Martin Family Orchards

Okay, I Guess It's Fall

Summer departed abruptly, probably from having burnt itself out with those hot, smoky days, one after another. The house sits at 67F, but we refuse to turn on the heat until October 1 because — well, because you just have to stick to your principles. No heater till October 1, no flannel sheets, no fires in the fireplace. No matter if the lows are already dipping into the high 40s.

Although we might shiver in the house, I have waved the white flag in the kitchen. No more barbecue — it’s time for the the slow cooker and fall fruit. This upside-down pear-apple-almond cake, to begin with:


Martin Family Orchard had some lovely, ripe Bartlett pears and Gala apples, and the two of them made a tasty combination in Deborah Madison’s recipe. The recipe only calls for two pears, but since I only had 1.5 pears left, I substituted a half an apple. Perfect. Also a perfect excuse for everyone to try “a sliver” of each flavor.

I’m not the only one thinking fall…Check out these Halloween-themed cupcakes at La Panaderia:


How cute are they? Eyeballs, ghosts, tombstones,…something pink? Talk about being done with summer—they’re even through with September and most of October. Since we only have a few Market days left, you may need to skip ahead as well! And if you haven’t had their tamales yet, don’t let another week go by. I got two beef tamales last week, to supplement the light dinner I’d prepared, and you should have seen the mournful eyes when everyone finished their half a tamale and wanted to know why on earth I hadn’t bought more!

Aspens [pic by my friend Alice]

Aspens [pic by my friend Alice]

Despite all the fall-ness and making the best of it, I still have my fingers crossed for a few last gasps of summer. The Louisiana Sweet watermelon I got at Alvarez last week was one of the best of the season, ranked right up there with the darker, more spherical Sugar Baby I bought midsummer.

There’s still time for a last half-flat of berries to freeze and a few pounds of peaches and nectarines. It may be fall-ish here on Thursday, but it’s still summer somewhere in Washington!

I'm Melting, or, What Counts in Bellevue as a Heat Wave

Supposing you take a break from opening and closing windows in your house, positioning fans, and looking for a cool spot on the bed sheets, and head to the Bellevue Farmers Market!

Surely the most beautiful picture of pops ever

Surely the most beautiful picture of pops ever

There was an old Coca-Cola ad that used to run when I was a kid: during the heat of summer, they would show people frolicking in the snow. Along those lines, I thought I'd refresh you all with some heat-relieving Market offerings. 

If you haven't tried Seattle Pops yet, they're luscious, not to mention seasonal, fresh, and local. Better yet, they have a punch card, to encourage you to try every one of their tempting flavors.

Then there's the slushies at Martin Family Orchards...

Take my word for it, they're there

Take my word for it, they're there

Whether you favor pear- or apple-cider slushies, they're worth the brain freeze.

And of course you've walked by Bluebird Ice Cream, with its small-batch artisanal flavors:


You may have inexplicably missed Solstice in Fremont this year (or you were too busy parading to stop in at the store), but that doesn't mean you still can't sample Bluebird's wares.

And then finally, I noticed La Panaderia keeps its cupcakes nice and chilled, so all that generous frosting doesn't melt into puddles...


Pair a cupcake with one of their agua frescas and you're good to go.

Apparently, everything from road rage incidents to bench-clearing baseball brawls goes up during hot weather, so keep the peace by keeping your cool, Bellevue.

Rain or shine, heat wave or cold snap, we'll see you at the Market tomorrow. 

Strawberry FOMO and Market Consolations

Did you arrive at the Market last week to this sign?


Yeah, me too. I knew 4:15 p.m. was going to be too late to catch the very first local strawberries of the season, but it was still a blow. This week I plan to get there at opening. And won't it be nice when we reach the part of the season (approaching rapidly) when there are multiple berry farmers with different varieties and we don't have to view our fellow marketgoers as adversaries?

Of course there were consolations for missing the first strawberries. For one thing, Alvarez Organic Farms had the sweetest, crunchiest sugar snap peas, which we've been eating raw in salad or steamed all week. Just try them with a little homemade Green Goddess Dressing!

Green Goddess Dressing

(from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp tarragon or cider vinegar
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp chopped chives or scallion
1-1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon (or 3/4 tsp dried)
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1/4 tsp salt
Mix everything in a blender until smooth and pale green. You can add a couple tablespoons of water to thin, or leave it thicker and "dip-like."

Other consolations? Well, Martin Family Orchard brought a new batch of Fuji apples and Anjou pears out of cold storage, and they are the best we've had since last fall! I bought a bag of each, but I think I'm going to need another two bags this week to tide us over because it's all downhill on apples and pears until the next crop this fall.

And then, given the heat last week and the line at Seattle Pops (where we bought our treat the week before), we opted for a Shave Ice from new vendor La Panaderia.

