Organic Vegetable Gardening, Cooking, and Dining out in Austin Texas

Oops! Sorry about that

Posted: October 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Heh heh Hey sorry everybody for that rough draft that went out! I forgot to delete it. Here is the REAL article:

 

http://www.austinchronicle.com/blogs/food/2013-10-25/farmers-market-report-oct-26-27-2013/


St. Patrick’s Day Feast

Posted: March 15th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Cookbooks | Tags: , | No Comments »
Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Rachel’s Irish Family Food

by Rachel Allen

Harper Collins Publishers, 254 ppgs., $29.99

 

 

Let’s face it–Ireland isn’t known for it’s fine cuisine. Historically, most people associate Ireland with starving hordes of potato farming peasants fleeing to the Americas in order to survive the famines of the 19th century. A starving population is not one enslaved by the rigors of gourmandaise! There are a few standout Irish dishes that most of us have heard of (largely because of the aforementioned Irish diaspora): Irish Stew, Irish Soda Bread, and Colcannon. With this book Rachel Allen sets out to tell the rest of the story.

 

Rachel Allen has been described as “the Nigella Lawson of Irish Cooking”. A teacher at the prestigious Ballymaloe Cooking School in County Cork, she has a large television following, and this new cookbook, Irish Family Food, is bound to expand it. This cookbook is elegantly simple and practical. In a time of increasingly technical and chef-driven cookbooks, these recipes come as a grateful relief. They hearken back to the times of “Plain Cookery”, where garden-fresh ingredients cooked simply were the unapologetic basis of the Western diet.

 

Homemade Bangers and Mash

Homemade Bangers and Mash

Some of the dishes are so simple that most cooks wouldn’t even need a recipe: Roasted Potatoes, Buttered Artichokes, Creamy Mashed Potatoes, and Buttered Leeks come to mind. But for each of these exceedingly simple recipes, there are numerous interesting and informative ones, such as Dublin Coddle, Ham and Egg Pie, Fluffy Lemon Pudding, Ballycotton Fish Chowder, and Steamed Ginger Treacle Pudding. Irish Family Food really succeeds perfectly of presenting what a diet of first-rate, traditional Irish cooking looks like. Every dish is paired with a big glossy photograph, and there are scores of photographs of the Irish countryside as well.

 

Additionally, the final section of the book, Breads and Cookies, could easily be a stand-alone cookbook of it’s own. Soda breads, yeast breads, scones, cookies, and oatcakes are all present, and the recipes are foolproof. I have baked several, and I can’t wait to try the rest.

 

I have no doubt that the publishers would really love to see Rachel Allen (and this book in particular) to catch on with the millions of Irish-Americans in the United States. As an Irish-American myself, I give it a total “Thumbs Up!” If it were given to me as a gift, I would love it. There isn’t a better resource out there to serve as a basis for your St. Patrick’s Day feast!Unknown


Farmers Market Report: March 9-10, 2013

Posted: March 7th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Farmers Markets | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »
Terribly rare Texas celery

Terribly rare Texas celery

We may have a year-round growing season, but there are very specific (and often short) times that particular items are in season. No season is as fleeting as the Texas spring; often, if you miss a market or two, you will miss the local Spring delicacies entirely.

This weekend, if you get to the market early, you may be able to corner a few of 2 Happy Children Farm’s young artichokes. I finally was able to get a couple last week at the Barton Creek Market, and they are just as tender and delicious as I had imagined. They will be sold out by 10 am though, most likely! Get there early!

Strawberries are available from far more growers: STAR market (Barton Creek), Finca Pura Vida (Sunset Valley), and Engel Farms (HOPE and Downtown) will all have strawberries, as will the Boggy Creek Farmstand on Lyons Road.

In addition to strawberries, Boggy Creek will also be selling fresh Fava beans this Saturday. The crop this year has been good; no hard freezes

Fresh young Fava beans from Boggy Creek Farm

Fresh young Fava beans from Boggy Creek Farm

and few aphids. (Fresh, locally-grown Fava beans are practically the definition of a ephemeral Texas Spring treat.)

Speaking of which, I have yet to see any asparagus with my own eyes at any market! I’ve heard rumors, but that’s all. (Actually a lady at the Mueller Market had a sign once but was sold out.) I usually buy my asparagus from Farmer McKemie at Barton Creek; the asparagus has got to be showing up soon!

