Sunday, August 18th: Pears, Peaches, Peppers, Politicians & P-other Stuff!

Sen. Ed Murray and Councilperson Richard Conlin enjoying Soda Jerk Soda at Wallingford Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons. State Senator Ed Murray and Seattle City Councilperson Richard Conlin joined us at our sister Wallingford Farmers Market recently to celebrate not only National Farmers Market Week, but also the fact that Wallingford Farmers Market is the reigning Washington Farmers Market of the Year, according to the Washington State Farmers Market Association. In addition to lovely proclamations, presentations, tours and speechifying, they also enjoyed some Lime Cilantro Jalapeño fresh soda from Soda Jerk Soda (above). Of course, being the marketing machine that we are, we couldn't help but use this image to promote Soda Jerk. (You're welcome, Corey!)

Rosa Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchard. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Rosa Hale peaches are those big, juicy, sweet peaches that dreams are made of. They come on midway through peach season, along with many cousins of similar name. These are the peaches for which Washington is famous. But they are only around for a few short weeks. Try them today atMartin Family Orchards at your Ballard Farmers Market.

Goat yogurt in the incubator at Twin Oaks Creamery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This is goat yogurt in the incubator at Twin Oaks Creamery in Chehalis. See, in order for yogurt to become, well, yogurt, it needs to be inoculated first. It starts out as goat milk. Then, after quick pasteurization, they add those beneficial and delicious bacteria that are so good for us. They need to take root in the milk, though, to make it yogurt, and that requires a higher temp than a refrigerator for a little while. The result is wonderful goat yogurt that will keep your immune system and digestive tract happy.

Cauliflower from Growing Things Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is cauliflower season at Growing Things Farm, and for them, that means a rainbow of cauliflower, from white to green to yellow to purple, and that wonderful, fractalized variety known as romanesco. Steam it, then top it with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Sauté it with bacon, cayenne pepper flakes and some bread crumbs. Toss it with pasta, or into a salad. Dip it raw into cocktail sauce or hummus. Roast it in the oven with olive oil. Make cheesy cauliflower soup with it. Heck, throw it on the grill. You are only limited by your own imagination!

Purple Sensation pears from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It is also pear season already, a full week earlier than we've ever seen them here before! Wow. This beauties are called Purple Sensation pears, and they are from the certified organic orchards of ACMA Mission Orchards. ACMA also has the early Gale Gala apples today, and a dizzying variety of stone fruit, including peachesnectarinespluots, plums and Italian prunes. In fact, no other orchard has the variety of tree fruit that ACMA does now at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Jim holds a gigantic sweet onion from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Meet Jim. Jim was shopping at your Ballard Farmers Market last Sunday, and he really wanted a sweet onion. What he found was a sweet onion that was the size of his head from our buddies at Nash's Organic Farm. Seriously. There is no photographic trickery going on here. And the fact is, most of their sweet onions are this big. Must be all the clean living and the rich organic soil over there in Clallam County or something.

Hot chile peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Alvarez Organic Farms grows over 200 different kinds of chile peppers, from the most mild bell peppers to the infamously hot ghost chile. And they are all coming into season right now. August and September is peak pepper season, and at the absolute peak, the pepper fields of the Alvarez family are awash in almost every color in the rainbow, much like the tulip fields of Skagit Valley in April. So enjoy a veritable tsunami of these tasty nightshades while you can, as they will go away again soon.

Treviso radicchio from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One of my favorite vegetables, and really, one of the most stunningly beautiful, is this treviso radicchio from Oxbow Farm. Unlike many radicchios, treviso grows tall instead of round. A member of the chicory family, it is naturally bitter, but grill it or sauté it with a nice slighty sweet, smoky bacon, and it sweetens up a bit. It likes salt and a good dose of olive oil (on the grill) or the rendered fat from the bacon, but not much else. It likes to stand alone, and it kinda clashes with garlic. Of course, if you like it a little sweeter, try drizzling a little balsamic vinegar on it when you serve it.

Berries from Hayton Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of gorgeous, just look at this array of fresh berries from Hayton Berry Farms. We've got blackberriesblueberriesraspberries and the elusive golden raspberries. Sounds like the golden ones will be available in a somewhat greater quantity this year, but supplies will still be limited, so get here early!

Jubilee tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids, it's time for the One Leaf Farm tomato of the week! And by my count, they are now up to harvesting 10 different kinds of maters. (See them all in our Facebook photo album.) These are Jubilee tomatoes. There seems to be debate amongst the seed companies on the Intertubes about the origins of this tomato, but it has been around since at least the early 1940s, and maybe as long ago as the 1890s. A golden to orange tomato, they are lower in acid, and thus a possible alternative for folks who have issues with high-acid tomatoes.

Fresh, local Rockfish from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Let's finish off with some fresh Washington rockfish from Wilson Fish. Rockfish is that fish that is misnamed "red snapper" by many folks, and it wasn't until the feds cracked down of labeling practices of fish over the last decade that we finally realized we'd been eating rockfish this whole time. (Then again, most so-called "grouper" on menus still is, in fact, another species.) Rockfish kinda looks like a champion boxer that had to go the distance in order to win -- not the prettiest of fish. But it is delicious. I love it coated with a nice blackening rub or jerk seasoning and pan-fried. Yummers. Of course, if you are reading this at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon, you may be out of luck. This stuff tends to sell out very fast at your Ballard Farmers Market, so get here early!

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.