Mother’s Day is not a Hallmark holiday. It has far cooler, and more important, roots than that. In fact, Julia Ward Howe proclaimed the first Mother’s Day in 1870 as an anti-war holiday in response to the U.S. Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. She was tired of mothers having to bury their sons. Today, Mother’s Day is celebrated worldwide at many different times of year in different countries to honor the important role of mothers in our lives and societies. Heck, looking at the list of international dates, one could reasonably say that every day is Mother’s Day somewhere! Now, we know that round about all of you within the sound of my keystrokes plan to pick up flowers today from one of our seven flower farmers at your Ballard Farmers Market, like KaYing, a.k.a., The Old Farmer. I suspect she will be channeling the spirit of Julia Ward Howe today, given what she's seen in her time on earth.
My advice to you is to arrive early today for the best selection of flowers, and to pack some patience with you, as there will be lines. But given our beautiful weather lately, the flower selection this year for Mother’s Day is wonderful. So get mom some flowers that mean something. Get local flowers with a face behind them. She will appreciate what that means. After all, she gets that whole nurturing thing. Oh, and peace be with you!
Just in time for Mother's Day, we celebrate the return of Finnriver Farm & Cidery to your Ballard Farmers Market! They produce a wonderful selection of artisan hard ciders and fruit dessert wines on their farm over in Chimacum in Jefferson County. They've been busy bottling ciders of 2012 vintage in recent weeks, and now it is time for you to treat mom with some... and yourself!
Today also marks the glorious return of Carnation's Summer Run Farm for the 2013 season. Summer Run is famous for their beautiful and ginormous heads of lettuce, like this red leaf lettuce. Tired of living without great, local lettuce, or of eating that so-called "lettuce" from the Big Box stores all winter that seem devoid of flavor? Your long, dark winter is over! And doesn't mom deserve a nice salad made by you tonight for dinner?
Speaking of great dinners for mom, how's about some wild Washington king salmon, caught just off of the Washington Coast by Wilson Fish? They like to say, "It's so fresh, it's from the future!" And frankly, that's not far from the truth. If you've never had this king salmon, and you are thinking of holding out for Copper River salmon at almost twice the price, you need to forget the TV hype and give this a try. Once you've tried it, you won't go back to that over-priced stuff from Alaska with all the frequent flyer miles!
You know what goes great with king salmon? Asparagus, of course. And Alm Hill Gardens grows some of the sweetest, most tender and delicious asparagus anywhere right up on the Canadian border in Whatcom County. Grill your mom some of that salmon, and side it with some of this asparagus, and you will be golden for the rest of the year!
And you know what goes great with asparagus? Green garlic! Every spring about this time, farmers like Alvarez Organic Farms thin their garlic fields. They bring the thinned out baby garlic, know as green or spring garlic, to Market for us to enjoy. It is sweet, mildly garlicky, and you can eat the whole thing, from root to tip! Think of it like a green onion. You can grill them or sauté them, but I tend to like them best tossed in a big glass baking dish with olive oil, salt & pepper, some spring sweet onions, asparagus and wild morel mushrooms...
Or wild porcini mushrooms, if you like. Foraged & Found Edibles has them both today! In fact, the forests and coastline are providing us will all manner of deliciousness for mom's day today, including wild watercress, goose tongue (that's a plant, BTW), sea beans and more! So, stop by Foraged & Found, and grab some indigenous local goodness!
Today seems like as good a day as any to get that strawberry patch started for mom. And Red Barn Farm has these beautiful strawberry plants for it! They also have raspberry plants, cabbage starts and plenty of other great things for your garden.
And if tomatoes, ripe from the vine in your yard or on your deck or porch, are the stuff of your dreams, check in with Stoney Plains Organic Farm. They have tomato plants in an amazing selection of varieties from which to choose, as well as racks and racks of other goodies for the planting!
Don't forget bread for mom's dinner! And it is now olive fougasse season at Tall Grass Bakery. This stuff is so good, I can eat a whole loaf in a single sitting. Just don't dillydally getting to Market today if you want any. This stuff, like many of today's featured items, will sell out early, and you really don't want to have to explain to mom that you don't have any because you slept in, do you?
Finally, let us not forget dessert! Bring mom one of the best pies on earth from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Made with local flour and lots of other local ingredients, there are many flavors from which to choose, as long as you get here early enough!
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.
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.