The Austin Chronicle

Farmers Market Report: February 9-10

By Kate Thornberry, February 8, 2013, 10:10am, On the Range

All of the markets are absolutely bursting with glorious produce this weekend.

This is an especially awesome time of year as all of the cool weather crops are coming in (carrots, broccoli, greens, lettuces, cauliflower, spinach, potatoes, beets, sweet potatoes, cilantro, etc), but there are no bugs yet! Everything looks as perfect as a seed catalog photo.

The one thing you may have to get to the market early for is: eggs. Ducks and chickens are laying lightly (if at all) this time of year, and it is also a time when some poultry farmers hatch their eggs instead of selling them. Your best bet is to get there early, and your second best bet is to go to the Barton Creek Market, which has the highest concentration of egg suppliers. (Mueller Market, I have noticed, tends to run out early.)

I recently bought a bottle of Moonshine Sweet Tea concentrate at the Mueller market, and I have to say, I will buy it again! We drink a lot of iced tea at my house, (which we brew) but there are always those times the pitcher runs dry. It takes a little while to make a gallon of fresh tea. It is really nice to have an alternative to waiting. The Moonshine concentrate lasts several months in the refrigerator, and all you need to do for a glass of tea is add two tablespoons of concentrate to a glass of water. It is convenient, inexpensive, and has a wonderful tea flavor (it is also very sweet! Since I normally drink unsweetened, that is something of treat, too.)

I am sorry to have to tell you that Mill-King Dairy has pulled out of the Barton Creek Market, citing insufficient output to continue at that market (they will still sell Downtown, at Mueller, and at Sunset Valley.) Farmer Sams of Full Quiver Farms plans to bring low-temperature pasteurized milk to the Barton Creek Market to fill the gap as soon as he can get the proper permits. It is to be hoped that come late spring, when (God willing!) grazing grass is more plentiful (if it rains) Mill-King will be able to supply Barton Creek Market again.

Last week I bought both a Ribeye and a Sirloin from Wright Longhorn Beef (Highland Mall, Barton Creek). My verdict: Longhorn beef is superlative, way better (and different) than I had expected. It is leaner than chicken or turkey, so I expected it to be tough, or at least chewy. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Both cuts were extremely tender and flavorful. The Longhorn beef does however cook more quickly than other beef, so a quick sear was all that was needed for both steaks. Healthy, high in EFAs, tender and flavorful, and better for the environment (Longhorns browse as well as graze, which is helpful if you are in, say, a continual drought, for instance). Longhorn is a great option.

This is the Sunday that Peeler Farms will be at the HOPE Market (they come twice a month). In other HOPE Market news, the Seedling Truck which has been serving gourmet Brunch items at HOPE is expanding this weekend with a new venture, The Seedling Pantry. The Seedling Pantry will make it possible for market goers to create dishes at home using Chef Dan Stacy’s homemade staples. They will feature items including chicken and vegetable stocks, ramen stock, spice rubs, pickled vegetables, seasonal jams, preserves and breadcrumbs.  Recipe suggestions will be given each week using Seedling Pantry products.

I try to put in a good word for Cocoa Puro Chocolates more than once a year, but since Valentine’s Day is approaching, I just have to urge you all, dear Readers, to buy yourself (or a loved one) a bag at the Downtown Market this Saturday. Truly, these triple chocolate coated cacao beans are one of the best chocolate treats in the nation, and not just because I say so … I believe Saveur magazine, the Austin American-Statesman, Texas Monthly, and the Austin Chronicle are all in agreement with me. They are exquisite.

Dewberry Hills Farm (Really Good Chicken) will be at both the Downtown and Sunset Valley Markets this weekend.

Dai Due Butcher Shop (Downtown and Mueller) has a nearly new line-up of cooked and ready-to-cook items this week: in the take-home department they are offering Campagne Sausage Stuffed Quail ($15 for 2), Roasting Hens with Herbs, Green Garlic and White Wine Butter ($8 a lb), Citrus and Herb Sausage ($12 a lb), and Antelope, Bacon, and Cheese Burgers ($12 a lb).

Dai Due Brunch at the Market this week will feature Portuguese Kale Soup, Sweet Potato Poutine, Ancho Pork Torta, and French Toast.

As part of special Valentine’s Day events, the Barton Creek Market will have Amanda Love (The Barefoot Cook) doing cooking demos with market ingredients, and the One and Only Sara Hickman will be performing her music at 11:11am. At the Highland Mall Market, Leena Dillingham of Leena’s Table will be doing cooking demos, and prestigious songwriter J. Wagner will be performing.

Breaking news! This Sunday, Pure Luck Goat Cheese will be returning their line of fresh goat cheese to the Mueller Market, after a few weeks of having only the aged Bleu and Feta. (The goats were all on maternity leave.)

See you at the markets!

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