Morning at the Ballard Market

Last week, in anticipation of Thanksgiving, I spent a morning at the outdoor Ballard Farmer's Market with my daughter Tiffany. We happily wandered, browsing stalls that were packed with veggies and bursting with color.

As we filled our bags, Tiffany so aptly described how we both felt--that we were very much a part of a community. All coming together in a loving spirit, sharing, conversing and connecting.

Here's a look at this wonderful market.

Colorful festival banners are staked up at both ends of the Ballard Farmer's Market, setting the upbeat tone of this popular place. The market is open every Sunday, year-round. 

Vegetables are the big sellers and this time of year the stalls are loaded with root vegetables. Perfect ingredients for a big pan of hearty soup. Check out this delicious Creamy carrot and sweet potato soup recipe from Cooking Light. My very talented daughter, who is a high-school teacher, taught her students how to cook this in her nutrition and wellness class. 

We saw bins and bins of big, plump market squash. Always perfect for roasting.

Vendors at this market get pretty artsy with their displays. We particularly loved this giant pile of beets with bags of fingerling potatoes at its base. Amazing that it didn't topple over. 

Baskets of always sought out herbs are tucked among the vegetable bins. The smells are heavenly.

The market is staged for several blocks down the center of Ballard Avenue, which is located in the cool historic district of Ballard. Quirky shops, popular restaurants and eclectic bars line both sides of the street. 

Although hundreds of people visit this market, the crowds are manageable so you have plenty of room to browse inside the vendor tents.

It wouldn't be a farmer's market without a beautiful selection of low-cost, just-picked flowers. These fall bouquets were particularly stunning. 

This is definitely a dog and kid friendly place. Lots of families and dog owners were among the shoppers, adding even more character to this bustling market. 

Many of the vendors are from small farms, and participate in community supported agriculture programs. Boistfort Valley Farm has 70 acres of organic vegetable, herbs and flowers. They deliver freshly harvested produce at drop-off stations around the Puget Sound area. 

More and more people are buying organic these days and many farmers are meeting that demand. You'll find a large selection of certified organic produce among the stalls.

A nice display of organic herbs and veggies.

The farmers and helpers working in the stalls are awesome. Friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable. You really get the feeling that they farm from the heart.

Not only did we get great fresh vegetables, we sampled a few really good wines. And they were so good we both bought a bottle to take home.

You'll find a lot more at farmer's markets than produce. Free range eggs and poultry, wild fish, artisan cheeses, honeys, bakery goods, orchard fruits and home-grown teas are all part of this wonderful local market . 

Happy Thanksgiving!