You know the old saying: never go grocery shopping with an empty stomach. Clearly, that’s good advice if you’re aimlessly waltzing down the fluorescent aisles, mindlessly heaping boxes and bags of sugary, salty crap into your wobbly-wheeled basket.
Set your time machine for Saturday morning, though, and write yourself a note to leave the house unfed. That way, when you visit your favorite booths at Austin Farmers Market, you can make a heap of impulse buys you’ll feel great about. With tons of fantastic people–and pet watching, music, creative knickknack bric-a-brac action, and plants and flowers, it’s easy to forget the main reason for the market: the food. Forget the rolling basket; grab your sweetie and load up your picnic basket with some special something’s from your favorite vendors. In case you’re wondering, these are some of our first stops:
Sweetish Hill Bakery & Café
Chocolate croissant. Chocolate croisaaaaaant. cha-cha-chocolate croisaaant-sant-sant! Because this is print, you can’t tell that what’s happening here is I am serenading you with the song I wrote to sing when I think about sweetish Hill’s chocolate croisaaaaaaaants. I mean, croissants. Sure, they always bring an incredibly good selection of happy little treats to their booth at the market, but if they bring the chocolate croissants, and if you remember my song, you won’t say i steered you wrong.
1120 West Sixth St. | (512) 472-1347 | www.sweetishhill.com Second Location | 98 San Jacinto Blvd. | (512) 472-2711 Open Mon – Sat 6:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sun 6:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Happy Vegan Baker
Since Inge Jorgeson studied at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin, you’d think her baked goods would be a trip to butter city. Not so. Her cupcakes, cookies, tarts and more are all made without dairy but (swear to God) you won’t miss the butter, the cream, or the eggs. You might want to buy an extra “cream cheese Danish” or whatever she’s featuring, because I’ll be honest with you – there will be casualties. Jorgeson’s creations are so good, at least one of them is not going to last until you have the picnic blanket unfolded. www.happyveganbaker.com
Cocoa Puro Kakawa Chocolates
Let’s be clear about something. These aren’t the little chocolates the nice lady in the cubicle two rows over puts out in her meemaw’s candy dish to help keep her coworkers from wanting to kill themselves. Instead, these rich little cacao beans covered in dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, and cocoa are good enough to kill for. If you’re used to that nice lady’s free chocolates, you might get a little sticker shock from these beauties, but nothing this good comes for free.
Texas Olive Ranch
Everyone knows there’s nothing more picnic appropriate than olives. They taste good, they’re healthy, and you can even spit the pits out without feeling like you’re littering. Awesome. What everyone doesn’t yet know is that these global favorites are now being grown closer to home at Texas Olive Ranch, where 40,000 olive trees pop out these puppies in the south Texas sun. Get plenty of olives for your picnic, and grab some dirty martini mix, olive oil soap, or a bottle of extra-virgin olive oil for your home.
FM 1557 | (214) 325-5787 | www.texasoliveranch.com
The Dai Due booth offers an incredible selection of pickles, chutneys, gourmet meats, and other delicacies that have to be tasted to be believed. But if they’re cooking at the market, all bets are off. Forget about your trek to the lake or the greenbelt to find the perfect picnic spot. Just grab your biscuits and gravy and find the closest chair you can. Hey, it’s still outside so it counts as a picnic. (512) 524-0688 www.daidueaustin.net
Something comforting and rich, Part 1
Texas French Bread
Step one: buy some incredibly delicious artisanal bread.
Something comforting and rich, Part 2
Way Back When Dairy
Step two: spread some super-yowza rich and creamy butter from Way Back When on your incredibly delicious artisanal bread. There are no artificial hormones, no bovine growth hormone, no antibiotics, and none of a few other things that sound evil and made-up. Oh yeah, almost forgot:
Step three: take a bite. Step four: chew. Step five: swallow. Step six: repeat.
2900 Rio Grande | (512)499-0544 www.texasfrenchbread.com Open Mon 7a.m. – 6 p.m.; Tues – Sat 7a.m.-10p.m.;Sun8a.m.-5p.m.
Something you can feel good about
There are a thousand and one choices for cool, fresh produce at the market, but one option is particularly heartwarming. The urban roots booth offers produce cultivated on an east Austin farm by young Austinites who are learning to “develop leadership skills and horticultural practices and learn to work in teams and with the community.” not only do they sell their produce to those of us fortunate enough to be able to buy it, they also donate much of their yield to charities. the kids are more than alright.
7756 Northcross Drive | (512) 324-0424 | www.youthlaunch.com
Nile Valley Herbs Company
This is a tea party that actually makes sense. Awad Abdelgadir’s hibiscus mint tea can be brewed right in the park if you remember to bring a pitcher of cool water. And while you are sitting on your butt beating yourself up, thinking about how many things you should be doing while you’re kicking back, you can remind yourself how the profits from Nile Valley Teas help Awad fund community projects in his home in Sudan. Doing good should always be this easy.
1506 Juliet St. | (512) 442-6907 | www.nilevalleyherbs.com
Pasta & Company
Okay, okay. You can’t buy fresh pasta and go directly to the park. But if you don’t buy a bag and keep it in the cooler for later, you’ll miss out on some of the best fresh pasta around. Make some for your next picnic!
The Austin Farmers market is a project of sustainable Food center. Find out more about the nonprofit organization at www.sustainablefoodcenter.org. 3502 Kerbey Ln. | (512) 453-0633 | www.austinpasta.com