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Farmers Market Report: March 23-24

Spring hits full stride
Kate Thornberry, 9:30am, Fri. Mar. 22, 2013
Strawberries from Stonewall, Texas at the HOPE Market

The redbuds have already peaked, the roses are in full bloom, and the trees, even the pecans, are leafing out. Strawberries are at their peak, and in spite of scanty rain, they are especially large and juicy this year.

Though early February was usually warm, early March was strangely (and wonderfully) cool, which is wonderful for growing fruits and vegetables. The cool weather develops the natural sugars, making carrots as well as strawberries sweet and delicious.

Johnson’s Backyard Garden will be bringing a new crop of spring parsnips to market this weekend. Parsnips are very trendy these days; a white root vegetable that resembles a carrot (but sweeter), they are wonderful roasted.

The last of the Turnip crop, Barton Creek Market

We are coming up on the end of the turnip season, as they do poorly in warmer weather. The next week or so will be the last chance for sweet baby turnips until next fall.

At the Barton Creek Market, 2 Happy Children will be bringing in more of their fresh young artichokes. These artichokes are so tender that the entire stem can be eaten, and they have very little “choke”. Winfield Farm and Blue Fork Farm will both be bringing in sweet snow peas as well.

Still haven’t seen any asparagus! I am beginning to suspect that local chefs might have commandeered the whole crop! Either that or it doesn’t make well in dry weather.

News From Around the Markets:

11 am Yoga Class at the HOPE Market

The HOPE Market celebrated their Grand Opening at Plaza Saltillo two weeks ago. The new location is really nice, with lots of seating (some of it under shady arbors). The free/donation yoga class has continued and I must say it looks like an idyllic way to start your Sunday. There are a couple of new vendors at Hope: Salud de Paloma, a new Extra Virgin Olive Oil bottled in Dripping Springs, and Jeremiah Cunningham Eggs (HOPE is the only Farmers Market that has them).

Concha's Salsas

Concha’s Salsas has begun selling at the HOPE Market, along with the Sunset Valley and Downtown SFC Markets. At last I have been able to get a hold of their Ranchero Salsa (they kept selling out). It is really, really good: it’s structure is complex, with lots of chile flavor in a roasted tomato base and a medium amount of heat. Concha also makes a Salsa Verde and a Habanero Salsa, both of which I will be trying pretty soon as the ranchero disappeared quickly.

Cinnamon’s Bakery has come into its own at the Barton Creek Market. Selling a variety of breakfast pastries (as well as non-breakfast ones!), Cinnamon’s has attracted a steady clientele with their delightful flavor combinations, such as their Apple and Calvados Danish, their Apricot/Brie Croissants, and their excellent Pain au Chocolate. Last week I heard Farmer Sams of Full Quiver Farms order a box of twenty pastries to take back to the farm! (Then again, that might just be one each for his family, he does have a full quiver, after all! Oh, grow up – What I mean is he has a dozen kids).

Typically I have walked right by the Healthy Hound table, as my dog Skip-Bo usually turns down treats of all kinds (I know, he is a gigantic weirdo, but there it is.) He is not, as they say, “food-motivated”. But now there is a new member of our pack: Ranger the large and clumsy puppy, and he is starving all the time. When the Healthy Hound lady offered Ranger a treat, I feared for her hand! But happily I did actually find out about their wares, and I was very impressed. Besides the real-ingredient, made-out-of-actual-food dog foods they sell, Healthy Hound also makes dried chicken, dried beef, and dried sweet potato treats. A fairly big bag is only $6. That has to make it one of the best dog treat deals out there, especially for an all-meat treat made of human-grade meat. Honestly, I sincerely don’t know how they do it. (When I asked, they said, “Volume!”, so I guess they are doing pretty well with the dog treats!)

If you plan to order a delicious, seasoned lamb roast for Easter from Dai Due Butcher Shop, this weekend is the time to pre-order, just stop by the table or order online.

What’s in season: Fennel, lettuce, carrots, green onions, spinach, beets, radishes, parsnips, cilantro, parsley, strawberries, artichokes, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, Swiss chard, bok choy, cabbage, more carrots.

Can still be had: turnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, and citrus.

See you at the markets!

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