La Panaderia by

La Panaderia by

I'd put the ice consistence as in between shaved ice and a snow cone

I'd put the ice consistence as in between shaved ice and a snow cone

The proof is in the punch--or the genuine fruit puree and juice, I should say

The proof is in the punch--or the genuine fruit puree and juice, I should say

Not only was the Mango shave ice luscious and refreshing, but La Panaderia also offers giant lemon, cinnamon and orange cookies and tamales. Wowza. They hope to earn money to open a brick-and-mortar store in Seattle, possibly near the Olympic Sculpture Park, so I hope we'll all take one for the team and sample the goods this season.

Don't miss out this week on strawberries or other goodies! Hit the Market this week early and often.

The Market is Off and Running!

Ah, glorious almost-summer! And what a joy to know that, for the next five months, we have tasty, fresh, local food on our doorstep every Thursday afternoon.


I was excited to see old favorites returning, like Alvarez Organic Farms and Collins and Martin Family Orchards...


Sam at Alvarez!

Sam at Alvarez!

And I loved to see new farmers and vendors joining us. There are plenty to be mentioned over the coming weeks, but for starters I hit up Amador Farms from Yakima, lured by their just-picked-that-day asparagus.


I also picked up delicious little Honeycrisp apples there, two kinds of potatoes, a red onion, and some tasty pears. All, as advertised, grown with "NO PESTICIDES."

Some of Carl's handiwork [pic from his website]

Some of Carl's handiwork [pic from his website]

Then we needed something to serve with our asparagus, so I hit up Carl's Cutting Board, a new vendor of charcuterie, like sausages and bacon. Carl himself recommended a delicious, "kid-friendly" sausage spiked with a few nuts(!) that was a big hit. Some of us ate it on a bun and others just sliced with sweet-hot mustard.

Check out our resulting meal:

Apart from the pilaf recipe that I got off the internet (too salty), this was a meal worth repeating. Can't wait to see what we put together this week! Even more farmers and vendors will be appearing, so hitting them all over the course of the season will be a great challenge to have.

One Month to Go


Somehow another Market season has gone whipping by, but before we reach Closing Day on Thursday, October 27, I wanted to mention a few must-tries for your shopping list. Nashi pear.jpg

  1. Asian Pears. Whoa. Martin Family Orchards had them last week, and I made the mistake of only buying three. These guys are juicy, crisp, sweet, and delicious.


  2. Pumpkin Pie pops! This sounds like a treat straight out of Harry Potter. My daughter went with strawberry, but I'm hoping she'll give this one a try in the remaining month.


  3. Adrienne's cherry pie. Now, I've never tasted anything I didn't like from Adrienne's Cakes & Pies, but the little cherry pie she had the other week really hit the spot. Maybe because it'd been years since I had cherry pie (it not being my husband's favorite). No sooner was it gone than I couldn't wait and had to go buy the ingredien ts to make my owncherry pie. I hadn't made a pie in almost a year, but I had to have another cherry pie immediately. That's how good Adrienne's pie was! I also used the promise of homemade cherry pie as a bribe to get my folks up to watch the kids while we're out of town, and it worked. So Adrienne's pie not only inspired me to make pie again, but also improved my life by allowing me to go on a mini-vacation. Top that!


  4. Salmon and grass-fed beef for the freezer and tuna for the pantry. As most of us know by now, Americans get way too many omega-6 fatty acids in the diet, and high omega-6 ratios have been tied to inflammation, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, obesity, depression, and bipolar disorder! In eons past, the ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s we consumed was around 1:1, but with all the vegetable oils, seeds feed to livestock, and processed foods that make up the modern diet, the ratio has skewed to 1:10. Yikes. Fight back with foods high in omega-3s. Lots of fish, yes, but don't forget that grass-fed beef is another omega-3 powerhouse.

Five Markets to go...let's make the most of them.



Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie


Who's not ready, holler 'Aye!' photo-20

I never thought about that old schoolyard chant being an indicator of fall, but, sure enough, fall is when we can find apples and peaches and (soon) pumpkins all at hand.


It's just that the seasons are getting a little weird at the Bellevue Farmers Market. Over the last couple weeks I've noticed the first appearances of apples and pears at Martin Family Orchards and Collins Family Orchards (alongside peaches), even while strawberries linger at multiple stands. Strawberries. In September! Our clever farmers have certainly figured out that, if you plant the earlier-and-earlier and later-and-later varieties, we will eat them all.

The nectarines are done for the year, but I found raspberries in the backyard this week(!), and tomatoes continue strong. (Sorry if this reads like a stock report.)


And what would the turn of the seasons be without some praise of vegetables? If you're tired of salads, how about serving up a crudité platter of raw and steamed vegetables, along with the Green Goddess Dressing below?



For the dressing I turn once again to my favorite cookbook, Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone:

Green Goddess Dressing

1/2 cup mayo

1/2 cup sour cream

1 Tbsp vinegar

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

3 Tbsp chopped chives or scallion

1.5 Tbsp chopped tarragon, or 1 tsp dried

1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped

1/4 tsp salt

Combine all in a food processor and blend until pale green. This is also yummy on a spinach salad and on tomatoes!


I've been reading a fabulous book (more on that next week), and it's re-inspired me to avoid processed foods with their heavy reliance on nut and seed oils. Green Goddess Dressings fits right in with that plan, and what a pleasant break from vinaigrette!