Happy National Farmers Market Week! Yes, a special week proclaimed by dignitaries, elected officials and bureaucrats that actually celebrates something that matters to us. Go figure. But hey, sooner or later, it had to happen, right? So come celebrate with us today. Now, I won’t bore you with lots of proclamations from the governor, the county executive and the mayor — and trust me, they’ve all issued them. But we are going to celebrate today. After all, your Wallingford Farmers Market is the reigning Washington State Farmers Market of the Year, as declared by the Washington State Farmers Market Association back in January. We'll have some of those aforementioned dignitaries here today, and we'll have tons of amazing local food. We'll also have a cooking demonstration at 4 p.m. by one of our own great vendors, Chef Adam Lewis of House of the Sun! He has built a his business around making delicious raw and vegan foods from market ingredients, like in the photo above, where he is rounding up kale from market farmers for his awesome kale chips. If anyone can teach us a thing or two about using the bounty of the market, it's Adam! (And no, he's not cold-blooded. I took this photo in January in Ballard.)
One Leaf Farm is really cranking out the heirloom tomatoes now in a whole host of varieties (see our photo album of all their tomatoes on our Facebook page). Just take a gander at these gorgeous copia tomatoes for instance. They are a rainbow of colors and the big ones are all kinda weird looking, but hey, they taste absolutely incredible. To quote Chef Gordon Ramsay, “they are the most amazing, stunning tomatoes ever.” Okay, he didn’t really say that, but those seem to be the only two adjectives he knows, and I’ve been wanting to give him a hard time about it for a long time. Chef, get thee a thesaurus, for the love of Mike! You’re welcome. But do beeline it to One Leaf for tomatoliciousness right now.
Golden Crisp apples are one of the first apples of the year to come to market. These are from Collins Family Orchards in Selah. They are a crisp, tart apple great for munching. If you've been missing your apple a day, swing by the Collins tent today!
Onions are raging this year, too. They love hot and dry. Above are red onions (left) and Ailsa Craig sweet onions (right) from Kirsop Farm. Now, I have to carry on for a bit about those Ailsa Craig sweet onions. Besides the fact that they are super sweet and delicious, and that not many farms grow them locally, they have that really cool name, which comes from an island of the west coast of Scotland, and as such, they are best enjoyed after belting out their name in your best approximation of a Scottish brogue.
Meet Roberto Guerrero of ACMA Mission Orchards in Quincy. He and his family grow a stunning variety of tree fruit, from apples to peaches to cherries to nectarines, on their beautiful farm just north of the Gorge Amphitheater. And just in the last two years, they secured organic certification for all of their acreage. How can you tell an orchard is organic? Simple. Look at the undergrowth under the trees. Do you see all that grass and brush? That’s the sign of an organic orchard. Seriously. They are overgrown under the trees, and most go through and mow and grind up brush just a few times each year. Then, they leave the debris right there to decompose, returning nutrients to the soil and keeping out undesirable weeds that conventional farms would have to sprayed. Plus, it helps keep the ground moist and cool when it’s really hot over there. You may see a jungle in this photo. I see a healthy orchard producing delicious fruit!
Ah. More picnic food deliciousness from Knife For Hire Picnic Foods. This is from last Wednesday -- Fava Beans & Caramelized Leeks with Oven Dried Apricots, featuring Summer Run Farm fava beans, One Leaf leeks and cucumbers, and Collins Family Orchards apricots. Of course, since Chefs Clara & Liz make up fresh dishes based on what's in season at the Market, and their whims, each week, don't expect to find this again today. But since everything they make is incredible, you can safely assume you will find something equally tantalizing for today's picnic in the park.
Check out these ginormous fennel bulbs from Alm Hill Gardens (a.k.a., Growing Washington). Fennel bulb is wonderful stuff. I add it raw to salads, grill it, cook it down into a nice, caramelized accent to pork, pickle it... the sky's the limit. It has a mild licorice flavor and is slightly sweet. And it is great this time of year. Just be sure to clean it thoroughly, as bits of dirt get down inside it.
From the pages of the confused fruit handbook come these cherry plums from Tiny’s Organic Farm. But unlike so many other stone fruits that have been hybridized to create things like apriums, pluots, nectarcots, peachcots and more, cherry plums are actually a true plum, not a cross betwixt cherry and plum. They get their name from their small, cherry-like size and their color. But they have the flavor and texture of a plum. So mix it up this week and try yourself something new… or actually old, in this case.
These Fortex green beans from City Grown Farm are quite long and a bit wider than most other green beans, and their flavor is unsurpassed. (I think they got their name because they were grown really big for a Texas, ergo, "For Tex".) They are sweeter, and less intensely "beanie" that other beans, while being as much as twice as long. And they're grown right in the neighborhood! Grab a pound or two today, and give them a try.
These are Rubels blueberries from Whitehorse Meadows Farm. They are a domesticated wild huckleberry from the East Coast. The berries are small and full of flavor, and they remind me of the wild blueberries we used to pick while hiking up Cadillac Mountain in Maine’s Acadia National Park. I remember I used to eat my weight in them.
It's tomatillos season at Alvarez Organic Farms, and that means lovely green salsa perfect with pork dishes, and pretty much anything else. And Alvarez has jalapeños chile peppers now, too, so you can make your tomatillos salsa muy picante.
Name change alert! d:floured gluten-free bakery (my favorite saucy name for a bakery, mind you) has changed its name to nuflours. Apparently, someone else had their grubby paws all over their old name. So, many lawyers and much research later, they now have a new, not-so-saucy but equally functionally name, with the same logo and same great gluten-free products. Like this cardamom zucchini sweet bread that features zucchini from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. The point is, regardless of the name, you can still have your cake and your gluten-free diet, too.
Our friends at Seattle Youth Garden Works are growing all manner of delicious veggies in South Seattle to bring to you here at your Wallingford Farmers Market. Like this broccoli and purple cauliflower. Gorgeous, eh?
Pete’s Perfect Toffee has introduced yet another flavor of fudge, because after all, there is no such thing as too much fudge. The new flavor, pictured above, is chocolate-coconut fudge with toasted almonds. Oh, stop it, Pete! You’re killing me… with sweet deliciousness!
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.