Looking for gifts that will also support your local community? The farmers market is the place to start.
Is there a gardener, birder or butterfly lover on your holiday list? Toni Treviño of Rancho Lomitas Nursery, has rare south Texas native plants at the Growing Growers Farmers Market on Saturday. Among the selection is Vasey’s Adelia, Texas Shrimp Plant and Baby Bonnets.
The shrub, Vasey’s Adelia, is a host plant to the Mexican bluewing butterfly, and the early blooming baby bonnets provide nectar for bees and tiny beneficial insects. Additionally, she sells the beautiful heartleaf hibiscus, a host plant for Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak butterflies and the small patio tree, the kidneywood, which hosts the southern dogface and is an excellent plant for many pollinators. She will also have her mesquite cookies, chapote bread and botanical notecards, drawn by her husband Benito Treviño, an ethnobotanist.
Pat Ozuna of Circle 3 Farm and Ranch grows and dries herbs to use in herbal teas and medicinal blends. These are especially nice to add to a South Texas gift basket or use as a hostess gift. Additionally, you can find grassfed beef from Provenza Ranch and grassfed pork from Eden’s Lilly Farm and Dairy.
Other great hostess gifts include jams and jellies from South Texas ranches and farms. These include orange and crown royal marmalade, dragon fruit jam and prickly pear jelly.
Eden’s Lily Dairy has their Mexican style cajita, a seasonal caramel treat, along with their goat’s milk soaps and skin care products. In keeping with tradition, the cajita is slow-cooked for about eight hours to create the perfect topping for ice cream, cake, pie or soft cheese.
Natural soaps and body and face scrubs, made with Valley lemons, are also on hand at the Growing Growers Farmers Market.
Mozna Chocolate, an artisan chocolate company located in Hidalgo, has its 70 percent dark chocolates for the holidays, along with Mexican style bars for hot chocolate. Also available are chocolate and orange and chocolate and almond bars. Each bar makes approximately 16 cups of Mexican style hot chocolate.
This farmers market has a wide range of treats from local bakers, including grapefruit pie, orange and pecan pies, both with traditional and gluten free crusts, and a variety of fruit breads and brownies. Traditional Mexican cookies are available, along with 8-ounce bags of home-made peanut brittle from 10th Avenue Candy, a small company started by Molly Quintanilla, a University of Texas Rio Grande Valley business major.
No matter what corner of the farmers market you are in, there is something that says “this is a special gift from South Texas.”
The Growing Growers Farmers Market is located at Firemen’s Park on the corner of 1st Street and Business 83 in McAllen. It is open today and next Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon and is closed Dec. 22 for the holiday.