Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Ready for spring? This is what's new at the Lone Star Farmers Market.

Sarah Asch
Austin American-Statesman

With warm weather and an expanding list of vendors, the Lone Star Farmers Market is gearing up for the spring season. Lone Star, which runs Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Galleria in Bee Cave, is one of the only such markets in the area.

Among the new booths is Hi-Fi Mycology, an Austin-based mushroom farm that grows 11 varieties of gourmet fungi. Co-owner Sean Henry said his company started selling at this market in late January.

“It’s kind of a gateway into the Hill Country and the Hill Country is another part of Texas that loves food and good food,” he said. “Fancy mushrooms are an integral part of good food.” 

Richie Romero, the proprietor and manager of the farmers market, said he hopes to bring back live music this spring, depending on the situation with the pandemic. The market sells fruits and vegetables, meats from local farms, as well as prepared foods like tamales and lobster rolls. Romero said their vendors are typically from within a 50-mile radius 

Lone Star has had an influx of new vendors in recent months after a number of sellers dropped out in March. The market is now pushing 40 vendors, about10 vendors up from before the pandemic. All vendors and customers wear masks and all stalls have hand sanitizer available to use, Romero said. 

Hi-Fi Mycology sells at markets throughout the Austin area and Henry said he pivoted to farmers markets last spring when restaurant business dried up. 

“Mushrooms are all the rage right now because they are very good for you,” he said. “They help give you a balanced diet and they have a component in their cell walls that helps activate the immune system but not over-activate it and help you avoid illness.” 

Henry said he enjoys setting up shop at a new market and introducing another community to their mushroom varieties. This spring, customers can expect a good stock of chestnut mushrooms, among other varieties. Hi-Fi also sells grow-at-home kits to help people produce their own fungi, as well as powders and tinctures. 

Buddha’s Brew, an established Austin kombucha company, returned to Lone Star about a year ago after taking a hiatus. Owner Kimberly Lanski said sometimes she has to drop out of a market if she doesn’t have enough vans or staff to make it to all her sites. However, she said she tries to make it to as many markets as possible each week. 

Lanski got her start at the farmer’s market in Austin 15 years ago after the previous kombucha seller quit and sold her his equipment. She said she loves the location of the Lone Star Market. 

"There’s no other markets out there,” she said. “That area is growing out there so much.”

Buddhas’ Brew usually sells six flavors at a time — blueberry, ginger and pineapple super greens and three that rotate. This spring, Lanski plans to start selling a canned fermented drink called water kefir that has different live cultures than kombucha. 

Johnson's Backyard Garden is a long-time vendor at the Lone Star Farmers Market in Bee Cave. This spring, customers can expect to see all the regular season vegetables at the stand, as well as new vendors who have popped up around the market.

Long-time vendors also are gearing up for the spring season, including Johnson’s Backyard Garden. Marketing Director Ada Broussard said that in the immediate future customers can expect cool-weather crops including leafy greens like kale, collards and rainbow chard, as well as root crops like radishes, spinach, beets and cauliflower. By mid-March, the stand will be full of spring crops including eggplants and squash. 

Dedicated gardeners can also order transplants of vegetable plants for their own gardens and pick those up at the farmer’s market, Broussard said. Johnson’s Backyard Garden offers transplants of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, melons, peppers and more, all varieties suited to grow in Central Texas.

Romero said he hopes that people will visit Lone Star as a destination market while they are checking out everything the area has to offer. 

“There’s a lot of people who come out to the Hill Country to get away and experience local wineries and breweries and we offer a really cool atmosphere,” he said.