My wonderful hubby E. Ho and I were wandering the Sunset Valley Farmer's Market when we saw an enormous line winding around the booth at Gundermann Farm. "Wonder what's going on over there," said E. Ho.
"Oh my god," I exclaimed. "Strawberries!" There were tons of them, in little green baskets for $3 apiece. Organic and local strawberries that were -- get this -- red! Actually red, inside and out. And juicy juicy. We quickly picked up three baskets, and when they turned out to be short on one dollar bills at the register, we went ahead and got another basket, just to make it $15. "We can freeze them for smoothies," I said. In fact, we did the math and found that they were just as expensive as the frozen strawberries we'd been buying at Central Market, so what the hell. I froze half of them when we got home, but regretted it when I found that E. Ho and I (okay, mostly yours truly) had polished off half of the
In my pregnant state of four months along, I still find fruit to be the most attractive food in the world right now. Admittedly, this has really messed with the whole buying local thing, so I was beside myself with joy to find these strawberries. And of course, I had to pick up a bunch of the ever-lovely grapefruit I've been buying religiously every Saturday. If only Texas could produce some kiwis for me. And maybe some peaches. Actually, I think peaches are coming soon, I must look that up.
E. Ho and I rounded out our trip with some delightful heirloom lettuce from Finca Pura Vida, some carrots, flowery broccoli, and young garlic. Also, the idea of sausage didn't make me want to puke, so my hubby giddily dropped $20 at Full Quiver Farms to get some kielbasa and hot Italian sausages. Honestly, Full Quiver is the only reason we started going regularly to the Sunset Valley Farmer's Market instead of the downtown one. They have nitrite-free sausages that will knock you on your ass, they are so yummy. They also have an artisan raw-milk cheese operation. They feed their free-range hogs the rennet from the cheese, and I'm telling you, it must make a difference, because these are the best sausages I've ever had in my life. Momniho (who was here to visit over Spring Break along with Hydropops and my darling little nephew) is still pining over the sausages I grilled for her one night.
After the sausages were purchased, I found myself very attracted to the chipotle cheese ball. No preservatives, made fresh that morning, and super delicious. So we bought that and then some Dallas-made organic seeded spelt crackers from Doctor Kracker, conveniently positioned in the booth directly across from Full Quiver. My midwife told me to avoid wheat, so I've been trying to eat more spelt and rye. I always thought spelt would be yucky, but these crackers were really good, and I have found some spelt bread that I like.
Although sometimes I just long for a bagel.
Ayote squash is available at Finca Pura Vida's booth. E. Ho wants to buy a whole one (about the size of an enormously large pumpkin) for $40. And I'll bet he won't let me carry it. I also noticed asparagus, oyster mushrooms, plenty of gorgeous greens, and Meyer lemons. It's a great time to go to the market, but make sure to get there before 10am, unless you want to be stuck with root vegetables and hothouse tomatoes.
In other news, I found some local olive oil! I haven't tested it intensively yet, meaning that I haven't had a taste test comparing store-bought and the local stuff like I have been planning to do, but in cooking I couldn't detect a difference. It's from First Texas Olive Oil Company, located on Bella Vista Ranch in Wimberley (about 33 miles from Austin), and it is "fresh cold-pressed." I had wanted to go visit the ranch, but I couldn't find the time and I really, really wanted to get some of that olive oil -- so I ordered it online. We ordered the extra virgin olive oil and the blood orange-infused olive oil, which we haven't tried yet. They also make their own wine.
It's nice to like food again.