It is now officially the Holiday Season, and folks are in a frenzy of gift buying and partying around Ballard. We love that yesterday, when it came time for the talking heads on the TV news to talk about Small Business Saturday, they brought their cameras here to Ballard. Why? Because our entire neighborhood is full of great, locally-owned small shops and boutiques full unique gifts. And it is no coincidence that these merchants surround your Ballard Farmers Market. Many of them set up shop here because of Ballard Farmers Market. After all, where else in Seattle would they find thousands of people like you and I who are committed to buying local flocking to one neighborhood -- indeed, one block -- religiously, every week? (BTW, check out this stunning ring set from Itali Lambertini at your Ballard Farmers Market. They make their heirloom-quality jewelry from recycled gold, so not only is it magnificent, it is also better for the environment, and it reduces the need for more destructive gold mines, like the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska.)
Today is what we have deemed, Buy Local, Direct From The Producer At Ballard Farmers Market Sunday, and that means you can make the local economic impact of your holiday shopping go even further. You see, when you spend your dollars at a locally-owned store, they recirculate in our local economy with about three times the impact of dollars spent at some national or international chain. But when you spend your dollars buying something locally-made directly from the producer of that product, that impact doubles to about six times. Plus, you get the satisfaction of being able to meet and support the producer, and thus directly support good, local jobs. (Besides great gifts, we still have plenty of local deliciousness available now, too, like these beautiful, sweet carrots from Gaia's Natural Goods. They are extra sweet this time of year, after they've been kissed by just a little frost!)
Your Ballard Farmers Market, with your support, continues to incubate new, local businesses. One we are quite proud of is Ascents Candles, which is dedicated to making non-toxic candles scented with natural essential oils. This time of year, when it's cold and damp outside, it is difficult enough to keep the air inside your home clean without adding to the indoor air quality problems by lighting some nasty, imported candle made with petroleum products. Why not make the mood even more romantic with a beautiful, fragrant candle that won't shorten your mate's life?! And they've got gorgeous, scent-free candles for use at dinnertime, too!
Stunning fall crops, like this Savoy cabbage from Nash's Organic Farm, are still abundant at your Ballard Farmers Market, and frankly, they are at their peak of quality and flavor now, too! Local fall crops thrive on lots of rain, cold nights and minimal daylight, and they are sweeter and tastier, and even more nutritious, for it. Remember, your Ballard Farmers Market is your year-round, locally-grown grocery store. And what you get here is so fresh that it is often fresher come the following Saturday, after sitting in your fridge since the previous Sunday, than what you can get at the Big Box stores. So comfortably stock up for the entire week. Plus, many fall storage crops can be held simply in a cool, dark storage room, or your garage, meaning you don't need to have a huge fridge to hold it all for the week.
These color-aceented clay cups from Port Townsend's Daily Bird Pottery are more than just a beautiful way to enjoy your morning cup of joe or your evening tea. The unglazed cups actually reduce the bitterness in the flavor of your beverages. It is a type of chemical reaction between the clay itself and whatever you put in the cup, and it is a form of culinary technology that people from India to Mexico have been using for centuries. These cups are fired very hot, and they are as strong and durable as any pottery you've encountered -- perhaps stronger. And these particular cups are extra cool in that the lovely, colorful accent of glaze around the rim also provides a more pleasant mouth-feel as you drink out of them. Swing by and pick up a couple of cups to try out this week. You'll be amazed by them! And once you are, you'll want to get them for everyone on your list.
I find that I often make George, Liz, Rose and the gang at Sea Breeze Farm blush when I comment on what a beautiful piece of meat they are, err, I mean have. Exhibit A: this spectacular porchetta from last Sunday's Market. I took home about a pound of it and ate it for dinner a couple of nights. And they, err, I mean it is as delicious as it is beautiful. Best of all, it is not just cooked on Vashon Island, but the pigs are forest-raised on Vashon Island, just up the hill from the Fauntleroy Ferry dock. Of course, what they've got in their refer case varies from week-to-week, based on what they harvested that week, so stop by today to check out their sexy meat selection for this week!
Dad's are difficult to shop for, right? They don't want lots of shiny things, unless it's a new sports car, and unless you live in Medina, you probably have neither the money nor the space under the tree for giving dad a new sports car for Christmas, as much as Lexus would like you to believe everyone is giving $50,000+ cars as gifts this year. One thing Gillette won't let you forget this holiday season, however, is that dad's shave, and that you can buy dad shaving gear. But how personal and special is a can of Foamy and a Mach III razor from Bartell's, eh? Why not get dad one of these lovely shaving kits from Brown Butterfly that will make dad feel like the real man that he is! Let him reconnect with his Wild West cowboy roots, shaving with a brush, mug and soap with a nice sharp razor. Brown Butterfly's shaving soap will leave his face smooth and soft, like a baby's bum, it smells nice and manly, and it comes with the added benefit of not coming out of an aerosol can that cannot be easily recycled, too!
After this past week of overindulgent eating, you just really want a nice salad, am I right? Well, this spicy salad mix from Colinwood Farms makes it a breeze! Just fill up your bowl, add some of those Gaia's carrots... maybe some radishes -- Colinwood has some nice daikon radishes still -- dress, and you're done. Your body will thank you, and it will reward you with the loss of the 2-3 pounds you put on this past week in short order. Seriously.
Texture, from Bellingham, makes gorgeous, comfortable, durable and fashionable clothing from hemp fabric, with pieces to suit your every mood and situation. From formal and office to out on the town, you will look fabulous in Texture's garments, and you'll know you are wearing unique, local creations, direct from the designer, and made with environmentally-responsible fabrics. And talk about a gift that will be appreciated every time she's wears it!
Please remember 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.