Flora & Fauna

January 27, 2014
 

Two Valley Farmer’s Markets

DSCN2794

The Rio Grande Valley does not have a Whole Foods nor a Central Market, even though I think they should (more on that below), but we have very nice farmers markets selling the freshest and most colorful local produce .

More and more people are heading out to these markets, for they favor local sustainable organic produce, and in some cases organic meat like the one that sells in McAllen.

The Market @ McAllen – formerly known as the Market @ Alhambra – is open every Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm at the McAllen Public Library located at 4001 North 23rd Street. There is no admission cost. I was there before the holidays, and I found the most delicious vegan cakes and fruit spreads. I could not believe someone could bake such a delicious cake with no milk, eggs, or butter. How is that possible! The apple cinnamon butter I bought with the intention of giving it to someone special as a Christmas gift, well that special someone turned out to be my husband, for I could not part from its delicious flavor.  I also met a rancher selling grass-fed beef– which I plan to buy next time – and several other interesting local farmers.

Fresh picked organic vegetables and citrus can also be found every Saturday in Harlingen. (Top photo) This market is located on ‘A’ Street between Jackson and Monroe streets in downtown Harlingen and is open from 3 pm to 4:30 pm.  I was there this past Saturday and bought some fresh arugula, kale and braising greens, plus some delicious grapefruit.  

Harlingen’s Farmers Market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I visited for a short time with Heather Gracia who introduced me to the CSA in San Benito  where anyone can support local farmers, and get fresh produce as often as needed.  Check it out.  I loved the fresh potted herbs, for not only will I cook with the freshest ingredients, but the price does not compare to the cost of a refrigerated small bunch of any of these herbs at local supermarkets.

I want to share a list I found of all  the seasonal produce we can find throughout the year; for example:

January (early)

Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots , Cauliflower, Celery, Grapefruit, Greens, Herbs, Mushrooms , Oranges, Pecans, Spinach, Summer squash, Sweet Potatoes , Tomatoes*, Turnips (late) Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots , Cauliflower, Celery, Grapefruit, Greens, Herbs, Mushrooms , Oranges, Pecans, Spinach, Summer squash, Sweet Potatoes , Tomatoes*, Turnips

February  (early)

Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots , Cauliflower, Celery, Grapefruit, Greens, Herbs, Mushrooms , Oranges, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes , Tomatoes*, Turnips (late) Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots , Cauliflower, Celery, Grapefruit, Greens, Herbs, Mushrooms , Oranges, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes , Tomatoes*, Turnips

March (early)

Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots , Cauliflower, Celery, Grapefruit, Greens, Herbs, Mushrooms , Onions , Oranges, Spinach, Strawberries , Sweet Potatoes , Tomatoes (late) Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots , Cauliflower, Celery, Grapefruit, Greens, Herbs, Mushrooms , Onions , Oranges, Spinach, Strawberries , Sweet Potatoes , Tomatoes

Read the complete list, and plan to experience the richness of the valley’s organic produce.

Why do I believe H.E.B. should consider opening a Central Market in the valley? It all goes back to its history.  During the late 1920’s Howard Edward Butt heard about a fast-developing agricultural community along the banks of the Rio Grande River. He decided to check it out after the failure of several locations around Central Texas.  The move to the RGV proved to be very successful, for during the 1930’s the business grew to more than 28 stores in the region. History tends to repeat itself, and a 21st century move back to the RGV – with a new product (Central Market)- can be a successful one.

In the RGV, his company flourished; he even bought a beautiful home in Harlingen where the company also operated a canning facility. Butt would buy produce from the local farmers to sell at his stores, and there was even plenty left over to can and ship to other parts of the country.

My good friend Norman Rozeff once wrote;

In Harlingen he teamed with R. L. Hill, the ice manufacturer here, and together in 1928 they built the giant canning factory of several hundred thousand square feet. It still stands at Jackson and F Streets. This factory served the company well for it produced over 55 products and was especially valuable in the World War II food effort. It employed over 1,500 people during its peak periods. Van Snell, who served the city in numerous civic capacities, was cannery manager for decade.

 

A Central Market, in my opinion, would be welcomed by the community, and could be a great partner of our local farmers even though I have to say, there is something special about going outdoors, and buying directly from the hands that harvested these orchards.

Read the complete Don Dodson’s facebook page post about Howard E. Butt by Norman Rozeff;  great stuff.

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About the Author

Nydia O
La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" my life in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. I write about the food, the culture, the good times and the bad. I write about the people who make El Valle festive and laid back at the same time. Contributions and comments are always welcome .



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