The Austin Chronicle

Farmers Market Report: November 10, 2012

By Kate Thornberry, November 9, 2012, 1:27am, On the Range

I just have to say it: we live in one of the best places on planet Earth for year-round fresh vegetables. As the seasons slip (almost unnoticeably) into each other, some produce fades out as other produce comes in, but there is always a bounty.

Tomatoes are still plentiful and inexpensive, with excellent flavor. Most of the farmers are selling out by the end of the market, but there are plenty.

A few weeks ago I reported that fresh basil as on the way out; Wrong! Lily Pad Farm at the Barton Creek market has truly gorgeous fresh basil for sale (as well as sustainably farmed tilapia). Lily Pad Farm is (I believe) a hydroponic farm, so those basil plants come with roots and stay fresh for a long time.

Last week and this week, if you look you will find beautiful young green beans! Just in time for Thanksgiving Green Bean Casserole! Flint Rock Hill Farm had them at Sunset Valley, as did Finca Pura Vida Farmstand (also at Sunset Valley). Star Farmers Market at Barton Creek had green beans too. I bought half a pound from Flint Rock Hill and they were just as sweet and tender as you could wish.

Carrots (young ones) are starting to show up too; Johnson’s Backyard Garden definitely has them and a few others too.

Mill-King Dairy, which sells at nearly every market (having cornered the local milk market) has been introducing several new products lately: not only Greek Yogurt (in plain and honey) but also Jarlsberg cheese! I have never really known why none of the local cheese makers make Swiss, but I adore Jarlsberg. I pounced on it, and it is really good, with a nice strong Swiss cheese flavor. As far as I know, it is the only locally made Swiss cheese out there.

While I am on the subject of cheese: our local cheese makers are second to none. Full Quiver Farms makes outstanding cheese that stands up to any and all European cheeses: their Cheddar is sharp, their Pepper Jack is spicy, their Mozzarella creamy and mild. Dos Lunas Queso Fresco is rich and buttery and melts beautifully; Pure Luck Chevre has at this point been acknowledged as the finest goat cheese in the USA. Swede Farm Dairy, CKC Farms, and Water Oak Farms all make goat cheese that is every bit as good as Pure Luck, and now, Mill-King Dairy is getting in on the action with this wonderful Jarlsberg. If you haven’t tried locally made cheeses at the Farmers Market, don’t be afraid to. It is all good, good stuff.

Every market now has at least one (if not more) vendors with gorgeous baby lettuces or mesclun mix in pre-washed bags or boxes! Also medium sized heads, but they aren’t as good of a deal as the bags. It’s awesome!

Barton Creek Farmers Market is planning to expand north into the Highland Mall parking lot starting November 18! It seems like just yesterday we had only two farmers markets; now I can’t even count them all! More on this breaking story next week!

Generally available: tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers both sweet and hot, zucchini, summer squash, butternut squash, okra, cabbage, kale, arugula, cilantro, parsley, basil, sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, spring onions, salad turnips, turnip greens, fennel, green beans, various winter squashes, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, radishes of every description, daikon radishes (they look like parsnips but they’re not) and lettuce! In the fruit arena, there are still a few vendors with everbearing figs and persimmons. Top O’ Texas has apples at Barton Creek Market, and Johnson’s has ruby red grapefruit and oranges for sale at their stands from the valley.

See you at the market!

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