Created Friday, 19 November 2010 14:13

Texas Made, Texas Good


Doing the rounds of various local farmer's markets, special events and festivals over the last year or so around San Antonio has really brought it home to me that there is an incredible bounty of locally-produced and locally grown foods out there. It's gone, way, way beyond just Texas-made wines. Local olive-oil, sheep-milk cheeses, pastas and BBQ sauces, smoked meats and sausages . . . it just never ends, even just keeping to a limit of that which is available within a day's drive of San Antonio. Some of my favorite places and venders are strictly local; that is, you actually have to get up and go there, as mail-order is not an option and - for some of them - the internet is just something that happened to other people.

The Riverside Market in Boerne - on Main Street and SH-46, and the Dutchman's Market in Fredericksburg, on Main Street opposite the entrance to old Ft. Martin Scott fall into this category: Both of these places offer incredible home-made jerky and smoked sausage, and the Riverside also has incomparable brisket and whole roast chicken. Fortunately, some of my favorite purveyors of fine Texas comestibles have that fully-functioning website option. A handful of them are even represented on the shelves of the neighborhood HEB. Like Opa's smoked sausages - they've been firing up the smoke house for sixty years now. The New Braunfels Smokehouse products may not have penetrated quite so far into the local grocery store, but they - like Opa's have a substantial brick-and-mortar physical presence as well as the website for those who simply must indulge in a smoked tenderloin, a whole turkey or a sun-dried-tomato-and-chipotle sausage.

Fischer and Weiser foods - jams, jellies, sauces, salsas and salad dressings are also represented in San Antonio grocery stores; when I first began exploring Fredericksburg, though - they seemed only to be available in various gourmet foodie places in Fredericksburg itself. Their roasted raspberry-chipotle sauce is one of my constant favorites - as well as an answer to the question of what do you get when German and Mexican cooking traditions clash. I've had a bottle of it in the pantry pretty constantly since 1995. I am also pretty sure that I saw D.L. Jardines' smokin' hot salsas and sauces in the HEB also - but they have a website as well, and are available at places like Rustlin' Rob's and other foodie emporiums in Fredericksburg.

RayAnnVentures isn't at the point of being available at the grocery store everyday - they are still doing the rounds of the weekly markets throughout the the Hill Country with their output. Last fall I caught up to them at the Wimberly Market days - and oh, my. Fantastic pickles and jars of jelly that looked like cut-glass jewels, in the home-style two-piece-lid canning jars. Like home-made, only better. (BTW, RayAnnVentures ships homemade jelly and jams overseas to APO/FPO addresses.)

Now, the last provider of specialty comestibles which tickled my fancy at local market-days has succeeded in making the leap to a permanent retail outlet: Shayne Sauce Foods opened a brick-and-mortar outlet in Artisans Alley, on Bitters Road in San Antonio. They do jams, sauces and mustards but their main thing is whole-wheat dried pasta, in every shape and flavored with everything from black-pepper-n-garlic to chocolate, curry-spice and roasted red pepper. And strawberry dessert pasta - which I guess you would serve with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. No, I haven't worked up sufficient sense of adventure to try that yet . . . maybe for New Years.

Bon appetite - and go, Texas!

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