Sunday, July 25th: Boistfort Valley Returns (Honest), Sweet Corn, Paprika, Bluebird, Vote!!!

Did you know that there is a national contest going on right now to select America's Favorite Farmers Market? Yup. And you get to choose the winner by voting for your favorite, which you and I know is your Ballard Farmers Market. Okay, now, did you know that your Ballard Farmers Market is solidly in 3rd place in that voting as of this moment? Since there are something like 7,000 farmers markets in the United States, that's pretty good, but come on good people of Ballard, we know we should be in first place, right? And what chaps my hide most about our 3rd place position is that 2nd place belongs to Davis, California, and 1st place belongs to Rochester, New York. Are you kidding me? Davis, which gave us much of our corporate agribusiness, and Rochester, which gave us, um, Kodak and Pyrex?

There is only one explanation I can find for this, and that is that not all of you reading this epistle right now have voted yet. On average, over 2,000 people read this every week. Rochester currently has just over 1,600 votes. So if every one reading this voted right now, Ballard Farmers Market would take the lead! And look, you can vote with cookies turned off. You don't have to join anything. You don't have to give any personal info beyond your name and email address. And you won't get any spam as a result. Trust me. I hate that stuff, and I haven't gotten any spam. So vote for Ballard now! Click the link, type "Ballard" into the market search field, click vote, fill in your name and email, and you're done. 30 seconds tops. Let's kick some serious New York and California butt, Ballard!

Did I say that Boistfort Valley Farm was returning last week? Whoops. See, I was given bad info from my boss, and that's the story I'm sticking with. Don't worry. I already told her I was throwing her under the bus on this one. But now she assures me that Heidi has given her the official call, and Boistfort will, in fact, return today. For those of us who know and love them, that's all we need to know. For those who are unfamiliar with Boistfort (and we know there are two or three of you still out there), you are in for a treat. Boistfort Valley not only grows produce of supreme quality and beauty, but they specialize in growing varieties of heirloom crops from Japan, Italy, and other great food nations. And they grow so many different crops that only Stoney Plains, which is a neighbor of theirs, can rival them.

Speaking of unrivaled, Bluebird Grain Farms grows certified organic grains in the Methow Valley of North Central Washington that is prized by chefs from coast to coast. They are most well known for their emmer (or farro, as it is also known), the ancient grain of the Fertile Crescent. Emmer is one of the oldest cultivated crops, and the oldest cultivated grain. It has been farmed for over 17,000 years, and kernels of it over 3,000 years old found in the tombs of the Pharaohs have actually been sprouted. It is very high in protein and relatively low in gluten, extremely versatile, and quite delicious.

Woohoo!!! It's sweet corn season! Oh, happy day! Just take a gander at this gorgeous stuff from Alvarez Organic Farms. They, along with Magana and Lyall, have sweet corn now. They are all in the heart of the Yakima River Valley, the Palm Springs of Washington, which means it is hot, hot, hot. Corn loves it there. And you love corn. Life is, indeed, good.

Some Like It Hott! returns for a brief stint with its amazing paprikas. Charlie grows his special peppers in a little greenhouse in Port Townsend, just around the corner from Colinwood Farms. He then dries, smokes and grinds his peppers to make an awesome variety of paprikas, from mild to face-melting. And they are not just about heat. Indeed, they are really about flavor. Charlie's folks came from Transylvania, where they know a thing or two about paprika. So stop by and stock up today, while you can, or you might just have to wait until fall.

And remember, there is plenty more for you to find today at your Ballard Farmers Market. But before you click on the What’s Fresh Now! pages to see what all else is in season right now, please do take a moment to vote for Ballard Farmers Market in American Farmland Trust’s America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest. Just type “Ballard” in the market search box, and it’ll take you right to the page where you can vote for us. And thank you!