The Ballard Farmer’s Market
A successful season begins with good preparation. I figured that getting familiar with the products available at the Sunday Ballard Farmer’s Market would be a good place to start training. I had never been there before, Shannon and I strolled down there this past Sunday and here’s the scoop.
Parking was super easy. There were 3 or 4 vendors selling pasture raised meats that all looked very good, though a little pricey… Lamb Loin ~$28/lb, Lamb Shoulder and Chops ~$10-$12/lb, Pork $8-$15/lb depending on the cut. Beef was $6/lb for ground up to $20/lb for T-Bone Steak. We settled for 1 lb of hot Italian pork sausage for $6. Shannon was interested in some eggs and there were a handful of poultry and dairy vendors. When we mentioned the words “cage free” a saleswoman scowled at us and said “Cage free doesn’t mean they[hens] see the sunlight, ours are truly free range”. We bought a dozen “organic truly free range” eggs for $5. I should say we have since ate some of these eggs and they are “truly fricken delicious”, even $5/dz delicious. Cheese is also amazing here, you could go to whole foods and pay probably around the same price but buying goat cheese out of a cooler from a woman in an apron standing in front of a huge poster of goats frolicking in a large grass field is way cooler.
Produce is really the star of the farmer’s market. Buckets of apples, pears, piles of onions, wonderful green garlic – I’m so amped up about this garlic, there like green onions, but garlic and they stink so good. I can’t wait to cook with this shit. You can get your veggies at decent prices, not as cheap as the grocery store but still pretty good. We bought a bunch of kale and a bunch of flowering arugula 2 for $5. Many of the produce farmers there were plugging their membership programs, if you sign up with the farmer of your choosing, then for about $25 a week you can go to the market each week and pick up what they claim to be a bountiful harvest of the week’s selected produce (selected by the farmers I mean). The catch is you gotta pay the whole 20 weeks up front. I’m seriously considering this because It would be a bit cheaper than buying everything separately and my Uncle Mike did this last year and he was extremely pleased.
A couple warnings though, there’s tons of kids at the market so if you are afraid of kids I wouldn’t recommend it. Perhaps worse if you are a big lumbering and clumsy walker you might step on a few of them so keep an eye out. Also beware, Shannon tried a sample of some local organic handmade fresh free range pasture raised pasta in a hazelnut cream sauce and she said it was the worst thing she ever tasted. I can’t remember her exact words but I think she said it tastes like lighter fluid.