Sunday, February 24th: Swiss Cheese, Daffodils, Stinging Nettles & Spinach!

Smoky peppercorn & chives Swiss cheese from Rosecrest Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons. And the hits just keep on coming! Have you met our newest newest farm, Rosecrest Farms from Chehalis? They are a cows milk dairy that specializes in making Swiss styles of cheeses, something truly unique to them in Washington state. And it is some delish cheese, too. This is not your sliced off of a big block and full of ginormous holes at the "deli" in the Big Box store kind of "Swiss" cheese. This is beautiful, rich cheese -- the stuff the Swiss produce on steep hillsides, or Wisconsin. It is not the stuff that people who have never been to Philadelphia slap on a so-called "Philly Cheese Steak", a crime punishable by a serious flogging in Philly, cuz fake Swiss cheese does not belong on a cheese steak. Just sayin'. But I digress. See, this stuff -- indeed, the smoky peppercorn & chives swiss cheese pictured here -- is cheese I find myself longing for once I've finished off the most recent chunk I brought home. And you will, too. So stop by and say 'hi' today, get you some cheeseliciousness from our newest farmstead cheese maker, finish it off while you watch the Oscars, and then spend the rest of the week wishing you had gotten more... until you do just that next Sunday.

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

As if stomping its feet and demanding that we acknowledge that it is, in fact, still winter, a nice, big, blustery storm blew through on Friday, and snow was being measured by the foot in the passes. And yet, as much as the talking heads on the one-eyed god tried to proclaim it "the strongest storm of the year," it came and went, and now we seem back into our seemingly winterless winter once again. I'm not complaining, mind you. After umpteen years of watching crops come in a month late, we are actually seeing some signs of some crops coming in a bit early this year. And in that spirit, we celebrate the return of daffodils from Children's Garden! A true harbinger of spring indeed, they will breathe some life back into your hibernating spirit.

Stinging nettles from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And yet more proof that the days are getting longer, the temps higher, and that spring approaches, are these wild stinging nettles from Foraged & Found Edibles. The first of the season are in your Ballard Farmers Market today! Just fight the urge to stick your hand recklessly into the bag. They don't call them stinging nettles for nothing.

Goat milk from Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The other new dairy farm here at your Ballard Farmers Market is, of course, Twin Oaks Creamery, which is actually a neighbor of Rosecrest Farms down in Chehalis. And they are now bringing bottles of pasteurized goat milk to your Ballard Farmers Market. But you know, I can't help but notice a typo in their cute little goat sign above. I mean, isn't there an "a" missing from it?

Winter spinach from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

So maybe this winter spinach from Nash's Organic Produce isn't gonna win any beauty contests, but it is delicious. And seriously, it's spinach... in February! It may not be those delicate, tender leaves you get in May, but it is loaded with flavor, courtesy of having to weather cool, dark, wet winter days and nights, and it is loaded with the nutrients your bod is craving right now. So have at it, people. And don't be so judgmental!

Mt. Fuji apples from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Your Ballard Farmers Market is still filled with plenty of apples, even if our supply of orchardists has suffered a bit of attrition lately. Tiny's Organic Produce has a nice selection of certified-organic apples, like these Mt. Fuji apples. They've also got dried fruit and apple sauce, too, made from their own fruit. If you've seen entirely too much of your doctor this winter, you clearly have not been eating enough apples. It's time to rectify that!

Bread & Butter pickles from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And let's face it. Pickles is just good food. Grab a jar of one of Purdy Pickles' many varieties of pickles to enjoy alongside your Swiss cheese during the Oscars tonight. Perhaps these Bread & Butter pickles will do the trick. You can thank me later.

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.