Wednesday, September 17th: Winter Squash, Celery, San Marzano Tomatoes, Giant Italian Prunes & More!

Winter squash from Kirsop Farm at Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons. Only one more market day remains 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 next Wednesday, the sun sets at 7 p.m., and  given that there are no lights here in Meridian Park, we’ll already be packing up in the dark!

And speaking of the onward march of the seasons, Kirsop Farm has the first winter squash of the season today at your Wallingford Farmers Market. And hey, why not? It may be warm and sunny by day lately, but it is cooling off overnight now, so crank up that oven, and roast up some acorn or delicata squash in all its sweet, comforting glory! Just thinking about it is like receiving a hug on a cold winter’s night. And hey, it will last for months, so stock up. Your Wallingford Farmers Market may be going on its fall/winter hiatus after next week, but that doesn’t mean you have to go without great local food for all that time. Strategic squirreling of storage crops like these will get you a long way into the cold, dark wet months.

San Marzano tomatoes from Alvarez Organic Farms at Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

San Marzano paste tomatoes are the pride of Italy, growing near Naples in the fertile volcanic soils around Mount Vesuvius. So it is no wonder that they also thrive in the rich volcanic soils in the Yakima Valley of Eastern Washington at Alvarez Organic Farms. And in this epic year of the tomato, this is perhaps the best year we've ever had for these little treasures. They are a thick fleshed tomato with fewer seeds than a Roma tomato, and a robust flavor that makes them an ideal sauce tomato. If you ever wanted to can some sauce tomatoes, this is the year, and these are the tomatoes to can! They are great roasted and grilled, too.

Celery from One Leaf Farm at Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s getting deep into celery season folks. Nothing like some crisp celery on a crisp night. Besides, you are cooking more now, and your heartier fall recipes call for lots of this super food. Lucky for you, One Leaf Farm has some gorgeous celery right now, grown just a few miles from here in Carnation!

Giant Italian prunes from Collins Family Orchards at Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Another sign of fall’s approach are these giant Italian prunes from Collins Family Orchards. But aren’t these really plums, you ask? Aren’t all prunes dried plums? Actually, all plums are members of the family Prunus. These are proper prunes, with a more oval shape, to a plum’s round shape. And all prunes are freestones, meaning they come easily off of their pit for easy eating, drying and cooking. Think of the sauces, chutney and jams!

Puget Sound appellation wines from Bainbridge Vineyards at Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Washington has more than 750 licensed wineries currently, up from less than 150 just 15 years ago. And most use grapes grown in the many recognized wine grape growing appellations of Eastern Washington. But did you know that there is a Western Washington wine appellation? It is called the Puget Sound Appellation, and it is known for producing wine grapes the enjoy our cool, damp nights. Bainbridge Vineyards is one of Washington's oldest estate wineries, based on Bainbridge Island, and it specializes in Puget Sound wines, including Madeleine Angevine, Siegerrebe and Müller-Thurgau. Founded in 1977, when Bainbridge Vineyards released its first estate wine in 1984, it was only the 84th licensed winery in Washington. So, for a taste of truly local wine, right from the farm, and for a taste of Washington wine making history, grab a bottle or six today!

Farm-fresh chicken & duck eggs from Sky Valley Family Farm at Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

With the 2014 Wallingford Farmers Market season winding down, don't forget to get another good fix of these great, farm-fresh duck and chicken eggs from Sky Valley Family Farm. After all, you will miss them come October. Grab an extra dozen or two. Eggs keep well, and after all, these are super fresh! And grab some of their great porkbacon and sausage while you are at it. Vac-packed and frozen, they will keep in your freezer for months!

The vertical urban farm of Farmbox MIcrogreens. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Farmbox Microgreens is an urban farm. It is based in West Seattle, and it actually grows its microgreens indoors in what it refers to as a vertical farm, meaning the farm stacks multiple trays of the sprouting microgreens one atop the other. They are grown aeroponically, meaning they are grown in the air and watered using mist. They do not require soil, which eliminates many potential contaminants that have been associated with sprouts in recent years, and they are not constantly in contact with water, like in hydroponics, which results in a higher quality product with a superior flavor. Other than the mist of filtered water, they enjoy bathing in the light of LEDs (above). And if you are wondering what the difference is between a sprout and a microgreen, it is the roots. Sprouts have them, and microgreens do not. You will find them on the menus of many of Seattle's best restaurants, but why not add them to your own menu today? They are delicious, and pound-for-pound, they are four times more nutrient dense than their fully-grown counterparts.

Fresh Orca beans from Alm Hill Gardens at Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Orca beans from Alm Hill Gardens are one of those varieties of shelling beans that was developed in partnership with Washington State University in an effort to produce beans that would thrive in the climate of Western Washington. Alm Hill actually developed and named these right on their farm in Everson, Washington, a stone's throw from the Canadian border. They are gorgeous, aren't they? And they do look like Orcas. Alm Hill has a number of fresh shelling beans, both in the pod and shucked, right now. If you haven't cooked with fresh shelling beans before, I highly recommend it. Mmm. Think of the soups, the salads, the sides... think of the succotash!

Asian pears from Tinys Organic at Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These Asian pears from Tiny's Organic may look like apples, but they are all pear. Now, I say that only to then tell you that they are really another fruit unto themselves in many ways. They have a flavor that is almost wine-like. The point is, they are wonderful, and you should get some.

Cranberry-orange pops from Seattle Pops. Photo courtesy Seattle Pops.

Seattle Pops introduces a brand new ice pop flavor today at your Wallingford Farmers Market today: cranberry-orange. They feature freshly-pressed, organic cranberry juice from Starvation Alley Cranberry Farm on Long Beach Peninsula, a lone organic cranberry farm in the heart of Washington's huge cranberry growing region on the coast. Enjoy!

Gluten-free brownies from Nuflours Gluten-free Bakery at Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

These gluten-free brownies from Nuflours Gluten-free Bakery are as good as they look. Seriously. If you require gluten-free baked goods, these will thrill you with the bakedliciousness you've been missing. Even if you don't require gluten-free goods, you will still love these. And Nuflours uses all sorts of yummy local ingredients from local farmers in many of their goodies. Right now, their products feature produce from Hayton Farms, Kirsop Farm, Martin Family Orchards and Stoney Plains Organic Farm, to name a few.

Late summer flower bouquets from Pa Garden at Wallingford Farmers Market. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

Don't forget to pick up a lovely bouquet of late summer flowers from Pa Garden today at your Wallingford Farmers Market. These beautiful, local flowers are fresh, affordable, have a smaller carbon footprint, and come with the face of a local farmer, unlike the flowers from the Big Box store which come via airplane from places like Holland, Israel, South Africa and who knows where.

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.