Wednesday, September 12th: Peppers, Eggplant, Potatoes, Tomatoes -- It's A Nightshade Party!

Hey kids, there are just three weeks left in the 2012 season at your Wallingford Farmers Market. It is getting dark earlier every day, and by September 26th, we'll be packing up in the dark, as Meridian Park has no lights. So take advantage of your neighborhood market now, and stock up like a squirrel for the cold, dark, wet months. Denial won't make them stay away, and won't stop the earth spinning on its axis, and unless you plan on installing lights for us and renegotiating our contract with the Parks Department, you'll be having to come visit your favorite market vendors at our year-round Ballard Farmers Market come October. In the meantime, we've got plenty of local deliciousness for you for the rest of September -- lots -- and to help us make the most of it, we've also got a great lineup of cooking demonstrations, starting today at 4 p.m. with Chef Renee Erickson of Boat Street Cafe, The Walrus & The Carpenter, and soon-to-open in Wallingford, The Whale Wins.

One Leaf Farm is rocking the nightshade crops right now, from tomatoes to potatoes to these beautiful red bell peppers and Japanese eggplant. It is truly an explosion of colorful, late-summer deliciousness today at your Wallingford Farmers Market. Enjoy!

These stunning black-eyed susans from Pa Garden just scream September, don’t they? You know, ever since I first began working with farmers markets like a century ago — okay, it was 1991, but still… — I have come to recognize that our seasons are color-coded. And at no time of year is this more evident than right now, as we begin our shift from summer to fall crops. Think about that as you continue on reading this week’s epistle, and enjoy it in all its splendor as you walk through your Wallingford Farmers Market today. Because we have now entered the highest of the high season — September is peak season for local produce, and at no other time of year will you find more different crops on our farmers’ tables than right now!

The crew at Alm Hill Gardens is modeling their big heads... of lettuce, that is! I mean, these heads of lettuce are actually bigger than their heads, right? Of course, I did have an image of them looking all prim and proper, but that wouldn't be any fun. So I went into Vogue photo shoot mode -- "Work it!" "Gimme some pout!" After all, lettuce is sexy. Well, you see the results.

Winter squash has arrived at your Wallingford Farmers Market! This is kabocha winter squash from Alvarez Organic Farms. They've also got spaghetti and butternut squash now. I realize that winter squash might seem premature on your menu, but remember, if you let the stems dry fully, and store them in a cool, dry, dark place with stems intact, they will last for months.

Potatoes also keep well, so stock up on them, too! These all blue potatoes from Olsen Farms are exactly what they sound like -- all blue, through and through. They are great roasted in a hot oven, steamed and mashed with good butter from Golden Glen Creamery, or even chipped and fried. Yes, blue potato chips! In fact, pick up some red-fleshed and white fleshed potatoes from Olsen, and make red, white and blue potato chips!

Tomato season rolls on. With our late-starting warm, dry summer, they are hitting their peak right now! Doesn't a salad with lots of these cherry tomatoes from Summer Run Farm sound lovely right about now? Or how about poaching them in some olive oil and then adding them to a lovely succotash or pasta dish. Seriously. They're vine-ripened tomatoes. How can you got wrong?

These savory gluten-free dinner rolls from Dolce Lou will please any palate, whether or not your diet requires you to avoid gluten. Of course, if your diet does, these rolls will make you extra happy! They are moist, chewy and full of flavor — words not often associated with gluten-free bread products. Then again, everything Dolce Lou produces is special!

Please remember to bring your own bags today, and every Wednesday, as Seattle’s single-use plastic bag ban is now in effect. Also, please take note of our new green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Wallingford Farmers Market, and please make an effort to use them correctly. Each container has what’s okay to put in it pictured right on the lid. Please do not put the wrong materials in, because that drives up the cost of recycling and composting, and it can result in the entire container being sent instead to a landfill. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.

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!