The Austin Chronicle

Farmers Market Report: January 12-13

By Kate Thornberry, January 11, 2013, 8:30am, On the Range

It might be damp again this weekend, but at the very least, it won’t be cold. It’s been so dry the last few years that I can’t imagine that anyone doesn’t welcome the rain, but if you are among those who don’t, come over here so I can beat you with my hat like Gabby Hayes.

A lot of the non-root produce at the markets last weekend was looking a little frostbitten, and even the broccoli was looking a little pinched. Although it has barely gotten down to 32˚ at my house in Central Austin, there have been some hard freezes out in the country. Best bets are going to be carrots, beets, potatoes, turnips, sweet potatoes and other root vegetables, along with hothouse lettuces and tomatoes. Lily Pad Farm has glorious hydroponic lettuces (Barton Creek Mkt.), and lovely little tilapia filets as well. I tried to buy some tilapia last week, but they had sold out! That’s the problem with spreading the word about great buys … the word does get out!

But the rain we just had is a godsend for the farmers and ranchers! Spirits have been high all week;  Dewberry Hills Farms (Real Good Chicken) got 3.25 inches! They will be at both Sunset Valley and Downtown this Saturday, celebrating. Jane says: Dewberry Hills will only be doing boneless/skinless chicken by special order from now on, so if that is what you want, be sure and order it. This is the weekend that Celtic Seafare will be at the Barton Creek Market (they come every other week); they will be doing toasted bagels with cream cheese and lox and spinach, arugula and smoked salmon sandwiches tomorrow as well as the usual Cold Smoked Sliced Salmon (4 oz portions), Hot Smoked Citrus Pepper Salmon, Hot Smoked Plum and Sesame Salmon, and Smoked salmon mousse (4-6 oz portions).

I tried to buy Wright’s Longhorn Beef a few weeks ago, but I picked the one day they weren’t there. But they should be back this weekend at Barton Creek and Highland Mall Markets. New World Bakery is doing the Barton Creek Farmers Market, and have made a specialty of hot pretzels! I couldn’t resist and I have to tell you, they are super good. This just might be their niche, and no one else is doing them as far as I know. Richardson Farms has got both Back Fat and Leaf Lard for sale ($10). If you haven’t tried local, organic lard from either Richardson’s or Dai Due Butcher Shop, you aren’t living! There is nothing better to brown meat with for stews, and no more authentic flavor for Mexican food (not to mention biscuits and pie crust.)

Speaking of Dai Due, they are doing Venison Hotdogs this weekend, and they can be bought both cold for home cooking later, or served grilled on a bun with Kim Chee. Yum! They will also be making French Toast with Mincemeat and toasted pecan butter. I raved about their mincemeat last week--be sure to try it if you get the chance! Over at Mueller Market is Moonshine Sweet Tea, a sweet tea concentrate that you just add a tablespoon or so to a glass of water for a big ol’ glass of sweet tea. It really is good! And what a time and space saver in the icebox.

Over at the HOPE Market, a new bakery, FLOUR, has been getting up to speed. FLOUR specializes in that artisan French country bread that is a bit sourdough, and has  a long shelf life (up to a week without getting stale). Their rustic loaves are especially good, and do indeed last longer than any others I have tried from rival bakeries. They are still perfecting their pastries, but usually do manage to sell out by the end of the day.

In other HOPE market news: The cookie vendor Moore Cookies took a few weeks off, but has now returned, having changed their entire line of cookies into Gluten-Free Cookies! Wildsprout Microgreens have also returned to the HOPE Market.

For the Kids: Tiny Tails Petting Zoo is gong to be at Barton Creek Market on Saturday, and Highland Mall Market on Sunday!

In Abundance: Arugula, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, rutabagas, green onions, and turnips.

Johnson’s Backyard Garden will have grapefruit and oranges, and several vendors will have shelled pecans.

See you at the market!

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