2 Happy Children and Braune Farm both have that impossible crop: Texas grown celery. Impossible because, celery needs lots of water (ha!) and lots of cool days (HA! HA!) to grow, which is why it is mostly grown in Oregon. It takes many months for a celery plant to grow to full size, so the plants have to be kept alive through at least a month or two of hundred degree days. It’s hard to believe any farmers pull it off! But like I said, these two outfits have done the impossible. The Texas celery is much more flavorful than the grocery store stuff, and contains a ton more soluble sodium, it is really pretty amazing. I buy a head a week while it’s around, it’s great for snacking and all the less lovely parts are invaluable in stocks.

 

A bucketful of pea shoots from Fruitful Hill Farm

A bucketful of pea shoots from Fruitful Hill Farm

Fruitful Hill Farm will be bringing lovely pea shoots to the markets this weekend. They are so dressy and delicious in any dish they grace, they are the squash blossoms of Spring.

HOPE Farmers Market at Plaza Saltillo

HOPE Farmers Market at Plaza Saltillo

This Sunday will be the Grand Opening of the new HOPE Farmers Market Plaza Saltillo location, and in addition to an expanded list of vendors, there will be music and festivities. I went to the “soft” opening last Sunday, and I must say the new location is wonderful. The vendors (well, half the vendors) are under permanent roofing, keeping them and their produce cool and dry. The Plaza is beautiful, with lots of convenient places to sit and eat, it looks and feels like a gracious Spanish Plaza.

The FLOUR bakery which sells at the HOPE Market has added ciabatta rolls to their line-up. They are excellent and quite a bargain!

FLOUR Bakery at the HOPE Market

FLOUR Bakery at the HOPE Market

Dewberry Hills Farm (Really Good Chicken) will be at both the Sunset Valley and the Downtown Markets this weekend. They are expanding their farm these days, due no doubt the the growing demand for their wares.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to pick up a bottle of Drippin’ Sauce Sweet Onion Ketchup. Somehow in my nearsighted cluelessness, I had managed to walk past the Drippin’ Sauce table at Barton Creek for apparently years without noticing they were there. Well, the joke was on me because these small-batch ketchups are a new standard in ketchup wonderfulness. I have always been a vocal defender of our national sauce, even back when it was considered uncultured to request it in a restaurant (yes, this is true! Waiters would roll their eyes at you!) Drippin’ Sauce is available in four flavors: Sweet Onion, Mild Chipotle, Hot Chipotle and Special Reserve. All are made with real tomatoes, real onions, real garlic, apple cider vinegar and real brown sugar, unlike commercial ketchups that use powdered onions, grain vinegar, and HFCS. My bottle of Sweet Onion Ketchup is nearly gone, and I can’t wait to try the other flavors.

 

 

A gift box of Drippin' Sauce ketchups: Sweet Onion, Chipotle, and Reserve

A gift box of Drippin’ Sauce ketchups: Sweet Onion, Chipotle, and Reserve

Full Quiver Farms Low-Temperature Pasteurized milk is so good, I can hardly stand it. I bought a jug of half and half last week, and this week I am going to break down and get the heavy cream for some awesome strawberry shortcakes.

 

The full line of Full Quiver Farms milk

The full line of Full Quiver Farms milk

New Bread Rising at Barton Creek Market has an incredible Green Chile and Polenta loaf that disappeared in record time at my house. These loaves are rustic and whole grain, so they pack a lot of flavor and nutrition. Bread that actually nourishes is a rare treat, and I’ll be honest: it’s hard to go back once you’ve tried it!

Pure Luck Eggs at the Mueller Market

Pure Luck Eggs at the Mueller Market

 

Mueller News: Pure Luck Goat Cheese has added eggs to their table! If these eggs are anything like the cheese, they’ll be wining national egg awards before you know it. Plus, could the packaging be any more gorgeous? I think not.

 

See you at the Markets!

 

 


Farmers Market Report: March 2-3, 2013

Posted: February 28th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »
Leeks from Boggy Creek Farm

Leeks from Boggy Creek Farm

The markets are moving!

The big news this week is that three! count ‘em three! of our Austin area farmers markets are moving operations this week!

The HOPE Farmers Market, as I mentioned last week, will be at their new location this Sunday, Plaza Saltillo. Plaza Saltillo is a stop on the Cap MetroRail at East 5th and Comal, which resembles  a classic Mexican plaza, but with full wheelchair access. The space is much larger than the HOPE Markets’ former home at Pine Street Station, and includes sheltered areas for vendors, tons more space, and bathrooms. At present, there is no rail service on Sundays, but it is to be hoped that eventually folks north of Plaza Saltillo will be able to take the commuter train to the HOPE market.

