Sunday, September 28th: It's Still Summer, Apparently. And Yet... Hardy Kiwis, Brussels Sprouts & Wreaths Have Arrived!

Hardy kiwis from Green Water Farm. Photo courtesy Green Water Farm. It is hardy kiwi season at your Ballard Farmers Market, folks! Yessir, kiwis do grow around these parts. They are a small variety, about the size of a cherry tomato, and they are awesome! Green Water Farm grows them over in Port Townsend. We missed them here last year, as it was a rough year on the crop. No such problems this year, and they are rolling in earlier than ever! Yeehaw! (Sorry, I'm listening to The Outlaws while I write this.)

Walt models a Brussels sprout tree from Summer Run Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of earlier than ever, we have never seen Brussels sprouts in September before.. well, before now! In fact, I took this photo a week ago, meaning this is the earliest we've ever seen there here by over three weeks! What up?! Summer Run Farm wins this particular record-breaking crop lottery. So bring on fall! We're ready!

Whole pastured chicken from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

As of last Monday, we passed back into the dark side of the calendar. Longer nights mean cooler days, and cooler days mean roasting a chicken indoors is bearable again, and in fact, doing so reduces the need to turn on your heat overnight. So why not stop by Growing Things Farm for one of these gorgeous, and stunningly delicious, pasture-raised chickens today? These are the chickens my family eats for Thanksgiving. And just to clarify... "pasture-raised" means they get to run around all over the place outdoors. (Trust me, I've seen them.) It does not mean they've been treated with heat to sterilize them. That would be "pasteurized," and that would make for a rather strange chicken.

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

Today is the final day for Farhad of Tall Grass Bakery at your Ballard Farmers Market… at least in his capacity working for them. Farhad is moving on to other projects after about eight years with Tall Grass. He has always been a delight to work with, and we’ll miss seeing him every Sunday. Stop by for a baguetteolive fougasse or loaf of hominy bread, and wish him well! (Note: Tall Grass Bakery ain't going anywhere. They started with us over in Fremont about 15 years ago, and we're pretty much joined at the hip now.)

Cherokee purple tomatoes from One Leaf Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

What an epic year for tomatoes! I've been hearing even the lamest of backyard gardeners saying they've been rocking the tomato action in their gardens this year. And no one rocks tomatoes quite like One Leaf Farm. These Cherokee Purple tomatoes, for instance, are outstanding right now. So juicy and perfect, begging for a dash of salt and a spoonful of mayo, or to be celebrated in a nice salad or sandwich.

Italian prunes from Booth Canyon Orchard at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Stina from Booth Canyon Orchard tells me that they have tons of these amazing Italian prunes this year. One of my favorite fruits, they are amazing dried, made into jams, chutneys or sauces, used to accent a nice duck or some pork, or just eaten right off of the stone. They are deeply sweet with a wonderful, thick flesh. And I think I'll have one right now!

Pepper wreaths and strings from Alvarez Organic Farms at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

It has been just over a month since my trip to visit Alvarez Organic Farms to see their acres and acres of pepper fields. They have over 400 varieties of peppers now. And they have a group there that has been crafting them into these spectacular pepper wreaths and pepper strings for years. But this year's are especially beautiful. They will brighten your home for weeks, they make great gifts, and because they are not treated with anything, the peppers are fully edible after they've dried out.

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

Thank you, Devon, for getting me another great recipe (below) from the kitchens of Nash's Organic Produce. This week's feature is cabbage, and they have lovely cabbage right now for you! They still have plenty of sweet corn, too, as well as celery root, spinach and basil, for that last dose of pesto. And they'll have 3-pound bags of rainbow carrots for the next two weeks at a great value!

Cabbage Roll Casserole

Servings: 6

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 head cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups veggie or chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large skillet, brown pork in oil over medium high heat until redness is gone. Drain off fat. In a large mixing bowl combine the onion, tomato sauce, cabbage, rice and salt. Add meat and mix all together. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Pour broth over meat mixture and bake in the preheated oven, covered, for 1 hour. Stir, replace cover and bake for another 30 minutes.

Pie pumpkins and blue hubbard winter squash from Colinwood Farm at Ballard Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

We finish off with some gorgeous gourds from Colinwood Farm. These are blue hubbard winter squash and sugar pie pumpkins. Hubbards make for great soups and stews, are great roasted, and are large enough to feed a small army. And the pumpkins make for great pies, custards and breads. Yes, it is warm and sunny again today, but it is fall, folks. Let's enjoy it!

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.