September 23rd: It's Officially Fall! No, Really. It's Fall. Ignore Your Thermometer.

Strawberries from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons. Yep. It's the first full day of fall, despite the fact that it is in the 80s. And yep, these are strawberries that you will find from Sidhu Farms today at your Wallingford Farmers Market. You know, my friends Jeff and Amanda got married on September 23rd precisely because the weather is always beautiful in Seattle on this date. Amanda knew this because her birthday is the day before, and it never rained here on her birthday. Thus, they confidently planned an outdoor wedding in September. But don't let this seemingly endless summer weather of 2009 lull you into a sense of complacency that summer will never end. It already has, and now our days are shorter than our nights. Your Wallingford Farmers Market is running out of daylight to operate in 2009 as of next week, so get down here and stock up now, while you can.

Strawberries from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Gone soon until we return in May 2010 will be images like this of children needing no explanation whatsoever that fresh fruits and vegetables are good for them. Kids just know that they taste great. When I see Corporate America putting out advertising that says that you have to hide nutrition from kids by buying their heavily processed cra... err... I mean stuff that's filled with sugar and salt and artificial flavor enhancers because kids won't like the taste, or even the concept, of good food, I just refer to images like this one above. I mean really. Have you seen that ad for Chef Boyardee Ravioli that says it has a "full serving of vegetables in every serving"? Nevermind the fact that the FDA says kids should to eat about nine serving of fruits and vegetables a day... Chef Boyardee puts out the message that you can't even mention the word "vegetables" in front of kids, lest they refuse to eat it. Of course, since all kids intuitively know that nothing healthy comes out of a can, if you serve them something in a can, they'll eat it. Are we really that stupid? It seems to me that if kids like these above seem to naturally like fresh fruits and vegetables, and if kids intuitively know that stuff out of a can is not real food, then it is up to us adults not to fall victim to Corporate America's propaganda by teaching our kids to eat out of cans in the first place. They already know better. It is our fault if they end up learning differently.

This sign hung at a farmers market vendor's booth means it accepts FMNP checks. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The waning market season means that now is a great time to use up any remaining Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) checks. If you or someone you know received Senior or WIC FMNP checks this year, use them before the Market goes on its winter hiatus. Just because the checks say they are good until the end of October does not mean that the Market will still be here for you to spend them into October. The last day of the Wallingford Farmers Market for 2009 is Wednesday, September 30th. Use your checks now, while it is still easy to come your Wallingford Farmers Market. Oh, and the Market accepts Food Stamps, too. Inquire at the Market Information table.

Also we have a great cooking demonstration lined up for you at 4 p.m. today with Chef Larkin Young from Titlh in Madison Valley. Come get great cooking ideas for the end of summer, and for fall, using the bounty of the Market.

Chef Leah Gerrard of Sea Breeze Farm's restaurant, La Boucherie. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of chefs, Wallingford Farmers Market has enjoyed the company of Chef Leah Gerrard of Sea Breeze Farm's restaurant, Le Boucherie, who has helped out Smiling John over the last few weeks. Besides all the deliciousness for which Leah is responsible at the farm's restaurant, she is also responsible for creating the goodness you see displayed in front of her, above. And she's just plain charming.

Alan, from Olsen Farms, Mr. Potato Head and Market Manager Jessica. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Besides all the great food you find at your Wallingford Farmers Market, you also find great characters who you will miss until next May, so get your full doses of them today and next Wednesday, while you can.

Honey infused apple cider vinegar from Brookfield Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just in time for you to stock up for the cool, wet, dark months, Brookfield Farm has added two new vinegars -- honey-infused apple cider and brown rice vinegar -- to its honey lineup. Grab some for all those winter cooking applications you'll have, or for a great gift.

Parsnips from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I'll leave you with this wonderful image of a great fall crop: parsnips from Full Circle Farm. Parsnips are a wonderful root with a deep sweetness and earthiness. Combine them with celeriac and potatoes for a great soup or simple mashed potato alternative. And they are great roasted with other roots.

Yep, it's fall alright, despite the weather. So enjoy the weather, and your Wallingford Farmers Market, while you can. You will miss them both soon. And for a full accounting of what you'll find at the Market today, click on "What's Fresh Now!" in the upper right-hand corner.