- February 6, 2014

Austin’s Downtown Farmers’ Market – More Than Just Veggies!

 I love a good farmers’ market — strolling the aisles of tents full of fresh produce right off the farm, warm baked breads and cookies, local honey, tamales and tacos with out-of-the-ordinary fillings, friendly smiles from vendors offering free samples and chats about their goods. It takes me back to memories of going to the market with my mom. But as much as I love a farmers’ market — to be honest — I rarely go. With the local grocery store fitting conveniently into our busy schedule, a leisurely visit to the market is not part of my family’s everyday life. But it’s more than just shopping. When you pack up your three kids to go to the market, you realize it’s an activity. It’s an outing. It’s a fun little field trip. It’s an inexpensive adventure.

This past Saturday, the boys and I went down to Republic Square Park for the Downtown Market. This market is a project of the of Sustainable Food Center (SFC), an Austin, TX based non-profit that creates opportunities for individuals to make healthy food choices and to participate in a local food system. Currently SFC hosts four of the largest weekly farmers’ markets in the state of Texas:

  • Downtown (Saturdays) at Republic Square Park
  • Sunset Valley (Saturdays) at the Toney Burger Center
  • East (Tuesdays) at MLK at Cap MetroRail M Station
  • Triangle (Wednesdays) at the Triangle

We arrived mid-morning on Saturday to find free parking in the lot just south of the market. Republic Square Park was bustling with shoppers, kids, and dogs. Children were running through the grass and climbing trees. Folks were scattered about drinking coffee and enjoying morning treats while catching up with friends. The market offers live music every week, and this week’s mellow tunes were compliments of a local guitarist. Vendors offered free samples (yum!). And the SFC hosted a table of crafts for kids (they noted that free children’s activities are offered every week). The Downtown Farmers’ Market was fun for the whole family! Bring a picnic blanket, bring a ball to throw in the grass, bring your community spirit and enjoy treats from the local farms right in the heart of the city.

SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown
Republic Square Park, 4th and Guadalupe
Saturdays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Open Year-Round, Rain or Shine)

 More to Explore Nearby:

Just a few blocks south of the market is one of my boys’ favorite places to browse — Toy Joy (located at 403 W 2nd St). The weather was nice so we decided to take the short stroll over there. The bubble machine was blowing just outside the door and my youngest enjoyed popping bubbles (ninja style) for a quite a while before heading in to look at the toys.

And just a few blocks north of the market (at the corner of 6th and Lavaca), you may be lucky enough to run into the 6th Street Cowboy and his horse, Tex, and his mule, Mula. He is something of a local celebrity, riding his horses up and down 6th Street and parking them near the Austin Ale House on Saturdays. He’s friendly and welcomes a chat with passersby. He will gladly let you climb up into the saddles and pet the animals. We certainly enjoyed saying hello.

Freelance web producer, Heidi Okla is mom to three boys (ages 4, 6, and 7), and can’t pass up any opportunity for fun family adventures.