HOPE Farmers Market
Check out what's happening Sunday morning at the HOPE Market
By Kate Thornberry, 3:58PM, Sat. Oct. 13, 2012
Although I generally stick to the three Saturday Farmers Markets that I usually shop at (Downtown, Sunset Valley and Barton Creek), I have covered in this space a few newsworthy Farmers Market events, such as SFC opening their Tuesday Morning Market in East Austin, and the opening of the new Sunday Mueller Farmers Market.
This very understandably made the HOPE Farmers Market, that has been taking place every Sunday morning at East 5th and Waller for years, feeling rather left out!
Although I knew of the existence of the HOPE Market, I had never shopped at it, and I must say, I have been missing out (particularly when for various unavoidable reasons, I missed the Saturday Markets. What I have done in the past has been, just gone a week without! What a colossal error: I could have gone to HOPE on Sunday Mornings instead!)
At East Fifth and Waller (just on the east side of I-35) there is a really large sort of ramshackle complex, and the HOPE market is entered from the west side. It is an open air market, but there is a certain amount of protection from the elements afforded by the warehouse-like buildings on either side. The number of vendors is slightly less than some markets, but all the bases are nevertheless covered. Johnson’s Backyard Garden has every seasonal vegetable available (is there anything Brenton Johnson doesn’t grow?) and there are several other produce tables besides: Comanche Oaks Farm, Engel Farms, and the HOPE farmstand, to name a few. Wild River Farms has fresh, roots-on lettuces (I bought three, they were so fresh and beautiful)
The HOPE Market has been the anchor market for Salt and Time, makers of amazing charcuterie and preserves, and if you go for no other reason, you should go for them. Everything they make is just amazing, and until their brick-and-mortar shop opens, this is where you can find them. I bought some of the best hard salami I have ever tasted there, and their prices are more than reasonable. (In fact, like Sunset Valley, the prices at the HOPE Market are all-around bargain-tastic and there is parking!)
Another favorite vendor of mine, Windy Hill Farm, sells at HOPE. They are our local vendors of goat meat (they also sell vegetables, eggs, and occasionally other meats) and I can’t recommend them more highly. If you haven’t tried making a delicious cabrito stew, you need to get on that! Goat meat is one of the most sustainable for this region, and it was a staple here for more than a hundred years (cowboys and settlers ate a lot more goat meat than beef!)
Every other week HOPE has Peeler Farms, who sell amazing pasture-raised chicken and beef. At $6 a pound for ground beef and $4 a pound for chicken, Peeler Farms might be the best deal out there for pastured meats! Look out, Richarson Farms!
Other vendors include my current favorite, Pate Letelier (at HOPE they sell the pate AND baguettes), Happy Hemp (who have a new toasted hemp seed, which is delicious), Das Lunas Artisan Cheese, Gardener’s Feast Tamales, Nile Valley Herbs and Teas, , Texas Olive Ranch, Wunder-pilz Kombucha, and Third Coast Coffee.
HOPE also has a great selection of Craftspeople selling various art wares, more than the other markets have by far. Overall I got the impression that the market was perhaps as much as half craftspeople. There were baskets, cutting boards, buttons, magnets, gorgeous pottery, handbags, leatherwork, and a remarkable tent full of silk screened clothing. I know comparisons are odious, but I saw a lot more things I wanted to buy at the HOPE market than I saw at the Mueller Market and it was a lot easier to park, shop, and generally get around!