on the range

Farmers' Market Report: April 19-20, 2014

The first summer squash, chocolate bunnies, and iceberg lettuce

By Kate Thornberry, 11:30AM, Fri. Apr. 18

The first summer squash of 2014 from Fruitful Hill Farm
by Jasmine Ringger
Fruitful Hills Farm has beaten all the other farmers to the punch, and brought the first zucchini and yellow crookneck squash of the season to last week’s market, and they have more to bring this Saturday  (Sunset Valley and Barton Creek).

The squash are slightly larger than small fingerlings in size. They will also be bringing strawberries, which are still going strong for many area farmers, including Engel Farms and 2 Happy Children. I am told that 2 Happy Children will also have summer squash at the Cedar Park Market this Sunday.

A closer look at those squashes
by Kate Thornberry
I know the burning question of the moment that is causing acute anxiety for everyone is: Did the freeze in the Hill Country last week ruin the peach crop?!? Here at Farmers’ Market Report HQ the word is, things seem to be okay. Engel Farms of Fredericksburg still says that they should have the first of the early peaches in a few weeks; I don’t know if the peaches that were at the blossom stage were hurt by the cold temperatures or not. I am hoping that it wasn’t freezing for long enough to do any real damage.

The Engel Farms tomato field, morning of the freeze
by Engel Farms
Engel Farms sent along this photograph of their young tomato plants, all covered with black plastic covers, and reported that the tomatoes came through the frost without incident. In this photo, it looks like the tomato plants are sitting in ditches coated with ice!

This Sunday is Easter Sunday, which means that many vendors and farmers will not be at the markets that day. Expect the Sunday markets to be smaller than usual. Lone Star Farmers Market will not be open, but Cedar Park, Mueller, and HOPE will all be open. Cedar Park Farmers’ Market will have a scavenger hunt for the kids from 10am-Noon, with Easter and spring prizes for the kids.

So clever!
by Jessie Curry
The HOPE Farmers' Market will probably be livelier than usual, as they will be hosting a super fun Easter egg, vegetable, and toffee hunt. Children can find real farm eggs from Windy Hill Farms, fresh veggies from JBG, and homemade taffies from Curious Confections. Eggs will be boiled, so they'll be ready for dying at HOPE’s egg dye station. To join the hunt, meet on the stage at 11:45am. Kids 5 & under begin at noon, kids 5 & over begin at 12:05pm. Bring your own basket, carton, or market bag.

Curious Confections at the HOPE Market will have pomegranate and lemon flavored marshmallow Peeps, Heavenly Hash chocolate bars, Easter nests, Easter-themed sugar cookies, and lemon koularakia, which are Greek Easter cookies. This will also be the last Sunday to get hot cross buns. They will also have almond croissants, Battenberg cakes, strawberry breakfast tarts and currant scones.

Rainbow Chard
by Jessie Curry
Wendy Town Farm will be selling this stunning rainbow chard at HOPE, along with lettuce, spinach,  green onions, sugar snap peas, fresh herbs, dried herbs, homemade prepared mustards, and tomato plants. As far as I know, theirs are the only sugar snap peas available at local farmers’ markets this spring; they are the only ones I have seen, anyway.

Over at the Mueller Farmers’ Market, McKemie HomeGrown will have asparagus for sale. Mr. McKemie was unable to attend last weekend (possibly because of a labor shortage), so he should have more than enough this weekend.

Hairston Creek Farm Asparagus
by Kate Thornberry
Since McKemie HomeGrown wasn’t there last weekend, I raced over to Sunset Valley, where I was fortunate enough to get some beautiful baby asparagus from Hairston Creek Farm. Talk about feeling lucky! I also got some really fresh and pretty brussels sprouts from Hairston Creek.

Lamb Roasts for Easter
by Kate Thornberry
Over at Sunset Valley, IO Ranch Lamb is continuing to feature lamb roasts for Easter Sunday, and Jeff has leg roasts and crown roasts. He will be bringing extra to both markets (Sunset and Downtown) on Saturday.

Red Iceberg lettuce from Caeda Farm
by Kate Thornberry
I have waited until halfway through to let you know where to get the iceberg lettuce because, sometimes it’s hard to share. Caeda Farm has it, and it is so great. Not only beautiful, but also very fresh and crisp. I would have sworn that iceberg lettuce is impossible to grow in this climate, but this has been the perfect spring for it. All of Caeda’s lettuces are phenomenal looking right now, in spite of the high winds that ripped up some of their seedling houses (Barton Creek only).

2 Happy Children broccoli
by Kate Thornberry
As I mentioned last week, JBG has artichokes, and 2 Happy Children will be getting some in soon. Last week, 2 Happy Children had some really lovely young broccoli heads (they are north of town so it’s a little cooler there). It must be a second planting, or maybe they are secondary heads. My broccoli plants went to seed months ago; this is probably local broccoli’s last hurrah. Get it while you can.

Dewberry Hills Farm won’t be at the markets this Saturday (again). Chickens just don’t grow all that fast when it’s chilly, I guess.

Prickly Pair Farm at the Cedar Park Farmers’ Market will have their first cuts of Dutch iris this week in very limited quantities. However, they will have plenty of other flowers including snapdragons, statice, Bells of Ireland, calendula, delphiniums, and dianthus. Juicy Jay’s Meatballs will be at the Cedar Park Market on Sunday with their authentic Sicilian style meatballs and marinara sauces. Jay’s meatballs and marinara are the best I have found available commercially, anywhere in town.

Chocolate bunnies!!!
by Kate Thornberry
Kiskadee Chocolates will be at the Cedar Park Market on Sunday (they will not be at Mueller this week) with single-source, bean-to-bar craft chocolate bunnies! Made in Antique German molds, this will be the best chocolate bunny you have ever had, I guarantee it. Kiskadee will also have peanut butter chocolate eggs for sale, just this one day.

If you can’t make it up to Cedar Park, Kiskadee’s craft chocolate bars are now available at Froyoyo Yogurt (3201 Bee Caves Rd.), across the street from the Randall’s in Rollingwood. Froyoyo is now carrying the best selection of American craft chocolate in Texas, and Kiskadee Chocolate is right up there with the best.

French Batards
by Kate Thornberry
It looks like Baguette et Chocolat has made the switch to the Barton Creek Farmers’ Market for good– they just keep selling out of everything. The Barton Creek shoppers have been very receptive.

From the Dai Due Butcher Shop:

Breakfast & Lunch at the Market (Downtown only this weekend)

Chicharron and Yucca Blossom Taco with green tomato/lamb's quarter salsa, and pickled cactus buds

Pulled Ossabaw Pork Sandwich with rutabaga kraut, horseradish mustard, and onion

Longanisa Sausage and Egg Torta with queso Oaxaca, chipotle mayonnaise, and cilantro

Lamb Posole with radish, onion, and cilantro

Smothered Ossabaw Pork Chop with grits, duck egg, and kale

Cafe a la Olla

I am sad to say, this is my last edition of the Farmers’ Market Report in the Austin Chronicle.

Thanks for reading!

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