To celebrate the new location, nearly all of HOPE markets’ vendors will be on hand both this Sunday and next Sunday, March 10th. That means that the bi-monthly Peeler Farms Chicken, Mill-King Dairy, Wild River Ranch, RRR Farms and El Lago GMO-Free tortillas will all be there, in addition to the regular vendors which include Johnson’s Backyard Garden, FLOUR Bakery, Pate Letalier, Healthy Hound,  Lamba’s Royal Indian Food, and many others. Returning to the market this week will be Dos Lunas Cheese, Nile Valley Teas, and Teysha Shoes. The first Sunday of every month HOPE features the extremely popular Austin Clothes Exchange, so they will be there this Sunday as well!

A lovely photo of Springfield Farm's fresh young beets

A lovely photo of Springfield Farm’s fresh young beets

I know I have written about this before, but it seems like a good time to mention it again: the Seedling Truck, the mobile kitchen of The Royal Fig, which has been offering gourmet brunch (complete with house made bacon) at the HOPE Market, has expanded and is now also offering The Seedling Pantry, a stand with Chef Dan Stacy’s pantry items for sale, such as Chicken and vegetable stocks, ramen stock, seasonal jams and jellies, pickles, breadcrumbs, and spice rubs.

This weekend will be the the new HOPE market’s “soft opening”; the Grand Opening of the Plaza Saltillo HOPE Market will be on March 10th, when again, all the vendors will be there and special festivities are planned.

Moving on! The Lakeway Farmers Market is changing its name to The Lone Star Farmers Market, and moving to the parking lot of the Lowe’s in Bee Cave, which is in the Shops at the Galleria. The market will be from 10am-2pm Sundays. Generally I only cover Farmers Markets that are inside the city limits in this space, but I thought I would do them a solid and mention it-

The SFC Farmers Market East is moving as well, and changing its hours! It will now run from 3pm-7pm every Tuesday, and the new location will be at MLK Boulevard and Miriam Avenue, near the M Station at the MLK Jr. Capital MetroRail stop.

After a couple of weeks of writing about the 2 Happy Children artichokes that are for sale at the Barton Creek Market, I have yet to actually get any; turns out they are selling out like lightning! If you want baby artichokes, get to the 2 Happy Children stand right at 9 am. Ditto for the Romaine lettuce at the Winfield Farm Stand. Happily, the supply of strawberries from the STAR stand and the Fruitful Hill Stand are holding out for nearly the whole morning.

Celtic Seafare will be at the Barton Creek Market this Saturday, and their smoked salmon will be from British Columbia this week.

Full Quiver's Milk Sign

Full Quiver’s Milk Sign

I have been chastised for using way too much “all caps” in this report, and now, sadly, have to stick to regular old newspaper stylings…but if I could use the all caps key, I would when I tell you that Full Quiver Farm now has low-temperature pasteurized milk for sale! I am even going to subject you to this very boring photogragh to prove it. I bought some Full Quiver milk last week and it was truly delightful, plus, its nice to have a little dairy competition going on. At least there is a possibility of a price war.

Concha's Salsas

Concha’s Salsas

Let’s talk about new vendors! Sunset Valley Farmers Market (and SFC Downtown) have a new Salsa vendor, Concha’s Salsas. I was all primed to get a jar of her Ranchero Salsa, but she had completely sold out (Downtown too!) More on this story as it develops….by which I mean, when I buy a jar this weekend.

These are the true colors--this photo is not enhanced in ANY WAY!

These are the true colors–this photo is not enhanced in ANY WAY!

Bravado Spice Company has appeared at the Barton Creek Market with their two extremely photographic sauces, Roasted Pineapple with Habanero and Crimson Chili Sauce. These sauces really do look right down my alley, but due to lack of funds I had to choose between trying these new sauces and getting a jar of Pogue Mahone DIll and Garlic Pickles. I got the Pickles, and I must tell you, they really are the best dill pickles I have ever eaten, hands down, bar none, these pickles are incredible, you are not going to believe how good they are! But back to those luridly colored sauces (both of which I am sure would be awesome on shrimp!), I will let you know next week if they taste as great as they look.

Pure Luck Goat Cheese, which sells at the Mueller Market, has its full line of fresh goat cheeses again! While the goats were kidding, the goat milk had to be reserved for the babies. But now there is enough to make chevre again.

Clockwise starting from top: Peppered chèvre, red pepper chèvre, herbed chevre, and plain

Clockwise starting from top: Peppered chèvre, red pepper chèvre, herbed chevre, and plain

Dai Due Butcher shop, which sets up at Mueller on Sundays and Downtown on Saturdays, will be serving Biscuits and Gravy with Venison sausage this Saturday, as well as Beef Chili with Cornbread, Cheddar and Onions and several other selections. Additionally, they are featuring their Hill Country Mincemeat this weekend, on sale for $12 a quart. I made mincemeat tarts again this week with it, and it is really worth it; this mincemeat is just bursting with apples, pecans, figs, peaches, pears and honey.

