Wednesday, July 10th: More Crops, Earlier & Better Than Ever!

FreshBucks_Logo A program called Fresh Bucks has been created by a partnership between the City of Seattle and local farmers markets to double Food Stamps, now known as SNAP, at Seattle farmers markets. Beginning TODAY, July 10th, for every SNAP dollar spent at Wallingford Farmers Market, SNAP benefits users can receive an additional dollar to spend on fruits & vegetables, up to 10 dollars. Get them, and more information, from at Market Information Desk at your Wallingford Farmers Market. You can also get more information from the Washington State Farmers Market Association. Tell your friends, family and neighbors!

Gold Rich apricots from ACMA Mission Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wow, what a year we are having! We all recognize how amazing the weather is, especially in the context of the previous three years. But did you know that 2013 is  an historic year for local crops, and thus an epic year at your Wallingford Farmers Market, and it would be a shame if you missed it. Not only are crops coming in historically early, but they are better quality than we've seen before, which is saying something! Like these gorgeous certified organic Gold Rich apricots from ACMA Mission Orchards. Sweet, juicy and delish!

Broccolini from City Grown Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One thing about our warm summer so far is that it is prime grilling weather. And the more of our meal we can grill, the less we have to heat up the kitchen! Take this broccolini (a.k.a., sprouting broccoli) from City Grown Farm, for instance. It is ideal for grilling with its long stems and small florets. Just rub some olive oil on it, grill it until slightly tender and a little charred, and finish with some freshly ground pepper and a good finishing salt to taste!

Vans cherries from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We've heard plenty of talk about smaller cherry harvests and higher cherry prices in the news lately, but truth be told, that's not what we're seeing at your Wallingford Farmers Market. That's because our farmers grow specifically for you, and they grow a diversity of cherry varieties, which helps them insure against early freezes and heavy rains. See, the big orchards that grow for the warehouses that sell to the Big Box stores, China and Japan just grow a couple of preferred cherries, like Bings and Rainiers, and when those two crops are impacted, it drives the price up at the Big Box stores. But farms like Collins Family Orchards from Selah are growing just for us, so the price they charge isn't affected by demand from Japan. Plus, they grow outstanding varieties unaffected by the commodities market, like these Vans cherries, which for my money are the cherry's cherry - a rich, dark, deeply flavored cherry that is not too sweet or too mild.

Green beans from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Look: green beans! Yes, green beans. These are from Lyall Farms, but we’ll also see some hericot verts from Alvarez Organic Farms today, and maybe some from some Westside farms, too. Oh, the humanity!

Arctic Star nectarines from Tiny's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

What the…? Nectarines?!? Yes! These are Arctic Star nectarines from Tiny’s Organic Produce photographed on Friday at our sister Madrona Farmers Market. I kid you not! This year really is out of control in the most delicious of ways. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, Tiny’s also has begun to harvest Flavorosa pluots, too. Seriously. Wow.

English shelling peas from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This may be the best year I can remember for English shelling peas. Not only are they early, too, but the peas are big and sweet and as flavorful as I can ever remember, with none better than these from Alm Hill Gardens (a.k.a., Growing Washington). Add them to your pastas and casseroles, toss them in your salads, make a lovely side dish with them, or shuck them and freeze them for winter!

Sungold cherry tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The award for the first tomatoes of the season at your Wallingford Farmers Market goes to One Leaf Farm, which just began harvesting these awesome Sungold cherry tomatoes from their big greenhouse last. Sungolds are so sweet and juicy, I eat them like candy. My advice: get twice as many as you think you’ll need, cuz you’ll eat half of them before you even realize what you are doing!

Spud Nuts from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Olsen Farms is best known for its many varieties of heirloom potatoes it grows in the drylands of Northeast Washington. They have just started their first harvest of 2013, and that means Spud Nuts. These are those tiny little baby potatoes that are quickly roasted, sautéed or wrapped in foil with butter and cooked on the grill. Enjoy!

Mixed beets from Kirsop Farm. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And how about these stunning beets from Kirsop Farm? They are bunching them in mixed bunches that include Detroit red beetschiogga beets and golden beets, all ready for steaming or roasting or making amazing salads or pickles. And don't forget to enjoy the greens! It's like getting two veggies for the price of one! They taste much like chard, as the two are related.

Artisan loaves of bread from Grateful Bread Bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A nice artisan loaf of bread is a wonderful accompaniment to any summer meal, and Grateful Bread Bakery has several kinds of bread from which to choose. Grab some butter from Rosecrest Farm, or some fresh chevre from Twin Oaks Creamery at your Wallingford Farmers Market to smear on a nice slice.

Fresh pastas from La Pasta. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It will be pleasantly cooler in Seattle for the next few days (wow, we now consider the mid-70s cool!), and thus a great time for cooking up some fresh pasta from our friends at La Pasta. Their noodles and stuffed pastas come in a variety of styles and flavors, and they also offer a nice selection of sauces to compliment those pastas. Grab some fresh veggies to toss in, and you've got a wonderfully satisfying summer meal!

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.