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Dec 18, 2007 03:20 PM

Favorites from Sunset Valley Farmer's Market?

I'll be visiting it for the first time in a couple of weeks, and I'm SO EXCITED! I don't eat pork and don't drink alcohol, so other than things in those categories, I'd love to hear what your favorite finds and goodies are from the Market! I'm also probably going to be looking for some small gifts for my friends in Philadelphia (where I live now, so I only get to go home to Austin for the holidays), so any fun suggestions to that end would be great. I'm not looking for anything specific here, just want to hear about the things that make you happy at the Market.

Thanks! :-)

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    1. re: MPH

      MPH: for the record, I did search the Austin board before posting this, and have already skimmed the links that you've copied over. But thanks anyhow.

      angusb: thanks so much, that's exactly the sort of advice I was hoping for! The pecan guy's fare sounds pretty unique, I think I'll see if I can work them into some of my holiday cookies this year! I'll be sure to check out a tamale too ;-)

      1. re: Aloo0628

        I routinely include links in response to posts, Aloo0628. Sometimes the OP has seen them, sometimes not. Sometimes the older threads offer more opinions than the new one will generate. If nothing else, other chowhounds (and visitors) can check out more of the relevant tips.

        If you get hungry exploring the farmer's market, you might try the "Hot Rockn & Popn Kettle Corn." Some people love the Belgian-style waffles, but to me it seems as though their relative novelty is the source of much of the hype. I'll also second angusb's idea of giving pecans as gifts; fresh Texas pecans taste so much better than the packaged ones available in grocery stores.

        The SSV market in Austin is nothing like Reading Market (and others in PA), but I'm sure you'll find more things that you like there.


        1. re: MPH

          Is the waffle guy back? I haven't been to SSV market in a while but I used to go regularly and he seemed to have disappeared about 1.5 years ago.

          I don't have any favorites from the market because I don't buy prepared food that often and stick to whatever produce is available. With the somewhat hard freeze from this past week, I assume the fresh produce will be reduced a bit.

          1. re: Carter B.

            You're correct about their disappearance, Carter B., though I can hardly believe it's been that long since I last had one of those waffles. Brussels Sweet Feast is no longer listed as a vendor at the Sunset Valley Farmers Market. Thanks for pointing this out.

            The kettle corn is definitely still available. I just bought some last Saturday.

          2. re: MPH

            MPH: Sorry, didn't mean to come off snarkey. I just wanted you to know that I had in fact already seen those links, and they didn't really give me the information I was looking for. I know that OP's are often criticized on this site for not searching before posting (which, by the way, I think is unnecessary and makes me really sad to see) so I just wanted to make sure I wasn't branded as such. :-)

            Anyhow, fresh kettle corn sounds wonderful, and I can't wait to try it out - it's a shame about those waffles though, I would have loved to try those as well.

            Lola: Are the soaps the gel-like glycerin kind, or something else? And are the "cheese balls" balls of fresh mozzarella?

            Also, general question: do the vendors take credit cards, or is the market a cash-only sort of place?

            1. re: Aloo0628

              The cheese balls are made of a soft cream cheese with shredded cheddar/MJ/something similar mixed inside. They are unbelievably good and the Full Quiver people are so, so kind.

              We've had good luck with the grassfed beef (and pork) people, Pasta & Co., and we almost always get a loaf of sourdough from Sweetish Hill. Of course, the produce is amazing this time of year as well -- last time we went, the place was lousy with greens! YUM!

              1. re: bookgrrl72

                I really like the Blue Cheese Cheeseball from Full Quiver. My parents at Thanksgiving couldn't stop sneaking into the fridge to get at it, and believe me, that's the highest praise imaginable.

                Last week when I went I got some Gingersnaps at Aunt Nina's She's usually in the center on the end close to full Full Quiver and Doctor Kracker. I have purchased her stuff on and off for a couple years and I have yet to get anything I didn't really like. The gingersnaps only lasted for about 2 hours because the husband polished them off exclaiming they were excellent cookies and some of the best gingersnaps he had ever had. My husband is a bit of a cookie snob and he was impressed by them.

      2. If you are looking for food, I think Oaxacan Tamaleo is very good. They make tamales in banana leaves, and I like the pork and the chicken. I think they also offer bean, but I've never tried it.

        If you are looking for other special things, I really like the pecans offered by one guy who grows them in Georgetown. He sells only pecans, and he is usually on the far south side of the market (away from the access road). He offers shelled pecans from several different varieties of pecan trees. He will allow you to sample and compare the difference in flavor between the Pawnee and Choctaw and Shawnee pecans, for instance, and it's quite eye-opening to taste them side-by-side and see that there are distinct differences. I bought a bag of his cracked, unshelled pecans for my Thanksgiving pie, and everybody agreed that it was the best pie I've ever made. I've bought some more for Christmas.

        1. We really enjoy the fresh cheese. There is a guy who sells cheese spread, cheese balls, and this week we grabbed some incredible pepper jack. We also buy fresh hummus regularly. There is also a guy from Fredericksburg that has canned pickles. He has hot and habanero flavors. We keep both in stock in the fridge. I know it's not food, but we buy our soap from the farmer's market as well. My favorite is the Padre Island. They have smaller soaps in packages of 6 that we bought as gifts.

          1. You definitely need to stop by the Eastside Cafe stand for some of their delicious food. I love their jalapeno cornbread muffins, individual buttermilk pies, asian dressing, and Fiery Hot Salsa. Plus they are the nicest people.

            I'm also a big fan of Butters Brownies. Yum.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ls29

              Unfortunately Eastside Cafe is on hiatus, they have said they will not be at the market for a while because they have been so busy at the restaurant that they can't spare the manpower. I guess that would be what you call a "good problem", though I will miss that buttermilk pie--I think it's the best I've had. I hope they come back sooner than later.
              There are some great grapefruits and oranges right now. I like the meats from Loncito's Lamb, and Thunderheart Bison. The mushroom dude has great mushrooms and eggs. In addition to their farmstead cheeses, Full Quiver Farms makes some great sausages. As for the produce, this is the time of year to go! A much greater variety of green veggies than we get most of the year.
              Regarding Brussels Sweet Feast, it is a shame that he stopped coming, his product was my favorite of the RTE foods at the market. You can now find Oliver in the kitchen at El Chilito on Manor, I believe.

            2. I love Austin Pasta Co.:

              Oh, and Sargent Peppers- they make a chipotle pesto that is awesome