I was over visiting Hilario and Eddie Alvarez on their farm in Mabton, Washington on 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.
Just in case you missed the memo, raspberries are back in full force now from several farms. These are from Hayton Berry Farms, up in Skagit Valley. They’ve also got these lovely blueberries currently, as well as their most prolific blackberry harvest in years. Yes, this continues to be an epic year for berries folks. Make sure you take advantage!
We always have fun when Chef Brian Gojdics of Tutta Bella joins us for a cooking demonstration here at your Wallingford Farmers Market. Will he grill pizzas? Will he make salads? Who cares? It will be delicious, it will be a good time, and you will be able to replicate it at home very easily! See you today at 4 p.m.!
Look kids! It is adorable little heads of baby red romaine from One Leaf Farm! The summer of 2014 has been great for lettuce, too. One Leaf grows a lovely selection of heirloom lettuces that are beautiful and delicious. But like so much else this summer, you had better enjoy it now with vigor, lest you regret missing it come December.
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.
Spectacular eggplant from Alm Hill Gardens awaits you today at your Wallingford Farmers Market! I enjoyed some simply pan-fried the other night. Awesome. Eggplant, like peppers and tomatoes, comes from the summer-loving nightshade family, and that means it, too, is having an epic year. Try some on the grill, alongside those sausages!
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!
These mixed baskets of cherry tomatoes from Around The Table Farm will add color and flavor to many a dish, from a summer veggie sauté to pasta to salad to grilled pizzas and more. Or just eat them right out of the basket!
Have you been on the lookout for a nice raisin pumpernickel bread around Seattle, but been frustrated in your search? Snohomish Bakery has you covered! So grab a loaf today, and enjoy the toast you’ve been missing tomorrow!
Grab a gorgeous, late-summer bouquet of flowers today from Pa Garden at your Wallingford Farmers Market, and bring a bit of this year’s spectacular summer sunshine indoors with you this evening… without all that summer heat!
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.