September 4th Mercer Island Farmers Market Vendor News

We heard from several of the Mercer Island Farmers Market farmers, who have specials or first-of-the-season produce for this holiday weekend’s market day on Sunday.

Collins Family Orchard, Selah, WA

Nick helping out customers with his usual good humor and smile at the Collins Family Orchard booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on August 28, 2011.

Nick helping out customers with his usual good humor and smile at the Collins Family Orchard booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on August 28, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Nick let us know that Collins will have the first honey crisp apples of the season this Sunday. He told us that “the honey crisps are [Collins’] most popular apple with both a satisfying crunch and not-too-tart flavor for eating fresh and a solid, not-too-sweet flavor for cooking.”

In addition, Collins will also have a second round of strawberries.

Those Mercer Island Farmers Market customers now almost addicted to Collins’ sweet and succulent peaches and nectarines need have no fear as both will be back on Sunday with new varieties. Nick’s personal favorite peach, the Diamond Princess— “especially for cooking and canning with a very strong flavor”—should be available along with Suncrest peaches. The Grand Sweet nectarines should also be ready on Sunday.

Nick left us with one last tantalizing thought… “You should have your fingers crossed for pluots to ripe by Sunday. Right now, I’d give them an 80% chance of being ripe enough.” Well, let’s all keep our fingers crossed so the pluots will ripen and be at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on Sunday.

Crown S Ranch, Winthrop, WA

Jennifer Argraves and her daughter, Icel, laughing at a customers joke at the Crown S Ranch booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on August 14, 2011.

Jennifer Argraves and her daughter, Icel, laughing at a customer's joke at the Crown S Ranch booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on August 14, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

In honor of the Labor Day holiday weekend—and all of the barbecuing that many us will be doing, Crown S Ranch is having a 25%-off special on their top sirloin steaks.

They also sent along two recipes for their top sirloin steaks: Pepper-Grilled Steak with Chopped Summer Salad (Bon Appétit, August 2009); and Sirloin Steak with Tomato and Cilantro Sauce (Bon Appétit, June 2001).

In addition to their steaks and other cuts of beef, Crown S Ranch will have their sausages, chicken, pork, and eggs.

Farmers Market Preserves, Seattle, WA

Rome Doherty, owner of Farmers Market Preserves, talking with customers at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on June 26, 2011.

Rome Doherty, owner of Farmers Market Preserves, talking with customers at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on June 26, 2011. (Photo by Alyssa Hatsukami)

Rome writes, “I’ve been experimenting again, and the result is Blueberry Jam with Ginger. These are the best canning blueberries I’ve found (they’re from Whitehorse Meadows Farm) and the ginger fits really well. Also this week more Peach Butter, and, by popular demand, Strawberry, Basil and Balsamic [Jam].”

For the past several weeks, the “magic” word to get a dollar off of our your first jar of jam from Farmers Market Preserves has been scientific or somewhat-obscure cultural references (“drupe,” “theobromine,” “Chekhov,”…). Well, this week Rome went in a completely different direction—popular culture—and picked “Domino,” no doubt due to Fats Domino‘s famous song and the blueberries that have been occupying his thoughts and time this past week.

So, all those customers out there interested in a discount on delicious jam made from fresh, local ingredients should try to work “Domino” into their conversation with Rome on Sunday. It might also be that singing a few lines from “Blueberry Hill” will get the discount as well.

Got Soup?, Seattle, WA

Jerry Baxter, owner Got Soup?, filling up a quart container with fresh soup for a customer at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 31, 2011.

Jerry Baxter, owner Got Soup?, filling up a quart container with fresh soup for a customer at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 31, 2011. (Photo by Alyssa Hatsukami)

Jerry writes, “As we are into another three-season weather week, this might change what we sell this weekend, meaning more cold soups.”

So, subject to a change in the weather, this week’s soups at the Mercer Island Farmers Market will be:

  • Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho (cold, vegan, and raw): tomato, cucumber, onion, fennel, yellow pepper, zucchini, tarragon, parsley, sherry wine vinegar, cayenne, paprika, olive oil
  • Watermelon Gazpacho (cold and vegan): watermelon, tomato, cucumber, onion, yellow pepper, green pepper, celery, cilantro, basil, jalapeno, white balsamic vinegar, orange juice.
  • Jerk Chicken with Black-Eyed Peas & Greens: chicken stock (water, chicken, onions, carrot, celery, tomato, parsley), black-eyed peas, onion, celery, peppers, chicken, collard greens, garlic, ginger, citrus juice, cilantro, thyme, tamari, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg
  • Crab Bisque: water, Dungeness crab, onion, carrots, celery, tomato, bay leaf, tarragon, butter, flour, sherry, heavy cream, milk
  • Cauliflower and Brie with Roasted Red Pepper (vegetarian): vegetable stock (onion, carrot, celery, tomato, parsley), cauliflower, onions, celery, garlic, brie, thyme, parsley, rice milk, red peppers, olive oil, chives

As he always does, Jerry sources much of the produce for his soups from the vendors at the Mercer Island Farmers Market. This week’s ingredients come from (among other local farms):

Two If By Seafood, Bristol Bay, Alaska and Seattle, WA

Shannon's dad, Ernie, talking with a customer at the Two If By Seafoods booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 24, 2011.

Shannon's dad, Ernie—"holding down the fort" while his daughter was in Alaska fishing—talking with a customer at the Two If By Seafoods booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 24, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

After a long absence, Shannon Ford, captain of the Fishing Vessel Paul Revere and owner of Two If By Seafood, will be back at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on Sunday. Shannon has spent the past several months in Alaska catching all of the salmon that she sells at our farmers market, so she not only has lots of great fishing stories to tell, but also is eager to reconnect with her long-time customers. As aside, she jokingly related that she can’t wait to begin eating her fill of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are not easily available or reasonably priced in Bristol Bay. Well, at the Mercer Island Farmers Market we are sure that her fellow vendors will be able to satisfy her fresh veggie and fruit cravings.

In addition, Shannon dropped some hints that in the coming weeks she is planning to introduce a new product: smoked, candied salmon bellies, which are a delicacy in Alaska and not easily available here in the Lower 48.

(NOTE: Updated at 3:25 p.m. on Friday, September 2, 2011 with information about Shannon Ford and Two If By Seafood.)

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