Farmers Market Report: October 6th, 2012

What to Expect at the Farmers Markets Saturday

The biggest and most important Farmers Market News this week is: the Sunset Valley Market will not be at the Toney Burger Center this Saturday, due to the Marching Band Contest. In their own words:

The SFC Sunset Valley Farmers Market is moving this Saturday, Oct. 6th, for one day only, due to a marching band competition at Burger Center. We will be at the Home Depot on Brodie Lane, just south of Hwy 290. Official address is 1200 Home Depot Boulevard, Sunset Valley, TX 78745. This is a once a year occasion and we will be back to Burger Center the following week.

I have been out of town for a week, so my ability to predict the markets this week is more speculative than usual! (I did predict the rain last Saturday though, which is making me feel like The Amazing Kreskin.) However, there hasn't been a freeze, or anything else that represents a violent interruption of normal crops cycles. I feel safe saying that we will have what we usually have this time of year. (See below)

If you haven't pre-ordered your holiday turkey yet, and you would like one of the local variety, be sure to sign up at Richardson Farms before it is too late. Richardson Farms has also been selling real popcorn (the kind you make on the stove, or over an open fire) and it is a superb product. Just recently I read something that told the sad tale that microwave popcorn is actually really bad for you (sad face, because I think it is the only thing my husband knows how to make, and we enjoy it frequently for that reason), which made me think of buying some of the Richardson's popcorn. To have instead. Oh my Goodness, I just read that article again (the one I linked) and definitely, I am going to start making real popcorn, and you might want to think about it too!

Nile Valley Teas

I have been singing the praises of Fete Accompli's magnificent juice blends, and in my enthusiasm I forgot to mention Nile Valley Hibiscus Teas, who have been providing refreshing icy beverages to the Farmers Markets forever! I bought a cup of their Mango Hibiscus last time, and it was super wonderful. Hibiscus tea is so popular here in Austin (most restaurants call it "Hippie Tea") and Nile Valley is the B*E*S*T hibiscus tea out there.

Fresh Pastas from Pasta and Co.

Pasta and Company has been selling as both SFC markets (Sunset Valley and Downtown) for years, but I never tried any before I started writing these reports. So, for the record: fresh pasta is really wonderful, especially fresh ravioli ! I recently bought fresh pecan pasta, which was rather odd with a traditional marinara, but was incredible with melted butter and freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano.

You may remember that several weeks ago I promised to obtain an Oyster Mushroom Growing Kit from 100th Monkey Mushrooms at the Downtown SFC market. Well, I did! I was a little concerned that the kit would grow more mushrooms than I could use, but this was not the case. Though mushrooms grow quickly, it was always easy to pick them before they got too big (they triple is size daily). My greatest difficulty was keeping the correct humidity. Having fresh mushrooms to hand is incredibly convenient. The entire experience did make me wonder about the advisability of perhaps seeding my compost pile with spores … after a rain like last weekend's, it would be covered! (Probably it is much safer and more reliable to just buy a kit, though!)

Oyster Mushrooms growing on clean hay

The main difference in this week's market as compared to last week's is, some crops don't deal with heavy rain and high humidity all that well, particularly tomatoes. Tomatoes in Central Texas tend to split, and rot, after a heavy rain. There will still be tomatoes at the market, but they might not be as pretty this week as we've grown used to, nor as plentiful. Cucumbers and peppers should be doing well however, as should eggplant and all the greens that are starting to come in. I expect we will continue to be inundated with squash. Later varieties of apples ought to be showing up around now too (I am looking at YOU Bat Creek Farms), and if I know Brenton Johnson, JBG will have broccoli, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes, as well as a variety of greens.

I am crossing my fingers that there will still be some soft persimmons to buy this weekend, because the season is short and I missed an entire week. My (everbearing) fig tree has stopped bearing, so I doubt there will be any figs this week; hard pears may still be available. Io Ranch Lamb was giving away hard pears with lamb purchase a few weeks ago, and I made a rustic pear tart from them, so I remind you: hard pears are the very best for baking, much better than Bartletts.

See you at the Market!

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Farmers Market Report, 100th Monkey Mushrooms, Barton Creek Farmers Market, Bat Creek Farm, Downtown Farmers Market,, Fete Accompli, IO Ranch Lamb, Johnson's Backyard Garden, Nile Valley Tea, Pasta and Company, Richardson Farms, SFC, Squash, Sunset Valley Farmers

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