Farmers' Market Report: November 16-17, 2013
Organic citrus has returned, plus maple syrup, apples, and pecans
By Kate Thornberry, 9:15AM, Fri. Nov. 15, 2013
Organic citrus has arrived at all of the Farmers’ Markets, mainly via Johnson’s Backyard Garden, which sells gigantic bags from G & S Groves out of McAllen, Texas. A few other farmers are starting to bring grapefruits, Meyer lemons, and oranges to sell from their own trees, as well.
It’s also the beginning of spinach season. Spinach is truly the king of greens, with its mild flavor and tender leaves. This year's first crop is just the right size for salads, though it is big enough for cooking, too.
Although it didn’t freeze in the Austin metro area Tuesday and Wednesday nights, it most certainly did freeze out of town where the farms are. Becky Ottmers told me she planned to pick the tomatoes green, so she would have tomatoes this weekend, but after that, they will be over. Of course, greenhouse tomatoes are available at Austin farmers’ markets much of the winter, mostly from Engel Farms out in Fredericksburg; but the freeze this week has brought an end to the non-greenhouse ones.
Other crops that are likely to be disappearing from the markets: basil, okra, eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, and summer squash. Chances are if you see any of these items at the markets this weekend, they were picked before the freeze. But that is the beauty of eating seasonally; as some fruits and vegetables end, new ones begin. Broccoli is beginning to come in strong, and some of the most beautiful I have seen is from 2 Happy Children Farm. It is so green it's nearly blue.
The sweet corn has officially ended, but there will be two more weeks of apples. Top O’ Texas Orchards will be bringing Cameos, Jonagolds, and Galas to the Barton Creek Farmers Market from the Panhandle.
This year's crop of Texas pecans is starting to trickle in; Georgetown Pecans will be bringing their nuts to several markets beginning this weekend, and Indian Hills Farms will be selling their perfect pecan halves at the Sunset Valley Market and the Downtown SFC Market. The Capital MetroRail Commuter Train will be running this Sunday, which is fantastic news for folks trying to get to and from the HOPE Farmers Market. Located in Plaza Saltillo, which is the last stop on the line before the Downtown terminus, the HOPE Farmers Market runs from 11am to 3pm on Sundays. This weekend is the East Austin Studio Tour, and the HOPE Market is a great place to stop to get something to eat as you bike or drive from studio to studio.
To make the deal even sweeter, this Sunday the Kid’s ImprovEd Shakespeare Company will be performing Hamlet at the HOPE Market at 11am.
Speaking of Sunday Markets, the new market at South Lamar and Bluebonnet (which I personally think should be named the Bluebonnet Market, because, what a great name that would be!) opened last Sunday with over forty vendors. The location seems like it will work, as there is ample parking, many vendors, and plenty of South Austin hippies seeking organics.
Flying Pig Provision Company is now making artisan, thin-sliced corned beef, suitable for sandwiches. Flying Pig sells at the Barton Creek Market and the Lone Star Market, and their smoked meats are, in my opinion, the finest in town.
Dewberry Hills Farm will not be at either market this weekend, neither Downtown nor Sunset Valley. Jane says the chickens aren’t big enough to sell yet. No matter how much Dewberry Hills expands, they simply can’t keep pace with demand. Once you’ve tasted chicken that tastes like chicken, you can’t go back, after all.
Winter Squash Challenge: This week I baked a Butternut. The experience reminded me why the Butternut is the most popular winter squash: the deep orange color and the silky, yet firm flesh. It definitely outperformed the comparatively pale Sweet Dumpling squash I served alongside it.
Dai Due Butcher Shop is taking Thanksgiving orders for pick-up on November 22nd-24th. This year they are offering porchetta roasts, Turducken sausages, preserved lemons, and mincemeat. Click here for their ordering page.
This Saturday, “Breakfast and Lunch at the Market” will offer:
Breakfast Sandwich - Country Style breakfast sausage, a scrambled egg, and Stryk cheddar on a Gougere roll; Goat Posole with cabbage, lemon, and radish; Sprouted Wheat Pancake with Country Style Breakfast Sausage and fall fruit compote; Bacon, Egg and Potato Taco with salsa roja; Beet Red Soda and Cafe a la Olla.
See you are the Market!