It is Week 2 of the 2013 Season of your Wallingford Farmers Market, and it just keeps getting better from here on out. I mean, it's June 5th, and it's sunny and in the 70s today. The Market is full of strawberries, cherries and sugar snap peas. We've got two new cheese makers, and it is a perfect afternoon, too, for a farmers market picnic in Meridian Park. What's not to love?!? Grab the kids and unleash them on the playground while you shop, then treat them to an ice cream bar. Bring your pup for a treat. And as an added bonus, Chef Amy McCray of Eva Restaurant will perform a cooking demonstration at 4 p.m. today!
Yes, I did say more strawberries! Our friends at Hayton Berry Farms return today to your Wallingford Farmers Market will their famous strawberries. Woohoo! So get on over here, and pick up an extra flat, cuz you are going to eat at least one flat before you ever leave the Market today.
You know, I show you more delicious sugar snap peas this week, because let's face it... none of us can get enough of these this time of year, and they are around for such a short time. But I am a bit torn about posting them over any of the other plethora of spectacular produce Alm Hill Gardens (a.k.a., Growing Washington) has on their tables right now. Like strawberries, spicy salad mix, red mustard greens, turnips, sunflower sprouts and so much more. And guess what?!? This year, they have whole chickens, too!!! That's right! They have them in coolers between their tables, so you'll need to ask to see them, but I have been eating these chickens for years, and they are amazing!!! They are known as Freedom Rangers, because they are bred to be big, beautiful, meaty birds that can live happily and healthily on pasture, instead of in a cage.
Oh, yeah. And more cherries, too! These are Chelan cherries from Collins Family Orchards. Chelans are an early, dark cherry with a deep, intense flavor. And Collins Family Orchards is renowned for growing some of the finest stone fruit anywhere. Indeed, their cherries were measured as the sweetest in our markets in years past by local food expert Jon Rowley, who tested the fruit of every farm with a brix meter -- a device normally used to test the sugar content in wine grapes in order to determine the best time to harvest them.
See this crowd of kids and moms at Whidbey Island Ice Cream? This was the cue for ice cream bars at 3:32 p.m. on Opening Day last week. Mind you, your Wallingford Farmers Market only opened at 3:30 p.m. Needless to say, some of you all apparently missed your weekly ice cream break in Meridian Park. Well, the Market is back, the sun is back, and the ice cream is back. And we'll see you back here today, too!
Don't forget your local, neighborhood spicy salad mix. Yes, this is mixed baby Asian greens from City Grown Farm, grown right here in Wallingford! Seriously. Your produce won't get any more local unless you grow it yourself, and they have a great selection of other deliciousness on their tables right now, too, from turnip greens to kale to French breakfast radishes to spinach. Enjoy!
Okay, I know I told you Twin Oaks Creamery would be here on Opening Day with fresh goat and cow milk, cheese and yogurt. Then, as they were just about to leave the farm in Chehalis last week to drive up I-5 to your Wallingford Farmers Market, their van broke down. Doh! Well, the van has been repaired, and barring any other ill-timed fiasco, they will be here today! Think chevre. Think flavored curds. Think goat feta. Think cheddar. And so much more.
Green garlic is one of my favorite things about spring. I use it with everything! Whatever you are roasting, sautéing, grilled — eating — this time of year, you must add some green garlic to the mix! Green garlic is the immature form of the garlic heads we will see later in the summer. Farms like One Leaf Farm thin their garlic fields this time of year to allow their garlic to be able to bulb out, and they bring the green garlic they thinned out to market for us to enjoy. You can eat the whole thing, as long as the greens are still green and you’ve cleaned it thoroughly. Cut it up like you would a green onion or scallion and toss it in the pan with your favorite greens, or in with your veggies before they go in the oven, and douse it with some olive oil and grill it alongside your protein. Yummers!
Have you yet discovered the wonders of kombucha? It is a beverage made by fermenting green tea. It is refreshing, and it is said to have medicinal powers. It will definitely give you a boost. CommuniTea makes their kombucha locally and bottles it fresh for you. And their bottles are reusable, so you can return them for your next one. Just keep in mind that you will need to be 21 to buy and drink it, as it has a small amount of alcohol in it as a byproduct of the fermentation process. Not a lot, mind you, but just enough that it is regulated as an alcoholic beverage. Sure, they could have removed the alcohol, but CommuniTea felt that would compromise the quality of their product.
How's about a treat for you, now? Like some of this outstanding vanilla rice pudding from Pasteria Lucchese! Oh, how I adore this stuff. This, and, well, everything else they make. Honestly, I think my goal in life is to systematically try every pasta, sauce and dessert that Sam and Sara Lucchese make in their Sunset Hill kitchen, in a futile attempt to find the one thing I do not adore. And I'm not alone. Check out what Seattle Times food writer, Nancy Leson had to say about Pasteria Lucchese recently. Then try some yourself today!
And finally, how's about a treat for Fido, too? Meet Bites & Barks. They make amazing doggie treats from -- wait for it -- local ingredients! Really. These are doggy sweet potato pies, for instance. The sweet potatoes are from our own Lyall Farms! Look, you bring your best friend with you to your Wallingford Farmers Market every week anyway, right? Why not let Lassie in on the local food action, too? Your pooch 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!
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.