Boggy Creek Farmstand (located at Boggy Creek Farm on Lyons Road) is Austin’s very first direct farm-to-table market (I mean, since probably 1950) so I am going to include them in my round up. They have got absolutely gigantic leeks this week, just take a look! Definitelu swing by Boggy Creek if you are shopping on the East Side this Saturday.

What’s in Season: beets, lettuce, arugula, cilantro, radishes, broccoli. cauliflower, all manner of greens, spring onions, sweet potatoes, spinach, strawberries, fennel, cabbage, kale, pecans. Hothouse tomatoes, and the very last of the Brussels sprouts.

If you get there early: baby artichokes and asparagus. Or so I have heard!

See you at the Markets!

 


Farmers Market Report: February 9-10, 2013

Posted: February 8th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Farmers Markets | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »
Red, Orange and Yellow Carrots (Johnson's Backyard Garden)

Red, Orange and Yellow Carrots (Johnson’s Backyard Garden)

All of the markets are absolutely bursting with glorious produce this weekend. This is an especially awesome time of year as all of the cool weather crops are coming in (carrots, broccoli, greens, lettuces, cauliflower, spinach, potatoes, beets, sweet potatoes, cilantro, etc), but there are no bugs yet! Everything looks as perfect as a seed catalog photo.

The one thing you may have to get to the market early for is: eggs. Ducks and chickens are laying lightly (if at all) this time of year, and it is also a time when some poultry farmers hatch their eggs instead of selling them. Your best bet is to get there early, and your second best bet is to go to the Barton Creek Market, which has the highest concentration of egg suppliers. (Mueller Market, I have noticed, tends to run out early.)

I recently bought a bottle of Moonshine Sweet Tea concentrate at the Mueller market, and I have to say, I will buy it again! We drink a lot of iced tea at my house, (which we brew) but there are always those times the pitcher runs dry. It takes a little while to make a gallon of fresh tea. It is really nice to have an alternative to waiting. The Moonshine concentrate lasts several months in the refrigerator, and all you need to do for a glass of tea is add two tablespoons of concentrate to a glass of water. It is convenient, inexpensive, and has a wonderful tea flavor (it is also very sweet! Since I normally drink unsweetened, it is something of treat, too.)

Fresh Brussels Sprouts (Barton Creek Market)

Fresh Brussels Sprouts (Barton Creek Market)

I am sorry to have to tell you that Mill-King Dairy has pulled out of the Barton Creek Market, citing insufficient output to continue at that market (they continue to sell Downtown, at Mueller, and at Sunset Valley.) Farmer Sams of Full Quiver Farms plans to bring low-temperature pasteurized milk to the Barton Creek Market to fill the gap as soon as he can get the proper permits. It is to be hoped that come late spring, when (God Willing!) grazing grass is more plentiful (if it rains), Mill-King will be able to supply Barton Creek Market again.

As part of special Valentine’s Day events, The Barton Creek Market will have Amanda Love (The Barefoot Cook) doing cooking demos with market ingredients, and the One and Only Sara Hickman will be performing her music at 11:11 am. At the Highland Mall Market, Leena Dillingham of Leena’s Table will be doing cooking demos, and prestigious songwriter J. Wagner will be perfomring.

Last week I bought both a Ribeye and a Sirloin from Wright Longhorn Beef (Highland Mall, Barton Creek). My verdict: Longhorn beef is superlative, way better (and different) than I had expected. It is leaner than chicken or turkey, so I expected it to be tough, or at least chewy. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Both cuts were extremely tender and flavorful. The Longhorn beef does however cook more quickly than other beef, so a quick sear was all that was needed for both steaks. Healthy, high in EFAs, tender and flavorful, and better for the environment (Longhorns browse as well as graze, which is helpful if you are in, say, a continual drought, for instance), Longhorn is a great option.

The very best Sweet Potatoes from Blue Fork Farm (Barton Creek Market)

The very best Sweet Potatoes from Blue Fork Farm (Barton Creek Market)

This is the Sunday that Peeler Farms will be at the HOPE Market (they come twice a month). In other HOPE Market news, THE SEEDLING TRUCK which has been serving gourmet Brunch items at HOPE is expanding this weekend with a new venture, The Seedling Pantry. The Seedling Pantry will make it possible for market goers to create dishes at home using Chef Dan Stacy’s homemade staples. They will feature items including chicken and vegetable stocks, ramen stock, spice rubs, pickled vegetables, seasonal jams, preserves and breadcrumbs.  Recipe suggestions will be given each week using Seedling Pantry products and items available at the market.

