The Austin Chronicle

Farmers’ Market Report: March 1-2, 2014

By Kate Thornberry, February 28, 2014, 9:50am, On the Range

Nothing can weather overnight temperature shifts like cabbage, and all our Farmers’ Markets have lots of beautiful red and green cabbages. There’s nothing like German red cabbage, simmered with tart apples and cider vinegar.

Johnson’s Backyard Garden has the tart apples covered, too: they have been bringing both organic Granny Smith apples and organic sweet Fuji apples to all markets. The sweet Fiji apples are exquisite baked, with just a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and some of Full Quiver Farm’s heavy cream.

The strawberries are continuing to roll in, too. South Star of Texas brings sweet, conventionally grown strawberries to the Barton Creek Farmers Market and the Bluebonnet Market; Frobergs Farm is bringing strawberries to those markets, as well. Engel Farms is bringing them to the Downtown SFC Market. Markley Family Farm should be bringing in a crop pretty soon, too.

You may remember I mentioned that the barns of both the Winfield Farm near Bastrop and the Hillside Farm here is Austin tragically burned down last month. It really is tragic because neither loss is covered by insurance; as if those losses weren’t devastating enough, beloved pets were lost in the fires.

Please consider a donation to the fundraiser put together by friends of the farmers. No amount is too small! If you would prefer to buy something to show your support, Winfield Farm has hand-made laundry soap for sale. The soap is vegan, as is everything they do, and made from coconut oil. They are also selling chicken feed for folks with urban chicken flocks; the feed has just been verified to be 20% protein, which means your home chickens will be eating the good stuff. Winfield also has red potatoes and jars of soup for sale at the Barton Creek Farmers Market.

It’s one thing to tell you that K & S Seafood has fresh Gulf Seafood; it’s another for you to actually see it. Check out the deep coral coloring of this Red Snapper. K & S sells whole fish as well as filets of many varieties.

After taking a photograph of these jumbo Gulf shrimp, I had to buy them (K & S takes checks!) You would not believe what wonderful shrimp and grits they made. K & S sell at the Barton Creek Market and the Cedar Park Farmers Market on Saturday, and the Mueller Farmers Market on Sunday. I will warn you, however: the selection is a lot better on Saturday. Many is the time that all they have left on Sunday is lump crabmeat.

Barton Creek has a new vendor offering a product that is new in the Austin market. Mead is the oldest known alcoholic beverage, made from fermented honey, and now it is being made here in Austin by Meridian Hive Meadery. I sampled the mead at the Barton Creek market two weeks ago, and it is a very pleasant drink, not unlike a light, fizzy wine. The flavor is mellow, with a low alcohol intensity that seems perfect for quaffing in sunny weather.

In other Barton Creek news, one of my favorite bakeries, Baguette et Chocolate, is going to be joining the Barton Creek Market. There is no better place to buy baguette, pain au chocolat, brioche, or batard. I don’t know if this means they will be leaving the Sunset Valley Market, or if they are expanding to both markets– I will try to find out on Saturday.

Speaking of the Sunset Valley Market: one of the anchors of that market, the ever popular Dewberry Hills Farm (Really Good Chicken), has not been attending for a few weeks due to the blizzards in the North. Seriously. Dewberry Hills relies on chicks being sent through the mail, and sending chicks in the mail is not something that can be done under blizzard conditions. So Jane and Terry are about two weeks behind, and have no birds big enough to sell yet. Watch this space to find out when they will be back!

Comanche Oaks Farm is selling their new crop of Chamomile. I believe they are the only farmers at any market who grow it for sale, and they have worked up a devoted following at the Barton Creek Market on Saturday and the HOPE Farmers' Market on Sunday.

The HOPE Market is starting to expand again, as temperatures rise and the East Side hipsters emerge blinking from their cribs. Easy Tiger Bakery is the newest addition, bringing their inimitable breads. They are also selling fresh pickles, their house made mustard, and a few kinds of fresh sandwiches. If my memory serves me, I think they might be appearing at the Downtown SFC Market as well.

But enough about all that! Let’s talk about sausages. Indian Hills Farm (Downtown, Sunset Valley) has a new batch of Texas Style Dry Sausage for sale. It is the absolute best: German dry beef sausage made with pastured beef. I honestly don’t know why more ranchers aren’t making dry sausage. Everyone knows that Texans love it! Folks from here drive out to New Braunfels and Fredericksburg just to buy dry sausage from Opa’s Meat Market and Penshorn’s.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the new line of goat sausage from Windy Hill Farm again. If you are up on your Texas History, you will know that goat meat is what the cowboys actually ate on cattle drives (too much meat on a steer and too much waste of profit). Windy Hill is making spicy goat sausage, Italian goat sausage, and bulk goat breakfast sausage. I tried the spicy sausage, and it is delicious and nicely lean. If you eat meat and you like to be sustainable, you must try it.

Windy Hill has all the other cuts of goat meat, too; I highly recommend getting stew meat and making Mexican stews such as Carne Guisada or Chile Verde. Talk about authentic! Windy Hill sells at the HOPE Market on Sundays.

Nile Valley Tea, our local hibiscus tea maker, has been absent from the market for a while. Every year they visit their charitable works in Kolomiseed, a village near the Nile River in Nubia, and they just got back. Nile Valley Tea will be back at the Barton Creek, HOPE, and Downtown Markets starting this weekend.

Mardi Gras is this Tuesday, Mar. 4, so if you have been procrastinating on ordering a fresh King Cake, it is time to get on it. Curious Confections is still taking orders, and  they will have a few full-size King Cakes to sell at the HOPE Market. This Sunday they will also have Grapefruit Breakfast Tarts, Buttermilk Scones, Banana Chocolate Chip Bread, Pecan Pralines, Banana Foster Candy Bars, Hurricane Marshmallows, Moon Pies, Sugar Cookies, Millionaire’s Shortbread, Butter Croissants, and Pain au Chocolate.

Wild River Ranch at the HOPE Market will have heirloom hydroponic tomatoes and a new product: Chipotle Roasted Tomato Salsa; Valley West Farm will be bringing sweet spinach, daikon radish, salad mix, and carrots; and Countryside Farm will be selling their line of charcuterie, cuts of meat, and farm-style mustard.

What are Jesse Griffiths and the Dai Due crew cooking up this weekend? Let’s see-

Breakfast & Lunch at the Market   

(Downtown and Mueller)

Slow Roasted Wild Boar Taco with cortido, cotija, and green garlic salsa;

Achiote Goat Ribs with a potato and green chile gratin, parsley, and cortido;

Sweet Potato Poutine with BBQ rabbit, chorizo gravy, cheese curds, fried duck egg, and green onion;

Beet Shrub and Cafe a la Olla.

See you at the Markets!

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