From Mercado Central to Texas Hill Country Farmers Markets
- Written by Suzy Ivers
- Published Apr. 21, 2016
When I was a little girl growing up in Central America, I loved going to the Mercado. I was blessed to have a Costa Rican mom and an American dad, which resulted in spending the wonder-filled days of my childhood in Costa Rica. We lived in the capital city of San Jose and its Mercado Central is huge, taking up a full city block. As a child I still remember the many colors of the fruits, vegetables, herbs and other wares and all the hustle and bustle, combined with the fear of getting lost in the crowd. I remember the smells of food cooking, coffee brewing, leather and raw meat. I remember the noises, the loud voices of vendors shouting and customers haggling over prices and usually some form of music…maybe a man playing a Marimba with a bowl set out to collect coins. Going to the Mercado was a symphony of multi-sensory delights and always an adventure for me.
When farmers markets started making an appearance in towns throughout the Hill Country, I hoped that I might find some of what I experienced in my childhood market experiences. I wondered if going to a farmers market might be worth more than just the usual weekly spin through the produce aisles at my local grocery store. I wasn’t disappointed.
I started out with my hometown farmers market in Fredericksburg, which gathers on Thursdays. I was delighted to find some of the same aspects that I remembered from my childhood. I could hear a guitar playing as I got out of the car. I was met with booth after booth of colorful seasonal fruits and vegetables. There were also coffees, wines, honey and organically grown meat. I took a bite of a sweet apple from the vendors at Apple Valley Orchards and had a small cup of savory, Tomato Basil soup from another booth. The smell of pizza baking drew me to the JoJu Bakery booth where I also found a variety of freshly baked breads. I kept bumping into local townspeople, who had come to shop, enjoy the open air eating, and socialize with one another. It was clear they had come here to enjoy the people as much as the produce.
When asking a local organic farmer friend, Becky Ottmers, about the various places they sell their produce, she raved about the Pearl Brewery Farmers Market in San Antonio that operates on the weekends. My daughter and I decided to make the drive to check it out. After we found a spot to park, we followed the noise, the smells and the crowd to find the lines and lines of vendors tucked in along the streets around the old brewery plant.
We found booths selling all kind of produce, honey, soaps, breads, meats and baked goods. We sampled a delicious chunk of freshly baked bread dipped in olive oil from Sol Y Luna Baking Co. and we shared a hot chicken empanada from Artisan Empanadas. We were tempted by the Nutella Crepes at CrepeLandia, but refrained because the line was so long. There was a musician crooning his tunes surrounded by tables of people eating the various offerings of the market booths.
We finally found my friends’ Ottmers Family Farm booth. I looked over their tomatoes, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, leeks, onions and eggs. It all looked so good. I finally settled on a variety of squash to buy.
I found that going to a farmers market is still an adventure and a delight to your senses. I plan to explore a few others in towns nearby. I encourage you, as well to check out a Texas Hill Country farmers market!
Texas Hill Country Farmers Markets
Fredericksburg Farmers Market
May-Aug at Market Platz Square
Oct-Nov at the Pioneer Museum at 325 W. Main
San Antonio-Pearl Brewery Farmers Market
Sundays 10am -2pm
312 Pearl Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78215
Burnet Farmers Market
211 E. Jackson Street, Burnet, TX 78611
Round Rock Farmers Market
201 University Oaks Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78665
(956) 286 7775
Sun City Farmers Market
Tuesdays 9am-12 noon
2 Texas Drive, Georgetown, TX 78633
(956) 286 7775
Bastrop 1832 Farmers Market
13202 Chestnut Street, Bastrop, TX 78602
(512) 360 4799
San Marcos Farmers Market
Saturdays 9am-1pm at 155 E. San Antonio Street
Tuesdays 3pm-6pm at 312 E. Hopkins Street
(512) 757 2000
Wimberley Farmers Market
14050 RR 12, Wimberley, TX 78676
(512) 264 1637