I try to put in a good word for Cocoa Puro Chocolates more than once a year, but since Valentine’s Day is approaching, I just have to urge you all, dear Readers, to buy yourself (or a loved one) a bag at the Downtown Market this Saturday. Verily, these triple chocolate coated cacao beans are one of the best chocolate treats in the nation, and not just because I say so…I believe Saveur magazine, the Austin American-Statesman, Texas Monthly, and the Austin Chronicle are all in agreement with me. They are exquisite.

 

Stunning Cauliflower (Sunset Valley)

Stunning Cauliflower (Sunset Valley)

Dewberry Hills Farm (Really Good Chicken) will be at both the Downtown and Sunset Valley Markets this weekend.

Dai Due Butcher Shop (Downtown and Mueller) has a nearly new line-up of cooked and ready-to-cook items this week: in the take-home department they are offering Campagne Sausage Stuffed Quail ($15 for 2), Roasting Hens with Herbs, Green Garlic and White Wine Butter ($8 a lb), Citrus and Herb Sausage ($12 a lb), and Antelope, Bacon, and Cheese Burgers ($12 a lb).

Dai Due Brunch at the Market this week will feature Portuguese Kale Soup, Sweet Potato Poutine, Ancho Pork Torta, and French Toast.

Breaking News! This Sunday, Pure Luck Goat Cheese will be bringing their line of fresh goat cheese to the Mueller Market again, after a few weeks of having only the aged Bleu and Feta. (The goats were all on maternity leave.)

See you at the Markets!

Fresh Pecans are still available at all markets

Fresh Pecans are still available at all markets


Farmers Market Report: February 2-3, 2013

Posted: January 31st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Farmers Markets | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »
Stunning Heads from Two Happy CHildren Farm

Stunning Heads from Two Happy CHildren Farm

The weather is going to be gorgeous this weekend, sunny and breezy. We had a few hot days last week before that blessed cool front arrived, and it caused many farmers to harvest their broccoli immediately, because when it gets warm enough those broccoli heads become one big yellow flower overnight. Two Happy Children Farm had an enormous haul of impressive heads, and will likely have the same this week.

 

Dewberry Hills Chicken will be at both the Sunset Valley and Downtown Markets this Saturday. They had some feral hog action this last week, but fortunately no chickens were injured. Ultimately, five feral hogs were taken out of the equation. Nice Work!

 

At Sunset Valley

At Sunset Valley

Kitchen Pride Mushrooms is bringing some fantastic crops of fresh mushrooms to the markets these days; the Oyster mushrooms, Portabellas, and Shiitakes couldn’t be fresher or more abundant. Every Saturday they sell at Barton Creek and Downtown.

 

IO Ranch Lamb, in addition to selling what I consider to be the finest cut of meat available at any Market, the Lamb Sirloin, have added soup bones to their line-up. Sometimes a farmer or rancher’s product is so excellent, they seem bound to succeed; IO Ranch Lamb is one of these lucky few, their lamb is so outstanding. They sell out every weekend, despite constantly adding to their flocks.

lime

Back from being a judge at the Good Food Awards, Stephanie McClenny of Confituras is back at the Markets. This weekend she has prepared Orange and Chile Arbol Marmalade, Rio Star Grapefruit and Vanilla Bean Jam, Fig and Walnut Conserve, and Persian Lime Curd. Sunset Valley and Downtown.

 

Speaking of the Good Food Awards, Austin’s Pogue Mahone Pickles won in the Craft Pickles category, and, metaphorically speaking, brought the blue ribbon home to Austin. These award-winning pickles, available in three varieties (Fresh Dill and Garlic, Jalapeno Mint, and Ginger Habanero) can be purchased at the Cedar Park, Meuller,  Barton Creek and Lakeway Farmers Markets.

 

For your Super Bowl delectation, Dai Due Butcher Shop will be selling not only hot dogs (Venison Hot Dogs,made with BAR venison and Twin Oaks pork, finely ground and seasoned with coriander, paprika, garlic and honey) but chicken wings (Confit Chicken Wings: Dewberry Hills Farm chicken wings, first cured with salt, sugar, bay leaves and thyme, then slowly braised in lard until very tender). In addition to biscuits and gravy, breakfast tacos and Cafe de Olla, Jesse will be serving Antelope Burgers and Rabbit Gumbo this weekend.

