The Farmers’ Market Report: March 22-23, 2014

Feta, spring vegetables, lavender, and asparagus, if you're lucky

New baby carrots at the HOPE Market (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
Spring onions, tender spring carrots, spring beets, and all manner of tiny vegetables with the word “spring” in their name are coming in.

Although I have yet to see it with my own eyes, Farmer Willie McKemie is bringing tender, young asparagus to the Barton Creek Farmers’ Market and the Mueller Farmers’ Market. You have to get there early, though. I am hoping against hope that I might get there early enough this weekend.

It was raining when I went Farmers’ Marketing last Saturday, hard enough to cause the market to be pretty deserted at that hour. When it rains, my camera gets foggy and the photographs suffer; after a while there is no point in even taking them. That’s why you are getting somewhat less than stellar photos this week!

Green onions, photographed in the rain (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
There is a chance of rain both Saturday and Sunday this week, but it is to be hoped that it will fall overnight, at least anytime other than before noon. If it is raining, just remember: there will probably be deals galore, because farmers have to keep the electric bill paid, too. Don't let the rain keep you home.

Dewberry Hills Farm (Really Good Chicken) will be returning to the Sunset Valley Market this Saturday. If you are deeply motivated to get a nice chicken, it is not a bad idea to call or email to reserve one today.

Radishes so vivid that I had to buy them (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
Fruitful Hill Farm will be bringing red beets, broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, green garlic, green shallots, lettuce, and spinach to both the Barton Creek and Sunset Valley Markets this Saturday. Green garlic and green shallots are magnificent spring delicacies, only available once a year. Fruitful Hill will be selling their eggs at the Barton Creek Market only.

Although it is not a Farmers’ Market per se, nevertheless I am always happy to include information about Boggy Creek Farmstand, because Boggy Creek Farm was the first urban organic farm in Austin. Farmers Larry Butler and Carol Ann Sayle are expanding their farmstand service days. From now until the end of July, they will be open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 9am-1pm.

If this experiment turns out to be a good idea, they will restart the four-day schedule the first of November and continue it until next July. The idea is to be better able to manage their produce, and keep picking every day during peak yield times. Boggy Creek produce is always so freshly picked it squeaks, and that is exactly how they like to sell it. Carol Ann and Larry have also improved the farmstand itself a bit, making adjustments to protect shoppers from cold, wind, dust, and mosquitos.

Super fresh micro-greens at the HOPE Market (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
Over at the HOPE Farmers' Market, Wild Sprout is back with homegrown micro-greens, including alfalfa, bean, sunflower, and beet. They are harvested right in front of you, making them one of the freshest items you can buy, period.

Curious Confections will have Hot Cross Buns, Croissants, Pain au Chocolat, Eccles Cakes (an English puff pastry filled with currants), Lemon Poppy Seed Bread, Apple Scones, Cherry Limeade Marshmallows, Salted Caramels, Coconut Macaroons, Fig Newtons, and Chewy Peanut Bars.

Windy Hill Farm, in addition to their goat and lamb cuts, will be selling their jars of Sweet Pepper Strips. They also have a new herb rub: Herbes de Comanche, which blends rosemary, thyme, basil, lavender, fennel seed, sage, oregano, tarragon, and winter savory.

Yard to Market, a new vendor at the HOPE Market, will be selling collard greens, green onions, kale, and bags of spinach.

I pity the fool who dies, never having tasted these sausages (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
Countryside Farms continues to expand their line of meats and charcuterie. Pictured here are two of their current line of sausages: Duck and Roasted Garlic Sausage, and Wild Hog Faux Merguez. Both were sampled last week at the HOPE Market, beautifully balanced atop a bed of freshly sauteéd green cabbage, and they are fabulous.

If that weren’t enough, just for this Sunday, Regal Ravioli will be doing a pop-up at the Hope Market. Regal Ravioli specializes in hand made pastas, and offer both vegetarian and meat options. Possibilities include Spicy Chicken Italian Sausage with roasted red and green peppers, and Crimini and Portobello with goat cheese. They also serve Potato Gnocci and Meatball Subs.

