Wednesday, June 20th: Raspberries, Apriums, Fava Beans, Shelling Peas & Chef Andre Randolph

Happy summer, everyone! Yup, today's the summer solstice, and it'll be warm and sunny, and we'll have 16 hours of daylight. Revel in it, because the days all get shorter from now until the winter solstice. So how's about we enjoy ourselves with the first raspberries of 2012 from Sidhu Farms. Lovely, aren't they? No, this is not a file photo. This was taken on Friday! And how apropos that we should be treated to a cooking demonstration at 4 p.m. today by Chef Andre Randolph of In-Season Catering, eh? I met Andre whipping up deliciousness for Seattle's food activists at a Food Day meeting in the Mayor's office several weeks back. He definitely can show us a thing or two to do with all the local bounty at your Wallingford Farmers Market, trust me!

Oh, for some liver and a nice chianti right about now, eh? For it's fava bean season! Woohoo! In fact, Alvarez Organic Farms has fava beans, snow peasEnglish shelling peas and more today. Heck, before long, they'll have sweet corn for us, too. I can't wait! But I will enjoy the joy of favas and peas now, while I can. Won't you join me?

Say what?!? Apriums? Already? Cereal. I mean, how crazy a spring was this that the Westside greens were slow in coming, but the Eastside cherries and apriums were early? Go figure. But why spend a lot of time pondering this. Instead, let’s just enjoy an early start to what by all accounts is going to be a record year for stone fruit in Washington. Oh, and apriums are great on the grill! Just cut ‘em in half and on the grill they go! These apriums from Tiny’s Organic Produce are genetically about 70% apricot and 30% plum, thus favoring apricots in flavor and appearance. Enjoy!

Romanesco is one of my favorite vegetables, not just because it is delicious, but because it is the only vegetable that grows in fractals! Just look at those beautifully spiraling spires that just make that college science credit you got for studying chaos theory all worthwhile. This is just one of the amazing crops that City Grown Farm is growing right here in Wallingford and in Ballard. Seriously! They are farming across some eight different plots right here in the neighborhood. So if you seriously want to support your local farmer, you've got to support these guys.

Yes, these are some of the most stunningly beautiful strawberries you have ever seen, and they are not the magic of Photoshop. These strawberries from Gaia's Natural Goods really do look like this, and they taste ever better! See, many early strawberries have an astringent quality to them, but not these. And they are so clean and perfect looking because Gaia's uses row covers. That keeps the rainwater from splashing all the dirt up onto them, and it also keeps the plants warm, so they bare fruit sooner. If you haven't introduced yourself to Gaia's yet, you must do so today! Gaosheng is set up right across from Olsen Farms.

Sprouters NW is getting more and more creative with the whole sprouts thang. Their latest additions are these lupine (left) and pea shoots.  They are a fun addition to salads and sandwiches, and make a great garnish.  The lupine shoots have a nice grassiness to them, while the pea shoots are full of pealiciousness, and of course, they both pack a nutritional punch!

Did you know that your Wallingford Farmers Market has an award-winning wine maker? Lopez Island Vineyards makes some extraordinary and unusual varieties of wines, from the Puget Sound Appellation-specific Siegerrebe, for which they just won yet another award, to their lovely Madeleine Angevine to a stunning Malbec. So why not support your local winery at your Wallingford Farmers Market, too? You can thank me later!

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, check out What’s Fresh Now!