 

Oyster mushrooms from Kitchen Pride

Oyster mushrooms from Kitchen Pride

If you are planning on chips and dips for Superbowl Sunday, don’t forget a bag of Blanco Valley Chips from Barton Creek Market. These handmade, organic corn chips, fried in coconut oil, are absolutely tops! Quite possibly the best tortilla chips in America.

 

In abundance this week: Spinach, carrots, green onions, lettuce, mesclun mix, beets, cabbage, turnips, radishes, cilantro, sweet potatoes, chard, and kale. Hothouse tomatoes and cucumbers available from some vendors. Fruit is still limited to citrus form Johnson’s Backyard Garden (all markets) and Strawberries from STAR (Barton Creek Market).

 

See you at the Market!

Soup Bones form IO Ranch

Soup Bones form IO Ranch


Farmers Market Report: January 26th-27th, 2013

Posted: January 24th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Farmers Markets | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »
Winter strawberries from STAR Farmer's Market

Winter strawberries from STAR Farmer’s Market

It’s going to stay pleasant out, temperature-wise, this weekend. If anything, it will be even more pleasant, because it will be a little cooler. It is supposed to rain this Sunday (here’s hoping!) but it is still going to be in the seventies.

 

The last week of warm temperatures has brought back the leafy greens like Kale, mustard greens, collard greens, and turnip greens (though they are looking a little holey); lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower are all looking spectacular, too.

 

Greens from Hillside Farms (Barton Creek Market)

Greens from Hillside Farms (Barton Creek Market)

Central Texas brought home six of the coveted national Good Food Awards, and several of the winners are regulars at Austin farmers markets! Congratulations to Pogue Mahone Pickles (Barton Creek Market) for their Jalapeno Mint Pickles and to Rinkon Farm’s Flume Creek Preserves, who won for their Raspberry Preserves. Other winners include Cuvee Coffee and Aunt Nita’s Homestyle Foods, who won for their Sweet Jalapeno Relish.

 

Groundbreaking Barton Creek Market News! Full Quiver Farm is going to begin selling milk! Like Mill-King Dairy and Texas Daily Harvest before them, Full Quiver’s milk is going to be low-temperature pasteurized and non-homogenized. Farmer Sam’s cheeses are so superior, I simply can’t wait to try his milk (I better get there early!)

 

For a few weeks the only fresh fruit available at area markets has been citrus (lately grapefruits and oranges at Johnson’s Backyard Garden stands), but the STAR FARMERS MARKET table at Barton Creek (and Highland Mall on Sundays) once again has out-of-season strawberries. His plants are bearing like “they think it’s March” (and who can blame them, it certainly feels like March out there!). Because of the cool nights, though, they are extra sweet.

There are still plenty of fresh pecans to be had at the Sand Creek Farm table (Barton Creek)

There are still plenty of fresh pecans to be had at the Sand Creek Farm table (Barton Creek)

 

This is the weekend that Celtic Seafare comes to Barton Creek Market with their top-flight value smoked salmon, and Peeler Farms will be at the HOPE Market on Sunday with their amazing chicken. Speaking of the HOPE Market: somehow I managed to miss this, but they have a FREE yoga class every Sunday at 11 am. Attendance at the free yoga class has been outstanding (I’ll bet! I would have gone if I had known) so get there early. I can’t imagine a nicer Sunday morning than having an hour of yoga, followed by a coffee from Third Coast Coffee and breakfast from the gourmet Seedling’s Truck by Royal Fig (who cure all their own bacon! and also make biscuits and gravy.)

 

Wright Longhorn Beef is back at the Barton reek Market after spotty attendance over the holidays; grass-fed Longhorn Beef is high in omega-3’s, has less fat than chicken or turkey, and is packed with flavor. Longhorn cattle are also much easier on out fragile, rather dry ecosystem here in Central Texas, because they browse (eat shrubs) as well as graze (eat grass). Plus, by buying Longhorn, you’re helping to keep the symbol of Texas a viable breed. Longhorns are such gorgeous animals! I am so glad they are experiencing a comeback!

Wright's Longhorn Beef (Barton Creek, Highland Mall)

Wright’s Longhorn Beef (Barton Creek, Highland Mall)

Great SFC News: the Sustainable Food Center’s Double your Dollars program has ust doubled! Used to be, for $10 in WIC or SNAP money, the SFC would give in exchange $20 of market tokens. Now, the total has been upped to $20 buying $40 worth of tokens!

 

Mueller Market News: Boggy Creek, Confituras, Green Gate Farm, Pate Letelier, and Organicare Farm will not be there this weekend. Red Rabbit Cooperative Bakery and Sprout Works WILL return this week.

