Have you ever bitten into a really good tomato? I don’t mean that watery perfect-looking tomato you buy at H-E-B or get on your sandwich at Subway; I mean that fresh tomato that has all sorts of defects on the outside and a delicious taste on the inside. To get produce like that, you really have only two options: you can grow it yourself, or you can go to a farmers market.
San Antonio’s farmer’s markets are good spots to buy a large variety of locally made products, ranging from delicious peaches to fresh steaks to potted olive trees. They are wonderful places full of quirky, yet passionate farmers who hand out free spoonfuls of honey and homemade sauces with a smile and a story.
Here are just a few farmer’s markets that I would recommend:
Pearl Farmers Market
200 East Grayson Street
Saturdays: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
If you can find the willpower to wake up before noon on a Saturday and drive five minutes to this market, I would highly recommend you do so.
It’s located in and around the old Pearl Brewery. As soon as you enter the market, you experience a sensory overload. The irresistible smell coming from the chicken and waffles stand, the sight of dozens of people touring from stall to stall and engaging in conversation with the vendors, the sound of a live band playing: all these things combine to create a lively atmosphere. My favorite spots here include the homemade ice cream stand with its salty caramel ice cream and a stand that sells lavender soaps, lavender honey and just straight up lavender.
Olmos Basin Park Farmers Market
Jackson Keller Road, between San Pedro and McCullough
Tuesdays & Saturdays: 7:30 a.m. ““ 1 p.m.
This is your more authentic, produce-centered Farmers Market. Here, the farmers literally pull up in pickup trucks and set up a stand over their truck beds full of fresh fruit and vegetables. During a good harvest season, they have blackberries, watermelons, fantastic tomatoes, cucumbers the size of my forearm and much more. In addition to produce, they also have a stand dedicated to flowers, full of orchids of various types to provide some color and vibrance to your dorm.
Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market
255 East Basse Road
Sundays: 9 a.m. ““ 1 p.m.
There’s a reason they added “& Ranchers” to the title of this farmers market. In addition to its great selection of produce, they also have quite a bit of meat here. You can get your typical grass-fed beef, or you can try something a bit more exotic, such as venison, wild boar, goat, lamb, duck, goose, pigeon or rabbit. The meat is prepared in a variety of different ways, ranging from gourmet charcuterie platters to jerky. If meat’s not so much your thing, this market also features fresh farm eggs ““ both duck and chicken ““ as well as raw milk, aged for at least 60 days.
So, whether in search of a delicious tomato or just a fun time, think about heading to one of these places. You’re not likely to find fresher food anyplace else.
Paul Cuclis is an Arts and Entertainment columnist for the Trinitonian. He is a senior English major from Houston, Texas.