Ballard Farmers Market grows into Bergen Place Park.
We are glad to have a little more space to keep more of our fine foods and craft vendors longer through the summer as the farms begin to rush into the Ballard Farmers Market with their larger harvests. You may have noticed over the years, the market experiences a gradual loss of some of our favorite food makers and handmade crafts as we have more and bigger farm presence. A shout-out goes to the City Department of Parks and Recreation for approving our use permit of Bergen Place. Now we can keep more of our fine vendors working in Ballard. You'll see a rotating variety of vendors over the coming months, like: Veraci Pizza! Their famous pizza oven cooking pizzas with many locally sourced toppings, was scheduled to move into Bergen Place at Ballard Farmers Market this Sunday, but they brought the wrong size truck and can't make it work. I apologize to those readers who saw this False alarm last night and the earlier post this morning. We will try to work it out for next week.
IT'S SPRING TONIC TIME
Spring Greens from Stoney Plains Farm
and Foraged and Found
Once upon a time, in the far distant past, mothers and crones and medicine women were the keepers of the villagers' health. It was from them that the secret of the Spring Tonic was imposed into the family diets and for treating illnesses in the community. The medicine women had learned, what much later would be named by modern science as Micro-Nutrients and Vitamin C, were effective at helping people fight off the ravages of the winter weather and effects of less food for the people during the dark months. They knew the secrets of recovery that were held within the bright green shoots emerging in the forests around them.
Miners Lettuce, saved many miners' lives during the mid-1800s. Many men were taken in by the myths of "gold in them thar hills" that came out of the California Gold Rush. These guys were gullible. They thought that within a few weeks, they could just walk around the mountains, picking up huge gold nuggets, and return home with their fortunes before their families missed them. Consequently, many opted not to bring food supplies with them and, of course, many soon began to starve. Luckily, the mountain ranges of the West Coast had a native plant, Claytonia profoliata, growing everywhere in the forests. This beautiful and delicious green was packed with vitamins, most especially "C", and its common name, of Miners Lettuce is a testament to how many miners' lives it was responsible for saving and how many of those silly men made it back from the wilds of the Northern California Sierras alive, if poorer. Excellent in salads, as a beautiful garnish on any food, and used on sandwiches in place of lettuce. The flavor is almost tart, but mild, and children love eating it fresh picked.
Both Nettles and Chickweed, endemic to fields and forest, paths and hedgerows, have also provided natural remedies for eons. One is scary and the other is stepped on wherever you go.
Chickweed is delicate and if soaked in cold water for an hour or four, will leach many of their healthful nutrients into the water and provide a refreshing drink to those who may have to re-hydrate from congestion or a cough from a cold. Then use the greens in a fresh salad, on sandwiches, or as a garnish, much like you would parsley or cilantro sprigs.
The Nettles, with their prickly leaves, should be placed in a bowl of water, rinsed and drained. Best if you use a pair of tongs or a spoon so as not to touch them with your hands. Then throw them into a saute pan with mushrooms, onions and/or garlic, and eaten like any great vegetable. Their sting disappears with the cooking, and may be responsible for a big part of the nutrition they provide.
AND THERE IS MORE !
Stop by to Welcome One Leaf Farm
Our amazing weather has caused bumper crops that are popping out of the fields of our area farms like magic. One Leaf Farm is one of those. I got a call from Alice, formerly the beauty who was always seen behind the tables of Oxbow Farm in the past years. Now she works with Rand Rasheed.
It seems these two powerhouse women farmers had more greens than the restaurants they normally supply could use this week. So when they asked if they could bring One Leaf Farm greens this week, I jumped at the chance to bring them to Ballard Farmers Market.
YES! WE HAVE EGGS!
And that's not the only treat we have this Spring. The hens love the balmy weather too. Just about all of our egg farmers are having great egg production right now. And they are the best, freshest, and often hugest eggs you can find without having a coop in your back yard. Perfect for Easter egg hunts and deviled egg plates on the dinner table. Don't worry, the market has all the eggs you could ever want this year. If you have an Egg dying project coming up, be assured that you can dye the brown ones too. Not surprisingly, the colors come out more vibrant and intense than when using white eggs. I found a fun website a few years ago with ideas for brown egg decorating. I thought it had creative ideas. Check it out here: http://roscommonacres.com/2012/04/how-to-decorate-brown-eggs-for-easter/
LOPEZ ISLAND WINERY'S LAST WEEK
A consistent winner of prizes for Best-of-Category, Lopez Island Vineyards will be taking a hiatus from the Ballard Farmers Market in order to catch up with the many Spring chores that a vineyard has. Again, because of this amazing weather, the vines are requiring a lot of attention. As so many of our farms, Brent Charnley and Maggie Nilan, are working the vineyards and running the winery almost entirely by themselves. You're encouraged to come to market this Sunday, stock up on their very special wines and say goodbye. If you have the time, volunteer to help out at LIV, and you could find yourself with an interesting job while you enjoy one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Be sure to pick up enough bottles to last until they return. Luckily wine keeps in a cool pantry or basement excellently, actually getting better. It's a feeling of security to have a stock of great wines, ready for that special occasion when only the best local taste will meet the standard of what you want to sip. Try taking home their most recent winner, Malbec, their lovely Gold Winning Madeline Angevine, it won a Platinum Award, and the Siegerrebe white wine, declared "top-quality" by Wine Press Northwest.
NEED SOMETHING NEW FOR THE SPRING?
Find a one of a kind skirt to brighten up these warmer days. Children's sizes are also available.