What's Nibbling at the Market

 (Photo courtesy of Bellevue.com.)

Okay, the first Thursday Market of the season is under our belts (literally, considering how many things I bought and sampled), and what a glorious day it was! Sunny and festive, with the the Haggis Brothers providing the live soundtrack. It was great to see our farmers and vendors again, and visiting the Market was a perfect community microcosm: I ran into fellow foodies from church, the kids' school, and the pool.

Following my own advice to ask lots of questions, here's a download of my discoveries:

1. F/V St. Jude has fresh sushi cuts right now! If you've never rolled your own sushi, it isn't hard to do, although my own experiments have come out considerably uglier than what gets served in restaurants. Tasty, though. And if you're getting your tuna from St. Jude, you know it's both sustainable and low in mercury. Just in case you weren't one of the estimated thirteen readers of the BFM's now-defunct Market News, here's a link to the original St. Jude article. Besides replenishing my supply of canned tuna, Joyce Malley had me sample their new variety of tuna jerky--Chipotle. Oh, my word. Delish. I bought a pack on the spot and am amazed to report that two out of three of my children liked it!

2. While we're talking fish, I somehow totally missed the fact that Loki Fish Company, our salmon purveyors, offers a bulk discount: 5% of five pounds, 10% off ten pounds, and so on. They'll even mix and match salmon varieties to make up the total and hold it for you in their coolers until you're done with your shopping. I came home ten pounds richer in pink and Keta salmon, and we grilled the first of it last night.
 I'd been storing up salmon curiosity for a few months, having read about the collapse of the California and Oregon salmon fisheries, and wanted to ask Dylan Knutson whether the Washington fishery was also endangered. Turns out it's the King salmon which are hanging on by their fin-tips because they're the ones who spend a great part of their lives in fresh water (that is, in rivers). Just as in California and Oregon, Washington King salmon are duking it out with people and farmers for river water and spending much of their lives marinating in our pollution before they head out to sea--which explains why Loki catches their King salmon far away in Alaska. Keta salmon, on the other hand, are thriving in our area because they spend only a couple weeks in fresh water before heading out to the Sound. As a result, they have better survival rates and are extremely clean of pollutants. For more information on Loki, check this past Market News article.

3. The folks at Mt. Townsend Creamery let me sample their scrumdillyumptious Scotch-Washed Toma, a nutty, mild cheese washed in--you guessed it--Scotch. And yes, you can eat the rind. When they run out of that variety they'll bring in one done in a Red Alder (ale) wash. I think a wheel of cheese, some fresh-baked bread and a basket of cherry tomatoes and you're set for a picnic dinner.

4. Canales Produce reports that asparagus season should last until the first week of July. My favorite way to prepare it? Snap off the bottoms of the stalks at their natural "give" point, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle on salt and pepper, and roast in the toaster oven at 425F until it's tender and a little carmelized. Yum.

5. If you eat broccoli (a lot) and find yourself getting a little bored with it, I found broccoli rabe at Blia's Lee Lor Gardens stand. Local Chinese restaurants stir fry the veggie and drizzle oyster sauce over it, and it's a welcome change.

6. And, yes, the apples you see today in the grocery stores and at Tiny's Organic stand have been in cold storage for the winter, but I was delighted to discover that Tiny's Fuji apples were still crisp and juicy and not the least bit mealy.

Not only did I quiz some of our farmers and vendors, I hit up some of you to see what you had in your tote bags and baskets and found everything from plant starts to tomatoes to soup to eggs. If you've never left a comment on the blog, weigh in now and let me know what discoveries you made!