The following is the second of two parts.
Weeks before the New Braunfels Farm to Market opened last year, its creator, Ron Snider, wasn’t sure any farmers would show up to sell their just-harvested produce. Two weeks ago, the farmers market on South Castell Street boasted 72 vendors, the largest of any market in the region. Everything from fresh-picked peaches and tomatoes to grass-fed beef, artisan cheeses, fresh eggs and various types of garlic could be found.
More than that, it had plenty of customers picking up melons, mushrooms, Indian cucumbers and Indian breads while clearing out all of the offerings that the bakeries, the tamale vendor and several other booths had to offer. The roster of food stuffs for sale went on to include Cowgirl Granola, fresh-squeezed juices, German kettle corn and aguas frescas.
Plus, there were stands with handmade goods, including soaps and lavender goods, as well as henna tattoos and home-grown herbs.
But, as large as it is, Farm to Market is only just beginning. Snider owns the art deco building next door to the parking lot where the vendors now set up their booths, and he is in the process of renovating it so the market has plenty of room to grow. Cooks will then have the necessary kitchen equipment as well as cleanup area, while some of the vendors will have better access to electricity to keep their meats, cheeses, dairy products and other items refrigerated.
The building once housed the Herald-Zeitung, New Braunfels’ newspaper, and Snider hopes to return its exterior to its former deco appearance, which was covered through the years by additions and a few too many Alsatian touches. He’s still doing research on the building, which hasn’t been easy.
“Most of the documented history of the old Herald-Zeitung Building was lost when the paper’s location on Landa Street flooded about 10 years ago,” he says. “I have a copy of the original architects’ rendering done by Phelps and Dewees of San Antonio. I’ve contacted family members and our local archives, but I have yet to find the true construction date or an as-built photograph. The only photos I’ve found to date have one or both of the additions.”
Snider began his career in the restaurant business and, after several detours, is glad to be back among food producers, chefs, bakers, butchers and the whole array of vendors who return every Saturday. Watch him as he stops to talk with vendors and customers alike. “They have good cupcakes,” he says at the Sweet Dreams bakery booth. “They have good everything.”
He offers similar praise at every booth, whether it’s the sliders from Liberty Bistro or the farm-fresh poultry from Shady Falls Farm in Elmendorf.
“The market crowd for me is enjoyment,” he says. “I enjoy the connection with friendly farmers, ranchers, foodies and artists who are Farm to Market. These self-sufficient people who grow and make things with their hands have a certain satisfaction, pride and continence that you don’t find that often anymore. Gathering them outdoors with family, friends and neighbors makes traditional local markets something much more than a redundant march through another climate-controlled big box run.”
New Braunfels Farm to Market Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, click here.