Sunday, December 15th: Just 10 Days, or 2 Farmers Markets Until Christmas!

Smoked whole sides of white king salmon from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons. I'm listening to the classic Andy Williams Christmas Album as I write this holiday installment of your Ballard Farmers Market blog, getting myself in the spirit to get you in the spirit. Just think of all those hep bright, primary color sweaters and matching slacks Andy and his family used to wear during their annual TV specials, and how could you not get bitten by a festive mood? There's just something about Andy singing, "hoopdeedoo, and dickery dock, and don't forget to hang up your sock..." that makes it impossible not to smile, unless you have a Grinch-sized heart. And what person wouldn't be happy at the sight of an entire side of smoked white king salmon from Wilson Fish, either? I've sure love to find one of these beauties under the tree with my name on it, or on the party buffet table. Well, Santa and your helpers, the good news is, Wilson's elves (yes, David is an elf!) have prepared many of these for you... if you've been good, that is.

Non-toxic candles made with natural essential oils from Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

"They're'll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting and caroling out in the snow..." And you will need candles. Candles of every color and scent to set every mood, and even a few with no scent at all, so as not to interrupt the flavor of your food. Yes, Ascents Candles returns today, after a two-week hiatus, with their wonderful non-toxic candles made with all-natural ingredients and wonderful pure essential oils. Besides brightening your house, they make for great stocking stuffers!

Holiday wreath from Pa Garden. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One of these wonderful holiday wreathes from Pa Garden is a must to complete the season's decor of your home, and they come in sizes to fit any door, be it palatial or pedestrian. Made from greenery from around their farm in the Snoqualmie Valley, and some of their dried flowers, these are stunning!

Mediterranean-style dips and sauces from Uncle Eyals. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

"From the top of the chimney to the top of the wall, dash away, dash away, dash away all..." And why not celebrate this holy season with sauces and dips from the Holy Land? Uncle Eyal's joins us today with their amazing hummus, mint sauce, tahini and more. This is the food that brings Christians, Jews and Muslims together in peace around the dinner table, and as such, it is perfect for this season in which so much homage is paid to peace on earth.

Winter Luxury pumpkins from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I do hope One Leaf Farm has a last few of these aptly named Winter Luxury pumpkins today at your Ballard Farmers Market. They are the ultimate eating pumpkin, and they are really cool looking, too! And this is the last week for One Leaf until next spring, so avail yourself while you can!

Pink Lady apples from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I swear, you add a little holiday music, and suddenly the festive nature of Pink Lady apples from Tiny's Organic Produce just kinda smacks you upside the head. They're red and green, and they make for so many yummy treats, or just a good, crunchy snack. My father made an amazing pie with them at Thanksgiving, and he proudly said, "and I didn't even have to use any sugar!" Boom.

Produce pendants from Metal Wing Studio. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It's wearable art meets farmers market produce meets a beautiful gift that your someone special will love and never take off. Yup, these are veggie pendants from MetalWing Studios, made right here in Ballard! They, too, were on a brief hiatus for a holiday gift show, but they are back today with all manner of Northwest-inspired metal arts, from ornaments to pins to earrings and more! And with the recent deep freeze, that golden chard on the right might be all the chard you'll see today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Absinthe & Black Salt caramels from Jonboy. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

How's about some absinthe & black salt caramels from Jonboy Caramels to sweeten up the season? That, and Christmas with the Beach Boys. "Oooooh, Merry Christmas St. Nick (Christmas comes this time each year)..." Made with local cream and butter, they are sure to please. Just let them warm up a bit indoors before you chomp down on them!

Braising mix from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You'll be doing lots of cooking over the next few weeks, so why not make things a little easier on yourself with this braising mix from Colinwood Farms in Port Townsend. It is ready to sauté or toss into a casserole, and nothing says "Happy Holidays" like kale!

Goat milk soaps from The Fay Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The Fay Farm on Whidbey Island raises Nubian goats. They milk those goats and make these lovely soaps with that milk. They also grow a lot of the herbs used to scent the soaps. They offer them in bar and liquid forms, and they are very gentle on one's skin. And needless to say, though I will anyway, they make great stocking stuffers. And let's face it, soap is a gift you give to everyone in your household, and to yourself, when your household bathes.

Whole chickens from Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Every good holiday feast requires a roast holiday beast, be it a ham or a Tofurky. Or perhaps a chicken, like these lovely beasts from Skagit River Ranch. They have a new harvest of chickens now, while they last, so get 'em while the gettin's good. Of course, they also have some lovely roasts of other beasts, like beeflamb and pork, and maybe even a stray ham or two!

Pies and more from Simply Soulful. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Get your soulful holiday season on with undoubtedly the best sweet potato pie you have ever tasted, made from scratch, crust and all, using sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms and no added sugar, from Simply Soulful Pies & Catering. Of course, they've got other pies, too, and even some soul food sides, like collardsred beans & rice and more!

Winter squash from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter squash warms up your kitchen and your soul. It is sweet, colorful and delicious. It comes in many shapes, sizes, textures and varieties to appeal to any palate, or to be able to enjoy it every day of the week without repeating it. And it is versatile. Make soups or stews, roast it, sauté it, steam it, even stuff it. Make pasta or pie with it. And you'll find a great selection of it in many festive colors at Alm Hill Gardens today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Nut Crunch from Pete's Perfect Toffee. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

'Twas the night before Christmas, and everyone was gorging themselves of this spectabulous Nut Crunch, and all things toffeefudge and brittle from Pete's Perfect Toffee. Why? Because we can, and because this is the best stuff around. Look, it's cold outside. We need extra energy. And it's the holidays, right? Let us get our sweet on! And you know, Pete's little packages of deliciousness fit perfectly into any stocking, though let's be honest with each other here... you are sooo going to eat it all while wrapping presents, and it will never makes its way into anyone's sock. Hmm. Maybe you should buy twice as much, then!

Michael Pinckney from Pinckney Cookies. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

"You're going to love these cookies." Hey, it says it on their website, and I believe everything I read on the intertube. But seriously, meet Michael Pinckney and Pinckney Cookie Café. Michael makes some seriously good cookies, and I can attest... you will, in fact, love these cookies. They come in four flavors: The Pinckney Original, Dark Chocolate Oatmeal, Bing Bling! and Classic Chocolate Chip. They are chewy and delicious, and they are made with local Shepherd's Grain flour. What? You are gluten-intolerant? Never fear! All four flavors come in gluten-free versions, too! Happy Holidays, indeed.

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.