Sunday, March 24th: Spring Has Sprung, Bringing Fiddleheads, Easter Hams, Plants For Your Garden & More!

Easter hams from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons. Easter is in one week, and churches all over are handing out palm fronds today. Time to get you a ham! Olsen Farms has plenty of freshly smoked hams for your holiday feast at your Ballard Farmers Market today. But if a beef or lamb roast is more your speed, they've got those waiting for you, too. But do pick it up today, so you are ready to go next Sunday, eh? And it's not too late to pick up some lamb or a nice brisket for Passover, too, though you'll want to start it thawing as soon as you get home today. After all, Passover begins at sundown Monday.

Lady Fern Fiddleheads from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I know I've been talking about signs of spring for weeks now, but this past Wednesday, spring actually finally arrived. If the 12 hours of daylight didn't give it away, certainly the snow showers and wind storms should have. Ah, March in the Pacific Northwet. Well, as if to formally pronounce the arrival spring, Foraged & Found Edibles brings the first Ladyfern fiddleheads to your Ballard Farmers Market today. Woohoo! And if that weren't enough, they've got wood sorrel and stinging nettles today, too!

Blueberry plants from Cascadian Edible Landscapes. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

April approacheth, the sun is out, and it is time to get back into the garden! And Cascadian Edible Landscapes has returned to help us in that endeavor. They've got a tremendous selection of vegetable starts and berry plants. Like these beautiful blueberry plants. Imagine stepping out your backdoor to enjoy blueberries from your very own blueberry bush for years to come. Sounds pretty nice, eh? Well, get 'em now, and get 'em in the ground, while it is still the rainy season. That way, they'll get their roots established before things dry out this summer.

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

Stoney Plains Organic Farm has sorrel of the domesticated variety this week. This is Red Vein sorrel, though they also have regular sorrel, too. This regenerative, herbaceous leafy green is just what the doctor ordered, perhaps literally, for spring. Stoney Plains also has plenty of garden plants, too, including strawberry plants. Get them in the ground now, and enjoy your own berries come June!

Tulips from Pa Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Did you notice how full the Market was last week? We had five farms return last week, including all of our Hmong flower farms. And if that ain't an harbinger of spring, I don't know what is! Of course, this week, they were probably harvesting flowers in the snow in the Lower Snoqualmie Valley. Stop by today, and grab some of these lovely tulips from Pa Garden. Fresh from the field, they are ready to burst open in brilliant color in a vase on your table!

Kale Raabs from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The start of spring also signals the approaching end of kale season. Yeah, I know. Around here, it is always kale season. But the fact is, this time of year, kale wants to reproduce, just like any other healthy species. So, the kale plants in the field, as well as the collards, cabbages and many roots, start to bolt, sending out their flowers in pursuit of procreation. The result is raab. Yes, this time of year, we get to enjoy any number of different kinds of raabs as these plants reach the end of their lifecycle and get on with the job of producing the next. Raabs, those tender, flowery tops of these plants, are lovely simply sautéed with some garlic, and they can be great grilled, too. And Nash's Organic Produce has a whole bunch of them right now!

Gil holds ducklings at Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Here is this week's installment of This Photo Is Almost Disturbingly Cute. This is our own Gilbert holding three adorable, fluffy ducklings at Stokesberry Sustainable Farm during our visit there a few weeks ago. I suppose the cuteness factor may trouble some folks, but for those who enjoy duck, know that these little guys will enjoy a happy, healthy and loved life before they come to Market. That's just the way the Stokesberry's roll.

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

Speaking of regenerative greens for a spring tonic, how's about some of these tasty dandelion greens from Children's Garden? These quite bitter greens may make you pucker a bit, but dress them with some anchovies, olive oil and some of that Twin Oaks goat feta, and maybe a drizzle of some balsamic vinegar, and you've got one delicious, nutritious salad. Or you can make soup, tea, or even juice them, and grilling them is not out of the question. Your liver will thank you!

Succulents from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don't forget the ornamental side of your garden. And if you're lazy, like me, these succulents from Phocas Farms are for you! Get them in the ground now, and let them get their roots well established while it's still rainy, and they will reward you all summer long by being draught tolerant... and gorgeous! Just look at all these colors. Phocas Farms propagates more than 200 varieties of them. So get a whole bunch of them, and make for a colorful summer without all that watering.

Red mustard greens from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

More scrumptious greens for spring -- these being red mustard greens from Colinwood Farms. These are great lightly wilted with olive oil and garlic, or raw in a nice, spicy salad, as they are very tender. Colinwood has lots of other greens now, too, as well as new carrots. Enjoy!

Fresh eggs from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

With Passover and Easter looming ahead this week, you need eggs! Lots of eggs!!! For your seder plate or your Easter egg hunt, for your famous deviled eggs to bring to the Easter gathering at Grandma's house, or for that extraordinary brunch you'll be cooking up next weekend. We've got an abundance of eggs in your Ballard Farmers Market right now, and these are the best eggs you've ever tasted. Seriously. The eggs above, for instance, are from Growing Things Farm, and the farm is renowned for their amazing eggs. They have hard shells and big, beautiful, richly yellow yolks, and they are laid by happy chickens that get to run around outdoors and hang out with roasters. I know. I've seen them. So, stock up!

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.