what have you. They have skins that don't burst, and they hold their shape great, so you don't just end up with a smoky blob of tomato mush. I gave them a test drive for you, and I can attest -- these little guys rock. And I do loves me some grilled maters in the summertime.

I continue to maintain that Chinese spinach is the most beautiful vegetable on earth. And it is coming into season right now at Children's Gardens. I only know two farms around here that bring this delicacy of Asian cooking to Market around here. And it is plenty easy to prepare, too. A little garlic and a quick sauté is all it needs, though you are welcome to gussy it up however you see fit!

I just love the color of these particular all blue potatoes from Nature's Last Stand. And first, let us clarify... there are no truly blue fruits or vegetables. Those that are called blue really are just very dark shades of purple. But what I love about these beauties is that they don't even bother to hide their purpleness. It kinda just jumps right out at you.

More cool looking food alert! Check out this red vein sorrel from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. At first glance, I'd say it is venturing to give Chinese spinach a run for its money, but really, I think it wins more in the coolness category than the straight up stunningly beautiful category. Either way, one thing you can't say about your Ballard Farmers Market is that the tables of produce throughout it are boring or the same old same old, like at the Big Box stores.

Now, here’s a peach that Homer Simpson can really wrap his mouth around! This is the coolest looking stone fruit — the donut peach from Collins Family Orchards. Donut peaches are great in so many ways. They are free-stone peaches, meaning the flesh comes cleanly off of the pit, or stone. The pit is tiny, meaning that pound-for-pound, you are getting more peach for your buck. And for flavor, they simply cannot be beaten. They are sweet, juicy and delicious, and I count them as my favorite peach.  Plus, because of their shape and size, they actually are the least messy peach to eat.

This is the flour from which Italians originally made pasta. Bluebird Grain Farms does a fine milling on their emmer farro pasta flour so that it is easier to work with for making pasta. Indeed, when you see emmer pastas at Pasteria Lucchese, they are making it with this flour. It is a whole grain flour with a rich, nutty flavor that makes for amazing pasta. Oh, and Bluebird is making its monthly visit to your Ballard Farmers Market today!

Look! Pepper season has begun! And these gypsy peppers from Lyall Farms are a staple of my summer grilling diet. They are mild, with only the slightest hint of heat, and they grill beautifully, becoming soft and smoky. On hot days like this, I look to eat everything off of the grill, and keeping some of these fellows around fits that bill perfectly.

If you must eat a gluten-free diet, you probably have been waiting for a decent gluten-free loaf of bread to cross your path. You know, a loaf of bread that looks and tastes like, um, bread? Chewy. Moist. A loaf that, when you squeeze it, it regains its shape. And a loaf with great flavor! Well, your wait is over. Dolce Lou has succeeded where so many others have failed! Check out their 90% whole grain sandwich bread (left) and their olive loaf! Woohoo! So start enjoying bread again!

Fishing Vessel St. Jude joins us today for their monthly visit to your Ballard Farmers Market, and Joyce tells me that they have a great new batch of honey-smoked albacore -- "very delicious," Joyce says. They also have some great sushi-grade loin cuts, as well as their famous canned albacore in many varieties.

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.