Happy New Season! Yes, today is the first market of the 2013 season of your Madrona Farmers Market! Woohoo!!! Beginning at 3 p.m. today, and continuing on every Friday afternoon from 3-7 p.m. until the end of September, we are here again to bring you the delicious bounty of Washington’s farmers, fishers, ranchers and food artisans — for a 10th glorious season! We’ve got all sorts of surprises for your this season, two, with no less than six new farms, and as always, we kick off the new season with another fabulicious cooking demonstration at 4 p.m. today by Chef Michael King of St. Clouds. The next time you see his face atop this blog, it will be the end of September already. So let’s savor the next four-and-a-half months together. This looks to be the best year yet!
Of course, not all the farms are new this season. One Leaf Farm returns for its third year, better than ever. Just look at Paul and Rand, above, inspecting tomato plants in their ginormous greenhouse on the farm in Carnation. You are looking at hundreds of heirloom tomato plants in their 200 foot long greenhouse, planted five rows wide. Indeed, they increased their tomato crop by 50% this year. In just a few short weeks, these plants, some of which are already flowering, will generate thousands of the most beautiful heirloom tomatoes. For now, they have stunning pink beauty radishes, leeks, baby arugula, salad mix, baby heirloom lettuces and more.
Your eyes do not deceive you. Milk is back at your Madrona Farmers Market. Twin Oaks Creamery joins us this year with both cow and goat milk, as well as a wonderful variety of fresh and aged cow and goat cheeses, and even fresh goat yogurt! Twin Oaks Creamery is located in Chehalis, about two hours south of here, on gorgeous pastureland with an historic red barn, and lots of cows and goats. And as wonderful as that sounds, what will truly make you fall in love with them is the magnificent dairy products they bring to market.
Meet Casey and Ryan from Steel Wheel Farm in Fall City. As you can see, these two guys are out standing in their field. And in that field, they are surrounded by beautiful kale and collard greens, ready for harvest to bring to you here at your Madrona Farmers Market. Steel Wheel is another of the new farm additions this season, and count on them to bring you absolutely stunning produce all year long!
For any veteran of your Madrona Farmers Market, this fresh king salmon from the Washington Coast needs no introduction. You have come to depend on it from one season to the next, delivered to you by Wilson Fish, as they like to say, “so fresh, it is from the future!” Stop by today, pick up from fresh salmon, maybe a little halibut or rockfish, if we’re lucky, and say hello to Gene, David and Tim, who will undoubtedly greet you with a joke and a sample of smoked salmon.
I love this time of year. It is warming up and drying out. The trees are pushing out their leaves, and we get to eat lots and lots of fresh organic asparagus from Alvarez Organic Farms! I love grilling this alongside some of that king salmon from Wilson Fish, you know? That’s the ticket. They will also have some dried beans and dried chiles today, as well as some green garlic and spring onions. And peanuts!
Rosecrest Farm is yet another new addition to our farm lineup this season at your Madrona Farmers Market. Also from Chehalis, Rosecrest is a certified-organic cow dairy that makes several lovely varieties of Swiss cheeses. And I don’t mean that stuff with the huge holes you get out of the deli case in the Big Box stores that’s made in Ireland. No, this is rich, luxurious cheese that is nothing short of addictive. It has been a few years since we’ve had this kind of artisan cheese here, and this year, we have it from two new dairies. Life is good!
Mmm. a nice piece of that cheese on a crusty, chewy slice of one of these superb baguettes from Tall Grass Bakery sounds pretty yummy right about now, does it not? Just picture yourself sitting out on the stoop on a warm, sunny afternoon, taking the edge off the day with some cheese and bread before heading into the kitchen to make dinner. Life could be a whole lot worse, I should say.
And how about the best gosh-darned eggs you will ever eat anywhere? If you think I am exaggerating, you clearly have never tried the eggs from Growing Things Farm. With firm shells and brilliantly yellow yolks that stand right up in the pan, these are eggs so stunningly delicious that you will wonder why you have been eating anything else until now. Growing Things should have some of their amazing chickens today, too, along with salad mix, greens, and a few other surprises!
Ah, rhubarb. That first fruit of spring that is really a vegetable. Confusing, I know. But since most folks use it like a fruit, in pies, jams, ice cream, etc., many have come to regard rhubarb like a fruit, so much so that the State of New York actually officially reclassified it as a fruit in 1947. The most prolific rhubarb growing region in the United States is located just south of here in the fertile Puyallup River Valley, and that is exactly where Sidhu Farms grows their rhubarb — in Orting. It is peak season for rhubarb now, so get those crisps going, pickle it, make funky cocktails with it, whatever floats your boat!
These Asian mustard greens are grown by Gaia’s Harmony Farm up in Snohomish. Gaia’s is a certified organic Hmong farm that has left behind growing flowers to instead focus on growing the freshest, most nutritious produce around. They specialize in many Asian varieties that are hard to find anywhere, like these mustard greens, brokale, gailan, niro and other crops. So why not try something new today, and stretch the boundaries of your dietary culture?
Patty Pan Grill is back with us for another great season. The original farmers market prepared food vendor, Patty Pan Grill got its start with our markets many years ago, and they continue to make delicious food using market-fresh ingredients. Pictured above is their tamale of the month: Asparagus & Smoked Salmon, made with ingredients from our vendors!
Let us finish this season’s first weekly market epistle with the humble potato from Olsen Farms. But in truth, these dry land-grown Desiree potatoes are anything but humble. With a smooth, yellow flesh, they are incredible steamed and mashed with butter, or thrown into your favorite stew. Olsen Farms grows a couple dozen varieties of the state’s best heirloom potatoes. They also have beef, pork, lamb and various sausages, ham, bacon and more. Welcome back, Olsen Farms. And welcome back to you, too! It’s a new season at your Madrona Farmers Market. Let’s celebrate with some amazing food this weekend, eh?
Please remember to bring your own bags today, and every Friday, 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 Madrona 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.
And remember, there is plenty more to tantalize your taste buds today at your Madrona Farmers Market. For a fuller accounting, see What’s Fresh Now!