Posted by on Jan 8, 2011

I love Saturdays! I get up and have a good workout, then it’s off to the Barton Creek Farmers’ Market on my way to train my 12:00 group at friend Debbie’s beautiful horse breeding and training facility, Oakhaven Farm. Often several of us have done our Farmers’ Market shopping, so we compare notes and look at each other’s goodies. Oohing and aahing, we swap recipes and plan meals. Nothing like starting a workout with an appetite for fresh, healthy food!

It has been two or so years since I started shopping there. It started at the Burger Center parking lot, and there is still a wonderful market at the Burger location; the Sustainable Food Center at Sunset Valley. I’m closer to Barton Creek, though. Part of the fun is getting to chat with vendors, who always seem to have time for a word and a smile. There is a lot learn from talking to these wonderful people who work hard to coax fabulous produce out of our difficult soil and climate.

Naturally, I have some favorites that I visit and purchase from weekly, so I will share just a few of them with you. I apologize to those I have not yet mentioned- I will have more posts soon and include you then.

Richardson Farms: Wonderful pork, poultry, eggs and beef- in fact, I made a pork tenderloin last night with mushrooms, leeks and golden raisins. Kaye and Jim Richardson are amazing people, and their whole family, several generations, is involved with the farming.

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Pastured chickens and cows and a young Richardson family member guarding the eggs

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We have also had their turkey at Thanksgiving; what a juicy, succulent treat! I periodically buy ribs, sausage meat and chops for my mother-in-law in Houston. She is a fabulous cook and really appreciates the quality and flavor . We all benefit when she cooks!

box-photo-12.14.10Johnson’s Backyard box selections week of December 14

Johnsons’ Backyard Garden: An incredible variety and abundance of produce. I was shocked to see that it is all farmed on 70 acres. That’s an efficient program! Their Romanesco cauliflower went wonderfully with the pork tenderloin. People line up to snake through colorful displays of produce, grabbing as they go. It is very fresh; sometimes it takes us a week or so to eat it all, and it is still crisp and flavorful even then. You can also sign up for their box program and pick up produce weekly from several locations.

Kocurek Family Charcuterie: I love these people and their prepared delights!

Jewell Spring10 Kocurek Meats163021_179988785357379_100000387760260_493788_2565721_sKocurek white bolognese sausage with peppers and onions

For those nights when cooking is the last thing we want to do, but eating well is the first, I always tuck away a few Kocurek sausages in the freezer. Every week, Larry and Lee Ann get creative and present an array of choices from boudin to morcilla. They are willing to combine flavors that are both traditional and go outside the box (or casing), and there is often a wonderful pate to start with. Duck bacon is one of our favorite breakfast treats. They also hold classes and special events.

In short, one lovely morning provides a week of feasting. There are also wonderful breads, cheeses, salsa and chips, prepared tamales, Middle Eastern delights, coffee and all manner of craft items.

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In the future, I hope to visit some of these folks at their farms and kitchens, and provide a little video “taste”. Meanwhile, go to one of your area farmers’ markets, make some friends, and eat well. Leave some comments on your personal favorites. Bon appetit!