A few weekends ago I visited San Antonio and had a chance to stop by both the Pearl and Quarry Farmers Markets. Once again, I was delighted to see how quickly the markets in San Antonio are growing and how much they have to offer.
Saturday morning there was quite a crowd at the Pearl Farmers Market as the City of San Antonio Parks and Rec department was giving away fruit and nut trees. The line for the trees wrapped around the brewery and the Culinary Institute of America. I love that Pearl can accommodate the market and other activities with plenty of parking and space for both and that many of the people waiting for trees made their way over to the market to shop.
The farm booths were packed with lovely winter produce with plenty of to offer thanks to the almost spring like weather that week.
I recognized a number of the vendors from my previous visits and was happy to discover a number of new faces. I bought some chorizo from La Hacienda products and was tempted by their cookies but decided to save those for another day.
I was particularly excited to find Restaurant Gwendolyn at the market. I had read Chef Michael Sohocki was now offering hot and prepared food at the market, and I couldn’t wait to try it. My dinner at Restaurant Gwendolyn was one of the best meals I ate last year and the market offerings did not disappoint. The biscuits and gravy were terrific and the lentil soup looked amazing – one of the vendors said it was the best lentil soup in town. I also picked up some of their spicy sausages and whole seed mustard for home.
I had a lovely chat with Bryan and Rhonda Bickham of Springfield Farm. They used to work the SFC Downtown Austin Farmers Market each week, but have family running that booth so that they can focus on the bustling San Antonio markets. Bryan shared with me that Pearl is their highest volume market and continues to grow. In addition to their fresh produce, the Bickhams are also selling body products made by their daughters from natural ingredients and herbs. I picked up some rosemary and mint lip balm that I love. It keeps your lips soft and it smells minty fresh in case you’ve misplaced your breath mints.
I also had a nice visit with with Kelly Escobedo of South Texas Heritage Pork who shared the news of the revitalized Slow Food South Texas Chapter and helped connect me with the group. I can’t wait to attend some of their upcoming events.
Sunday, I headed to the Quarry Farmers Market nestled in the parking lot of the Whole Foods at the Quarry shopping center just north of downtown San Antonio. When I visited last May, this market was brand new with about a dozen vendors. In less than a year, the market has doubled in size and is bustling with customers.
There were plenty of produce and meat vendors to fill your shopping bag. I’m particularly fond of the wild boar pan sausage from Koch Ranches and I was happy to catch Bikkurim Farms, regulars at several Austin markets, on their first weekend at Quarry. Some of the best additions to the market were the hot and prepared food vendors. Restaurant Gwendolyn, the Rolling Pig food truck and The Gardener’s Feast (tamales) were all serving up delicious dishes
The most intriguing hot food booth was Ming’s Things where Ming Qian and husband Chef Hinnerk von Bargen, a professor at the Culinary Institute of America, were cooking up gorgeous crepes and steamed buns.
Heather Hunter of Cowgirl Granola has done an outstanding job organizing a successful Sunday market for the folks in San Antonio.
Have you been to either of the San Antonio markets? Who are your favorite vendors?
See you at the market!