Thanksgiving is in four days, good people of Ballard, and today's the day you need to stock up on all things local and delicious to make for the best holiday feast ever! Seems kind of early this year, right? Well, it is officially celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November, and this year, that's the 22nd. Yuppers, it's Eat Local For Thanksgiving time again, and to help you in this endeavor, our good buddy and culinary artist extraordinaire, Chef Dustin Ronspies of Art of the Table with be doing his annual cooking demonstration today at noon at your Ballard Farmers Market. Dustin, who builds his menu every week around what is fresh and in season at the Market, will show us some fun, delicious and simple holiday side dishes made with ingredients from our Market farmers!
Everyone has their own holiday menu traditions and favorites, and you'll find most of what you desire right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, direct from the farm and so fresh, in fact, that even though you are buying it today, it will still be fresher on Thursday than if you bought it from a Big Box grocer on Wednesday, and you won't have to fight with anyone in the parking lot or wait in the checkout line for an hour, either! Just check out how stunningly beautiful these chards and kales from Boistfort Valley Farm are, for instance. If hearty braising greens are on your menu, you can't go wrong with these.
Winter squash is on the menu for many, and just take a gander at all the gorgeous varieties Alm Hill Gardens has for you right now. Kabocha, butternut, spaghetti, acorn, and even pie pumpkins! They've also got broccoli, leeks and more!
One item I cannot live without on my holiday table is Brussels sprouts. Indeed, I have found many who use this holiday as a great means to education the jaded masses as to the wonders of these little cabbages that grow on stalks. Well, Nash's Organic Produce has a lot of Brussels sprouts right now, but if memory serves me, that didn't keep them from running out early last year. So get here early! Just be kind to your neighbors. We don't want to have to deploy the tear gas and rubber bullets at their stand again this year.
The king of mushrooms, the mighty porcini mushroom returned to the tables of Foraged & Found Edibles last week, and hopefully, they will have plenty of them again this week, too. Nature can be fickle, but it has been a relatively unharsh week, mushroom wise. Of course, they should have plenty of chanterelles, too, great for adding to stuffing!
And speaking of stuffing, Grateful Bread Bakery should have more of their seasoned croutons for stuffing available for said purpose today, if their is any justice in the universe. Mind you, these tend to sell out very quickly, so again, get here plenty early! And grab some loaves for Thursday while you're at it. Bread freezes very well, so just toss it in the freezer when you get home today, and then, half an hour before dinner Thursday, take it out, run it under warm water just to moisten, and slide it in the oven on low-ish heat while your turkey is resting and your stuffing is heating through. It'll be warm and fresh like it was just made, and all your guests will worship you! (Heck, I've got an entire religion named after me from doing this.)
You'll need jams, jellies and chutneys from Deluxe Foods to accent various stages of your holiday meal. Their Spiced Plum Jam will round out that cheese plate perfectly to keep your guests out of your way in the kitchen whilst you finish up dinner. Apple Chutney and Quince Jelly are both perfect accompaniments to your turkey, and their Gingered Rhubarb is lovely with apple pie or over vanilla ice cream... or both!
Last call for dried chili peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms, as well as garlic, onions, dried beans and more. It has already gotten quite cold over in the Yakima Valley, and they are simply running out of deliciousness for us this season. The good news is, everything they have currently will keep for months, so stock up on all that you will need now, and enjoy it all winter long!
If you are planning on adding oysters to your stuffing, you had better get down here very early. That's because even though Hama Hama Oyster Company has been bringing more and more jars of shucked oysters each Sunday, they are still selling out long before the Market ends. So, no dillydallying, folks. Oysters wait for no one!
Hey, there is no shame in admitting you suck at making pies. I know I do. But you promised to bring dessert to your friends' holiday feast, didn't you? Well, fear not. Deborah's Homemade Pies has you covered. From these lovely pumpkin pies, to apple, berry and pecan pies, Deborah has a pie to fit every palate, and best of all, her pies are -- and I feel no hesitation saying this -- the best pies on earth! Seriously. Her crusts are nothing short of divine, and she uses local ingredients right down to the flour from Washington's own Shepherd's Grain. (Okay, the pecans ain't local, but would you rather she not make pecan pie?) But lest you have failed to get the point thus far, her pies will sell out quickly, regardless of the fact that she's bringing many more than usual. Don't be the poor sap who arrives at 2:30 p.m. expecting to find exactly what you desire. Those of us who are not snickering will be rolling our eyes at you. You've been warned!
And how's about some lovely local flowers for your dinner table. Our many flower farmers still have plenty of stunning bouquets waiting for you, like this gorgeous arrangements from Mee Garden. Again, they are so fresh, they'll still look great come Thursday! Enjoy!
Let's finish off with one more holiday necessity you might not otherwise think of until it's too late, and your carving knife bounces off of your turkey. Meet Andrew Huesca, a.k.a., Your Knife Sharpening Guy. Andrew sharpens knives by hand, right at the Market, and he'll be here today, all day, doing just that. So bring down your frustrating old knifes that are so dull, they could barely hope to bruise you, let alone actually cut you, drop them off with Andrew when you first get to the Market, and with any luck (meaning that not too many people beat you there, and you're not too fast a shopper), your knives will be sharpened and ready to slice through the most stubborn of roast beasts with ease come Thursday!
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.