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Exploring Bastrop’s Farmers Markets

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When friends recently offered to have me join them for a weekend at The Hyatt at Lost Pines, I jumped at that chance to check out this much lauded resort.  Of course, it was also the perfect opportunity to explore the farmers markets in Bastrop.

About 30 miles from downtown Austin, Bastrop has a lovely Main Street area that most Austinites never see as we race past the town on Highway 71 coming or going from Houston. The revitalized downtown with its old Texas charm and the Colorado River weaving through the background hosts two farmers markets.
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Bastrop 1832 Farmers Market, a year round market housed in a large barn at 1302 Chestnut St., is open Fridays from 2:30 to 6:00 pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.  In addition to a wide variety of produce, the market offers beef from Bastrop Cattle Company and pork from Peach Creek Farms.  They even have tasty Banh Mi sandwiches and other Vietnamese goodies from Faifoo Cafe – a surprise find indeed. 

40210_3My favorite vendor was the Mina Elementary booth where some charming young gentleman and their teachers were selling the lettuce and spinach they had grown with their classmates.  Max Butler, an art teacher at the school, started the garden and any class can participate.  The kids plant the vegetables from seeds or transplants and help keep the garden watered and weeded.

40210_4The kids were also selling cute shopping bags they had painted and decorated with eco-friendly messages for the bargain price of $2.  I had to add it to my collection of market bags and am looking forward to carrying a reminder of their hard work as I shop each week.

40210_5The River Valley Farmers Market, currently located next door but relocating to 116 Ponderosa Dr. and Hwy 71 on April 24th, is open from 10 am until they sell out.  This Texas Certified Farmers Market, at least 51% of the vendors are growers or producers (like our Sustainable Food Center managed markets), has been serving Bastrop County for over 24 years and also hosts markets in Elgin on Tuesday (1 pm until sold out at 410 Main St. or 4 pm until sold out at 1212 Hwy 290) and Smithville on Thursday (1 pm until sold out at Main and 1st St.).

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Again, the market has a nice variety of vendors with produce, eggs and even pecans from Yegua Creek Farms.  Gene & Eileen Niswander, Eileen is President of the River Valley Farmers Market Board of Directors, bring pecans, baked goods, barbecue chips and even mulch from their pecan orchard to sell at market.

40210_7Steve Wachsmann from Manheim Market Gardens shared some of the challenges of selling in a largely rural community.  Shoppers often tell him that they grow the vegetables he’s selling or get them from a neighbor. The vendors are passionate about their market and the community they serve and are looking forward to the upcoming market move and new opportunities for the farmers.

40210_8The Bastrop Producers Market, a storefront at 977 Hwy 71 open Tuesdays through Sunday, rounds out the farmers market trifecta in Bastrop.  The market sells local produce, meats, cheeses and prepared foods, supplementing with some national brands.  Some Austin favorites on the shelves included Mediterranean Chef hummus, Kala’s Kuisine sauces, Jake’s Granola, Made in the Shade goat cheese and Design Your Dine dinners.  If you are in the area and need a market fix, Bastrop Producer’s Market is a terrific solution.
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Whether you are drawn to Bastrop for the abundant parks or the resort, stop in at a farmers market or two and refuel by exploring their local food scene.  
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