Sunday, March 16th: Of Emperors, Saints, Confectioners, Fishers & Playwrights, Just For The Halibut!

Fresh halibut from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons. Holy Halibut, Batman! The Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife has opened the Washington Coast to a rare March halibut fishery. And Wilson Fish will have this prized local fish today at your Ballard Farmers Market, while it lasts! Normally, we don't see fresh, local halibut until May. When asked why Fish & Wildlife opened this historically early halibut fishery, a spokesperson said, "Just for the halibut." (And no, I'm not sorry!)

Daffodils from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As we pass through the Ides of March this weekend, we begin to look forward to spring, which arrives at the end of the week. In this March of record rainfalls, let's celebrate spring's approach by bringing a little of this month's rare but spectacular sunshine indoors in the form of these gorgeous daffodils from Children's Garden. (And for those playing along with this week's game of "pin the reference in the post title to its corresponding reference in the body of the post," Ides of March is a reference to both an emperor and a playwright.)

Savoy cabbage from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tomorrow is Saint Patrick's Day, the day on which the 13% or so of Americans who do not have any Irish blood in them drink green beer, wear silly hats and act in a manor that, frankly, is unbecoming of the Irish people. Woohoo! And did you know that there were no actual snakes in Ireland? See, the snakes that Saint Patrick drove out were actually pagans. But hey, we Irish-Americans only seem to get this one day of the year to celebrate our heritage, so why not break out the corned beef, cabbage, red potatoes and rutabagas and get our soul-warming one pot dinner on?! Personally, my favorite cabbage for said purpose is this lovely Savoy cabbage from Nash's Organic Produce. Because its leaves are less tightly packed than green cabbage, and it is full of nooks and crannies, it cooks faster and absorbs better all the delicious spices in the corned beef broth. Nummers!

Desiree potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I am a big fan of these Desiree potatoes from Olsen Farms for my corned beef feast. They, too, absorb the flavors of the pot well, and their waxy, yellow flesh mashes nicely with butter. However, if you boil your pot, instead of simmering it, they do have a tendency to break apart. Then again, your corned beef won't be happy, either! Another great option from Olsen is their Red Lasoda potatoes.

Classic sauerkraut from Firefly Kitchens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For all those corned beef leftovers, it'll be corned beef sandwich time, and for that, you'll need plenty of classic sauerkraut from Firefly Kitchens. I love this stuff. It is naturally fermented and the perfect compliment to corned beef.

Fresh, local butter from Golden Glen Creamery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We Irish loves us some butter, the richer the better. And we'll need plenty of it around for slathering onto our potatoes and our soda bread tomorrow night. Lucky for us, Golden Glen Creamery up in Bow makes great butter from the milk of their Jersey cows. Don't forget to get a little extra for the Faeries.

An "Irish" marion berry pie from Deborah's Homemade Pies. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I'm sure just how "Irish" a marion berry pie is, but hey, it's got a shamrock on it, right? And since it is from Deborah's Homemade Pies, you know it will be ridiculously good. So what the heck? Make dinner in one pot, and let Deborah make dessert!

Hard ciders from Eaglemount Wine & Cider. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, okay... alcohol in fact does have historical, if not hysterical, relevance to St. Paddy's Day festivities. See, the Church let folks dispense with Lenten dietary restrictions on St. Patrick's Day, and that meant eating and drinking. It is a day of feasting, after all! Why not celebrate with some great, local hard cider from Eaglemount Wine & Cider? Today, they will be sampling many of their cider flavors, so find the one(s) you like!

Truffles from Soulever Chocolates. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Meet the newest member of the vendor lineup at your Ballard Farmers Market: Soulever Chocolates. Their chocolates are predominantly organic, low glycemic, and dairy, gluten, and soy free, and they use local ingredients where they can. These are well-suited for folks with dietary restrictions (such as paleo, vegan or diabetic). Enjoy!

Beef rib chop from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sea Breeze Farm has some amazing, long dry-aged beef steaks and chops available right now. If you want to indulge yourself with one of the beefiest tasting steaks you'll ever have, give one of these a try. Their cattle are raised on lush, natural pasture on Vashon Island, and long dry-aging evaporates much of the water weight while deepening the complex flavors. And keep this in mind: dry-aged beef costs more, but you are paying for less water. What you get at the Big Box stores is hardly aged at all and is loaded with water. If you removed the water weight from it, you'd find that you are actually paying a lot more per pound of beef than you realized!

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.