Sunday, June 30th: Peaches, Blueberries, Apricots, Summer Squash, Basil & Other Stuff What Shouldn't Be Here Yet!

Sugar Time Peaches from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons. I know. I know. I was rubbing my eyes to make sure I wasn’t seeing things either. But I took this photo on Wednesday at our Wallingford Farmers Market. These really are the first Sugar Time peaches of the season from Collins Family Orchards. For real… and in June!!! But it gets even crazier than that, as they’ve also got their first harvest of Tomcot apricots of the season now, too! After three consecutive years of our harvest schedule being two to four weeks behind schedule, it is really confusing to have things two weeksahead of schedule this year, but who’s complaining?!? Now, if you are wondering why not all crops are ahead of schedule, that is because row crops, which require being planted each spring, were planted close to on schedule, so their harvests are not coming quite so early — at least not yet — though that will change in the coming weeks. But tree, bush and vine fruit, and things like strawberries, are perennials, so they are able to take full advantage of this warmer, drier year so far!

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

And the hits just keep on coming! Yes, these are blueberries, from Sidhu Farms. Again, this photo was also taken on Wednesday. I cannot remember when last we had so much fruit available so early, and I cannot remember blueberries and peaches in June, well, ever! Oh, and blackberries, too! Yup, blackberries made an appearance on Sidhu's tables at our Madrona Farmers Market on Friday! Wow.

Basil plants from Red Barn Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And even with all these crops coming on early this year, there is still time to get some of your own basil plants in the ground, or in a big pot on your deck. Red Barn Farm has a wonderful selection of basil plants for just that purpose, and with a hot summer like we're are going to have this year, your basil will be very happy indeed, and it will reward you with all the basil you will need for pestos, capreses and more! Of course, if you are really impatient, you can pick up a bit of freshly harvested basil today from One Leaf Farm, while it lasts.

Ground beef from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just in time for Independence Day, Skagit River Ranch will be firing up their grill today at your Ballard Farmers Market and sampling out their outstanding ground beef patties and sausages. You know, being an ex-pat New Yorkers, I used to miss dearly good sweet Italian sausage here in Seattle. That is, until I met Skagit River Ranch's. And I've heard the same thing from many other folks from Back East... chefs even. They just do it right. And today, Skagit will introduce their new hot dogs, too! So stop by, try a few samples, figure out what you like best, and then stock up for your 4th of July barbecue!

Broccoli from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm has begun harvesting this beautiful broccoli, and you know, it is really good on the grill, right alongside those burgers and sausages. And let's face it: you do not want to be cooking indoors over the next week, am I right? It is just too hot. Well, now, you can have your broccoli and grill it, too! And some more food for thought... kale grills well, too!

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

What up?!? Organic raspberries from Gaia’s Harmony Farm. These big, beautiful berries are exploding with flavor, as are their amazing organic strawberries. Their strawberries are grown under row covers, which is why they are also so perfect looking. They don’t get splattered in the rain with dirt.

Gluten-free dinner rolls from d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How's about some gluten-free dinner rolls from d:floured gluten-free bakery. After all, who says you have to live without a nice roll for your burger, or something flavorful, chewy and crusty alongside your salad, just because you have to avoid gluten? They've got these lovely rolls in a variety of flavors, not to mention all the other sweet and savory goodies they make!

English shelling peas from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Here's some vege that requires no heating at all... just eating! Yup, it's English shelling pea season at Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Just grab a bag of them, sit out your porch, and pop open pod after pod and enjoy straight. Add them to salads. Get extras, shuck them, put them in pint freezer bags, pop them in the freezer now, and enjoy them all next winter, too!

Growlers and growler coolers from Soda Jerk Fresh Soda. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Soda Jerk Soda Company has a great lineup of refreshing fresh sodas on tap for you today made from great local ingredients.  Today’s flavors include Raspberry Vanilla featuring raspberries from Sidhu Farms, Cherry Chipotle featuring cherries from Lyall Farms and Bill's Fruits, and Lemon Lavender using lavender from multiple farms in the Sequim area. They are all refreshing and delicious. Grab some for your picnic in the park, and grab a jug to take home for later!

Tomatoes from Magana Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Magana Farms, based in Sunnyside, has two advantages: the warmest climate in the state and big hot houses. And that means they are the first to have tomatoes. You'll want some of these for slicing up to top your burgers, or for making that aforementioned caprese. They also have green tomatoes for frying, if you are so inclined, and they even have a few pints of cherry tomatoes already, too!

Summer squash from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Summer squash has returned… just in time for summer! Alvarez Organic Farms is already harvesting eight varieties, and soon they’ll have half a dozen more! I love grilling these puppies, but there are so many ways to enjoy them. Share your recipes on our Facebook page!

Fresh keta salmon ikura and skeines from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is fresh Alaskan salmon season at Loki Fish, and they've got fresh ketapinkcohosockeye and king salmon right now! They also have fresh ikura (keta roe) and skeines (the whole egg sack, top). So get your tasty, salty, popping with deliciousness fish eggs on now!

Spicy salad mix from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I'm thinking that sprinkling some of those keta eggs over this spicy salad mix from Alm Hill Gardens (a.k.a., Growing Washington) sounds pretty good right about now. And hey, salads are the way to go in this heat. Get some radishes, carrots, turnips, snap and shelling peas, spring sweet onions, maybe some goat feta or ricotta from Twin Oaks Creamery, and add a little protein over the top, or on the side, and you are good to go! And with that, please, stay hydrated, and wear that sunscreen today. We've got your localiciousness right here. Stock up and then get thee to a beach or to a picnic table under a shady tree at a park!

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.