Sunday, February 17th: Goat Milk & Cheese, Daikon Green, Chickweed and Other Signs of Spring!

Goat milk feta from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons. Okay, I know this is not a photo of goat milk from Twin Oaks Creamery, but they will have some today in quart bottles. It's just that I haven't seen it myself yet, so I lack a photo to share with you. Besides. this fresh goat feta is worthy of celebration in and of itself. It is really good -- sweet, not too salty, but with that perfect, simple tang and crumble to compliment your salads.

Nash's Red Russian Kale from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! It's Nash's Red Russian Kale from Nash's Organic Produce! It is lovely this time of year, all sweetened up from long, cold winter nights. And it is their own kale, foh realz! But the really cool word from those crazy cats at Nash's is that they'll have daikon radish greens today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Seriously. Come check 'em out.

Shiitake mushrooms from Sno-Valley Mushrooms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know, we've been through what seems like an endless marathon of holidaze, starting way back on Thanks for the Land Day, and continuing through this week -- the grand-daddy of all holiday weeks, for its sheer number of them: Chinese New Year, Fat Tuesday, Valentine's Day, International Asteroid Day (no longer celebrated in the Ural Mountains of Russian, however), and ending tomorrow with Presidents Day, cuz everyone knows that the best presidents were aquarians! But after tomorrow, we get a bit of a break, until St. Paddy's Day. Finally, we can get some work done, some sleep, and we can find more time to eat these incredible shiitake mushrooms from Sno-Valley Mushrooms in Duvall.

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

Okay, I feel like I am laying down a bit of a gauntlet for Terry Meyer from Stoney Plains Organic Farm with this one. Or maybe the challenge is one to you. See, Terry gets up at 4 a.m. every Sunday morning (that's only an hour after I'll actually post this week's epistle), and he actually reads my words of, err, wisdom, or at least he looks at the pretty pictures, to see which of his products I've featured, and then he makes sure he brings more of that item. Apparently, I've so bamboozled him into believing that you really are paying attention to this stuff that he thinks you are actually going to march directly to his stand before doing anything else and load up on whatever it is that I have featured. And truth be told, that tends to happen more often than not. So, here's what you absolutely must have this week from Stoney Plains -- chickweed. As it is a winter cover crop, it is only available this time of year, and it makes for a lovely simple salad, dressed with a nice olive oil, a little lemon juice, and some of that aforementioned goat feta. See, this is actually a culinary chickweed, not the stuff that grows in your backyard. At a time of year during which fresh greens are scarce, why not give these a try, eh? Besides, you'll help me keep Terry thinking that these blog posts have great, magical powers!

Brian enjoy a fresh soda from Soda Jerk Sodas, as well as his new paper hat! Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you met Ballard Farmers Market's very own jerk? Soda jerk, that is. Cory Clark is the jerk behind Soda Jerk Sodas, and he makes fresh sodas will local flavors right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Okay, just so you don't think I'm jerking you around, this guy in the photo is a not Cory. He's Brian. And mind you, I don't know Brian well enough to be able to confidently pass judgement on whether or not he is a jerk, but he certainly does seem to enjoy the fresh sodas he gets from Cory. And he looks quite sharp in his very own, old-fashioned Soda Jerk paper hat, doesn't he?

Carnival squash from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is getting pretty near that end of winter squash season, but Colinwood Farms still has some left for you. Like this yummy carnival winter squash. I love halving these, seeding them, slathering them with olive oil, then laying them face down in a glass baking dish and roasting them until tender at 375 degrees. Their texture is wonderful, their flesh is so sweet, and you can even eat the skin!

Bosc pears from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pears are beginning to dwindle a bit, too, but we've still got some in your Ballard Farmers Market. Like these lovely bosc pears from Collins Family Orchards. They are a great eating pear. Soft and sweet and delicious -- great for the kids' lunch box. Collins also still has some great apples for you, too!

Spinach-gouda puffs from d:floured. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Honestly, I have no idea if d:floured gluten-free bakery will have these spinach-gouda puffs today, though I could swear I saw something puff-like being constructed in the kitchen on Friday when I stopped by. But if you are looking for gluten-free deliciousness, be it sweet or savory, a stop by d:floured at your Ballard Farmers Market is in order. And frankly, even if you are not looking for stuff that is gluten-free, you will still love this stuff. I worked an event Saturday night with a particularly high percentage of people on gluten-free diets, and we arranged to satisfy their sweet tooth with some of d:floured's brownies. I don't think I've ever seen a plate of brownies disappear so fast, and I grew up in the 70s! (Just sayin'.) Heck, I'm not even sure the gluten-free crowd got any of them! These may not be "special brownies," but they certainly are special brownies.

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.