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Farmers Market Report: February 23-24

Winter is officially over
Kate Thornberry, 10:30am, Fri. Feb. 22, 2013

Fresh, crisp Romaine from Finca Pura Vida (Sunset Valley)
The redbud trees are flowering, the German Irises are blooming, and the trees are leafing out; it’s official, winter is over. I am beginning to wonder is Central Texas is going to stop having it altogether; it was all too brief this year. I don’t know if it ever got cold enough to kill the mosquitos.

As long as we don’t get a late frost, the peach crop should be excellent this year. But coming back to the present, this is the time of year for some of our most wonderful, rare crops: asparagus and strawberries. In colder climates, these are available for much longer periods; here, you just have to buy them when you see them. Fresh, locally grown asparagus tastes so different than the kind flown in from South America that it has to be tasted to be believed. The local strawberries are both tarter and sweeter than the California ones.

The local Strawberries are coming in! These are from Finca Pura Vida (Sunset Valley)
Greens are back by the bushel, too, and the variety is optimum: Swiss chard, kale, cabbage, spinach, arugula, mustard greens, turnip greens, and beet greens are everywhere. Many farmers are also growing bok choy and other Asian greens as well.

Sugar snap peas and pea shoots are also making an appearance. These are also only around for a few weeks, so get them while you can.

Johnson's Backyard Gerden is still bringing in Citrus from the Rio Grande Valley: Organic Oranges and Grapefruits
Dewberry Hills Farm will not be at either market this weekend due to cool weather slowing down chicken growth. Peeler Farms won’t be here this weekend either, so if you need chicken, Richardson Farms (Barton Creek and Downtown), Countryside Farm (Downtown), Vital Farms (Barton Creek) and Full Quiver Farms (Barton Creek) are going to be good bets.
The selection of greens right now is stunning. These are from Flint Rock Farm (Sunset Valley)
Dai Due Butcher Shop will be featuring Linguica Sausage ($12), Fresh Herb Italian Sausage ($12), Liverwurst ($8) Kim Chee ($9), Chicken Liver Mousse ($6), and Aphid Honey Mustard ($8). The Dai Due Portable Kitchen will be serving an entirely new menu this week, which I will give you in full:

Venison Picadillo Taco with rutabagas, carrots,  pickled cabbage, queso fresco and green garlic salsa. 

Duck Fried Rice with duck sausage, carrots, green onion, a fried egg and kimchi.

 

Pon Haus with a fried egg and sorghum syrup.

    

Smoked Pork Sandwich with Doppleganger sauce, B and B's and cole slaw.

 

Rabbit Enchiladas with pipian sauce, queso fresco and pickled vegetables.

 

Cafe a la Olla. Boiled Mexican coffee with sorghum syrup, brown sugar, anise seed and cinnamon, served with Mill-king milk.  (Downtown only)

Beet Red Soda.  Vanilla cream soda with beets, cinnamon, lemon and orange.

 
There is nothing like fresh snow peas!
I never buy any brand of tortilla chips other than Blanco Valley Chips form the Barton Creek Market. They are so good, thick yet light and flavorful without being oily. Organic and fried in virgin coconut oil, these chips actually will spoil you for all other chips. So it is with great delight that I tell you, from now on they will also be available for purchase on a rack at Wholly Cow Burgers on South Lamar, for those times that you need more chips mid-week (Tracy only does the Saturday market.)

But probably the biggest piece of Farmers' Market News is: The HOPE Market will be moving to Plaza Saltillo (Fifth and Comal) on Sunday, March 3. The new location will provide shelter for vendors, bathrooms, and a host of other amenities, including a stop for the Metro line. The popular free yoga class and free entertainment will continue, as the new location is going to be much roomier. This weekend, the HOPE market will be at Pine Street Station for the very last time!

See you at the markets!

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