The Farmers’ Market Report: Feb. 15-16, 2014

Strawberries, strawberry gelato, avocados, and smoked oysters

Fresh Lettuce (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
In recent weeks, I feel have not given enough space to the stars of the Farmers’ Markets, the vegetables.

So this week I tried to take more photographs of the vegetables, even though we have been seeing mostly the same ones for the last few months (lettuce, arugula, winter squash, sweet potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, carrots, red potatoes, radishes, kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, cabbage).

The Most Underrated Vegetable (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
But there is finally something new! Rutabagas! I remember buying one and preparing it mashed and just loving it, about twenty years ago. As the sign says, “The Most Underrated Vegetable,” and it’s true, most people in this part of the country have never eaten one. It is similar to a cross between a potato and a turnip, with none of a turnip’s nippiness.

I cut one of these (a huge one) into strips, tossed them in Paloma de Salud Olive Oil, and roasted them. Really delicious. Don’t be surprised if they start turning up on menus around town. Once the chefs get hold of them, they"ll be the new Brussels sprouts.

Speaking of Brussels sprouts, Engel Farms did not bring any strawberries to market last week, so I bought sprouts from them instead. There is a reason Brussels sprouts are all the rage around town– roasted at a high heat and then sprinkled with lemon juice, they are the best.

Roasted Vegetables from Countryside Farms (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
Just in case you don’t have an oven, or time to roast vegetables, Countryside Farms is selling packages of roasted vegetables, very pretty and ready to eat. A thoughtful accompaniment to their patés and rillettes.
Rich in Probiotics (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
Why, there is even another way to eat vegetables: fermented. Fermented vegetables are regaining lost ground, as we are discovering that the probiotics in fermented vegetables are very, very good for us. Our modern digestive tracts have been missing their wholesome influence. These stunning examples are from Indian Hill Farm. Fermented vegetables are also sold by Full Quiver Farm and Oh Kimchi.

Peach Creek Farm, my absolute favorite Berkshire pork operation, will be rejoining the Downtown Market this Saturday! An original anchor vendor of that market, they have been on hiatus since autumn, due to the fact they sold out of all their stock and had to raise more hogs. There is no pork like Berkshire pork, it is great to have them back.

The barns of both Winfield Farm and Hillside Farm have burnt down in the last two weeks (and no, it wasn’t a barn burner...I asked. Just terrible luck.) Whenever tragedies like this happen in our farming community, all the farmers and Farmers’ Market shoppers band together and try to help. Here is a link to a fundraiser for both farmers. Insurance doesn’t cover either of the losses, so anything contributed will be beyond welcome. The Winfields lost two of their beloved pets in the fire, as well.

Chicken Feed from Winfield Farms (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
Winfiled Farm has also introduced two new products in their brainstorming to raise money: organic chicken feed and big jugs of HE safe, low suds laundry soap. Everybody uses laundry soap!

Easy Tiger Bakeshop will be joining the Farmers’ Markets this weekend with their signature breads, pastries, pretzels, pickles, and special mustard. On Saturday, they will be at the SFC Downtown Farmers’ Market, where they will be making two exclusive sandwiches, as well. On Sunday, they will be at the HOPE Farmers’ Market.

Honey Caramels (Photo by Gemma Maherne)
Curious Confections has made special caramels for this week’s HOPE Market, using honey from the Austin Honey Company. Along with their standard croissants and individual King cakes, this week they will be bringing Nutella Breakfast Tarts, Double Chocolate Doughnuts, Orange Scones, Champagne Marshmallows, Linzer Cookies, Wedding Cookies, and White Chocolate Strawberry Blondies. They will also be bringing a few full-size King cakes for a lucky few. Having had both their Lemon Curd and Cinnamon King cakes, I speak with authority when I say they are marvelous.

Austin Honey has a special promotion this week as well: with your purchase of a 4-pound jar of honey, you will receive a free beeswax flower candle.

Kids! (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
Swede Farm Dairy brought their baby goats to the HOPE Market last Sunday, to the delight of... everyone. Totally adorable and very tame, as you can see. I think the Carlsons are quietly creating a market for their surplus kids; goats are interesting pets, and no more lawn mowing (or so I have heard).
Cornbread to go with your soup (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
The Wooden Spoon soup company is continuing to diversify their soup offerings, adding Borscht to this week’s lineup. They have also started selling wedges of fresh golden corn bread. Everyone knows the homemade soup is light-years better than canned commercial soups, but not everyone has time to make soup from scratch. These are real handmade soups, made with organic stocks and Farmers Market ingredients. (Barton Creek and Bluebonnet Markets)
Salmon and scallops (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
I managed to get a package of Celtic Seafare’s smoked Irish oysters before Sebastien sold out, and they are superb. Celtic Seafare will have these Irish smoked Oysters and smoked Queen Scallops for a limited time. Get them while you can; great with French bread and ale.
Fresh organic avocados (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
Johnson’s Backyard Garden brought organic avocados to the markets last weekend from G & S growers in the Valley. Of course, I would absolutely lose my mind with happiness if they brought them all the time, or even for a season; but when pressed as to whether they would be available this weekend, the cashier did not know. So fresh and shiny! I hope they carry them for a while.
Tomato starts from JBG (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
When I saw the JBG had tomato starts out for sale, I thought they were jumping the gun. It’s too cold to plant tomatoes! But that is only due to our weird, long, cold winter this year. I usually do plant them around now, covering them on chilly nights. Well, JBG has tomato starts, for sale at all markets, and they are a bargain, too.
Strawberries form South Star of Texas (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
Did I mention how I went downtown to score some of Engel Farms’ extra sweet strawberries and they didn’t bring any? Imagine my delight to find that South Star of Texas brought a whole tableful of ripe red strawberries to the Barton Creek Market. The strawberries to the south of us are ready to harvest, and these were top notch. I believe they are selling them at the Bluebonnet Market, as well.
Dark Chocolate-covered Strawberry Sorbetto (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
Speaking of strawberries, Austin Gelato made a special bar for Valentine’s Day, a strawberry sorbetto, dipped in dark chocolate. It was so popular last weekend that they are going to keep making it for a while. Their line of sorbettos is getting to be very popular.

Here is the menu from the folks at Dai Due:

Breakfast & Lunch at the Market   

Pulled Pork Taco with cortido and chipotle salsa;

Sweet Potato Garnacha with chicken tinga, cabbage, cotija and chiptole salsa;

Sprouted Wheat Pancake with cultured pecan butter, jujube molasses, and venison breakfast sausage;

Goat Posole with cabbage, lemon, green onion, and ash hominy;

Cafe a la Olla and Carrot and Lemon Agua Fresca.

See you at the Markets!

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More Farmers Market Report
Farmers' Market Report: April 19-20, 2014
Farmers' Market Report: April 19-20, 2014
The first summer squash, chocolate bunnies, and iceberg lettuce

Kate Thornberry, April 18, 2014

The Farmers’ Market Report: April 12-13, 2014
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Rhubarb, artichokes, asparagus, lamb roasts, and dog shampoo

Kate Thornberry, April 11, 2014

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Farmers Market Report, Paloma de Salud, Engel Farms, Countryside Farms, Indian Hills Farm, Full Quiver Farm, Oh Kimchi, Peach Creek Farm, Winfield Farm, Hillside Farm, Easy Tiger, Curious Confections, Austin Honey Company, Swede Farm Dairy, The Wooden Spoon, Celtic Seafare, Johnson’s Backyard Garden, South Star of Texas, Austin Gelato

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