Sunday, August 31st: Ginormous Juicy Melons, Adorable Summer Squash, Charming Cherry Tomatoes, Glorious Gala Apples & Saying Sayonara To Succulents... For Now, Anyway.

Succulents in late summer light from Phocas Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons. Hey kids! September begins... tomorrow! And that means our buddy, Jimmy, from Phocas Farms, has to retire to his farm in Port Angeles to tend to his saffron crop, which is beginning to spring to life now. So today is your last chance until early next year to stock up on succulents and saffron corms to plant in your own yard. Stop by today, get what you need, and wish Jimmy a happy fall and a bountiful saffron harvest!

Ginormous melons from Lyall Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Lyall Farms has lots of these ginormous, delicious, juicy melons right now at  your Ballard Farmers Market. They grow all different kinds of melons, some all too familiar, and others downright strange. But they are all great and just waiting to make a mess out of your best shirt!

A rainbow of carrots from Oxbow Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm is rocking the carrots right now, in a rainbow of colors. They've got 'em white, orange and purple at present, each with their own particular levels of sweetness, some suited best for roasting, while others are best raw. So stop by and get your carrot on now! And if you want to learn more about carrots than you ever thought there was to know about them, check out the World Carrot Museum online, where you'll learn, for instance, that orange is a relatively new color for carrots.

Late summer strawberries from Sidhu Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Sidhu Farms has a fresh crop of late summer strawberries for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Gorgeous, aren't they? These are from a class of strawberry varieties known as "ever-bearing," which means they will keep producing blooms and fruit until it gets too cold and dark to do so. Spring varieties are known as "June-bearing," which means they are naturally genetically preset to bloom and produce fruit for only a specific period of time, usually 10-14 days in and around June, after which they go dormant again until next year. See, aren't you glad you tuned in to your Ballard Farmers Market blog this week?

Baby summer squash from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Meet baby squash, little summer squash that are so sweet and so beautiful, and the perfect size for sautéing whole. See, Growing Things Farm sorts their summer squash by size -- baby, toddler, adolescent... even tiny ones with full blossoms attached -- so that you can get the perfect ones for your special meal… which ends up being every meal, when you eat them!

Gala apples from Martin Family Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These are Gala apples from Martin Family Orchards, just in time for packing in the kiddies lunch bags. (Yikes! Tomorrow is September!) And in case you haven’t noticed, this year has seen the fruit trees of Washington put out record fruit sets of the most delicious fruit ever, earlier than ever. See, global warming does have its up sides.

Celery from Boistfort Valley Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

It's celery season, good people of Ballard! Wait, what? Celery season, you ask? I get it. You still get your celery at the Big Box store, and they have it all year-round. But that celery cannot hold a candle to this celery from Boistfort Valley FarmThis celery is fresh, firm, crisp and, believe it or not, sweet. Yes, sweet. That's because of its freshness and how it is grown. See, the celery you are getting from the Big Box store was harvested a week or two ago and shipped here from thousands of miles away. This celery was harvested yesterday afternoon in Thurston County. If you have never had farm-fresh celery, you owe it to yourself to try some today. You will never look at Big Box celery the same again!

Early Italian prunes from Magana Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

I heart Italian prunes. Yes, prunes. Not plums. These are early Italian prunes from Magana Farms. Prunes are a free-stone stone fruit, meaning they release easily from their pit. They have a denser, sweeter flesh than plums, which are not free-stone, and they take well to cooking and drying, though I love them fresh, too. Of course, the Corporate Agribusiness Yahoos at the California Prune Board would have you believe that these are plums. Why? Because they are about marketing, not about food, and they worry that "prune" is too closely associated with keeping ones bowels regular. And I won't lie to you... they will do just that. But that should not be a reason to rename them. I mean, why are we so afraid of stuff that is good for us, to the extent we will avoid it even though it is also delicious? How stupid have we become? Well, if you go ask Sam at Pasteria Lucchese what he thinks, he will tell you that he and his fellow Italians are still proud to call these what they really are: prunes! Celebrate them! Eat them! Sauce them! Syrup them! Dry them! Just don't call them plums!

Artichokes from Nash's Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Another true love of Italians everywhere (and especially in Italy, for some reason) are fresh artichokes. They steam them. They grill them. They toss them with pasta, make them into soup, put them on pizza. They are crazy for them! If you are, too, now is your time. Get thee to Nash's Organic Produce with all due haste and enjoy these beautiful artichokes today!

Cherry tomatoes from Gaia's Harmony Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Gaia's Harmony Farm has lots and lots of these spectacular cherry tomatoes today! But wait, don't they just sell berries and juice, you ask? Nope. So come get you some of these wonderful, organic cherry tomatoes today at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Artisan breads from Tall Grass Bakery at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Nothing like a nice, chewy loaf of crusty artisan bread from Tall Grass Bakery to make your meal complete. From pain au levain, a lovely, sour loaf made with whole wheat, to hominy, made with, um, hominy, to their just plain comforting oat and honey bread, Tall Grass has set the standard for great bread in Seattle since their humble beginning with our market organization almost 20 years ago.

These organic estate wines come from Wilridge Winery in Madrona. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget a nice bottle of wine from Seattle’s original winery: Wilridge. These bottles, above, in fact, are their estate wines, made from grapes they grow themselves in the tiny Naches Heights appellation, just west of Yakima in the foothills of the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains. Stop by their tent for a sample today, then grab a bottle of Washington winemaking history from right here in Seattle to enjoy tonight!

A bee enjoying a sunflower from The Old Farmer at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Let us finish this week's epistle with this image of a happy little honey bee on freshly cut sunflowers from The Old Farmer, just across the isle from Oxbow Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Ballard is home to lots of honey bees, many of which reside atop restaurants like Bastille. And on Sundays, they get to enjoy the wonders of the Market just like you do!

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.