The sun is out and summer weather has arrived, just in time to ripen the sweet corn, tomatoes, basil, and peas at Central Texas farms and gardens. Some of the best tastes of early summer so far: sweet corn bathed in cultured butter from Vermont Butter & Cheese; cobblers made with the first peaches from Fredericksburg or Dan Wolf's huge Brazos blackberries bursting with flavor; velvety smooth hummus from the Solar Falafel company spread on fresh Phoenicia pitas with sliced vine-ripened tomatoes; a heaping bowl of Javachip ice cream from the new Starbucks line of premium ice creams doused with a jigger of Ruta Maya coffee liqueur; Emmett Fox's chef specials at Granite Cafe and the Bitter End, such as Boggy Creek Farm Roasted Vegetable Medley and paella; and Hodge Station Farm greens at the new Randalls in South Austin. Many of the best tastes of summer can be purchased at area Farmer's Markets:

Onion Creek Farm -- Saturdays, 9am-1pm. 1611 Creek Road, off 290W past Dripping Springs, 512/858-1090 for directions. Certified organic farmstand.

South Austin Farmer's Market -- Saturdays, 8am-1pm. 2910 S. Congress in the El Gallo parking lot. Certified organic and conventional produce, growers only.

Whole Foods Market, Central -- Wednesdays, 2:30-6pm. Store parking lot at Sixth & Lamar. Certified organic and conventional produce, growers only.

Whole Foods Market, Gateway -- Saturdays, 9am-1pm. Store parking lot at
Research. Certified organic and conventional produce, growers only.

Peoples Farmer's Market -- Saturdays, 10am-3pm. 4201 Westbank, Peoples Pharmacy parking lot. Certified organic and conventional produce, growers and food vendors.

Boggy Creek Farm -- Wednesdays, 9am-1pm; Saturdays, 9am-2pm. 3414 Lyons Rd. Certified organic farmstand.

Travis County Farmer's Market -- Daily, 8am-6pm (most farmers on Saturday). 6701 Burnet. Certified organic and conventional produce, growers, dealers, food vendors, etc.

Georgetown Farmer's Market -- Thursdays, 3:30-6:30pm. Street market on east side of Courthouse Square. Certified organic and conventional produce, growers and dealers.

Round Rock Farmer's Market -- Saturdays, 8am-noon. City parking garage. Certified organic and conventional produce, growers and dealers.

After a miserable peach season in 1996, the Gillespie County Peach Growers Association reports that the crop looks mighty good this year. In addition to the association's big barn at Burg's Corners on 290W outside Stonewall, there are roadside stands all along Hwy 290W, Hwy 16, and Hwy 87 selling peaches and other local produce. A tasty highlight to a peach expedition this weekend could be a stop at Becker Vineyards, on Jenscheke Lane off 290W. Saturday, 10am-5pm, and Sunday, noon-5pm, Becker debuts its 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon paired with delectable, handmade chevre from Pure Luck Farm in Dripping Springs.

Congratulations are in order. Stop by 34th Street Cafe (1005 W. 34th, 371-3400) all this week to celebrate their first anniversary with a free piece of Weezy's birthday cake.

Raise a glass of wine to general manager Len White the next time you visit Xena (10201 Jollyville Rd, 345-9944). The charming, cheerful young wine expert successfully completed the course of study to be certified as a Sommelier, joining a very small group of people locally who have that distinction. White hopes to add the Master Sommelier Diploma to his resumé before year's end. ¡Salud, Prost, Skol, L'chaim!

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