This week at the markets you will be sure to find sweet peppers, lettuce, butternut squash, carrots, okra, sweet potatoes, and sweet Texas 1015 onions.
The first autumn crop of broccoli and broccoli rabe (sometimes called broccolini or Chinese broccoli) is also coming in. Johnson’s Backyard Garden, which maintains a presence at every market, has plenty of both.
This Saturday will also be your last chance to get any of the miracle autumn sweet corn grown by Farmer John of 2 Happy Children Farm. He has had it for sale for the last three Saturdays at the Barton Creek Farmers Market and the Cedar Park Farmers Market, and he told me he would most likely only have it for four weeks total. Because of the cool nights, this corn is even sweeter than spring corn.
2 Happy Children Farm also has lovely big bags of fresh lettuce. Freshly picked lettuce from the Farmers’ Market can last up to three weeks in the refrigerator, unlike supermarket heads that (in my experience) only last three or four days before going bad. (A fact that inadvertently answers the question, “Just how old is most supermarket lettuce?”) Animal Farm (Downtown), Johnson’s Backyard Garden, Bella Verdi Farms, and Flintrock Hill Farm (Sunset Valley) will all have lettuce to sell this weekend.
Apples from Top O’ Texas Orchards will continue to be available at the Barton Creek Market, and they tell me that they will have them for a few more weeks. These are sweet apples, mostly Galas and Jonagolds, but they are so fresh they have a little bit of green apple tartness.
Stephanie from Confituras has been using the local apple crop to make her stunning spiced apple butter. So good on biscuits or toast (or over gingerbread!). I like to spoon a little over Full Quiver Farms cottage cheese.
The Mueller Farmers Market has a new chocolatier: Kiskadee Chocolates. Using only organic, fair-trade cacao, Laura Atlas makes brewing cocoa, bean-to-bar brownies, bean-to-bonbon truffles, bean-to-bar brownie mix, and the most incredible drinking chocolate. Thick and rich, you can purchase a warm cup to drink as you shop, or buy a package to make at home. Right now Atlas is using “La Red” cacao from the Dominican Republic that has a strong chocolate flavor with hints of citrus, tamarind, and toffee.
Ottmers Family Farm at the Sunset Valley SFC Farmers’ Market will again have an abundance of tomatoes this Saturday. Ottmers tomatoes are outstanding, deeply red and ripe all the way through with a wonderful balance of sweetness and acidity. The Ottmers will also be selling a fresh crop of sweet potatoes, and their hens are laying well too.
Because I (probably) correctly anticipated that most of Austin would be buying their Jack O’ Lantern pumpkins this weekend (because you guys are procrastinators, admit it), I got mine last Saturday. I bought nice, big, carving pumpkins from STAR Market at Barton Creek, and what a bargain they were! Since I bought many, I got a discount that brought them down to around $4 each. You might have to get there early to score this Saturday, because Mr. Star will probably sell out.
On the topic of Halloween, Curious Confections, a South Austin bakery that sells at the HOPE Farmers Market, will be featuring their macabre “GingerDead Cookies” this Sunday, as well as handmade Pumpkin Caramels. Curious Confections also makes decorated cakes to order, and they made this awesome cake for the HOPE Markets fourth birthday last Sunday (you can’t tell from the photo, but the balloons were airborne and made of sugar, as well).
One of the HOPE Markets anchors is Teysha, who sell KunaKicks, which are very fashionable slippers, as well as other embroidered footwear and leatherwork. The HOPE Market has craftspeople as well as farmers, including potters and jewelry makers.
A film featuring Swede Farm Dairy was filmed over the summer of 2012 by director Roberto Minervini. Named Stop the Pounding Heart, it is about coming of age on a goat farm, and it features the Carlson family in key roles, including the starring role which is taken by Sara Carlson. It was screened at Cannes this year, and the Carlsons will be flown to three European film festivals in the coming weeks. Due to a conflict in the director’s schedule, Mr. Minervini will not be able to do the question and answer sessions that follow the screenings, and so he has deputized Tim, Lee Anne, and Sara to take his place at festivals is Leipzig, Geneva, and Seville. Who said being a goat farmer isn’t a life of glamour?
Most of the cucumber vines across Central Texas have succumbed to cooler temperatures and age, but not the Ice cucumbers vines at Comanche Oaks Farm. These highly sought after cucumbers are considered by many to be the most delicious on Earth. They are preternaturally crisp and crunchy, with a very mild flavor.
Comanche Oaks Farm also has a crop of Tea Hibiscus (the pink hibiscus flower that “Hippy Tea” is made from). This is a truly unique crop. Though I know Tea Hibiscus grows well here, I have never seen the flowers for sale at the Farmers’ Market before. Five for a dollar! (Barton Creek Market)
Dewberry Hills Farm (Really Good Chicken™) will be at the Sunset Valley Market only this Saturday. Calling to reserve a chicken is recommended.
Hairston Creek Farm at the Sunset Valley Farmers' Market has a fresh crop of organic tomatillos. It is perfect weather for simmering a tomatillo sauce or a pork stew, and I haven’t seen local organic tomatillos since spring, anywhere, except at the Hairston Creek table.
Flying Pig Provision Company will be selling their fantabulous bacons, smoked turkeys, roast beef, pastrami, and ham at the Barton Creek Market on Saturday. These are, in my opinion, the very best smoked meats available in Austin. Try the Italian style bacon – it will amaze you.
Here is the menu from Jesse Griffiths and the Dai Due team for Saturday morning at the Downtown Market:
Wild Boar Posole with ash hominy, radish, cabbage, and Valley lime; Pork and Dried Fruit Tamal wrapped in collard greens with red chili salsa, corn, crema, and a fried duck egg; Sprouted Wheat Pancake with Country Style Breakfast Sausage and stewed apples; Sloppy Joe with pickled onions on a Kaiser roll; Chorizo and Egg Taco with green chili salsa; White Pomegranate and Verbena Soda and Cafe a la Olla.
Vegetables that will be in abundance: arugula, lettuce, sweet potatoes, broccoli, sweet onions, carrots, okra, beets, Butternut squash, eggplant, sweet peppers, beets, salad turnips, pecans, potatoes, onions, field peas, and jalapeños.
Some markets will have it: sweet corn, apples, hard pears, fennel, green beans, pumpkins, new potatoes, garlic, tomatillos, mustard greens, green onions, and late melons.
(Exciting News Tidbit only for people who read this whole report: It is rumored that Johnson’s Backyard Garden will have a small crop of fall strawberries this Saturday.)
See you at the Market!
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