British Almond Pies at the Bluebonnet Market (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
At the Bluebonnet Farmers’ Market, Let’s Get Pie British Bakery is selling these yummy pies; picture a rich, delicious almond cake baked in a pastry shell They also make scones and savory pies.
Lavande lavender scrubbing salts (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
Bluebonnet is also home to a very impressive new vendor of lavender products, Lavande. Based in Brenham, Texas, Lavande offers culinary lavender and also makes a very beautifully packaged line of lavender body care items, including scrubbing salt, moisturizer, body oil, mosquito spray.

At the Mueller Market, Prickly Pair Farm will be bringing their lovely bouquets of freshly cut flowers, including ranunculus, anemones, delphiniums, and snapdragons.

Cedar Creek Mushrooms will also be appearing at the Mueller Market this Sunday, selling pristine and tasty Oyster mushrooms. Engel Farms, who sell at the Downtown SFC Market on Saturdays, will be heading out to the Mueller Market this Sunday, as well, with their strawberries and Brussels Sprouts. I can heartily recommend both; the sprouts are even more addictive than the berries!

Contemporary pottery by Chris Long at the HOPE Market (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
Texas Hill Country Olive Company will be bringing their premium extra virgin olive oils to both the Cedar Park and Mueller Markets. These olive oils are made in Dripping Springs, Texas. They offer three non-infused olive oils: Sola Stella, Terra Verde, and Texas Blend, and three infused oils: Garlic, Lemon, and Jalapeno.

Confituras will be at the Mueller Market this Sunday, and at the Sunset Valley Market and the Downtown SFC Market on Saturday. This week’s lineup contains Ruby Red Grapefruit Jelly, Orange Vanilla Bean Marmalade, Fig & Walnut Conserve, Orange Chile de Arbol Marmalade, Rio Star Grapefruit Vanilla Bean Jam, Orange Rosemary Jelly, Bourbon Milk Jam, and Citrus Salts made with Texas sea salt!

Pure Luck Dairy will be at both the Cedar Park and Mueller Markets with all of their regular chevres (Red Chile, Mixed Herb, June’s Joy, Black pepper and Plain). They will also have the rarely available Feta, and Hopelessly Bleu (which will be ending for a while in a few weeks).

Artistically arranged Flounder, lying on top of Red Snapper (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
At the Barton Creek Farmers Market, K & S Seafood will have an array of fresh shrimp, crab, and fish. Until I started taking pictures of the seafood inside the ice chests, I didn’t realize how much better the selection is on Saturday.

Full Quiver Farms, one of the most important anchors of the Barton Creek Market, sells some of the best cheeses available in Texas. Casual market strollers just see Full Quiver’s cream cheeses; behind, if you know to ask, are the Cheddars, Mozzarella, Feta, the Jalapeño Jack.

Inside the appetizing meat chest of Full Quiver Farm (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
But Full Quiver also sells pastured pork, chicken, and eggs. Here is a great shot of the inside of their meat cooler, full of sausage, chops, and ground meat.

Another new vendor last week was My Magic Mud. This locally-made product purports to be an all-natural, charcoal-based tooth whitening product that does no harm to your teeth. In the interests of science and thorough reportage, I bought a jar. The product comes with some pretty impressive endorsements; I will let you know how it goes.

This local product MAY safely whiten your teeth! More on this story as it develops! (Photo by Kate Thornberry)
I have yet to see any artichokes at the markets, but locavore Chef Jesse Griffiths has been able to get his hands on some to make Dandelion, Wild Onion, and Artichoke Dip, and Duck and Artichoke Sausage.

At the Downtown and Mueller markets this weekend, Jesse will be serving:

Breakfast and Lunch at the Markets:

Duck, Hog Head and Wild Onion Gumbo with Gulf coast rice;

Bacon, Chorizo and Egg Taco with chipotle salsa and cortido;

Achiote Pork Rib with tortilla casserole, cortido, and carrot top sauce;

Sprouted Wheat Toast with a duck egg, artichoke, pea shoots, herbs, and duck fat hollandaise; and

Cafe a la Olla.

See you at the Markets!

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Farmers Market Report, McKemie Farm, Barton Creek Farmers Market, Sunset Valley Farmers Market, Hope Farmers Market, Dewberry Hills Farm, Fruitful Hills Farm, Boggy Creek Farm, Wild Sprout, Curious Confections, Windy Hill Farm, Yard to Market, Regal Ravioli, Countryside Farm, Bluebonnet Farmers market, Lets get pie, Lavande, Mueller farmers market, Prickly Pear Farm, Cedar Creek Mushrooms

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