the latest

« Food

Farmers Market Report: December 15

Let's take a look at the Sunday markets!
Kate Thornberry, 8:00am, Sat. Dec. 15, 2012

Gorgeous Red Potatoes from Boggy Creek Farm (Mueller)
I just have to put it out there that the possibility exists that it might rain. If so, we shall all be required by law to run outside and fall on our knees and praise the Rain Gods. (I’m just sayin’).

I don’t want to bum anybody out, but I think we have just had the driest November in the history of the Republic of Texas, and we are working on the driest December, so any Rain God Praising you might do will be very much appreciated … here’s hoping we shall get to do it! (Even drizzle is better than nuthin’)

I hinted in this space last week that I have decided to change my reporting “beat”, and cover all of the weekend Austin farmers markets (sorry Cedar Park, you are a different town). That means, the Downtown SFC Market, the Barton Creek Farmers Market, the Sunset Valley Farmers Market, the HOPE Farmers Market, the Mueller Farmers Market, and the new Highland Mall Farmers Market. The first three are in Saturday mornings from 9am-1pm, and the latter three are on Sunday mornings from 10am-2pm.

In my imagination, I have a vague plan to alternate weeks, shopping on Saturday one week and Sunday the next, but in all likelihood I will probably just end up either doing whatever is convenient for me, or, going to them all every week because of the siren lure of the various vendors. Every market has it’s unique vendors … for instance, Peach Creek Farm only does Downtown; Blanco Valley Chips only does Barton Creek (ditto for Full Quiver Farms and Dad’s Granola!); Pure Luck Goat Cheese only does Mueller; Peeler Farms Chicken only does the HOPE market … you can see the obvious result. Sometimes I am just going to have to go to them all.

Local celebrity farmer Carol Ann Sayle, posing with fresh Kale and an Inchworm
Apropros of this timely change, all my photographs this week are going to be from the Sunday markets. Speaking of vendors, the Sunday Markets have so many new (to me) vendors that it will take me absolute weeks to highlight them all! One truly exciting new vendor is our beloved Boggy Creek Farm. For those who aren’t deeply steeped in Austin Organic Farming History, Boggy Creek Farm practically singlehandedly started the sustainable organic farmer model here in Austin, originally setting up a farmstand in front of Wiggie’s Liquor on West 6th, and eventually selling from their actual farm in East Austin every Saturday and Wednesday mornings (which they are still doing). But due to medical bills and a need for a little extra cash flow, Boggy Creek Farm has begun selling at the Mueller Market as well. Carol Ann and Larry from Boggy Creek are genuine food and farming celebrities, it’s a thrill to see them (and their lettuce, which is so fresh and perky all the other lettuce looks wilted in comparison).
Gobi Parantha from Royal Indian Foods (Mueller)
Another Mueller eye-catcher is Lamba’s Royal Indian Foods, where you can purchase freshly made Naan. What a great idea! I frequently cook Indian food at home, but I must admit I fall short of baking my own naan too. What could be more convenient than buying fresh naan in the morning and making Indian that night! Awesome.
Some of the most local olive oil you'll ever taste
Mueller also has the Texas Hill Country Olive Company, selling their premium extra-virgin olive oil. If you want to be sure you are getting fresh, health-supporting olive oil, you can’t be surer than buying the local product. We are very fortunate to have one of the only two climates that will sustain olive trees (the other is California) in the US; if you haven’t tried a Texas Olive oil, you are in for an awakening, trust me.

The Highland Mall market is coming along; although the organizers of the Mueller Market signed up quite a few of the most desirable vendors (Jesse Griffiths, I am looking at you!), the Highland Mall market has that one commodity that all desire: sufficient, one might even say ample, parking. (I am probably not the first shopper who, daunted by having to schlep a mile over rough terrain to get to Mueller, have blown it off. Because all the spaces within a mile are taken.) In addition to parking, the Highland Market has Mill-King Dairy, Richardson Farms (beef and pork), and Brownson “Rocking B” Ranch (beef and goat).

The Rocking B Stand at Highland Mall Market
Goat meat is the re-discovery of now! It tastes fantastic, it’s truly sustainable, and it is Texan as all get out. Super-authentic in any Mexican dish (such as cabrito, or carne guisada, or green chile stew, or tacos), goats also have very, very tasty ribs and chops.
Prices for that grass-fed Beef and Goat from Rocking B (Highland)
Well, we have finally had a light freeze, so goodbye to all the summer vegetables. What we will be having in abundance this weekend are the cool weather crops: spinach, lettuce, salad turnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green onions, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, arugula, cilantro, kale, Russian kale, curly kale, dinosaur kale, endive, fennel, easter egg radishes, French breakfast radishes, watermelon radishes, and Daikon radishes!

In the fruit department, it is citrus time! Johnson’s Backyard Garden is selling organic oranges and ruby red grapefruits from the Rio Grande Valley (all markets), and juicy plump tangerines will be on hand from Orange Blossom Farm (Barton Crek and SFC Downtown).

See you at the markets!

Next in Food: An Evening with Jesse Griffiths and Jody Horton at BookPeople »