Wednesday, September 10th: Fresh Peanuts, Medicinal Mushrooms, Westside Sweet Corn, Cannellini Beans, Cookie Dough & More!

Don Hilario Alvarez Organic Farms holding freshly dug peanuts on the farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons. It is fresh peanut season at your Wallingford Farmers Market again! Yes, our good friends at Alvarez Organic Farms are harvesting peanuts right now from their fields in Mabton, Washington. Still don’t believe peanuts grow here? Then look at this photo I took of Don Hilario Alvarez on the farm two weeks ago! Those are two freshly-harvested peanut bushes in his hands, and behind him is acre after acre of peanuts. Peanuts are not nuts at all, but legumes, and you can see that in the pea-like leaves they have. Love boiled peanuts, or you want to roast your own? Now’s the time!

And speaking of it being now time, only two more market days remain after today in the 2014 season of your Wallingford Farmers Market. Celebrate a season nothing short of epic with us the rest of September, and then visit many of your favorite vendors all winter at our Ballard Farmers Market on Sundays. And if you wonder why we'd end this season while it is still raging? Simple. By the last week of September, the sun sets at 7 p.m., and there are no lights here in Meridian Park. That day, we'll already be packing up in the dark!

Sweet corn from Alm Hill Gardens at Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Westside sweet corn has finally arrived at your Wallingford Farmers Market, and this year’s crop is amazing! While we’ve been enjoying the blessings of Eastern Washington’s hot weather and earlier corn crops for almost two months now, the corn fields in Western Washington have slowly been growing to maturity. You’ll find big, beautiful, sweet ears of corn from a few of our Westside farms today, including this beautiful specimen from Alm Hill Gardens in Everson.

Here is a tip for chosing corn: instead of pulling open the top to see if it is filled out, simply run your thumb over the outside of the husk. You can easily feel the mature kernels inside. See, when you actually tear the corn open, you are actually ruining it either for yourself or the next person, because the minute you do that, all the delicious sugars in it that make it so sweet begin to turn to starch. So please, never tear open the husk to examine it before you buy it. If you need help choosing the best ears, just ask. Our farmers are more than happy to lend you a hand.

Collard greens from Kirsop Farmat Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

I love collard greens. I love them lightly sautéed with some nice bacon and garlic. I love them as a side to a nice steak, or as the centerpiece of my meal. See, most folks think of collard greens like the ones they cook Down South, cooked long with ham hocks. And mind you, them’s so good greens. But ours are different. They are more tender. They are sweeter. They like to be treated more gently. And they reward us for it with amazing flavor and a ton of nutrition! These gorgeous collard greens are waiting for you today from Kirsop Farm.

J.H. Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchardsat Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

J.H. Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchards are big, beautiful, sweet and juicy. They are the quintessential peach — the peach’s peach. They are the legendary peach for which Washington is famous. When you look up “peach” in the dictionary, you’ll see these guys. They are a freestone peach, making them easy for canning or making cobblers. And they are in season now!

Chef Brian Gojdics from Tutta Bella performing a cooking demonstrationat Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! Our buddy, Chef Brian Gojdics, from Tutta Bella, is back again this week for another deliciously informative and inspirational cooking demonstration at 4 p.m. today at your Wallingford Farmers Market! Two weeks ago, he was grilling pizzas topped with Market localiciousness. Today? Who knows? Come see! And guess what else? Our friends at Two If By Seafoods, whose smoked salmon adorned the top of a couple of Brian's pizzas in August, are also now making both sockeye salmon lox and pink salmon lox! If you tend to favor more of a Northwest style of lox with a bold salmon flavor and pronounced alder smoke, go for the sockeye. If you are more old-school East Coast in your tastes, and are looking for a flavor and texture more like what you'd find in New York, then I recommend the pink. Enjoy!

Pork belly (left) and jowl (right) bacon from Olsen Farmsat Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

This gorgeous bacon is from Olsen Farms. On the left is traditional pork belly bacon, and on the right is pork jowl bacon. And while both are great, the jowl bacon has its own unique, somewhat sweeter, flavor to it that I love for adding to vegetable dishes and pastas.

Fresh cannellini shelling beans from One Leaf Farmat Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Ooh, baby. Fresh cannellini beans from One Leaf Farm! These lovely little shelling beans are white when dried, but are green when fresh. And when fresh, their flavor and texture are quite different. I love fresh shelling beans in general. They make for great salads, sides, additions to pastas, spreads… but I especially love them in succotash. Just shuck and boil the fresh beans for 15-20 minutes in well-salted water, until just slightly fork tender. Then toss them into a pan with some rendered bacon or some smoked salmon, add corn freshly cut off the cob, some chopped parsley, some green onion, a bit of crushed garlic and some salt and pepper and give it all a good toss until just warmed through. Don’t overcook it. And enjoy! Remember, too, that you can buy, shuck and freeze fresh shelling beans now, and enjoy them all winter.

Reishi mushrooms from Ascended Groundsat Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

This is a block of fresh, young reishi mushrooms that were ground by Cascadia Mushrooms for Ascended Grounds. Ascended Grounds then takes these wonderfully medicinal fungi and makes beverages and tinctures that are both delicious and darn good for you. I'm not sure I am versed well enough to do it justice, but they say, "Ascended Grounds transforms what it means to drink a cup of coffee. Using the ascended health practices of ancient masters, we are awakening your mug and your consciousness to upgrade your health and quality of life. Let us introduce you to the incredible synergy of medicinal mushrooms and coffee. Your 'morning cup of joe' will never be generic again!" Stop by today for a taste, and for the whole story, at your Wallingford Farmers Market!

Seasoned red onions from Around The Table Farmat Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

As the sun reaches longer on the horizon, sunset comes earlier, and the march toward the autumnal equinox looms just days away now, we continue enjoy what  decades from now we will tell future generations was either, "The Endless Summer of 2014," or "The True Beginning of local Climate Change." Whatever the case, and regardless of the fact that it is mid-September, and we're all still wearing t-shirts and shorts, the fall crops are coming on anyway, and with only two more market days after today in the 2014 season of your Wallingford Farmers Market, it is not only okay, but advisable, to start stocking up on fall and winter storage crops, like these seasoned red onions from Around The Table Farm. By the same token, this is a great year to be canning a bunch of their awesome tomatoes, too!

Concorde pears from Tiny's Organicat Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Big, beautiful and delicious Concorde pears from Tiny's Organic are in at your Wallingford Farmers Market. These giants of the pear world are the quintessential pear, a cross between the great ancient Conference and Comice varieties, developed in England years ago. They enjoy a superior flavor, texture and a dramatic, classical pear shape. They are only around for a month or two each fall, so enjoy them while you can!

Cookie dough from Pinckney Cookie Caféat Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, we all love cookies from Pinckney Cookie Café, but did you know that they offer their cookies in raw cookie dough form? Yup! In other words, you grab one of those containers, take it home, and bake up Michael Pinckney’s cookies fresh, filling your whole kitchen with the aroma. Best of all, the dough comes pre-portioned, meaning that you can grab just a couple servings out to enjoy now, and then pop the rest right back in the freezer to bake later, when you need your next cookie fix!

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.

Please remember to bring your own bags today, and 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.