 

Dai Due Butcher Shop (Downtown SFC and Mueller) will be featuring Wild Boar Italian Sausage ($12 lb) and Traditional Blood Sausage ($16 lb) this week. In the hot food department,  Jesse will be featuring Roasted Duck Banh Mi with pate, pickled vegetables, mint and mayonnaise, Shrimp al Mojo de Ajo Taco with green garlic, cabbage and cilantro, and Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas with a fried egg and green onion, along with his weekly standbys.

 

In abundance: Rainbow Chard. Bok Choy, Carrots, Beets, Spinach, Parsley, Sweet Potatoes, Cabbage, Salad Mix or Lettuce, Green Onions, Turnips, Pecans, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Butternuts.

 

See you at the Market!

Lettuce and Tilapia from Lily Pad Farm

Lettuce and Tilapia from Lily Pad Farm

 

Wright's Longhorn Beef (Barton Creek, Highland Mall)

Wright’s Longhorn Beef (Barton Creek, Highland Mall)


tom

Posted: January 17th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

toms


Farmers Market Report: January 12-13, 2013

Posted: January 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Farmers Markets | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

 

 

Glorious Lettuce from Lily Pad Farms

Glorious Lettuce from Lily Pad Farms

It might be damp again this weekend, but at the very least, it won’t be cold. It’s been so dry the last few years that I can’t imagine that anyone doesn’t welcome the rain, but if you are among those who don’t, come over here so I can beat you with my hat like Gabby Hayes.

A lot of the non-root produce at the markets last weekend was looking a little frostbitten, and even the broccoli was looking a little pinched. Although it has barely gotten down to 32˚ at my house in Central Austin, there have been some hard freezes out in the country. Best bets are going to be carrots, beets, potatoes, turnips, sweet potatoes and other root vegetables, along with hothouse lettuces and tomatoes. Lily Pad Farm has glorious hydroponic lettuces (Barton Creek Mkt.), and lovely little tilapia filets as well. I tried to buy some tilapia last week, but they had sold out! That’s the problem with spreading the word about great buys…the word does get out!

 

Carrots are at their peak right now

Carrots are at their peak right now

But the rain we just had is a godsend for the farmers and ranchers! Spirits have been high all week;  Dewberry Hills Farms (Real Good Chicken) got 3.25 inches! They will be at both Sunset Valley and Downtown this Saturday, celebrating. Jane says: Dewberry Hills will only be doing boneless/skinless chicken by special order from now on, so if that is what you want, be sure and order it.

This is the weekend that Celtic Seafare will be at the Barton Creek Market (they come every other week); they will be doing toasted bagels with cream cheese and lox and spinach, arugula and smoked salmon sandwiches tomorrow as well as the usual Cold Smoked Sliced Salmon (4 oz portions), Hot Smoked Citrus Pepper Salmon, Hot Smoked Plum and Sesame Salmon, and Smoked salmon mousse (4-6 oz portions).

I tried to buy Wright’s Longhorn Beef a few weeks ago, but I picked the one day they weren’t there. But they should be back this weekend at Barton Creek and Highland Mall Markets.

 

Pretzels from New World Bakery (Barton Creek Mkt.)

Pretzels from New World Bakery (Barton Creek Mkt.)

New World Bakery is doing the Barton Creek Farmers Market, and have made a specialty of hot pretzels! I couldn’t resist and I have to tell you, they are super good. This just might be their niche, and no one else is doing them as far as I know.

 Richardson Farms has got both Back Fat and Leaf Lard for sale ($10). If you haven’t tried local, organic lard from either Richardson’s or Dai Due Butcher Shop, you aren’t living! There is nothing better to brown meat with for stews, and no more authentic flavor for Mexican food (not to mention biscuits and pie crust.)

 

They are HAPPY because they eat LARD!

They are HAPPY because they eat LARD!

Speaking of Dai Due, they are doing Venison Hotdogs this weekend, and they can be bought both cold for home cooking later, or served grilled on a bun with Kim Chee. Yum! They will also be making French Toast with Mincemeat and toasted pecan butter. I raved about their mincemeat last week–be sure to try it if you get the chance!

 

Moonshine Sweet Tea at Mueller Market

Moonshine Sweet Tea at Mueller Market

Over at Mueller Market is Moonshine Sweet Tea, a sweet tea concentrate that you just add a tablespoon or so to a glass of water for a big ol’ glass of sweet tea. It really is good! And what a time and space saver in the icebox.

Over at the HOPE Market, a new bakery, FLOUR, has been getting up to speed. FLOUR specializes in that artisan French country bread that is a bit sourdough, and has  a long shelf life (up to a week without getting stale). Their rustic loaves are especially good, and do indeed last longer than any others I have tried from rival bakeries. They are still perfecting their pastries, but usually do manage to sell out by the end of the day.

