Sunday, September 14th: Signs Of The Changing Seasons, In Spite Of The Thermometer!

Oysters on the half-shell, on the beach at Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo courtesy Hama Hama Oyster Company. Sorry I'm late getting this week's post up. I was waylaid by the wonderful wedding of Chefs Dustin and Shannon of Art of the Table. Short on ceremony. Long on merriment and amazing local food, much of which came from the farmers right here at your Ballard Farmers Market! (Heck, some of those farmers were even there.) Congrats, kids! But let's get down to bidniz here, as there is plenty of it. We are seeing strong signs of fall's approach on our tables this week, in spite of what today's weather forecast looks like. And cooler, longer nights (and a few epic gully washers) have brought water temps down enough for Hama Hama Oysters to be able to harvest from their oyster beds again. Says Lauren, "We'll have Hama Hama and Blue Pool oysters again this weekend. Oyster season is back on!"

Suncrest peaches from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And I love it when our vendors make it easy for me by writing copy and sending it to me. Text like this from Stina of Booth Canyon Orchard:

We have TONS of Italian prunes this year. We will have them at Ballard Farmers Market for at least the next 3-4 weeks. Also this week, very special Crandall BLACK CURRANTS. Not sure what one does with them, but European baker types rave about them. This week also: Sweet 16 apples, Orcas pears (this week only), and more Suncrest peaches (pictured above... last week for those).

And if you have a favorite use for those Crandall Black Currents, do share. (And thanks, Stina!)

Black turtle shelling beans from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things Farm’s lovely displays of green beans have given way to displays of shelling beans now. See, that’s what many of those green beans do. They mature into these shelling beans. It’s like “green onions” and “green garlic.” It’s the immature fruit of the plant. And these black turtle shelling beans are the mature fruit. If you like black beans, these are them, fresh from the field. Pop open the pod, and those beans are black as night! And they will taste better than any dried beans you’ve ever had, too.

Italian prunes from ACMA Mission Orchards at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of Italian prunes, ACMA Mission Orchards has them right now, too. But aren’t these really plums, you ask? Aren’t all prunes dried plums? Actually, all plums are members of the family Prunus. These are proper prunes, with a more oval shape, to a plum’s round shape. And all prunes are freestones, meaning they come easily off of their pit for easy eating, drying and cooking. Think of the sauces, chutney and jams! This is an extraordinary year for these prunes, like so many other crops, so enjoy it while you can.

Celery from One Leaf Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s getting deep into celery season folks. Nothing like some crisp celery on a crisp night. Besides, you are cooking more now, and your heartier fall recipes call for lots of this super food. Lucky for you, One Leaf Farm has some gorgeous celery right now, grown just a few miles from here in Carnation!

Gene Panida of Wilson Fish holding a whole wild Washington king salmon at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

The Washington coastal king salmon fishing season closes on September 15th -- that's Tuesday. And it means that you have just this Sunday and next to get some of this amazing fresh, local king salmon from our friends at Wilson Fish. And don't forget their amazing smoked king salmon, too!

Belgian-style ales from Propolis Brewing. Photo copyright 2014 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Piper from Propolis Brewing reports that they have a few new releases today, and the return of their award-winning Litha, their chamomile golden saison. Their three new releases include:
  • Salmonberry Sour 7.5% ~ a tart, creamy, woodsy, can't-put-your-finger-on-it...wild salmonberry ale... Ridiculous...and very limited...
  • Erthe 4.5% ~ a crisp golden saison brewed with thyme (classic refreshing Golden Saison)
  • Gardin 7.5% ~ an amber herbal saison aged in a beautiful Eaglemount Syrah barrel
And it's last call for Corona Farms Borage ~ a borage flower ale with delicate cucumber, floral, marmalade champagne notes.

Coriander from Oxbow Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Here is something we don't see very often at your Ballard Farmers Market: coriander! But given this summer's heat, many a farmer's cilantro crop bolted. And a few patient farmers just let it go to seed. And what is the seed of cilantro called? That's right, it's called coriander. If you are in the market for the freshest coriander you will ever encounter, stop by Oxbow Farm today and grab a bunch. Oh, and they'll have some righteous strawberries today, too, as well as some lovely table grapes.

Concorde pears from Tiny's Organic at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Big, beautiful and delicious Concorde pears from Tiny’s Organic are in at your Ballard Farmers Market. These giants of the pear world are the quintessential pear, a cross between the great ancient Conference and Comice varieties, developed in England years ago. They enjoy a superior flavor, texture and a dramatic, classical pear shape. They are only around for a month or two each fall, so enjoy them while you can!

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

Holy season changes, Batman! Winter squash is in the house at your Ballard Farmers Market! Yup. Several farmers today will have the sweet, delicious gourds favored for the cold, dark, wet months. With our nights longer and cooler, it is time to crank up the oven and roast you some squashy deliciousness, filling your whole home with its aroma before you devour it mercilessly. These particular beauties come from Boistfort Valley Farm.

Sweet corn from Alm Hill Gardens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

More Westside sweet corn has arrived at your Ballard Farmers Market. You’ll find these big, beautiful, sweet ears of corn from Alm Hill Gardens in Everson.

Here is a tip for chosing corn:instead of pulling open the top to see if it is filled out, simply run your thumb over the outside of the husk. You can easily feel the mature kernels inside. See, when you actually tear the corn open, you are actually ruining it either for yourself or the next person, because the minute you do that, all the delicious sugars in it that make it so sweet begin to turn to starch. So please, never tear open the husk to examine it before you buy it. If you need help choosing the best ears, just ask. Our farmers are more than happy to lend you a hand.

Kimchi, Krauts & more from Firefly Kitchens at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Look who's back today at your Ballard Farmers Market! It's Firefly Kitchens, and their awesome selection of naturally fermented vegetables made with great local ingredients. Choose from their award-winning kimchi, their Yin-Yang carrots, or any of their krauts, from the classic kraut that is the friend of hot dogs everywhere, to the brilliant caraway kraut that pairs perfectly with any of the various bratwursts from the farmers in the Market.

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

You may recall that 2013 was a great year for many crops, but a lousy year for carrots. And the carrots for which Nash's Organic Produce is famous took a particularly bad beating last year. So this year, to hedge their bets, Nash's planted a lot more carrots. Of course, as Murphy's Law would have it, 2014 turned out to be a great year for carrots. The result is, Nash's has lots of their famous carrots now, and they are offering them at a special price today.

Sweet peppers from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Colinwood Farm is harvesting a bunch of beautiful peppers from their greenhouses in Port Townsend this summer. They have these colorful sweet peppers as well as a great selection of hot peppers. And while it is true that Westside peppers tend not to be as hot as Eastside peppers, even the Westsiders are toasty this year. See, hot peppers get their heat enhanced by the sun. More sun and more heat means hotter peppers. Their poblano peppers are particularly good right now. Enjoy!

Young reishi mushrooms from Ascended Grounds at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

This is a block of fresh, young reishi mushrooms that were ground by Cascadia Mushrooms for Ascended Grounds. Ascended Grounds then takes these wonderfully medicinal fungi and makes beverages and tinctures that are both delicious and darn good for you. I’m not sure I am versed well enough to do it justice, but they say, “Ascended Grounds transforms what it means to drink a cup of coffee. Using the ascended health practices of ancient masters, we are awakening your mug and your consciousness to upgrade your health and quality of life. Let us introduce you to the incredible synergy of medicinal mushrooms and coffee. Your ‘morning cup of joe’ will never be generic again!” Stop by today for a taste, and for the whole story, at your Ballard Farmers Market!

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.