Saturday, October 28th: A Tribute To Essential Fall Crops!

Hey, kids. It's pumpkin pie season. And you can't get much better for pie making than these Winter Luxury pumpkins from One Leaf Farm. They are not only beautiful, they are delicious! Indeed, they are aptly named. Stop by One Leaf for a couple of these cool looking gourds, and perhaps some lovely radicchio, too.

Nothing like sweet potatoes fresh out of the oven on a cool, fall night. They fill you with warmth while stoking your energy and pleasing your palate. And while they are a perfect side dish to so many proteins, try adding them to a simple or downright busy root roast. I love cutting them up and roasting them with parsnips, or with beets, carrots, parsnips and sunchokes. Or you can mash them with garlic, some chipotles in adobo sauce, and a touch of maple syrup. Yeah, baby. These Beauregard (left) and O'Henry sweet potatoes (above) are from Lyall Farms.

These Golden Nugget winter squash from Stoney Plains Organic Farm have a sweet flesh with a wonderfully smooth texture that'll just make you purr. And isn't that what you want from fall foods? It's cold. It's wet. It's dark. Give us comfort food! This is comfort food.

What doesn't call for onions in the recipe this time of year. And while the onslaught of October rains may quickly be making our record warm and dry stretch this summer a distant memory, the truth is that that weather made for an epic onion harvest. They loved the sun, and then they were able to dry and cure without getting wet and moldy. That means we've got more storage onions, like these yellow onions from Nature's Last Stand, than we've had in years at your Ballard Farmers Market. Enjoy!

This also seems to be a stellar year for celery, too. It is bigger, crunchier, even sweeter than in years past. And again, every recipe seems to call for it, from roasts to soups to stuffings. Nash's Organic Produce has some lovely celery right now at your Ballard Farmers Market.

These Viking Purple potatoes from Olsen Farms are one of my favorites, and not just because they are gorgeous and have a really cool, Ballard-friendly kind of name. They have this amazingly fluffy, snow-white flesh when they are steamed that just begs for a big dollop of your favorite butter. Mmm.

Shallots also find their way into many a fall recipe. One of my faves is to caramelize them in the same pan with some nice chunky bacon, then toss in some Brussels sprouts, and cook them until they just start to get tender. Then deglaze the pan with some white wine, which will finish cooking the sprouts while it reduces. The shallots above are from Summer Run Farm.

Fall is an excellent time to enjoy pears, like these Purple Goddess pears from Jerzy Boyz. So great in salads, baked, in pies and tarts, or just on their own, eaten right off the core. Right now, there is a great selection of pears at your Ballard Farmers Market, so do enjoy them while you can!

Let us not forget the formidable carrot, whose own ubiquitous presence can be found on almost any fall recipe page. Carrots are sweeter this time of year, due to cooler whether, making them great for any application, or just plain munching on their own. The lovely specimens (above) are from Gaia's Natural Goods.

And perhaps no ingredient from your Ballard Farmers Market is more called for in your fall cooking than garlic, and lucky for us, Jarvis Family Garlic Farm from out of Sequim joined us this year with a bunch of amazing heirloom varieties of garlic for you to enjoy. After all. there is no such thing as too much garlic!

Let's finish off this week's installment with one of the most quintessentially fall crops -- cranberries. Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm returned last week with their gorgeous cranberries, so there's no excuse for you not to bring fresh cranberry sauce with you to grandma's house on Thanksgiving, is there?

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.