Morels, Asparagus & Saffron, Oh, My!

  Washington's first morel mushrooms for 2009, picked by Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

What?!? You missed the market on April 19th? What were you thinking? There was no holiday, no rain, no wind, no cold... and there was asparagus!

 

First of the season asparagus from Alvarez Organic Farms in Mabton. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yes, both Alvarez Organic Farms and Ayala are back for 2009, bringing their first-of-the-season Yakima Valley asparagus with them. And what goes perfectly with asparagus? Wild morel mushrooms, harvested in Washington's forests by Foraged & Found Edibles. Heck, they even had a morel look-alike (though not taste alike) mushroom called verpa on Sunday.

 

This morel look-alike is actually the verpa mushroom, which taste quite different. Foraged & Found Edibles has them for a very short time. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You also missed... wait for it... saffron! "Saffron?" you ask? Yep. Washington-grown saffron from Phocas Farms in Port Angeles. Talk about shrinking your carbon footprint -- most saffron comes from Iran. But Phocas Farms is one of a growing number of small-scale saffron producers on the North Olympic Peninsula, which is also the U.S. capitol of lavender production, growing saffron for us to enjoy with our Taylor mussels or Stokesberry chicken.

 

Washington-grown saffron from Phocas Farms in Port Angeles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know what else you missed this past Sunday? Lettuce. Not itty-bitty little lettuce leaves as part of a salad mix, but whole heads of lettuce, straight from those wonderful guys with the greenhouses in the Port Townsend Banana Belt, Colinwood Farms.

 

Colinwood Farms in Port Townsend has the first head lettuce of the season. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

So I ask you, are you going to brave missing the market this coming Sunday? I think not. Oh, and did I mention the peanuts? You'll find them at Alvarez, too.