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Farmers market takes it inside

Farmers market takes it inside
Wes and Shirley DeSart of Austin stop to look over the produce at Cindy Jones stand at the Indoor Farmer's Market held at the Oak Park Mall. Jones is from Brownsdale.

The chilly, cold weather has not chased away Austin Area Farmers Market, it just went indoors.

The farmers market, an outdoor affair in the summer, is now open from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays in the middle of Oak Park Mall. The next indoor market is Dec. 1. It's undetermined right now how long into the winter the farmers market will go at the mall, said Heidi Harrabi, market manager.

"It's kind of in a testing phase right now," she said. "Some vendors have things all year round.

"We'll stay open as long as customers come, basically."

Nov. 3 was the first day of the indoor farmers market, and they're spreading the word. The number of vendors is less than normal for Thursdays, and the number of customers is a little less, as well, Harrabi said. But some vendors are just done for the year with the products they sell.


There's still a variety of items to choose from, however. They include potatoes, onions, squash, sweet potatoes, breads chicken, eggs, lefsa, apples, and even some tomatoes and peppers that are still left at season's end. You can also find some crafts for sale, things like homemade mittens and handmade soaps.

Some of the market's loyal customers are "extremely happy" that the farmers market has moved indoors, Harrabi said.

"It makes for nicer shopping because you don't have the weather elements involved," Harrabi said. "They're really delighted to have some of these products still available."

Jan Ulland, of Farmer John's Pumpkin Patch, sold a couple jars of green pepper jelly Nov. 17 at the market, a spread she had featured on her table for samples. The jelly is made with green and jalapeno peppers, "and always served with cream cheese and crackers." She gave one of her jelly customers a serving tip for larger groups — serve the jelly on top of a block of cream cheese.

"We're really glad for those faithful customers," said Ulland, who was also selling tomatoes, squash and pie pumpkins, along with an assortment of jellies.

Jeff Jaeger, of Otter Creek Ranch in Lyle, is one of those vendors who could come to market all year round, with salsa, pickles, chicken and beef, among his other produce like onions, sweet potatoes and squash.

"It's a little bit on the slow side, but it's picking up," Jaeger said. "They should just come out and check it out."

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