Sunday, June 23rd: Happy Summer! New Winery, Raspberries, Artichokes, Goat Ricotta, Pie Cherries, Wild Saskatoon Berries & More!

Cabernet Franc from Kitzke Cellars. Photo courtesy Kitzke Cellars. Happy summer, all y'all! We peaked at 16 hours of sunshine on Thursday, and it's just going to get darker from here on out. But we've got a whole summer of spectacular weather and delicious local flavors in store for you here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Let's start this first post of Summer 2013 by introducing our newest vendor, Kitzke Cellars. Their vineyards and winery are located just west of Richland where they have an amazing view of Candy Mountain, and they produce some stunning wines. The Kitzke Family has been farming there since the 1970s, though their transition from being orchardists to being winemakers has been gradual. Stop by and introduce yourself today, and pick up a bottle of one of their big reds!

Raspberries from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Your eyes do not deceive you. These are raspberries. From this year. Grown locally by Sidhu Farms. They just started harvesting them last weekend on their farm in the Puyallup River Valley. Just another sign of what a remarkable year we are in. It is warmer, drier, and crops are coming in earlier than we’ve seen in years. Enjoy!

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

Mmm. Artichokes. From Nash's Organic Produce. Oh, the possibilities. Though if you're like me, you'll end up steaming them, tearing off the leaves, dipping them in a good mayo and eating the soft, fleshy bit. But hey, by the time I get home from your Ballard Farmers Market, that's about all the creative energy I've got. You can probably put more thought into it!

Squash blossoms from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

More fairly simple summer fare can made with these squash blossoms from Alvarez Organic Farms. Stuff them with a nice fresh goat cheese, give them a dunk in a nice batter and pan-fry them. Oh, yeah, baby. That's living!

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

Lucky for us, one doesn't have to go very far from the Alvarez tables to find good, local goat cheese. Just a few tents down is Twin Oaks Creamery from Chehalis. They've got fresh and aged goat and cow cheese, as well as goat yogurt and fresh goat and cow milk! And you know what would be nice stuff in those squash blossoms? This new goat ricotta from Twin Oaks.

Pie cherries from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Looking for pie cherries? ACMA Mission Orchards has you covered, but only for a limited time. Pie cherries have a very short season — just a couple of weeks — so if you’ve got cherry pie, or maraschino cherries, in your future, you’d better get over here on the double!

Salad mix from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yay! More simple, and simply delicious, summer food from your Ballard Farmers Market. This gorgeous salad mix is from Growing Things Farm in Carnation. Just pick up some carrots and radishes, a little crumbly, salty cheese, and maybe some fresh peas, toss it altogether with your favorite dressing, and you are good to go! And talk about making picnics easy. Just grab a loaf of bread, some fresh fruit and a bottle of wine, and maybe a pie or some cake, and you have an instant, all-farmers market meal on the go!

Albacore tuna loin portion from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fishing Vessel St. Jude won't be able to make it to your Ballard Farmers Market on July 7th for their normal first Sunday of the month visit, so they are coming today, and then again on July 21st, to make up for it. So be sure to stop by today to stock up on your monthly supply of the best albacore tuna anywhere, directly from the fisher. And right now, they've got these perfectly-sized frozen loins that will easily feed one or two people.

Carrots from Gaia's Harmony Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Carrots! Finally!!! These are from Gaia's Harmony Farm. If we've been suffering one crop in particular this year so far, it has been a lack of carrots. We've had a few here and there, but these most colorful, sweet and crunchy of delectable roots are made of love, sunshine and puppy dogs, and we should always have them, and never have to wonder when we'll see them again. Welcome back, dear carrots!

Saskatoon berries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Welcome back wild Saskatoon berries, too! Foraged & Found Edibles let us know Saturday that the first wonderful wild berries of the season have arrived, a bit ahead of schedule, like so much else this year, although in reality, things are just on schedule this year, for a change. Oh, they've got morelsporcinis and sea beans still, too.

Red, white & blue new potatoes from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just in time for Independence Day, Colinwood Farms has the first red, white and blue new potatoes of the season. In the past few years, we've been lucky to see any of these before mid-July. So there is no excuse this year not to have a red, white and blue potato salad on the menu for your 4th of July barbecue!

You would have this expression on your face, too, if you had just eaten an apricot from Bill's Fruit. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey, kids! Bill is back! Yup, Bill's Fruits returns today for one more summer of juicy, sweet stone fruit. Today, he should have Bing and Rainier cherries, and if we're lucky, some of these apricots, though it is still just a little early for them. Welcome back, Bill!

Fava beans from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One Leaf Farm just began harvesting these lovely fava beans this past week. And when fava beans are this young and tender, they are amazing on the grill. In fact, it was One Leaf's Rand who turned me on to this method of eating them, and now I can't get enough this time of year. Just toss them in a bit of olive, salt and pepper to taste, and throw them on the grill. When the pods get soft, they are ready to eat, pod and all. Just take off the stem and the string! You can thank me (and Rand) later.

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.