Sunday, April 7th: Asparagus, Local Tuna, Lettuce, Fresh Salmon, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Cheddar & The Patty Pan Tamale Of The Month!

Leeks from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons. All those teasers in the headline, and I start with leeks, you wonder? Yup! That's because we celebrate the return today of One Leaf Farm to your Ballard Farmers Market, and these are their leeks! They will also have some rapiniarugula and other deliciousness. So come welcome them back, and celebrate the fact that here in King County, we're adding new farms (One Leaf in 2011), while much of the country is still losing them.

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

It is also the first Sunday of the month, and that means local albacore tuna from Fishing Vessel St. Jude! They visit us once a month, so it is a great time to stock up on their incredible albacore, sold frozen in loinscanneddried and more! This is the best tuna you will ever taste. It is high in beneficial omega-fatty acids, and low in heavy metals, as they catch only young tuna from cold northern waters. And the frozen tuna is sashimi grade, great served just barely seared, sliced and over a salad, as sushi, or whatever meets your pleasure.

Asparagus from Lyall Farms.Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

April also means the first asparagus of the year, and this year, with our mild winter and early spring, it is earlier than ever! And again this year, the first farm to have asparagus is Lyall Farms. They grow asparagus on their acreage in Sunnywide, in an area that's just a bit warmer than the rest of the state. And we get to enjoy early asparagus because of it. Woohoo!

Fresh red king salmon from Wilson Fish.Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

What goes better with asparagus than fresh, local King salmon from Wilson Fish? That's right! Salmon season has opened early this year, too, and today, Wilson Fish will have the first fresh salmon of 2013 at your Ballard Farmers Market. But odds are, it will sell out very fast, so get here early!!!

Delicious purple sprouting broccoli from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And the hits just keep on coming! Today, we also celebrate the return of Oxbow Farm! Wow. What a day! They will this amazing purple sprouted broccoli, as well as Rapini, Collard Greens, Arugula, Red Cabbage, Braising Mix, Parsley and Rhubarb. You know, I am just about beside myself with giddiness right now!

Cheese maker Heather Howell of Twin Oaks Creamery holds up a wheel of her flavored cheddar. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I took this photo of cheese maker Heather Howell during our visit to Twin Oaks Creamery last month. She is standing in her aging cave, holding a wheel of one of her raw cows milk flavored cheddars, which they just began bringing to market last week, along with their Romano and plain cheddar. They are all great, and while the cheddar is still a bit young, it is fabulous and very creamy. I imagine, as some of it ages longer, it will just get better and better. As for their cave, what I love about it is that it is built into the back of an old coffee shop and greasy spoon that was sitting vacant in historic downtown Chehalis until they took it over late last year. They do much of their cheese making there, and, of course, the aging, while at the same time they are helping to revitalize one of the most economically depressed cities in the state. And when you buy their cheese, you are helping, too!

Red leaf lettuce from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wait. Now, I must be pulling your leg, right? I mean, lettuce? Yes, this is red leaf lettuce from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. And they're not tiny baby lettuces, either. This is actual head lettuce with full-sized leaves, perfect for salads, topping sandwiches, or making lettuce wraps. You've been pining for local lettuce since last fall, haven't you? Well, it's back, baby!

April's Tamale-of-the-Month from Patty Pan Grill. Photo courtesy Patty Pan Grill.

We finish this week's epistle with the Tamale of the Month from Patty Pan GrillChorizo & Kale Raab. They are made with pork from Olsen Farms and kale raab from Nash's Organic Produce. Get you some to warm up and fill your belly at the Market, and then get some frozen to take home with you to enjoy later! Oh, how I love April!

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.