The holidays are over and when it comes to eating healthy, only you know if you were naughty or nice. But if one of your New Year’s resolutions was to eat healthier, there are a lot of opportunities to do so – even in January; many wonderful crops are harvested in the winter. Start by backing away from the remote control and curing your cabin fever with a visit to some of the Austin area’s farms and markets, where you can take home some fresh produce or eggs that were laid in the past 24 hours. L Style food critic Lisa Malmin visits with people who grow and produce healthy food locally, and offers up some suggestions for dining on the cream of Austin’s crop.
Austin Farmer’s Market
Republic Square Park at 4th & Guadalupe St. Triangle Park Area
(512) 2360074, www.austinfarmersmarket.org
This bountiful market is open year-round from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday, and Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Triangle during the fall and winter. Buy fresh local food while visiting with growers like Clyde and Ellan Scott of the Scott Arbor Farm (www.ScottArbor.com). This family-owned, family-operated business has used organic methods of growing for more than 32 years.
Richard Lindley and Gracie Broussard of Morning Glory Farm can also be found at the Austin Farmers’ Market. These local growers pride themselves on using organic farming practices such as “wildcrafting” of herbs and greens, a method of harvesting crops that preserves the plant or seeds for future planting. Visitors can pick up freshly harvested fruits and veggies, and eggs produced by the farm’s free-range chickens.
Don’t leave the market without checking out spicy guys Ben Googins and Elias Martins of Rio’s Products (www.RiosOfAustin.com). Try some of their a la carte Brazilian foods with one of three malagueta sauces. I took home a bottle of the original sauce and am now putting it on everything! Sweet with heat, it’s so good you’ll want to eat the sauce with sauce on it. If you attended the Rio’s- catered Austin Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Arts on Real Theater or sampled the sauce at Cissi’s Market during first Thursday, you know what I’m talking about. If you can’t get to the Austin Farmers’ Market, you can get your fix at Whole Foods Market, Greenling, Emerald City Press, Royal Blue Grocery and Whip In Convenience Store.
Sunset Valley Farmers Market
3200 Jones Road, Sunset Valley (512) 443 0143 (512) 280-1976 www.SunsetValleyFarmersMarket.org
This weekly open-air market runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday of the year, rain or shine, and features dozens of vendors who only sell what they grow or produce. They include Gundermann Farm and Caeda Farms, operated by sisters Joan Gundermann and Cathy Miller. Gundermann is a long-time certified organic grower, while Miller, who’s newer to the organic fruit and vegetable world, farms in Elgin with her husband, Don. Their produce stand is incredibly popular, so get there early. If you can’t get to the market, look for Gundermann Farm and Caeda Farms produce at Whole Foods Market, Central Market and H-E-B.
Down the road in Rockdale, Jim and Kay Richardson provide meat that is naturally raised and locally sold at Richardson Farms (www.RichardsonFarms.com). Not only is their grass-fed beef, pork and poultry better for you, it actually tastes better. The animals are never given antibiotic feed or growth hormones and the supplemental feed is produced on the farm using methods that conserve water and soil. You may have already enjoyed their meat when visiting Wheatsville Coop, ordering from Greenling, Dishalicious or Spoon & Co., or dining at Olivia, Kerbey Lane Café or Thai Fresh.
Bella Vista Ranch
3101 Mt. Sharp Rd., Wimberley (512) 847 6514, www.BVRanch.com
Ready for a tasteful day trip? Check out the first Texas olive oil company in Wimberley. Bella Vista completed its sixth harvest in September and currently has hundreds of olive trees. Owner Jack Dougherty grew up among Italian farmers and has a passion for agriculture. Fresh olive oil like Bella Vista’s has flavor and nutritional components not found in olive oils sold in grocery stores. And all the olive oil at Bella Vista is cold- pressed (not chemically extracted) and has an amazing fresh, peppery flavor. Bella Vista also handcrafts wines, jams and its wildly popular blackberry balsam ic vinegar with pear infusion. Check out tours of Bella Vista’s olive oil frantoio, winery, orchards and gardens, and be treated to olive oil and wine tastings. Visit the website for tour schedules.
Boggy Creek Farm
3414 Lyons Road 926-4650, www.BoggyCreekFarm.com
Not many cities can boast a USDA-certified-organic urban market farm within the city limits that features produce harvested just minutes earlier. Larry Butler and Carol Ann Sayle have been feeding healthy vegetables to Austinites since they bought their 5-acre farm in 1992. All produce is sold at the farm and during the summer, but Bogy Creek also pro- vides produce to Whole Food Market. The farm is open for visits Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Check out the website to learn about the farm’s history and seasonal crops, and even get some recipe ideas for produce you just bought.