Farm to Market Fresh Local Grown Produce


Well, the Daughter Unit and I made a most excellent discovery, returning home last weekend with a trunk full of finds at the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society's massive rummage-sale bash, in the parking lot at Rackspace Hosting. Here we were, doodling along the IH-35 access road, heading towards the on-ramp north of Walzem, and what should we see in the vast parking lot in front of the strip mall housing Michael's and Cavender's Boot City, but a promising cluster of pop-up canopies . . . of course, the Daughter Unit pulled a sharp right into the parking lot. The largest group of canopies was for a sale at Cavenders, but the smaller proved to be . . . a farmer's market! And a fairly substantial row of them, too - tables and tables of fresh-out-of-the-field-just-ground-this-morning vegetables and fruits, a vendor with honey, and still another with fresh organic meat and free-range eggs. But the vegetables were drool-worthy; almost enough to make you think that becoming a strict vegan wouldn't be that bad, really.

Still, although sufficient for current needs, the market itself wasn't quite up to the weekly street market that I used to frequent when I lived in Greece - there, it was three blocks of a suburban street blocked off and two lines of little booths and tables, and the backs of trucks - but still, we're getting there. Everything fresh as fresh can be, seasonal and local - and who can quarrel with that?

But - and this is a fairly substantial but - I couldn't see so much of a break when it comes to prices on the eggs and meats - economy of scale and all of that. It's not like these local farms can beat Wallyworld when it comes to that. However, buying at a local weekly farmer's market does guarantee that what you are buying did not sit in a chilled warehouse or have been trucked half across the country . . . and in fact, might even endure sitting in your ‘fridge for a little longer than usual without becoming completely inedible. (Ancient rule of thumb from Phyllis Diller - "Check the produce in the refrigerator regularly; make sure they are an "on the way in" green, and not an "on the way out" green.)

And I want to experiment with making home-made mustang grape jelly - and lo and behold, one of the venders even has a source for mustang grapes. Really, it couldn't get much better than this.

Well, this recipe for Greek cheese pie can. Enjoy.

Crumble ½ pound feta cheese to the consistency of coarse cornmeal. Make a béchamel sauce of ¼ c. butter, 3 Tbs. flour, and 1-cup milk, and allow to cool slightly. Mix the sauce with the crumbled cheese and add 3 eggs and ½ tsp dill. Allow half a package of Athenos phyllo dough to thaw thoroughly. (they package it with two individual rolls of phyllo dough) Unroll, and cover with a slightly damp towel. Melt ½ cup butter, and use a little to grease the bottom of a small, square baking dish. Layer sheets of phyllo in the dish staggering the layers, draping the half of each sheet over the side if the dish. Brush melted butter after every two layers, in the dish.. When all the sheets are used, pour the cheese/béchamel sauce into the center, and begin laying the layers over the cheese mixture, buttering every two layers. Sprinkle a little water on the top of the final layer of phyllo, and bake in a 350 deg. oven for 45 minutes.

How to find Farmer's Markets:
Author Bio: Julia Hayden, who writes professionally as "Celia Hayes," spent twenty years as a military broadcaster in the Air Force before retiring in San Antonio, Texas. She contributes to a variety of on-line magazines and websites including this San Antonio Real Estate website, and is also on the board of the Independent Authors Guild, a non-profit association of writers published by small or regional boutique publishers.She is the author of four novels set on the 19th century American frontier. She currently lives with her daughter and an assortment of dogs and cats. Her literary website is at