Ron and Dianne Laird bring the flavors of Fredericksburg to Austin
Reviewed by Kate Thornberry, Fri., Dec. 17, 2010
Laird MarketSouth Congress at Gibson Street, 667-0006
During peach season, Ron and Dianne Laird set up a seven-days-a-week farm stand on South Lamar and Bluebonnet, selling fresh Fredericksburg peaches and other Hill Country produce such as fresh okra, tomatoes, squash, and peppers. For Austinites with neither the time nor the inclination to drive to Fredericksburg for their peaches, it was a tremendous convenience. After peach season ended and hard freezes put an end to the vegetables, the Lairds moved their stand to South Congress, where it's now open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9:30am to 7pm.
Although fresh orchard peaches won't be back until next summer, the Lairds are still bringing the flavors of Fredericksburg to Austin: Texas Hill Country brand peach cider ($3.50), peach salsa ($6.25), peach halves ($8.75), and peach preserves ($7.75); D.J.'s Pickled Okra ($9.50) and Pickled Jalapeños ($7.75); and Fredericksburg brand shelled fresh pecans ($12.50). For the holiday season, they've added gift baskets to their wares ($21-55), made by nestling Hill Country food items in pecan-bag burlap inside authentic peach crates.
"As far as we know, we are the only place to buy these Fredericksburg products in Austin," says Ron Laird. "We work directly with the growers; we have to, because it's the only way to have reasonable prices. And it's nice, really; for instance, this pickled okra is the same okra from Fike Farms that we sold fresh over the summer. We know where everything we sell comes from and who made it."
The peach cider is incredible: The supersaturated flavor of Texas peaches has been captured and intensified, making a cider that easily beats any apple cider hands down. "It's good cold, over ice; over ice cream; in smoothies; added to sparkling water, and it's also great the traditional way: in a hot mug on a cold evening," relates Dianne Laird. "Several bartenders here in town are using it for specialty drinks; it has such an amazing flavor."
When the fresh produce starts coming in again in the spring, the Lairds plan to run farm stands at both the old and new locations. For the holiday season, however, they'll be at Gibson and Congress only. "This whole experience has been wonderful," says Dianne Laird. "Everyone is so appreciative of the quality of the things we are bringing in!"