Welcome back! Yes, your Wallingford Farmers Market has finally returned for the 2013 season. We open up for you at 3:30 p.m. this very afternoon at Meridian Park, at the corner of N. 50th Street and Meridian Avenue N. Something you already know is that your Wallingford Farmers Market is the most beautiful farmers market in Washington, but did you also know it is the reigning Farmers Market of the Year in Washington, too? Yup! The Washington State Farmers Market Association gave us that award in January for the 2012 season, out of the some 130+ markets in the state. And that has a lot to do with our beautiful park location, our amazing vendors, our loyal neighborhood supporters, our picnickers, our buskers and our staff. Oh, and our stellar lineup of chefs! We only draw chefs from the surrounding neighborhood, unlike some other markets. Lucky for us, our neighborhood is chef rich! Take for instance our opening day chef. At 4 p.m. today, Chef Jason Brzozowy of the award-winning Tilth Restaurant will perform our first cooking demonstration of the year!
We open today with a bang! And strawberries! Yes, these are certified organic strawberries from Tiny's Organic Produce. They just started harvesting them last week. With this year's mild winter and spring, strawberries are a little ahead of schedule for a change. After all, the last few years, everything was behind schedule. And don't go thinking that early strawberries are boring. These are incredible! Enjoy!
One Leaf Farm is back this season with their gorgeous produce from East King County. They love growing those wonderfully bitter members of the chicory family, like this frisee, which is big and beautiful and available now! You'll also find awesome spicy salad mix, Japanese wax turnips with greens, collard greens, Pink Beauty radishes, heirloom lettuces and much more on their tables for opening day!
It seemed to take us a while last year to accept that we would finally have plenty of farm-fresh, local eggs each and every week at your Wallingford Farmers Market, but it was true. And this season, Sky Valley Family Farm returns with their most excellent chicken and duck eggs. Plus, they also have some nice pastured pork, and this year, some lovely treats made from their duck eggs!
Did you know that much of the world's cities grow a significant percentage of their food within city limits? See, Seattle didn't invent the kind of intensive urban farmers we think of as Pea Patches, but maybe Wallingford has perfected it. City Grown Farm actually farms multiple small patches of acreage in both Wallingford and Ballard. That means you can count their travel distance to your Wallingford Farmers Market in mere blocks, not miles. The produce they bring is nothing short of stunning, like these fabulous French breakfast radishes, which are great in salads, and even better dipped in a little butter and truffle salt! Of course, you won't find them at other farmers markets. City Grown calls your Wallingford Farmers Market home!
Woohoo! Sugar snap peas! Organic sugar snap peas, in fact, from Alvarez Organic Farms. They just started harvesting them last week -- another benefit of seasons running earlier this year. Alvarez also has green garlic, green shallots, green onions (red, white and sweet), dried beans & chiles, asparagus and more!
But wait, there's more! Cherry season also began last week! These are Burlat cherries from Lyall Farms, grown next to the Columbia River, just south of Vantage, where the long, sunny days and hot winds make for sweet fruit. And they are sweet. Burlats are a great, though often overlooked, cherry. Don't you overlook them, though!
Yes, farm-fresh, bottled milk is back at your Wallingford Farmers Market! This season, we are joined by Twin Oaks Creamery. They are based out of an historical red barn surrounded by beautiful pastureland in the Chehalis River Valley, about two hours south of Seattle. They milk both cows and goats, bringing their fresh milk to Market, as well as goat yogurt, and fresh and aged goat and cow cheeses!
And you know what goes great with that milk? This granola! This is locally-made Marge Granola, which also incorporates local ingredients where possible. I love this stuff. It comes in a nice selection of flavors that have just the right balance of sweet and salty. Bring some home for breakfast tomorrow. Wait, you'd better get two bags. You and the kids are going to eat one of them straight out of the bag before you even get home today!
You didn't think I was going to get away with an Opening Day post that lacked a photo of asparagus, did you?!? Of course not! This lovely asparagus comes from our friends at Collins Family Orchards. Yes, you heard me right! We all really missed them last season, so on your behalf, we begged them to come back to your Wallingford Farmers Market, and here they are! Soon, they will have lots of the most amazing stone fruit. For now, we will enjoy the asparagus, and a few last apples from last fall.
And flowers! Pa Gardens returns with their spectacular bouquets that will brighten any face and any room. When it comes to artistry, quality and value, you cannot beat these bouquets. Besides, most of the flowers in the Big Box stores are shipped halfway around the world to get to you. Keep your dollars local, your carbon footprint small, and East King County's farmland profitable, all simply by bringing home some flowers from your Wallingford Farmers Market!
Don't forget our stellar lineup of bakeries at your Wallingford Farmers Market! All three are returning: d:floured gluten-free bakery, Grateful Bread Bakery and Tall Grass Bakery. And these fresh bagels from Grateful Bread will go perfectly with some smoked salmon fromage from Twin Oaks Creamery for a quick and delicious snack at the Park, don't you think?
Opening day is here, good people of Wallingford, and I, for one, can hardly contain myself! 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!
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.