Wednesday, August 13th: Free-Stone Peaches, Gorgeous Maters, First Apples, Chocolate Croissants, Sizzling Sausages & More!

Rosa Hale Peaches from Martin Family Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons. Free-stone peaches have arrived. There is a family of peaches, all with the word “Hale” in their names, and these are the big, yellow, sweet and juicy peaches for which Washington is famous. They come freely off of their pits, ergo the term “free-stone,” and that makes them ideal for cooking and canning, as well as just eating fresh. Think of the pies, cobblers, preserves, salads, and more! These particular peaches are Rosa-Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchards.

Copia (top) and Brandywine tomatoes from One Leaf Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

One Leaf Farm is rocking the Brandywine and Copia tomatoes right now! The Brandywines (bottom) may not be the most flamboyant of tomatoes, but they are one of the most delicious — the perfect vehicle for salt and mayo, or on a BLT, or in a simple caprese salad. Copias, on the other hand, are quite flamboyant. Just look at all their different colors and stripes and shapes and sizes! Plus, they are awesome to eat, and they will add a ton of character to whatever creation they join!

Ginger Gold apples from Collins Family Orchards. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Guess what? It is already apple season! The first apples of the year are now arriving at your Wallingford Farmers Market. They tend to be tart, green-skinned varieties, like LodiGravensteinShamrock, and these Ginger Gold apples from Collins Family Orchards.

Ground cherries, a.k.a., pineapple tomatillos from Around The Table Farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Meet pineapple tomatillos, tiny little members of the tomatillos family often called ground cherries, or mistakenly called gooseberry, which refers to a cousin species actually known as Cape gooseberry, which is not the same as gooseberries. Okay, are you confused enough yet? I know I am. So here's what I suggest. Why don't you stop by Around The Table Farm today and ask them to explain these little guys to you. After all, that is the beauty of your Wallingford Farmers Market, right? You can not only meet new crops, but you can meet the grower of those crops and have them teach you about them.

Purple Rain eggplant from Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These princely beings are know as Purple Rain eggplant. They are just one of over a dozen varieties of eggplant grown by Alvarez Organic Farms. Eggplant comes in many shapes, sizes and colors, and more importantly, many textures, flavors and levels of bitterness which affects how you need to prepare them. These puppies do well being sliced ahead of time and then salted and allowed to sit for a bit to neutralize its bitterness and drawn out moisture. If you are cooking it in small pieces, the process time is reduced, of course.

Fresh basil from Alm Hill Gardens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

I snapped this photo of fresh basil at Alm Hill Gardens last week just after they had finished restocking and fluffing the bin. The scent of basil was nothing short of hypnotic! "Must have basil," is all that went through my head. It was all I could do to muster the strength to capture this image! But here's the thing about basil. No matter how wonderful it is at your Wallingford Farmers Market, if you don't store it correctly at home, it will go limp, turn to mush, or turn black. Here is the best way to store basil: place dry fresh basil in a produce bag and inflate the bag fully, taking care not to introduce moisture into the bag -- in other words, don't blow from your mouth into it, but instead pull the open end through the air to inflate it. Then tie off the bag, keeping it fully inflated like a balloon, and place the bag on your kitchen counter or table. The basil will keep for up to a week! Never refrigerate basil! The condensation created by refrigeration will cause it to turn black.

Kaffir lime and coconut cream chocolates from Soulever Chocolates. Photo courtesy Soulever Chocolates.

Meet the newest member of Soulever Chocolates lineup of delicious chocolates: kaffir lime and coconut cream chocolates. They make for a light, refreshing flavor on these warm summer days of 2014. Aimee carefully selects the highest quality ingredient for her chocolates, to the extent that she travelled to Costa Rica to meet folks growing and processing some of the finest chocolate on earth, just so she can offer you the best right here at your Wallingford Farmers Market!

Cherry plums from Tiny's Organic. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

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.

Pain au Chocolat, a.k.a., chocolate croissants, from Snohomish Bakery. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

There is just something about a chocolate croissant, you know? Flaky, buttery pastry wrapped around deep, dark chocolate… meow! I heart them! And Snohomish Bakery makes some lovely ones that they offer to you right here at your Wallingford Farmers Market. Grab one to snack on at the Market, and a few more for tonight’s dessert!

Ever-bearing strawberries from Seattle Youth Garden Works. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Strawberries are back, baby! Yes, for a few more weeks, we get to enjoy what we in the biz call everbearing strawberriesThese strawberries will keep producing in the late summer while other varieties just bear fruit for a couple of weeks in the late spring. So if you've been jonesing for strawberries, stop by Seattle Youth Garden Works for some of these lovelies today!

Pork sausage sandwich from Ethan Stowell Restaurants How To Cook A Wolf. Copyright by Zachary D. Lyons.

Did you miss out on the pork sausages from Ethan Stowell's How To Cook A Wolf last week at your Wallingford Farmers Market? They featured sausages made from Olsen Farms pork, peppers and onions from Alvarez Organic Farms, and rolls from Tall Grass Bakery! Well, here's the good news: they are doing it again today! Woohoo!!!

Roasted Veghead pizza with tomatoes from Zaw Pizza. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

And if you are just so tuckered out from buying your week's groceries today at your Wallingford Farmers Market that you don't have the energy left to cook at home tonight, why not grab one of these made-to-order, take-and-bake pizzas made with marketliciousness by Zaw Pizza? In fact, since it is cooler today than it has been in weeks, it is a perfect day to fire up the oven and bake a pizza!

There is plenty more local deliciousness waiting for you today at your Wallingford Farmers Market. Just check What’s Fresh Now! in the righthand menu for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now.