And the hits just keep on coming! Yes, those are Rainier cherries! 80-11 Early Rainier cherries, to be precise, from Lyall Farms. This variety ripens a good two weeks ahead of other Rainier cherries, and Lyall Farms gets another 7-10 days head start on other farms because of the location of their orchard in the warmest, sunniest micro-climate in the state. Add to that the fact that, after colder than average months of December, January, February, March & April, and lots of rain to start off May, May ended up with warmer than average temps and sunnier than normal skies! Go figure. But hey, who's complaining? 75 and sunny, with Rainier cherries, on the first day of June in Seattle? That's fine by me!
But wait! There's more! Yes, these are sugar snap peas, I kid you not! I took this photo on Wednesday at our sister Wallingford Farmers Market, which just opened for the 2014 season. These peas are from our friends at Alvarez Organic Farms in Mabton, another of Washington's warmest, sunniest micro-climates. And Alvarez has their first harvest of Detroit red beets this week, too, and green shallots!
We'll have strawberries today from at least three different farms, and perhaps as many as six! These are organic strawberries from Gaia's Harmony Farm. This is the earliest we have had strawberries in your Ballard Farmers Market in years!
After their brief annual mid-spring rest, the fields at Nash's Organic Produce in Dungeness are roaring back to life again. This week, they have lots and lots of their amazing organic spinach for your dining pleasure, as well as freshly-milled buckwheat flour and more!
Okay, now I'm just messing with, right? Nope! These really are tomatoes, grown in Washington, this year! They are hot house vine tomatoes from Magana Farms in Sunnyside, the aptly named town in the Yakima Valley that is also in one of those special micro-climates of which Washington has more than 200. Magana's big hoop house greenhouse warms naturally using Ole Sol only. This is the same variety of tomato you see coming out of heated greenhouses just north of Bellingham in British Columbia much of the year, except they didn't require fossil fuels to ripen, or a passport to get here, and you didn't need a Big Box store, or a nameless, faceless corporate farm to bring them to you.
Hey kids! Boistfort Valley Farm returns today to your Ballard Farmers Market, again... the earliest in years! In fact, this may be the earliest they've ever come in! And you can bet they'll have lots of this gorgeous lettuce, some colorful radishes, some honey and maybe some artichokes, and much, much more.
It is the first Sunday of the month, and you know what that means? Yes, Fishing Vessel St. Jude is here today, with the finest albacore tuna you will find anywhere.
Yay! Collard greens are back, baby! I loves me some organic collard greens from Oxbow Farm in Duvall, preferably with some lovely jowl bacon from Olsen Farms, and some green garlic from Alm Hill Gardens. Yeah, baby! Oh, and guess what? Allen is back at Olsen Farms today, too. Could life get any better?
With all these farmers and crops returning to your Ballard Farmers Market, we're running out of room for many of our beloved food artisans. You'll find many of them at our sister markets in Wallingford and Madrona all summer, though. Today, however, is the last day at Ballard until fall for Four Sisters Gourmet Sauces. So stock up today for the next few months, while you can!
And we finish off this week's epistle with yet another first: the first ever vendor truck allowed inside your Ballard Farmers Market! That's because the Soda Jerk Soda Truckster is only nine feet long, from bumper to bumper, soaking wet (as it was last week at this time), meaning it fits perfectly in a standard 10' x 10' vendor space. This adorable little fresh soda slinging, street-legal machine was made by Cushman in 1984, and it is the product, in part, of your generosity when you invested in Soda Jerk's Kickstarter campaign last year. Pretty cool, eh?
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.