Sunday, October 21st: Parsnips, Brussels Sprouts, Heirloom Apples, Hardy Kiwis, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds & More!

"Eat Local. Eat Loki." That's the slogan for the Loki Fish Company, based at Ballard's own Fishermen's Terminal, and a long-time vendor at your Ballard Farmers Market. And it is this time of year that they truly bring the "local" home. That is because Loki just started fishing for Keta salmon on Puget Sound this week, and today, they will offer the first of the year catch fresh at the Market! Fish doesn't come any more local than this. Above is a photo of the Loki out in the center of Puget Sound, not far from here, last October. Enjoy!

Did you know that there are more that 7,500 known varieties of apples? Really. And Washington state, being the largest producer of apples in the U.S., is home to an enormous reservoir of heirloom varieties of apples, helping to preserve many hundreds of these heritage breeds of apples for future generations to enjoy. Right now, many of these stunning apples are available right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, including these Macoun apples from Booth Canyon Orchard. A cross between McIntosh and Jersey Black apples, they have been regarded as one of the finest eating apples in the world.

Gaia's Natural Goods is very proud of their stunning vegetables, which are actually hitting their prime right now for flavor and nutrition. Gaia's puts an emphasis on the healthfulness of what they grow on their organic farm up in Snohomish. But you'll keep going back for the flavor and freshness! Just look at these stunning golden beets they have now. Impressive, even amongst the Ballard Farmers Market family of farmers, eh?

It's parsnip season! Woohoo! These beauties are from One Leaf Farm. I love roasting them in a hot oven with some sweet potatoes or other roots, but they are also great in mashes with celery root and potatoes, or in soups, stews and more. Hey, so it's dark, cool and wet again. So what. We've still got lots of awesome deliciousness coming into your Ballard Farmers Market every week!

Hardy kiwis, like these from Greenwater Farm in Port Townsend, are one of the great, though rare, fruits of the Northwest. They are a true kiwi, but a lot smaller than their southern cousins, and frankly, a lot sweeter. They've been breed to thrive in our cool, damp climate. They are only going to be around for two or three more weeks, so get some while you can. Trust me, if you miss these, you will spend the entire next year listening to your friends raving about them until October rolls around again. Consider yourself warned!

Okay, I do love this time of year, when so many of my favorite foods come into season. Like Brussels sprouts. You heard me. I love to brown some chunked up bacon while sweating some shallots, then tossing in the sprouts halved and sautéing them until bright green and just beginning to become tender. Hit the hot pan with some white wine to deglaze it, which will also finish braising the sprouts, and season with salt and pepper to taste. This recipe is guaranteed to win over the most skeptical eaters. Summer Run Farm wins the Brussels sprouts sweepstakes with the first of the season this year!

This time of year, Pasteria Lucchese is making a lot of pumpkin ravioli with pumpkins from Oxbow Farm. That means they end up with a lot of pumpkin seeds, too. So, they roast them, simply. They are crunchy, delicious and satisfying, and they give you the ability to enjoy freshly roasted pumpkin seeds without getting your hands all slimy.

Sure, nights have gotten cooler around here, but there is still plenty of gorgeous salad mix coming from our local farms to your Ballard Farmers Market, and perhaps no salad mix is lovelier than this spicy salad mix with edible flowers from Colinwood Farms. This is one of those images that causes you to bang into your screen with your finger or your nose, just trying to get at the beautiful deliciousness, isn't it?

These bags are the stuff of legend. 5-pound bags of Nash's Best Carrots from Nash's Organic Produce in Sequim. They are sweet and crunchy, make for great juice, additions to salad, or munched on their own, maybe dipped in some hummus. Grab a bag and enjoy!

These lovely red storage onions are from The Old Farmer. Perfect, aren't they? I know, you're thinking, "but I thought The Old Farmer only sold flowers." Nope. They grow some veggies, too, and this year's long, warm, dry summer has resulted in one of the best years for onions in memory -- including these beauties!

Let's finish this week's epistle with something irresistible -- spinach gouda puffs from D:flloured. What makes them even better is that they are gluten-free, and yet they don't taste like so many gluten-free products do. These are amazing, and you will love them, whether or not you are avoiding gluten. Trust me. When have I ever lied to you? (Okay, you can't count April Fool's Day.)

Finally, another reminder to please bring your own bags 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.