Forget North Pole elves, market vendors have your gifts ready
Santa isn’t the only one hard at work getting everyone’s presents prepared – the vendors at Westchase District Farmers Market are ready and eager to help you get into the spirit of giving. “Many customers find shopping and gift giving during the holidays more special than any other time of the year,” said John Carey, market manager. “The farmers market is the perfect place to spend time out with family and to experience festive decorations and displays, holiday sounds and smells, and – maybe best of all – Christmas sales and deals.”
So before you hop online and begin feverishly clicking away, swing by the farmers market this holiday season armed with this handy gift guide. Take a deep breath, think about your friends and loved ones and then take in all that the farmers market has to offer.
From meats and sides to snacks and desserts, you’ll find most of the fixin’s for your holiday celebrations at the market. First up, go talk with Mustafa Ali with The Bark BBQ. He’ll hook you up with all the smoked and fried turkeys you need with just three day’s advance notice. If you’re tired of the traditional turkey dinner, Ali offers smoked brisket, chickens, lamb cuts, salmon and chuck steaks as well. “During this time of year, we put together lots of holiday packages for any budget,” he said, “including stacks of wings for football parties.”
If you’re looking for a delicious conversation starter, Katerra Exotics has bison, chicken, goat, lamb and wild boar for sale and owner Patrick Bierschwale has the expertise to teach you how to prepare them for maximum delight. Have a hankering for holiday tamales? You can order them spicy or mild with pork, chicken, or cheese with beans, jalapeños or poblanos from Tamales Mamá Belen.
Pat and Elvis D’Agrella with PEAS Farm can supply you with all the produce you need for your green bean casseroles and sweet potato pies. They’ll help you put together a savory seasonal salad and even show you how to make your own pickles, strawberry jam and kale chips. Just for the holidays, they package their honey in glass muth jars, which make for attractive gifts. Speaking of honey, Chris Kohnke with Pure Texas Honey can help you find just the right flavor for your honey-glazed hams.
We may not have chestnuts roasting on an open fire (we’re working on it), but you can find delicious organic pecans from Rio Grande Organics. Consider giving gourmet mixed nuts and berries from Brenham Kitchens, as well as their jellies, preserves and salsas. Relish a mix of sweet and spicy with fresh fruit and pepper jellies from ShoSho’s Kitchen. Owner KoKo Kasparian will give you the inside story on his baklava recipe that’s sure to earn raves from your guests.
Balance your baklava with sweet potato and pecan pies from Your Pie Man as well as with sweet rolls from Homebunz. And when you’ve had your fill of traditional holiday fare and don’t feel like cooking another meal, you can pick up ready-to-eat Mediterranean dishes from Best for the Best, prepared rice dishes from Biryani Hut or pre-packed curries, breads, chutney and sauces from Manish’s Quick N Ezee Indian Food.
The holidays are a time to make merry with friends, and one sure-fire way to do so is over a bottle of wine. Discover an award-winning wine from Houston Winery, a micro-winery that’s become a hit at the market this year. Whether your party guests prefer white, rosé, red, sparkling or dessert wines, Houston Winery has a selection priced from $20 to $40 per bottle. Not a drinker? We still have bottles for you: the Carrizo Springs-based Texas Olive Ranch has Texas olive oils and balsamic vinegar perfect for cooking or seasoning.
Looking for unique accessories for a fashionable friend or family member? Browse the one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry from Earth Friendly Designs. Owner Mark Mayers takes old screen doors, aluminum cans and copper wiring from flood-damaged homes and pairs them with various precious gemstones to create stylish jewelry. While you’re at it, peruse the Peruvian jewelry and handbags from One, Two, Three, Etc.
Perhaps some pampering, for others or for yourself, is on your checklist? Then you’ll want to pick up some Float-A-Way essential oil products, and pink Himalayan salt scrub from Dr. Lucy’s Optiumum Wellness Lifestyle (OWL) Club. LatherMeUp Bath & Body Products has all-natural soaps, deodorants and lip balms, and Madewell Mercantile’s all-natural soaps and soy wax candles will keep the stench of the Grinch at bay.
Of course, one of the best parts of holiday shopping is the shopping experience itself. “We’ll have Santa Claus himself at the market for photo opportunities on December 13 and we will be open for business on both December 20 and 27, so you can count on us for your last-minute gifts,” Carey said. “You’ll feel good knowing that you’re supporting the local economy and you’ll feel even better about your gift selections.”