Farmers’ Market Report: March 29-30, 2014
Asparagus, spinach, celery tops, turkey eggs, and black hogs
By Kate Thornberry,
11:00AM, Fri. Mar. 28, 2014
There was a spot of bother last week concerning the Pink Lady apples from Washington State that the JBG stands were selling; even though they were clearly marked as being an organic import from the Northwest, many farmers and market organizers agreed that they weren’t local enough. Farmer Johnson has pulled them from his stands, though he will continue to sell G & S Organic citrus from the Rio Grande Valley.
This brings up the question of expectation. What do farmers’ market shoppers expect of area markets? One primary expectation is that the crops for sale be locally grown, and that meats be locally raised. This is true at all area farmers’ markets, though the definition of “local” can stretch all the way to the coast and up the Panhandle at times. (Other than the apples in question, of course. Though to be fair, they were clearly labelled as an out-of-state specialty item.)
When it comes to the sellers of prepared foods, some primarily use local ingredients, and some don’t. The ones who do, like Dai Due Butcher Shop, usually get more coverage in this Report than the ones who don’t. For some vendors, however, it just isn’t possible; bakers in particular could never obtain enough locally produced sugar, flour, chocolate, nuts, or butter to make their products.
Naturally, there are many prepared products sold at the farmers’ markets made from ingredients that just don’t grow around here: locally roasted coffees, teas, chocolates, etc. The bar for vendors to clear is that they must make what they sell, and that the quality be good. Different markets have different rules, as well; the Sustainable Food Center Markets discourages vendors from selling anything grown outside of a 150 mile radius, the Mueller and Cedar Park Markets are somewhat more lenient, and the Barton Creek Farmers Market allows the sale of some Atlantic seafood, such as lobster and Scottish salmon, as long as it is sustainable and locally prepared.
Markley Family Farm will be bringing their spring crop of strawberries to the Barton Creek Market this Saturday. When I tasted their strawberries right before the first killing frost of winter, they were so intensely flavored. These berries are really wonderful, and are never sprayed with pesticide or fungicide.El Cruz Ranch. A small operation, El Cruz raises Alpine goats, turkeys, ducks, chickens, parrots, and vegetables. Last Saturday they brought not only chicken eggs but also duck eggs and turkey eggs to market. Prickly Pair Farm has Texas anemones, ranunculus, and delphiniums. I saw this magnificent bouquet for sale Downtown. Eden’s Cove Farm. Eden’s Cove specializes in raising large black hogs, which they then render into chops, sausages, and bacon. The hogs live a natural out-of-doors life in family groups and are fed organic vegetables and brewers’ grain. At the market last weekend, Eden's Cove had a nice variety of sausages and cuts, but according to their website, it is best to order online and just pick their pork up at the market, because they frequently sell out.
Speaking of selling out, even though I told my readers to order chicken from Dewberry Hills Farm on Friday to be sure to get any, I myself wandered up to their table at the Sunset Valley Market at ten o’clock in the morning, thinking I would buy a chicken. Ha! They were already sold out and only had stock bones left. I’ll take my own advice more seriously from now on.
Things are jumpin’ over at the HOPE Farmers’ Market: Windy Hill Farm, already one of my favorite farms, will have goose eggs this Sunday. Goose eggs are enormous and very rich (like geese themselves); there is nothing better for making quiche or custards.
Countryside Farm will have whole Muscovy ducks, in addition to ample supplies of rabbit and a limited amount of duck breasts. They will also have their usual line of charcuterie.Skull and Cakebones Bakery will be bringing their Persian Rose Cupcake to HOPE this weekend, after its debut last Sunday. The Persian Rose has a pistachio and rosewater infused cake, topped with vanilla saffron frosting.
Southern Traditions Grass-fed Meats plan to bring T-Bone steaks, short ribs, Filet Mignon, ground beef, strip loin steaks, and lamb chops to market this Sunday.
Yard to Market, one of HOPE’s newest startup vendors, will be bringing lettuce, chard, kale, beets, carrots, and green onions.
Curious Confections, (in addition to butter croissants, Pain au Chocolat and Hot Cross Buns), will be bringing Apple Hand Pies, Samoa Doughnuts, Ginger Scones, Peanut Butter and Jelly Marshmallows, Chocolate Fudge, Speculoos Cookies, Chocolate Espresso Hazelnut Biscotti, and English Flapjacks. English Flapjacks are not pancakes, but are instead oat bars made with golden syrup.Two Happy Children Farm was hit particularly hard, as they put many acres of artichokes in this fall.
Dai Due is showcasing spring onions and wild boar again this weekend, along with green garlic and rutabagas. All of Dai Due’s boudins will be available this weekend, including Boudin Blanc, made with chicken, cream, and breadcrumbs, and Boudin Noir, made with duck skin, onion, mesquite beans, and dried chiles.
Breakfast & Lunch at the Market
Suckling Pig Sandwich with country pate, chicken liver mousse, pea shoot mayonnaise, and pickled radish;
Rabbit Tinga Taco with 1015 onions, cilantro, and chipotle-carrot salsa;
BBQ Boar Sandwich with bread and butter pickles, 1015 onions, and pickled egg;
Rutabaga Poutine with duck confit, 1015 onions, cheese curds, fried duck egg, wild onions, and chorizo gravy;
Sprouted Wheat Pancake with strawberry, cultured butter, and dried lemon;
Cafe a la Olla and Carrot and Lemon Agua Fresca
See you at the Markets!