I was over visiting Hilario and Eddie Alvarez on their farm in Mabton, Washington last Friday. Alvarez Organic Farms now counts the number of chile pepper varieties it grows at more than 400, many of which are new varieties without names that have resulted from crossbreeding amongst the other varieties. Don Hilario took me on an exhaustive tour of his pepper fields (well, it exhausted me, but I think he could have kept going all night), and just when I thought I had seen every pepper on earth in the many acres of peppers in the fields behind his house on the mother farm, he said with pride, “Okay, now let me show the farm where we grow the bigger varieties of peppers!” I think that farm had more peppers on it than the mother farm. Hilario grows them all with pride, and his son, Eddie, brings them by the truckload to us here in Seattle every week. For that, we are all grateful. 2014 is an extraordinary year for peppers, too, with the hot, dry, sunny days making their plants produce more peppers that are more colorful, sweeter and hotter than ever! Enjoy.
We know you love your Madrona Farmers Market! Please help us make it even better! Please take 3 minutes to let us know a bit more about how you use your Madrona Farmers Market, and what you like. (Just click the link. Thanks!) Oh, and Lyall Farms has lots of these ginormous, delicious, juicy melons right now, too.
Meet toddler squash, little summer squash that are so sweet and so beautiful, and the perfect size for grilling or sautéing. See, Growing Things Farm sorts their summer squash by size so that you can get the perfect ones for your special meal… which ends up being every meal, when you eat them!
These are Gala apples from Martin Family Orchards, just in time for packing in the kiddies lunch bags (say it ain’t so!). And in case you haven’t noticed, this year has seen the fruit trees of Washington put out record fruit sets of the most delicious fruit ever, earlier than ever. See, global warming does have its up sides.
It’s fresh shelling bean season, folks, and that means all sorts of wonderful menu options that celebrate all of summer’s glory, without having to soak dried beans or open a can. In fact, fresh shelling beans have a wonderful, fresh flavor and texture all their own! Just take these pods of fresh cranberry shelling beans from Kirsop Farm, shuck out the beans, give them a quick rinse, then boil them for about 20 minutes in well-salted water, until tender. Then eat them as is, or add them to a salad, to pasta, to soups, or make the best succotash you’ve ever tasted! You can also buy extras and freeze them in pint freezer bags. Just shuck them, rinse them and plop them in the bags. Blanching is not necessary. I do recommend placing your pint bags of beans inside a larger gallon bag, for extra protection. Now, enjoy fresh shelling beans all winter — straight from freezer to boiling water for 20 minutes to your table!
The cheery folks at One Leaf Farm grow all sorts of wonderful bitter greens that are members of the chicory family, from radicchio to sugarloaf to escarole, and they also grow this: chicory. Yup, this is the actual head of the family itself — a lovely, dandelion-esque green that grows in a large head, kind of like a cross between dandelion and frisee. And it is in season right now!
Nothing like a nice, chewy loaf of crusty artisan bread from Tall Grass Bakery to make your meal complete. From pain au levain, a lovely, sour loaf made with whole wheat, to hominy, made with, um, hominy, to their just plain comforting oat and honey bread, Tall Grass has set the standard for great bread in Seattle since their humble beginning with our market organization almost 20 years ago.
And don’t forget a nice bottle of wine from Seattle’s original winery, based right here in Madrona no less: Wilridge. These bottles, above, in fact, are their estate wines, made from grapes they grow themselves in the tiny Naches Heights appellation, just west of Yakima in the foothills of the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains. Stop by their tent for a sample today, then grab a bottle of Washington winemaking history from right here in Madrona to enjoy tonight!
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!
Please remember to bring your own bags today, and 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.