 

An artistic array of FLOUR's products (HOPE market)

An artistic array of FLOUR’s products (HOPE market)

For the Kids: Tiny Tails Petting Zoo is gong to be at Barton Creek Market on Saturday, and Highland Mall Market on Sunday!

In Abundance: Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Carrots, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Rutabagas, Green Onions, and Turnips.

 Johnson’s Backyard Garden will have Grapefruit and oranges, and several vendors will have shelled pecans.

See you at the Market!


Farmer’s Market Report: January 5th-6th, 2012

Posted: January 3rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Farmers Markets | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Magnificent Cabbages at Mueller Market (Organicare Farms)

Last Saturday and Sunday mornings were freezing cold, but this weekend it is supposed to go up into the sixties which should be more pleasant for everyone. In general, shoppers tend to be warmly dressed, it is the poor vendors who often seem to be underdressed and shivering. (Especially at Mueller Farmers Market…I think the hangar creates a wind tunnel effect or something!) Well, this weekend should be warmer!

It was difficult to say exactly what vendors would be at the markets last weekend, it being the Holidays and all. But this weekend everyone should be back, with surpluses to sell. I expect there will be bargains galore!

Green Romanesco and Orange Cheddar Cauliflowers at Sunset Valley Market

Chicken News: Dewberry Hills Chicken will only be at SFC Sunset Valley this weekend. Jane writes, “The birds take a little longer to come up to size when it’s cold and dark.” Peeler Farms  should be at the HOPE market this Sunday (they only come every other week.) Peeler Farms sells chicken and beef, and very occasionally, duck. Dai Due Butcher Shop is selling Boudin Blanc sausage ($12 a lb), made from Dewberry Farms chicken, Full Quiver Farms pork, cream, breadcrumbs, spices, parsley and lemon zest.

Speaking of HOPE Market! I incorrectly stated that they open at 10 am on Sunday. Total misinformation on my part! They actually open at 11am. Their hours are 11 AM- 3 PM.

Dai Due will also be selling a variety of winter sausages (including Venison Zweibelwurst, Toulouse Sausage, Venison Breakfast Sausage, Wild Boar Chorizo, and Country Style Breakfast Sausage) and their positively amazing locally made Mincemeat. I myself am on record as a mincemeat fan, and I must say Jesse Griffith’s version sounds like it is probably the best mincemeat on Earth. Here is their description:

Chard and Kale, Mueller Market

Traditional Mincemeat: Starting in May, we begin to make the mincemeat by drying sweet sugar figs (Rain Lily) and wild mulberries.  Organic peaches are next, in late June, and are dried, followed by pears and jujubes in late summer.  When the weather first turns cooler, it is time to finish the mincemeat before the window closes: fresh apples and more pears are brought in at the last minute before their season ends, just as the first citrus and pecans show up.  The apples are diced, the citrus juiced and supremed and candied.  The pecans toasted.  All of this is then slowly cooked for hours with spices like clove, black pepper and cinnamon, silky beef fat, a little salt, organic sugar and local honey.  Once deeply browned and incredibly aromatic, the pans are removed from the oven and bottle after bottle of brandy is poured over the hot fruit.  The mincemeat is then cooled, aged for a month and jarred, ready to be eaten or kept for a couple of months in the refrigerator.  One quart makes one pie.

(As a baker, I have to say that one quart is enough for at least TWO pies. I have a quart in my icebox right now, which I will be making into tarts as soon as I am over this virus, which I have, along with half the town it sounds like!)

In Abundance: carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage (in fact the cabbages are looking

Hothouse English Cucumbers from the HOPE Market (Wild River Farm)

Magnificent!), lettuce, green onions, arugula, radishes, sweet potatoes, pecans (there is still enough winter left to make pecan pie), beets, potatoes (Johnson’s Backyard Garden has Yukon Golds for cheap) Curly Kale, Russian Kale, turnips, turnip greens, fennel, and hothouse tomatoes. Hothouse English Cucumbers can be bought at HOPE Market from Wild River Farms, and at Sunset Valley from Flint Rock Farm.

Colorful Bounty from Phoenix Farms, Mueller Market

In the Fruit department, STAR Farmers Market (Barton Creek and Highland Mall) have early strawberries (which are super sweet, due to the cold) and if the citrus guys show up (they didn’t last weekend) there should be tangerines from Orange Blossom Farm (Barton and Highland) and grapefruits and oranges at all markets, at the JBG stands.

See you at the Markets!