Oxbow at the Market

Every Sunday morning, a great transformation takes place in the humble Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Starting at about seven o’ clock, long before the sun graces the old brick shop fronts, Ballard Avenue is overtaken by farmers, artisans, craftsmen, chefs, foragers, and a handful of rowdy (but ever-so-lovable) fishermen. The result of this weekly commandeering? One of the best farmers markets in the country.

For anyone who has walked through the Ballard Farmers Market, the sheer vitality of the market and its people are unmistakable. Dotting the wide sidewalks are the faithful buskers, playing anything and everything from old time bluegrass to classical cello to the Beatles. And through the vein of the street pass thousands of market patrons, some weekly visitors, others just stopping in for a quick glance at the rich assortment of local faire.

And of course, there are the vendors, without whom there would be no market to peruse. Over the years, the Ballard Farmers Market has grown immensely; however, Oxbow is proud to have been one of the first farms to enter into this wonderful tradition. And into 2013 we go!

This past Sunday, I caught up with Alice and Brandon at the Oxbow market stand where they were selling a surprisingly wide variety of vegetables (AND fruits!) for this time of the season. Adorning the delicious spread were collards, red and rainbow chard, green garlic, head lettuce, radishes, cardoons, rhubarb, fresh dill and cilantro, and strawberries! Yes, that’s right… it’s strawberry season, y’all.

All day, folks flocked to the Oxbow stand to oggle, investigate, inquire, and of course, shop. Each time anyone had a question about prep, Alice and Brandon were ready to offer up excellent ideas for how to prepare these fantastic foods. So far this season, my favorite strawberry recipe (0nce I’ve gorged myself on the raw ones) has been a strawberry balsamic reduction over a bed of fresh red leaf and butterhead lettuce. Yum! Just simmer a 1/2 cup of halved strawberries in about 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar until the berries become soft and the reduction thickens, about 10 minutes. Add a dash of ginger (fresh or powdered), whip the mixture up slightly with a fork, and serve over some beautiful Oxbow lettuce! A meal that humans will love and bunnies will envy.

Regardless of your dinner plans this week, you will not regret a visit to the Oxbow stand at the Ballard Market. You will doubtless find a wide variety of the freshest, most nutritious, and most loved food around. Not to mention some beautiful, smiling faces, both old and new!

The Ballard Market is a year-round farmers market operating ever Sunday between the hours of 10AM and 3pm on Ballard Avenue in Seattle, WA. For more information, visit http://ballardfarmersmarket.wordpress.com/

Alice and Brandon at the Ballard Market