Sunday, January 6th: Happy New Year! It's Time To Get Your Winter Fruit & Veg On!

Stew Mix from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons. Happy New Year! We've made it to 2013, and we've got only one college bowl game left. It's time to get serious again... about winter fruits and vegetables, that is! And nothing says "winter" like a nice, house-warming pot of stew. Get a head start on your stew with this bag of stew mix from Colinwood Farms. It's a bag of roots, from carrots to onions to potatoes to daikon radishes, and more, all together and ready to bathe you in their delicious nutritiousness. Or you can throw them all in a baking dish and roast them. Or use them as a base for soup. It's your call. Just imagine how good your kitchen will smell, how warm it will feel, and how happy your mouth, belly and soul will be.

Pa-zazz apples from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter fruits, you ask yourself? Who is harvesting fruit in winter around here? Well, no one, really. But lucky for us, our state is full of farmers who have figured out how to grow delicious fruits that they can harvest in summer and fall at their peak of flavor, then carefully store, ready to break out throughout the winter to keep us happy, healthy and well-fed well into spring. Like these Pa-zazz apples from Collins Family Orchards. These are essentially the same as Jazz apples, but since that name is already trademarked, we're calling these Pa-zazz! Delicious, crunchy, satisfying, and they'll even keep the doctor away... assuming you eat one every day.

Red Sunchokes from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

There is, perhaps, a bit of irony in the fact that sunchokes are a winter dietary staple. After all, their name, and their membership in the sunflower family, conjures up more images of summer sun than the long, dark, grey days of winter. But the truth is, these tubers have actually stored all that summer sun in them to nourish our bodies and our souls all winter long. They are great in a root roast, pan-fried, in soup, and even raw. You'll find these uniquely American red sunchokes today at Stoney Plains Organic Farm.

Pink Lady apples from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A true staple of winter, and certain to help keep the doctor away, are these Pink Lady apples from ACMA Mission Orchards in Quincy. These sweet, crunchy apples are a great munching apple, perfect for the kiddies' lunchbox. Of course, ACMA still has a large selection of apple varieties, so mix and match!

Braised mix from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for a quick, simple, tasty dish of nutritious greens for dinner? Pick up a bag of these braising greens from Alm Hill Gardens. They contain a nice mix of chards and kales, and a few other surprises, depending on what's ready to harvest from week to week. Simply sauté them until tender with olive oil and garlic, or cook them up Patty Pan Grill style with Mexican seasonings, and make your own veggie quesadillas. Add them to soups and stew. Whatever floats your boat!

Purple Goddess pears from Jerzy Boyz. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jerzy Boyz returns this week with their excellent heirloom tree fruit, and perhaps even a few bottles of fresh cider. What's great about specializing in heirloom varieties is that they generally have apples and pears you just won't find on other farmers' tables, and each one comes with is own story. Like these Purple Goddess pears. No one else has them around here. Stop by for a sample, and ask them to tell you the back story on them, while you're at it!

Golden turnips from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

To you and I, it is the dead of winter, and working in our gardens is the last thing on our minds. For the good folks at Nash's Organic Produce, out on the Olympic Peninsula in Dungeness, in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains often referred to as the Banana Belt, it is peak season! And right now, they have these amazing golden turnips, great roasted on their own, or in a nice mixed root roast.

Frozen blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Whitehorse Meadows Farm grows beautiful organic blueberries for us in the summertime. And I like to freeze a bunch of them to use with my oatmeal all winter long. Unfortunately, I never seem to freeze enough, and they run out long before winter's end. Lucky for me, and you, they freeze lots of their berries, too, and these two-pound bags of frozen blueberries are available right now at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Local albacore tuna loins from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And it is time for our monthly visit from Ballard's own Fishing Vessel St. Jude, based at Fishermen's Terminal. That means it's time to load up for the month on the best local albacore tuna you will find anywhere. Their tuna is high in beneficial omega-fatty acids and low in heavy metals, and they offer it in a variety of ways, from frozen loins to smoked to canned in a variety of flavors. If you haven't tried it... if you're still getting your tuna from the Big Box stores... you are truly missing out!

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.