The following is the first of two parts.
Tiny peaches bursting with massive flavor. Plump cucumbers dripping with sweet juices. Just-picked okra and heirloom tomatoes. Five types of garlic, ranging from mellow to fiery. Blue cheese and red onion empanadas hot from the oven. Nacatamals filled with pork and wrapped in banana leaves. Indian naan dipped in a variety of sauces. Low-pasteurized milk and handmade cheese. Biodynamic beef in various cuts, Thunderheart bison and free-range chicken.
These were just a few of the items that were on sale this past Saturday at the New Braunfels Farm to Market. Despite the heat, 72 vendors packed the parking lot on South Castell Street next to the Friesenhaus Restaurant in order to give an large crowd of customers a little bit of everything to serve up fresh in the coming week. Need a watermelon to cool off or a personal sized cantaloupe? How about some herbs that will withstand full sun in this heat? Or maybe just a cooling cup of gazpacho from Liberty Bistro?
An aguas frescas booth attracted children of all ages at one end of the vast market, while Kapp and Kimberley Japhet sold snow cones and German kettle corn at the other end. In case you’re wondering, Tiger’s Blood is especially popular with the shave ice set this summer. It’s red, of course, and features a mix of strawberry and coconut.
Three cheese makers offered samples of their creations, several of which mixed their creamy texture with jalapeños for a lively hot-and-soothing mix. Robert Ragels from Ragels Ziegenhof (now there’s a German name to match New Braunfels’ heritage) was selling various types of goat cheese, made from the milk that comes from 15 of his 60 goats. His hot seller Saturday was jalapeño-artichoke, and it became the first of his many varieties to sell out.
For those with a sweet tooth, 2 Tarts Bakery had strawberry rhubarb pie, plus there were bacon-blue cheese scones for those that wanted something more savory. Sweet Dreams had jalapeño-cheddar kolaches as well as Elvis cupcakes featuring a banana cake topped with peanut butter frosting and, of course, crumbled bacon on top. The King would have loved it. So did customers, who bought out both stands’ baked goods long before the closing. The same happened with the Gardener’s Feast tamales, the mushroom stand, and who knows how many other booths.
The market offers more than food vendors. A chair massage, hand-knitted goods, artistically decorated pens, handmade soaps and more could also be had. Erika Squires, 12, was one of three youngsters selling Survival Bracelets that they had made with proceeds going to benefit Wounded Warriors.
This setup, the largest market of its kind in the region, has been put together by Ron Snider, about whom more will be written in the next part of the story. In the meantime, the market will be back again this Saturday. Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For more on Farm to Market, click here.