Sunday, November 11th: Eating Local For Thanksgiving Begins With Your Ballard Farmers Market!

Thanksgiving, or "Thanks for the Land Day," as I like to think of it sometimes, is less than two weeks away, or put more simply, there are only two Market days before it. Yes, it is very early this year -- November 22nd! Time to get planning your menu and to stock up on local deliciousness from your Ballard Farmers Market. It is time again to Eat Local For Thanksgiving. And with all the amazing ingredients available from local farmers, fishers, ranchers and food artisans right here, not only have you no excuse to not build your holiday menu around local food, you'd be foolhardy not to. Besides, what better way to give thanks for our great local food producers than to serve their products for Thanksgiving dinner? But perhaps you are still a little nervous. To help you relax a bit, we have brought back our annual tradition of Eat Local For Thanksgiving Cooking Demonstrations for the next two weeks. This week, we feature Ballard's own Chef Jason Stoneburner of Bastille from 12-1 p.m. Bastille was intentionally built next to, and around, Ballard Farmers Market. It has a garden on its roof. And Chef Jason not only builds his menu around what is available from Market vendors, but he actually used to be one of them! Who better to give you some tips on cooking simple deliciousness from local goodness. (Next week, look for Chef Dustin Ronspies of Art of the Table.)

This is the year to stop talking about making fresh cranberry sauce and actually make fresh cranberry sauce! And Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm has fresh, local cranberries ready for you for just that purpose. Available for just a few weeks each year, they are hoping to have them through next week. But they are not sure. So if this is, in fact, your year, get those cranberries today!

My Thanksgiving dinner table wouldn't be complete without some Boistfort Valley Farm rutabagas steamed and mashed with Golden Glen Creamery butter. Simple, delicious, and oh, so complimentary to everything else on the menu, and for me, it is a lovely reminder of my Irish roots. (Did you see what I did there?) Of course, Scandinavians here in the Peoples Republic of Ballard will feel kinship to them, as well.

This week, we celebrate the return of another perennial fall and winter favorite, sunchokes, a.k.a., Jerusalem artichokes. Neither from Jerusalem, nor an artichoke, sunchokes are a member of the sunflower family, and native to North America. They were cultivated and used by native peoples long before the first arrivals of Europeans. Sunchokes make for great soups, sauces, root roasts, home fries and much, much more. These tubers are delicious, nutritious, and will sustain you throughout the cold, dark, wet months. Stoney Plains Organic Farm just started harvesting these red sunchokes (above). In the spirit of the original Thanksgiving feast, when Indians kept the Pilgrims alive and made them feel welcome with the local bounty, why not add sunchokes to your Thanksgiving menu, much like them may have been 500 years ago.

Oxbow Farm has an amazing variety of heirloom winter squash and pumpkins right now, like these really cool looking, and tasty, Porcelain Doll winter squash. Squash is a necessity for your holiday table, and how about making this year's pumpkin pie from scratch, too, eh?

Another must on my Thanksgiving menu is Brussels sprouts, like these beauties from One Leaf Farm. Normally, I like them sauteed with Sea Breeze bacon and some Alvarez shallots, and finished off with some white wine. But since my folks don't eat pig these days, these still are plenty good without the bacon. And a good substitute for shallots is cippolini onions...

And your source for those aforementioned cippolini onions is Port Townsend's own Colinwood Farms. Cippolinis caramelize beautifully, coming out sweet and silky, and making for a perfect accent to many meat and poultry dishes, and Brussels sprouts, of course. They also fry perfectly for shoestring onions to top a chicory salad.

Today is the last day for fresh Puget Sound Keta salmon from Loki Fish, as the season has come to a close. Swing by Loki for fillets or whole fish. They also have fish trim, like bones, collars and wings, for making stocks or smoking, and even skeines, ready for curing into ikura. But fresh only this week! After that, it'll still be available frozen, cured, smoked, etc. Enjoy!

House of the Sun raw and vegan foods has introduced another great cracker to its delicious lineup -- Root Vegetable Crackers with Kim Chee. Loaded with beet goodness, they are packed full of flavor and nutrients. Try them with one of their great spreads!

Please welcome the newest vendor to your Ballard Farmers Market, Purdy Pickle. Purdy Pickle makes an amazing array of pickliciousness from great, local ingredients direct from our local farms, like these Bread & Butter pickles, above. Purdy Pickle is one of our mainstay vendors at our weekday markets in Wallingford and Madrona over the summer season. Now, they bring their goodness to Ballard. Woohoo!

Another recent addition to your Ballard Farmers Market is Trevani Truffles from Renton. Trevani's confections are made using lots of local ingredients, too, and they will add elegance to many a holiday gathering, be it large or small. Or just treat yourself on your way through the Market!

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.