Sunday, August 3rd: Juicy Melons, Local Tuna, Lemon Cucumbers, Cascading Beans, Succulent Sausages & Gluten-Free Goodies!

Cantaloupe melon from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons. Cantaloupe in the house! Woohoo! Washington produces an amazing diversity and quantity of melons, and our plant researchers and hybridists have developed some of the best melons anywhere. And yet, this humble, downright ancient, cantaloupe from Alvarez Organic Farms still remains a showstopper for flavor and juiciness. They are ripe and ready for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Local albacore tuna loins from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It's the first Sunday of August, and that means it's local albacore tuna day at your Ballard Farmers Market! Yes, Fishing Vessel St. Jude is here the first Sunday of every month with their sashimi grade frozen loins that are favored by chefs all over Seattle, as well as the best canned tuna you will ever taste... anywhere.

Lemon cucumbers from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look kids! It’s time for lemon cucumbers from One Leaf Farm! Now, of course they get their name from looking like lemons, but I think this year’s crop might look so much like lemons that I might squeeze one into my iced tea by accident and then wonder why it tastes like cucumber.

A cascade of yellow wax beans from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things Farm grows lots of different kinds of beans, and their cascading displays of them are almost as delicious as the beans themselves. Like these yellow wax beans flowing like a waterfall out of this bucket. Their beans come in a rainbow of colors, some round and skinny, and others wide and flat, and a few that are speckled. Green bean season is always so short, and when they’re gone, they’re just plain gone. Enjoy them while you can!

Arctic Star nectarines from Tiny's Organic. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These white-fleshed, organic Arctic Star nectarines from Tiny’s Organic are very sweet. In fact, when I tried drying them one summer, I ended up with little slices that seemed more like candy than dried fruit.

Lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This past Sunday marked the earliest we've ever been able to capture wild lobster mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles on pixels. Mind you, the fickle nature of, um, nature, and the ever-changing demands of local chefs do influence when we see wild, foraged foods at your Ballard Farmers Market more than cultivated crops. Heck, we aren't even sure they'll have these again today. But rest assured that Foraged & Found Edibles will have some delicious jewels of the wild waiting for you today, no matter what!

Cranberry shelling beans from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cranberry shelling beans are in at Alm Hill Gardens a full three weeks earlier than we’ve every seen them before! Now it is proper succotash season! Cook these bad boys up whilst still fresh by boiling them in well-salted water for about 20 minutes, or until just tender. Then drain them and toss them in a skillet with sweet corn freshly cut off the cob, green onions, fresh garlicparsley and some bacon from Skagit River Ranch or Olsen Farms, and just heat it through. No need to cook it to death. Remember to render out the bacon before adding the other ingredients to the pan, and use the bacon fat as your cooking oil, and for flavor, of course!

Sausages from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Did you know that Olsen Farms, the folks with all those amazing potatoes and meat, also make some great sausages? And because they come pre-cooked, they are great for picnics and camping, because you don’t have to worry about cross-contaminating your work space with raw meat. Made from animals the Olsens raise themselves, they are great on the grill, the stovetop, or simply on a stick over a campfire!

Rival apricots from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We enjoyed the little apricots of early summer. Now, it’s time for the big, beautiful, delicious ones, like these Rival apricots from Collins Family Orchards. Think of the jams, the tarts, the messy shirt fronts! Rivals are a free-stone fruit, which means they release easily from their pit when you cut them in half, making them very easy to cook with!

Dukes blueberries from Jessie's Berries. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These Dukes blueberries from Jessie's Berries are plump, juicy, sweet and utterly blueberrilicious! I've been adorning my morning oatmeal with them for the last two weeks, in fact. See, I get a whole bunch of these puppies now, while they're at their peak of flavor and abundance, give them a quick rinse, dry them thoroughly by rolling them around on a paper towel, and then pop them in waves into the freezer in a single layer in a glass baking dish. They freeze quickly -- in just a couple of hours -- and then I loosen them up and pour them into a gallon freezer bag so that I can enjoy them for weeks without worrying about them spoiling. I just grab out a handful at a time. They stay loose and good for months. Get enough, and you can enjoy them all winter long this way!

Zucchini Cardamom and Ginger Peach Mini Loaf from nuflours gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These Zucchini-Cardamom and Ginger Peach mini loaves from Nuflours Gluten-Free Bakery are so go, you won't even notice that they are gluten-free. All you will notice is that you are out of cream cheese! But before that particular emergency befalls you, remember to stop by Mt. Townsend Creamery for some truffled fromage today, too.

Tacos from Los Chilangos. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Enjoy a snack of localiciousness, Mexican-style, today at your Ballard Farmers Market! Los Chilangos sources all of their animal proteins from vendors right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, like Olsen Farms and Wilson Fish. No mystery meat here! Enjoy some of their amazing tacos, or grab a breakfast burrito!

And remember, their plates, forks and napkins are all compostable. When you go to dispose of them, please take a moment to recognize our green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Ballard Farmers Market, and please make an effort to put your cup in the correct receptacle. Each receptacle 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. It’s easy. You already do it at home every day. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.

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.