Sunday, January 20th: Rockridge Ciders Return, Rapini, Dino Kale, Chickweed, Salad Mix & Other Signs Of Brighter Days To Come!

Honey Crisp Apple Cider from Rockridge Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons. Wow. Is it just me, or does everyone feel like we've been wandering about in a fog all week. I mean, seriously. But hey, we'll take it, won't we? Sure beats rain! Anywho, Rockridge Orchards returns this week, after a two-week hiatus, ready for action, and for your thirst. So swing by and get your fix of sweet and hard cidersberry winescider vinegars and seasoned salts. Cuz you may not care who's playing football today, but you sure miss you some cider!

Rapini from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cold, foggy weather aside, there is hope that we are steadily marching forward toward spring. The days are getting longing -- really, they are, even if the sunsets are overrun by fog every evening. And Stoney Plains Organic Farm has the season's first rapini! Fresh out of their greenhouse, which affords them the luxury of thumbing their noses at Old Man Winter, this cousin of broccoli is a refreshing, energizing promise of spring to come, right now, in January. Enjoy!

Eggs from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This time of year, egg production slows a bit. See, just like us, chickens don't particularly care for cold air and long, dark nights. There's a lot of science stuff to explain it all, but suffice it to say that, well, they'd rather be in Cancun right now (where they'd be laying eggs like crazy, I'd imagine). The good news is, Alm Hill Gardens is bringing some of their eggs to Market right now, which is helping take up the slack. That said, if you want farm-fresh, local eggs this time of year, you best get to your Ballard Farmers Market early, as they will sell out earlier in the day than other times of year.

Rainbow chard from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for some tender greens to nourish your body and your soul? Full Circle Farm has lovely rainbow chard. Of course, they also have dino kalespudsbeetssunchokes and much more now, too. Full Circle is located just east of Seattle in Carnation, where they have become one of Western Washington's most successful farms. Want local? How's grown in King County sound?

Fresh sausages from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It's golden ticket weekend at Sea Breeze Farm. That means that hidden amongst hundreds of packages of their sausages in their meat cases is one package of sausage that contains a golden ticket good for a $100 gift certificate to their restaurant, La Boucherie! Yuppers. And you've got eight different delicious, artisan sausages from which to choose: Toulouse, Campagne, Provence, Gremolata, Chorizo, I-Heart-Brandy, Finnochio-Dulce and Breakfast. And they are all amazing, made from the farm's own meat and other local ingredients. You'll want to spend all next week eating a different one each night, regardless of the golden ticket!

Dino kale from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Children's Garden is another King County farm that has worked hard to extend its season in order to bring local deliciousness to you at your Ballard Farmers Market all winter long. Employing the use of row covers to help keep up temperatures for their greens, they are able to bring to you lovely, luscious leafiness like this dino kale right through the cold, dark months.

Herbal teas from Harbor Herbalist Teas. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Harbor Herbalist Teas makes wonderful herbal teas from local and regional ingredients, mostly grown on the West Coast. They offer a tremendous selection of soothing, comforting, healing, warming teas, with a flavor to please every palate. Come by and introduce yourself to your local tea maker, and take some home to help you shake off the foggy gloom this evening!

Chickweed, a.k.a., Satin Flower, from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Chickweed. It's not just for your pet cockatiel anymore! In fact, it is a tasty, nutritious winter green that makes for a great salad or a nice garnish. Now, this ain't your backyard's chickweed. Chickweed has many, many varieties. This one is bred for eating and for helping farms fix nitrogen into their soil during crop rotation. And those smart kids out at Nash's Organic Produce in Dungeness figured out it was the right over-winter crop to grow, as it serves that dual purpose. It's about crop rotation, and it's about economics for them, and for us, it's about lunch!

Spicy salad mix from Colinwood Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Last, but certainly not least today, is this gorgeous salad mix from Colinwood Farms. If you think you either need to forego salads during the winter in order to maintain a local diet, or you have to quit the local diet in order to get your salad on, you would be in err. Colinwood has their greenhouses in Port Townsend working hard, all winter long, cranking out delicious salad mix to keep us happy, healthy and sane!

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.