Leander is not hip or trendy like our neighboring city Austin. The Texas capital city is a green, funky college town and home to celebrities like Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, and Lance Armstrong. We, on the other hand, are still mostly rural. Until two years ago, we didn’t even have our own grocery store.
But Leander, the place I call home, has officially moved up in the world. We now have a farmer’s market.
It’s a small little place with booths tucked away under the large shade trees in the front yard of The Good Earth Day School. The market organizers also happen to own the school — a beautiful Waldorf/Montessori inspired preschool situated on a small farm.
As we walked into the gated yard, the first thing I noticed were kids. Kids riding small tricycles, kids pulling other kids in old red wagons, and kids laughing. My own two kids instantly joined in the fun. We then saw the scattering of vendor booths and smiled as a donkey brayed out back.
Yes, you read right. A donkey! The small farm wouldn’t be a small farm without farm animals. Goats, sheep, chickens, rabbits, cows, cats, a donkey, and a pig call the place home, and the children who attend the preschool get to help take care of them. My own kids really enjoyed the experience of petting the bunnies, goats, and donkey and watching the roosters strut their stuff and crow as if the sun had just come up.
Our first stop was at Deborah Hajda’s booth. She and her husband operate D & D farms and raise grass-fed Angus beef and pastured pork. We were told Deborah had some swiftly disappearing thick sliced pork belly bacon, so we grabbed two pounds of that treasure and a couple of thick pork chops. She also brought some onions, potatoes, and cucumbers from her garden. We picked up 6 large sweet onions for a mere 50 cents each.
Unfortunately, next week she’ll probably be selling the last of her bacon for the season. So, if you live in the area and want to get your hands on some, be sure to get there bright and early next Saturday morning. The market opens at 8 and runs until 11.
My kids, who hadn’t eaten breakfast yet (shame on me!), then each took 50 cents and bought bags full of homemade cookies. I normally wouldn’t let them eat cookies I hadn’t made myself, but it was the only ready-to-eat food at the tiny market. And, it had been baked by one of the school’s students, so we indulged.
We then met up with Michelle Chapman of Vibrant Naturals, learned about her homemade bath and body products, and bought a lovely hand soap that smelled of summer blossoms. Michelle is currently working on formulating a shampoo, and I will be very excited to try it when it’s ready.
Our last stop was at a massage chair where Stacy Wooster of White Daisy Bodyworks was selling her services as a LMT for a mere $1/minute. Stacy is also a certified yoga instructor who teaches classes at the local Yoga Yoga and Good Health Commons. But the real gem is that she teaches a class at The Good Earth Day School on Wednesday afternoons from 4-5pm for only $10 per class, less if you buy a bundle. I am so going this coming Wednesday.
While my husband got his massage, Leslie Castaneda, one of The Good Earth Day School’s co-owners and market organizers won me over with her description of the school’s activities. The small, homelike school is licensed to offer full or part time care to 50 children aged 3 months to 5 years. They serve an amazing menu of wholesome foods — all locally grown, homemade, and organic when possible. Children help feed and care for the animals and tend the garden plot, and they get to play outside under some of the biggest shade trees in Leander. Inside, the pleasingly attractive rooms are home to a lot of hands-on learning toys and crafts made from all natural materials.
The market is new and just getting underway, but we were already charmed. If you happen to grow vegetables or livestock and are local to the greater Austin area, you would do well to consider getting a booth. I may be mistaken, but I was told they’re only $10 each — a veritable steal.
Bryan - oz4caster says
I’ll have to check it out soon. It’s closer to where I live than the other farmer’s markets around Austin and Round Rock. Does anyone there have eggs from fully pastured chickens (not fed soy would be even better)?
Bryan – oz4caster
That’s awesome! Beautiful pictures too!
Ren — Thanks!
Bryan — I don’t think so. There’s normally an egg lady, but she didn’t show today. So, I didn’t get to talk to her to find out about her eggs. From hearsay, it sounded like they were your typical yard eggs, supplemented with greens. Hopefully more locals will find out about the market and start bringing their bounty. 🙂
That’s awesome! I’m so happy for Leander! I’ve been spoiled by the coop and farmers’ markets here in Austin. However, Husband and I have been discussing moving out to Leander. One of the things I’ve had against that move is being further away from my local foods sources. Sounds like that could all be changing!
Kelsey Byron says
Go Leander!! That’s great. At $10/booth, I hope it grows quickly. I’ve been going to the RR Farmers’ market which definitely meets our “market” food needs, but today I decided to check out the new Brushy Creek Farmers’ Market, closer to my home. Is it possible that there *really* is a food revolution? 🙂
Sharon Sarles says
I think that it is possible that there is a big change in society happening. And yes, specifically in food, but also in medicine and maybe even coming out of debt. Also that is why somebody wants to pass Senate Bill SB 150. You might want to check it out, because my guess is that it will shut down real food, non-commercial, bio-diversity, home-grown produce. They tried to RFID ALL animals and surveil acreages by plane, but that was blocked — and so made only voluntary at this time. How in the world is that financially attractive to anyone? Unless they want to shut down the small producers. Which would be bad in so many ways: democracy, emergency preparedness, small is beautiful economics, supporting micro-businesses, helping the poor, supporting the family.
Kelsey — Brushy Creek Farmers’ Market? Do tell. Where/When is it?
Spinner — You’d be surprised how many local food sources are right around here. Many of the growers/producers are already established in other markets or farm stands, though, so I’m not sure how many will come to the Saturday market. But, it’d be lovely to get more variety.
Lucky You, and wonderful pictures!!!
buy local Saturday Morning Leander Farmer’s Market | Food Renegade: They serve an amazing menu of w.. http://bit.ly/1pscUO
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How cool! The animal pics remind me of a trip DH & I made to FL a couple of years ago. We were walking back to the hotel after having breakfast, and there on the town green was a “mommy & me” event with a petting zoo! DH and I didn’t pet anything but we had a ball watching the kids and took lots of pictures.
A street address would be helpful.
Jay — The Good Earth Day School is located at 10820 East Crystal Falls Parkway in Leander. Right now, that happens to be on the stretch of road that’s torn up due to construction. It’s closed to through traffic, but you can still access the school.
Betsy — Yes, the animals were definitely a major draw!
Kyle & Leesie — Thanks!
Cathy Payne says
I love that there are so many more farmers’ markets in communities around the country and that people are discovering real, whole, local, nutrient dense food! There is a real “movement” afoot!
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
Kristen, it was fun to read about your neat hometown and I always love to read anything about farm markets – they’re all so quaint, and I feel somehow “European” walking through them. 🙂
Kelly the Kitchen Kop
alexandria vilk says
do you sell handmade jewlrey at this market??
I’m interested in more info about joining your Farmers Market.
Face Painting & Handcrafted Jewelry.
Hey, just a thought, can you post an address for the Leander farmer’s market?