Thursday, December 5, 2013

Eat Well, Live Well

On the same Saturday that I picked up my Bountiful Basket, I decided to go in search of truly local food. I want to do a series of blog posts on the wealth of local, sustainable food that is available in our area. Or maybe I just want an excuse to take foodie field trips every weekend. Whatever.

 I'd been reading about the White Rock Local Market, and thought I'd check it out. It was a super-cold, drizzly day, so several vendors didn't show. In spite of that, there was plenty to keep me occupied. I can't imagine this market when the vendors are out in full force! I met the lovely founder and coordinator, who showed me around a bit and explained some systems to me, like the money tokens. All the vendors take cash, but only some take credit/debit cards. So you can run your card at the money tent for whatever amount you want, they give you wooden tokens in $5 increments, and you go get the goods! All the vendors take the tokens.
The first view of White Rock Local Market from the parking lot. There was quite a lot tucked back behind here. 
What I found at the market:

Local Honey!
This is the gentleman who was out representing a local beekeeper, The Texas Honeybee Guild. They have great products, like whipped, fruit-infused honeys, honey balm, the comb in or out of honey, and zip code specific honey for allergies. I bought some comb submerged in honey, regular honey, and some mini honey bears for my dad's stocking (he swears by local honey as an allergy treatment). It was gorgeous, rich and flavorful. This is not your local grocery store's honey in the bear.
Nicest honey guy ever.
I used my honey in Black Milk Tea and Honey Pound Cake bread with my Honeysuckle Pomegranate Jelly, homemade whipped cream, and honey comb garnish. It was pretty amazing. Thanks, beekeepers!
Black Milk Tea Poundcake with Honeysuckle Pomegranate Jelly, whipped cream, and honeycomb.
Meat and Eggs! (Hormone, pesticide, and antibiotic free)
Meet the lovely ladies from the JuHa Ranch! They had a fantastic bounty of fresh eggs, lamb, beef, pork, rabbit, and sausage with them to sell. You can pre-order with them to make sure they have exactly what you want. I found that they were very friendly, helpful, and had plenty of selection on hand. Their website is is really wonderful in that the commitment to sustainable, chemical-free farming is evident. I want a turkey from them next year!
After some deliberation, I bought some pork belly, much to my husband's delight. I made him a bourbon-glazed pork belly over a potato-turnip puree (he loves the bitterness of turnip).
Sadly, I have no photographic evidence of that lovely meal because he ran away with the plate. Silly husband.

I almost don't have words to describe the product from Latte Da Dairy. This sweet woman was more than willing to share samples, and she even held one to the last bowl of mango-ginger goat cheese for me while I ran to get another token. That mango-ginger goat cheese is an orgasm on a plate. I kid you not.

I wish I had a gorgeous picture of a dish with the goat cheese, but to be honest, I've mostly been eating it with a spoon every time I walk by the fridge.

I got a dozen pork tamales for my other half from The Tamale Company. They had lots of flavors available, and the best part is that the tamales are uncooked and frozen so you make them whenever you wish. They cook beautifully!
Alas, I got too cold before I could spend quality time with the pie lady, though her wares were quite seductive.

Fruit and Veggies Galore!
There were at least five vendors out with their locally grown produce. Here's one example from Demases Farm. The prices were great, and the produce was really beautiful.

He doesn't mean to look surly; it was just really cold. : )
The vibe at the White Rock Local Market was great. People were friendly, happy, knew the vendors, and were walking dogs (who the vendors had treats and water for) all over. Even in the freezing weather, folks were having a good time. Everything I bought was great.

So head to the website listed above for dates/locations/times. They have a food-only market on the first and third Saturdays, and a bigger craft/art/food market on the second and fourth Saturdays (these are at two different locations, so check out the addresses!)

On December 7th, they're having the fifth annual Local Holiday Extravaganza from 8-4 at 9150 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas that is evidently going to be a blowout of artisan food and crafts for the holidays with live music and raffles. Support local industry, and come check it out. I betcha I'll be there!

Lucky Layla's farm store off of Jupiter Road.
Just so you know I'm not being paid off to give glowing reviews, here's a lukewarm one for local food:
Right down the street from me is a lovely little dairy farm where I occasionally go to get butter, cheese, yogurt, and sometimes milk (we're rice and almond milk lovers around here, for the most part). Lucky Layla's is wholesome and local. I'm deeply sad they discontinued their yogurt cheese (really, really good with turbinado sugar on top and strawberries to dip or mixed with salt and spicy curry, slathered on chicken or fish, and put under a hot broiler).

While I love the idea of going to the farm to get my dairy straight from the source, I find that they're often out of what I want, and moreover, the woman who works in the farm store is unfailingly unpleasant to deal with. In this instance, I'm willing to go to Central Market and pay the middle man for Lucky Layla's products so I can get what I want without enduring the apathetic service. So great product review, but lousy stock and service review. Downer.

This coming weekend, I signed up for another Bountiful Basket (let's see if it's that good two visits in a row) and I added on a special fruit order that will hopefully come with vanilla beans. Wish me luck going to get it, as my graduation party is the night before, and the weather is supposed to be dreadful again. I'll try to squeeze in another field trip too! What lovely foodie things are you doing this weekend?