At this time of year, all I usually expect to see at the Farmers' Markets here in Seattle, and in Portland for that matter, are big mature Kales, Collards and Mustard Greens, as well the last of the picking of beets, large, dirty nubs with tops trimmed. But still we've been fortunate for the last four or five years since some of the farmers in the warmer micro-climates have been planting their second or third round of crops in September, and extending the 'fresh and local' season practically year round. However, given the freeze in early December and the long, hard freezes the last three winters, I was stunned by what I saw last Sunday. Young and baby greens, including the sweetest baby collards I've ever tasted, six to eight weeks ahead of schedule greeted me at several booths. I was about to ask the farmer at the Full Circle Farm Booth about this when I spied rows of brightly colored Chiogga, Golden and Red beets, freshly picked and with their young, tasty looking greens intact. Despite the risks of ice storms and hard freezes, they planted yet another crop in November! Sheets of plastic covering protected the young shoots during the relatively short and mild freeze in December, and no more drab mid-winter offerings...at least this year. Given the crappy weather we've had the last few years - winter, spring, summer and fall, it's nice to see some people are still willing to take chances, and they will be getting even more of my dollars from now on!