Sunday, December 23rd: Happy & Merry, All! Everything You Need For A Special, Local Holiday Is Right Here!

Hams for the holidays from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons. This is it, good folk of the People's Republic of Ballard! This is the last call before Christmas for local beauty and deliciousness from your Ballard Farmers Market. You have but five hours left today to load up on everything you need from wine to smoked salmon to festive breads to broccoli to jam, cheese, butter and milk! Everything from candles for your table to wreathes for your door, from a shaving kit for dad to a gold pendant for mom, from handcrafted clothing to handcrafted woodwork to handcrafted cups and bowls, and so much more! Make this the most special of most special times of year. Bring home everything you need for the holidays direct from the local folks that produced it, and celebrate with the highest quality, most beautiful, tastiest wonderfulness to be found anywhere, all while investing in local businesses, local production and local jobs. Talk about gifts that keep on giving!

You'll need a centerpiece for your holiday dinner table, don't forget. No, I'm not talking about flowers. I'm talking about roast beast. Like these gorgeous hams from Olsen Farms. They've also got some primo tenderloin roastsprime rib roasts and pork loin roasts, as well as every kind of potato you'd ever need to pair with it. Just remember, you can't expect the Grinch to carve the beast for Cindy Lou Who if you've forgotten to bring the beast home in the first place!

Shiitake mushrooms from Sno-Valley Mushrooms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you met the newest farm at your Ballard Farmers Market yet? Sno-Valley Mushrooms is based in Duvall, and they grow lion's maneblue oyster and these shiitake mushrooms. I enjoyed some this past week, and they are delish. We've been waiting for cultivated mushrooms for years, and they are finally here. So add some mushrooms to that holiday feast, baby!

Parsnips from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Parsnips are a holiday must, and this stack of them from Nash's Organic Produce is also just plain awesome. How's about a parsnip, potato and celery root mash? Maybe some parsnip and celery root soup? Ooh, I know. Gather up a whole bunch of roots, from parsnips to sunchokes to rutabagas to carrots to turnips and more, toss them with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast them in a nice, hot oven until tender and caramelized.

Red mustard greens from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yes, there still remain some lovely greens at your Ballard Farmers Market. These gorgeous red mustard greens are from Children's Garden. They make for a nice, spicy salad, and they're great just lightly sautéed with a little garlic, just until their wilted. Yummers! And Children's should have a few more holiday wreathes today, too.

Martini Stix and pickled peppers from Purdy Pickle. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Purdy Pickle has added a few new items to its picklicious lineup, just in time for the holidaze! They've got Martini Stix (pickled carrot sticks with capers)pickled peppers and mixed pickles. Plus, they have a huge variety of other pickled things to add to your table, or your favorite cocktail, all made from fresh, local ingredients from many of the farms you know and love at your Ballard Farmers Market.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Mmm. Nothing like sweet potatoes on the holiday menu, eh? And our own Lyall Farms is the only farm in Washington bringing sweet potatoes to farmers markets here in Seattle. So stock up, and roast them, mash them, candy them... do that voodoo that you do with them. You can thank me later!

Wild Yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Some lovely wild Yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles provide a lovely accent to a nice beef roast or some salmon. And 'tis the season for them right now. They are gorgeous, clean and delicious! Sauté them in a little butter, and you're good to go.

Hard ciders and berry wines from Rockridge Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don't forget some liquid love in the form of hard ciders and berry wines from Rockridge Orchards. You don't want to be the one showing up empty handed to the party, do you? You do want your feast accented by the right beverage, don't you? And never fear. Rockridge has the kiddie table covered, too, with great sweet ciders by the half gallon jug.

Prairie Spy apples from Booth Canyon Orchards. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Whether for crunching or cooking, Booth Canyon Orchards has an apple for you. They grow an amazing selection of heirloom apples, many of which are sought out far and wide by their longtime loyal customers. Like these Prairie Spy apples, or Macoun apples that'll transport you back to an ancient orchard in the Mid-Hudson Valley.

Winter squash from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Winter squash from Stoney Plains Organic Farm will certainly help round out that feast. Can't you just smell it roasting in the oven right now, filling your kitchen with its sweet aromas. Whether your goal is soup, pies, mashed, roasted or sautéed, Stoney Plains has an edible gourd with your name on it!

Rutabagas from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This is the last week until sometime next summer that you will find Boistfort Valley Farm at your Ballard Farmers Market. Make sure you stop by and load up on deliciousness like these stunning rutabagas, some greens, maybe even some kohlrabi or garlic, and thank them for another great year!

Please remember bring your own bags every Sunday, as Seattle’s single-use plastic bag ban is now in effect. Also, please take note of our new green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Ballard 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.

There is plenty more local deliciousness waiting for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Just check What’s Fresh Now! for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now.