Ten Reasons to Hit the Market this Week

If you missed Opening Day, you missed these charming fellows paying a visit:

The brown one's neck is for real. Maybe better to leave some fleece there?

But don't despair! Everything on the rest of the list will be there this week.

1. Asparagus! I bought a couple pounds and oven-roasted them with olive oil, salt and pepper. We all groaned with the unbelievable yumminess of it. Seriously. Like nothing you've tasted from the store. (Available from several farmers, but last week I grabbed Crawford's.)

2. Rhubarb. It's a sad fact of Washington life that rhubarb season precedes strawberry season, but that's no reason not to indulge in rhubarb cakes and compotes. Look at these beauties:

3. Flowers. My nine-year-old daughter could hardly decide which she thought were the prettiest. An instant pick-me-up and point-getter.

Tulips and Peonies, together again

4. "Muddled Drinks" from Deru Market. Can't tell you how many people I saw with these. Think non-alcoholic mojitos with unique flavor combinations and handmade syrups from great local ingredients.

Photographed mid-muddle

5. D'Anjou pears. Yes, they were harvested last fall, but Martin Family Orchards insists they're actually better now. After letting them sit a few days in my kitchen to ripen, I have to agree.

6. Wild Salmon. I mean it. Don't eat the farmed stuff, and our Market fisherfolk, like Two If By Seafoods, catch their fish sustainably. A win-win.

7. Kale chips from House of the Sun. I tried making some of my own, and they sadly underwhelmed my family. Not only are these ones far crunchier (they swear by a dehydrator), but they have a tasty, just-right kick. Mmm...

8. Hazelnut flour. Upping the protein in recipes is in fashion, so why not skip the processed soy derivatives and do it the natural way? Substitute 1/4 cup hazelnut flour from Holmquist for 1/4 cup of whatever other flour you're using in your pancakes, muffins, and breads. Or bread some fish or tofu in it for a tasty crunch!

Or, heck--just eat the hazelnuts and call it good.

9. Bowls. If you're a fan of World Wrapps or Evolution Fresh food, give I Love My Gluten Free Food's quinoa bowls a go. A mouthful, in more ways than one.

10. Shellfish! So nice to have fresh oysters at our Market again. Unlike other farmed seafoods, farmed oysters are the way to go. Sustainable and delicious.

On a final note, if you're like me and always forget to hit the ATM before you come, you'll be glad to see how many of our farmers and vendors now accept credit cards. So much more convenient! Get used to signing with your finger...