Chronologically speaking, this post should be about how I’m settling in, my first week on the job, signing my lease, ect. But that’s just going to have to wait. I’m having a beautiful Saturday and I’d rather talk about that. Maybe I’ll feel more reflective tomorrow. We’ll see.
So, since I only have a few friends in Austin and they are all out of town this weekend, I had a quiet Friday night and I ended up getting up pretty early this AM (7) and I was able to go for my first outside run here in Austin. 78 degrees at 7:15am is something I will have to get used to, but all in all it was a good run – super pretty along Town/Lady Bird Lake (aka, a damned off section of the Colorado River, we can discuss how it bothers me that it’s a river, but it gets called a lake another time).
I had intended on following my run up with breakfast and then heading straight down to the pool to layout before the triple digit temps rolled in come afternoon. But, while I was drinking my coffee I looked out my windows and noticed this:
Obviously, I wanted to know what was going on with all the tents, so naturally I pulled out my iPhone. First I Google Mapped since I hadn’t the foggiest what the name of the green square was.
Turns out it is called Republic Square Park. If you’d like to be a nerd like me you can click on the hyper-link and read all about it, cliff notes, it might be a little square of mostly dead grass, but it’s been there a long time and is kinda a thing.
From there I googled “Republic Square Park August 31st” and came to learn that what I was gazing upon from my bougie temporary home was none other than the set up of a Farmer’s Market that runs 9am-Noon every Saturday. Let’s start with how it’s a year-round Farmer’s Market. I get it, I’m in Texas and it is warm here, but my poor New England self thinks of a Farmer’s Market as a May-Oct phenomenon. It’s not as shocking to me that it’s warm enough here year round to grow things, it’s the idea that it’s warm enough year round to shop for them outside.
It gets better, this particular Farmer’s Market is one of four that happen in Austin each week organized by the Sustainable Food Center. Definitely click on that link. If you know me you know that essentially as soon as that page loaded I was going down to that market. The pool could wait.
Saturday morning Farmer’s Markets already give me the warm fuzzies because I have such fond memories of going to them with my Mom growing up and picking out things for us to have that weekend and upcoming week. We always grabbed a basil plant at the start of the season…and usually another one in the middle since green thumbs don’t really run in our family (yes, my Mother and I are capable of killing a small potted herb in less than a couple months…it’s not our fault). In fact, while I was at this Farmer’s Market, I texted my Mom and she was at ours back home at the same time!
The next thing I loved about this is that it is solidly organized. It has to be at least 51% farmers (not that I don’t love the baked goods and jams and organic soaps…). If you forget cash, the info tent is equipped with an ATM. I almost never have cash but the other day at Whole Foods I happened to get $20 cash back. It was like divine intervention or something. What really impressed me was this statement though:
Sustainable Food Center cultivates a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food. SFC envisions a food secure community where all children and adults grow, share and prepare healthy, local food.
If you’re on EBT or WIC you can use that to buy produce. I’m sorry but that’s cool. My Dad informed me that our Farmer’s Market at home is the same way, so maybe this is common. But if it is I think it should be more widely talked about. I’m not gonna go all out on this, but everybody know the packaged crap that you’re not supposed to eat is the cheapest. So I’m super on board with supporting an organization that is trying to help people make the right food choices regardless of their finances.
I’m totally a sucker for all things local. I blame my tenure in Somerville and Jamaica Plain. I totally drank the local kool-aid, but it’s fine, becuase everyone in Austin drank it too so I fit right in. I gave the whole market a walk around and decided that I wanted to make sure I bought things from several different vendors. I wish I remembered which ones so I could give them probs. But I totally didn’t write them down. whomp. whomp.
I think I did pretty well. for $12 I got everything you see below:
That one bushel of kale alone comes out to more than a gallon sized ziplock’s worth of greens. I though that was a pretty good deal. I certainly would not have been able to get all that for $12 at Whole Foods. (Not to rag on Whole Foods, because I love it there and I went there later today and got the rest of things I need to whip up some really yummy stuff this week.)
Since I had done so well I decided I could afford 2 Migas Breakfast tacos from the Tacodeli tent! ($4.50)
I’m planning on making this Farmer’s Market a serious staple in my Austin life. I’ve already decided I’m going to need to get a bike to allow me to explore things in a wider radius and more easily do grocery shopping. Now I can add this to the list of reasons I really need one sooner rather than later.
Right now I’m really looking forward to the squash I got. I’ve never had summer squash that was yellow and green! Winter squash was already out, there were the cutest little butternut squashes. I’m already pinning some hearty soup recipes to take advantage of those if it ever gets cooler here.
What are your favorite Farmer’s Market Finds?