Wednesday, September 29th: Chef Dustin Ronspies of Art Of The Table Helps Us Wrap Up 2010 Market Season!

Yup. Today is the last day of the 2010 season for your Wallingford Farmers Market. It has been a somewhat challenging season. The summer that wasn't delayed or outright eliminated many crops, and lots rumors created confusion about the future of your market. We at the Seattle Farmers Market Association, operators of your Wallingford Farmers Market, are committed to returning to Wallingford in 2011, at a site to be determined soon. We are working diligently now to secure a site that will work well for the Market and its future neighbors, and still serve the great people of Wallingford. We appreciate our hosts at Wallingford Center for their several years of graciousness and generosity. They have always donated the space for your Wallingford Farmers Market. Due to the need for additional parking for their many tenants, we had to shrink the footprint of the Market in 2010, making it too small to continue to be viable at this location. We know you love your Market. We do, too. And we'll see you next spring. Stay tuned to these pages for news.

Hey, by the way, Chef Dustin Ronspies of Art of the Table, the guy that did our first cooking demonstrations at your Wallingford Farmers Market back in 2007 -- all four of them! -- will perform another of his informative, entertaining and delicious cooking demonstrations today at 4 p.m. to close out the season. Dustin creates new menus at his restaurant every week built around the fresh, local ingredients he finds at Wallingford and Ballard Farmers Markets (where we expect to see all of you during the cold, dark, wet months, as its open all year), so he can teach us a thing or two about how to use local goodness from the Market.

Check out these sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Not many farms in Washington grow sweet potatoes, so these are a rare treat. In fact, before last fall, I had never seen sweet potatoes sold at Seattle-area farmers markets. Lyall Farms was the first. They are delicious, nutritious, and they will keep for months. So stock up now!

Aren't these the coolest looking shelling beans. These are orca beans from Alm Hill Gardens, named, obviously, for their coloring that makes them look like orca whales. They are actually an experimental bean Alm Hill is growing in a trial for Washington State University. The program is developing quite a number of shelling bean varieties that will thrive in Western Washington, as well as taste great and be nutritious. For now, we get to enjoy the delicious progress. Eat them fresh, or shell them and freeze them in pint freezer bags and use them all winter.

Oh, you are gonna miss these pluots next week. So enjoy them now. These beauties are Dinosaur Egg pluots from Collins Family Orchards from over in Selah. I've had the pleasure of visiting their orchards. It is truly extraordinary how many different varieties of fruit they have growing there. They continue to try out new varieties, and they've even developed a few of their own. I got a master class in grafting while I was there, in fact. Amazing stuff. So why not stop by and thank them, and all the other great vendors at your Wallingford Farmers Market, for all they have done for us all this season. I mean, remember, we all are essentially large, domesticated livestock living in a huge feedlot we call Seattle, where everything has to be brought into us. The good news is, compared to other big U.S. cities, we are the equivalent of grass-finished beef cattle the way we get to eat around here. A normal day for us is the envy of the rest of the nation. So please, take a moment to thank your farmers today.

Hey. We've got wild chanterelle mushrooms for you at your Wallingford Farmers Market! Stoney Plains has them. They've been foraging around the forest that neighbors their farm, and we are the beneficiaries. So pick some up today, and enjoy!

Full Circle Farm grows more varieties of carrots than anyone else around here. They grow the standard (though not historically soorange carrots, yellow carrots, thumbelina carrots (they are those stubby orange carrots), and even these gorgeous purple and white carrots (above). Each type of carrot has different characteristics, flavors and uses, from perfect eaten raw to great for juicy to ideal for souping and roasting. Try them all!

Of course, this is just a highlighting of what you will find today. There is still plenty of other stuff just waiting for you at your Wallingford Farmers Market this week. For a full accounting of what you will find, click on “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner. And we'll see you, somewhere in Wallingford, next spring!