10 Reasons to Enjoy Late Summer at the Market

Plenty of delightful finds at our Market in late summer, and this week I share a random smattering with you.

1. Still plenty of berries. Buy and freeze now, or forever hold your peace. Although we've already put up blueberry and peach pies in the freezer, I still bought a half-flat of blueberries for quick snacking and this tasty coffee cake.

2. Blessed are the beermakers because Rockridge Orchards has hops. I'd never even seen a hop. Wouldn't know one if it hit me in the face. But Wade has 'em, and by this picture shall you recognize them:

3. Skagit River Ranch is talking turkey. Yep, it's time to reserve your Thanksgiving turkey. Come by and leave your info and downpayment. I can vouch for the deliciousness of these turkeys, and if you've followed this blog, you'll know that I made 13 meals out of last year's bird! More on that this year, but I hope you'll join me in the Lucky Thirteen Thanksgiving Challenge.

4. Apples, Pears, and Asian Pears are in! Fresh, crisp and luscious.

The Asian pears, in particular, are the perfect size for the lunchbox.

5. I spotted new varieties of familiar favorites, including these gorgeous tomatoes from Billy's:

They look like oversized Rainier cherries, and just picture the interesting pico de gallo they'll make!

6. And bet these striped zucchini don't grow in your garden like they do at Hedlin Farms:

Zucchini is tasty on the grill with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Or do lengthwise slices in the oven, sprinkled with olive oil and parmesan cheese.

7. You might have realized by now that sampling things at the Market can be hazardous to your waistline and wallet. We were lured in by fellow Marketgoers to Golden Glen Creamery's booth to try the Dill and Garlic Curds. The rest is history. Don't say I didn't warn you.

8. Speaking of Golden Glen, they've added new varieties of their butters, including "Northwest Mushroom Trio" and "Cilantro-Lime," along with tried-and-true flavors like "Cinnamon Spice" and "Honey." If you love store-bought garlic bread, try GG's garlic butter spread over a Market baguette. You may never go back again!

9. There's been fuss over the recent Stanford study which found organic food wasn't appreciably "healthier" than non-organic, but, as everyone was quick to point out, nutrient level varies wildly from fruit to fruit and vegetable to vegetable, depending on the soil conditions, time-to-market, weather, and farming method. One wonderful thing about the Market is that you can meet your farmer, ask about his or her soil and farming philosophy. Talk pesticides, conventional and organic. Food doesn't have to be a mystery at the Market.

And, 10. We've got new prepared foods! Have you tried the hot dogs at Saturday's Hot Dog Girl stand? Or the original juice blends at the Juice Box? I love how our prepared food vendors, from Crepes to jam-makers, take advantage of what's in season to whip up special offerings. Don't miss out this week, and come hungry!