The Austin Chronicle

Farmers Market Report: Oct. 19-20, 2013

By Kate Thornberry, October 18, 2013, 1:30pm, On the Range

It’s not often I have a news item this spectacular: Apples! Texas-grown apples have arrived at the Barton Creek Farmers Market, courtesy of Top O’ Texas Orchards. These beauties are very flavorful and hug the border between sweet and crisp. To the best of my recollection, last week the varieties were Galas and Honeycrisps.

The recent rains and cooler temperatures have made all the plants very, very happy. Tomatoes are putting on again, peppers plants are flowering, and lettuces are perking up too. After several weeks of low yields, Ottmer’s Family Farm at Sunset Valley will start to have more of their deep red, utterly perfect tomatoes this Saturday. The second crop has been delayed, due to that devastating hailstorm in April. But there’s always a silver lining: now when it comes time to make up a huge batch of Marinara with Ottmer’s tomatoes, the kitchen will at least be cool. Dewberry Hills Farm (Really Good Chicken™) will not be at either market this Saturday. Jane and Terry are taking a weekend off, thank you very much. Jane says that she will spend the time conquering the mountain of laundry that currently engulfs the farm....but I think the real reason is that the chicks grow a little slower when it’s rainy and cool. Johnson’s Backyard Garden and Fruitful Hill Farm will both have mustard greens this weekend; Johnson’s also has brought in the season’s first crop of broccoli. They are really ahead of the curve on this one, most people haven’t even planted their broccoli starts yet. 2 Happy Children Farm continue to have autumn sweet corn this weekend. This crop of October sweet corn is more miraculous than anything else happening at the markets; the only reason it’s not my lead story this week, is because it has been my lead story for the last two weeks. This corn is just as tender and sweet as any spring crop; in fact, I think it is just a bit sweeter. This weekend may be the last; Farmer John figured he would have three or four weeks of it, and this is the third weekend. The rain and cooler temperatures also mean that the cows are giving more milk (and possibly the goats too). Farmers Sams at Full Quiver Farm has had rather low yields to sell the last few weeks, but now production will be going up for a bit. Get there early to score, his milk sells out quickly no matter how much he brings. If you are still stalling on buying your Halloween and pie pumpkins, get it together; Halloween is only a little over a week away! 2 Happy Children Farm and STAR Farmstand (both at Barton Creek Market) have pumpkins, and they don’t cost $8 each (yes, that is a bit of a dig at a local grocery which shall remain nameless, but you know who you are.) Fresh lettuce is coming into all area markets, and the heads are getting to be respectable sizes, too. The cooler the weather, the sweeter the lettuce. Animal Farm at the Downtown (and Triangle) Markets has lovely bags of baby lettuce as well as whole heads, and Johnson’s Backyard Garden is predictably hauling human-head-sized red leaf lettuces to all the markets. Flying Pig Provision Company, my new go-to for bacon and ham, has added roast beef to their line-up, and like everything they do, it is wonderful. Now their list of products includes Italian Style Bacon, Hickory Smoked Bacon, sliced ham, two kinds of smoked turkey, and roast beef. This weekend promises to add pastrami to the mix; I am especially anxious to buy some for use on a Rueben Sandwich made with Full Quiver Farms sauerkraut and J.J.’s Good Things Honey Mustard (available at the Richardson Farms Table.)

I have now transformed two sauerkraut-haters into sauerkraut-lovers with Full Quiver Farms' kraut. It is the real thing; fresh cabbage fermented in whey until it has a mellow, slightly sour flavor that is nothing like a vinegar-preserved kraut.

Speaking of J.J., I have been informed that her Mango Habanero Jam is superlative. I have a short article in the print edition about Celtic Seafare this week. Here’s a photo of Sebastien, cutting up a toasted bagel with cream cheese and lox at the Barton Creek Market. He only does bagels every other week, but he has the smoked salmon for sale always. Fruitful Hill Farm (Barton Creek, Sunset Valley) is bringing an overflowing cornucopia to market this weekend: arugula, bok choy, sweet basil, eggplant, kohlrabi, malabar spinach, mei choy, napa cabbage, okra, jalpeños, bell peppers, radishes, shallots, sweet potatoes, turnips, and the aforementioned mustard greens. Not to mention, five kinds of winter squash: Butternut, Sweet Dumpling, Spaghetti, Buttercup, and Neck Pumpkin.

In other important news, The Sustainable Food Center has expanded their Double Dollars Incentive Program to all four of their Farmers Markets (the Triangle, the Downtown at Republic Square, Sunset Valley and the East Market on Tuesdays). This program is awesome; essentially, if you receive SNAP or WIC benefits, you can buy double the fruits and vegetables with your benefits/dollar, as compared to a regular dollar bill. The concept is to make healthy, organic food affordable for those who are temporarily strapped, and especially to pregnant women, new mothers, and growing children who need the vitamins and minerals the most. SFC is the best.

In other news, somebody out there was fool I mean kind enough to give Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due three feral hogs. According to Jesse, “The racks and loins of these delectable pests will be turned into roasts, with garlic, red wine, juniper, and coriander; the back legs will be turned into ham (you'll have to wait for our shop to open to try these); tenderloins will appear as a sandwich with new-crop carrots, cilantro, and pickled green papaya.  Bones and trotters will translate to posole next week with ash hominy, made with Windy Hill Farm dried corn, and the rest will likely end up as chorizo.”

Chef Griffiths will be serving the following menu at the Downtown SFC Market on Saturday and the Mueller Market on Sunday:

Shrimp, Okra and Chaurice Sausage Gumbo with green onion and rice; Pork and Dried Fruit Tamal wrapped in collard greens, with green chili salsa and a fried duck egg; Sprouted Wheat Pancake with Country Style Breakfast Sausage, persimmon sauce, pears, apples, and pecan butter; Pork Tenderloin Sandwich with pickled papaya, carrot, chicken liver mousse, mayonnaise, and cilantro; Goat Lengua Taco with green chili salsa, cilantro, and onion; and to drink, Horchata and Cafe a la Olla.

See you at the Market!

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