Hello, Are You New Here? Allow us to (Re)Introduce Ourselves

Trying to describe HOPE Farmers Market to someone who hasn’t experienced it is quite a challenge. Simply calling it a “Farmers Market” falls a little short. While it is indeed a farmers market, with offerings from growers like Johnson’s Backyard Garden and Yard to Market Co-op (featured here on our website), it also has live music provided by local and visiting musicians (HOPE FM Live); artists and artisans offering their wares; a Little Free Library (currently brimming with cookbooks); and supervised creative free play for the little ones at the Imagination Playground, courtesy of Austin Parks Foundation. Oh, and a weekly free yoga class (No mat? No problem! There are loaners available).

Austin Pierogi Company Pierogis

Vendors offer coffee, tea, kombucha, and all kinds of delicious prepared food, from pierogis to handmade tortillas. The Market also has community programs, too, like volunteers to help you register to vote or learn how to compost, garden, or cook. Sometimes there are pet adoptions or petting zoos. There are countless surprises and delights around every corner, many of them free, and all of them guaranteed to make your Sunday Funday a good one.

Featured on The Daily Meal’s 2015 list of America’s 10 Best Farmer’s Markets, HOPE FM has been an important touchstone in East Austin’s vibrant and dynamic community for the past seven years. Our focus on making an inviting, inclusive space for everyone makes bilingual programming common–ranging from children’s storytimes offered in both English and Spanish to live mariachi music en español to special events like hosting visiting performers and artisans from Saltillo, Mexico (Austin’s sister city).

Some of our regulars at a Varu Creative Photo Booth

If you’ve never visited, or if it’s been awhile, this Sunday will be a great time to come explore the market and join our 7th Birthday Celebration, complete with a cupcake walk and birthday cake! Come listen to the Dead Music Capital Band, let your Littles enjoy story time with Babas Bilingual Books, try doing some Acro Yoga, and make sure you remember it all by stopping into the VARU Creative photo booth before you leave.

And if you have shared some Sundays with us and are looking for ways to strengthen your community ties, consider performing with us, applying to be a vendor, or volunteering some of your time and talent to keep things running smoothly behind the scenes.

Come on by our HOPE Night Market coming Friday October 28th from 6-10pm, featuring live music, a costume contest, live t-shirt screen printing, face and body painting, free drink tokens for Volstead Lounge and so much more!

“Like” HOPE Farmers Market’s Facebook Page to find out about upcoming events and to get the lineup of vendors and performers every Friday.

What do you like best about the market? Share your favorites in the comments.

Elizabeth Vega writes about her personal finance journey, school bus conversion plans, and general efforts at living a happy, socially responsible life at LittleHippieHouse.com.


Keepin’ It Real- and Simple! At Leaven Breads.

If you’re looking for fresh baked bread and delightful english muffins, Leaven Breads will be your one-stop-shop at HOPE Farmers Market this next weekend. Come by and say hello to Wimberley native Pete McDonald, who is an engineering student at ACC and owner of Leaven Breads.

Leaven Breads got started following an injury about a year ago, when Pete was looking for a suitable  hobby to keep him occupied indoors. Luckily for us, he stumbled upon bread making. He was initially intrigued due to it’s simplicity: one can simply take three ingredients- flour, water, and salt- and create something that is not only food, but delicious! This fundamental characteristic is something that Pete has strived for since beginning his bread making journey, and is even the company’s slogan: “As Simple As Bread Can Be”. In the early stages, Pete set out to create a loaf that could stand on it’s own without anything else, which he says he’s done with his country loaf. After trying it myself, it’s no wonder why it’s a crowd favorite.  You wouldn’t know his attitude towards bread is simple after trying it’s fluffiness and texture.

Pete says that what he really loves about bread making is that in order to create something that looks and tastes good, you have to know your bread. And knowing your bread comes through great trial and error, as Pete humbly admits. It may sound simple, but the process of turning three ingredients into the delicious bread we get to eat today can get complicated. This is because due to the yeast used, bread is alive, which is another aspect that fascinates Pete about his hobby.

So why the name Leaven Breads? Making the leaven is the most important part of the bread making process, and is the step which is necessary for bread to rise. (If you’ve ever had matzo, you’ve tried an unleavened bread). And something Pete prides himself on is that his bread is naturally leavened with yeast he makes at home, as opposed to using dry active yeast, the ingredient commonly used in store bought bread. Pete says dry active yeast is used because it’s quick, but what you save in time you pay for in quality. (We’re looking at you, Wonder bread!) Because Pete’s bread is naturally leavened, it’s healthier and more easily digestible, allowing for your stomach to better absorb enzymes.

Leaven Breads has been at HOPE for 8 months, and Pete enjoys the market for the same reasons I do: the laidback atmosphere, live music, those familiar friendly faces, and that real sense of community. He doesn’t see himself leaving us anytime soon (whew!) but does have ideas for the future. Like many small businesses that start out of home, Pete says getting his own kitchen would allow him to pursue more long term goals, like getting his bread into restaurants. Always looking for improvement, he says he wants to get better while exploring new ingredients and flavors, as well as introducing baguettes and a few surprises into his growing selection. Ideally, Pete aims to get his own bakery and employ special needs workers, having known individuals with special needs for much of his life. Pete sees bread making as an all inclusive activity, and can be a great way to empower those with special needs.

If you don’t get to Leaven Breads on Sundays, you can find Pete at the Wimberley Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays from 3-6, on the Leaven Breads Faceook page, or purchase his delicacies at www.bountifulsprout.com.


I’m Stephen. Environmental activist, world traveller, and strong proponent of the local food movement! I started volunteering at HOPE in January, and have loved every minute of it. When I’m not at HOPE, I’m most likely eating, cooking, or doing some form of exercise. (And binge-watching shows on Netflix in between, of course) I’ll be writing more of these blog posts in the future, so I hope you liked it. Thanks for reading!

It’s a Merry Market, Ho Ho Hope!

There’s so many markets to choose from in Austin, but I keep coming back to this one. The vibe is relaxing and welcoming. As soon as I arrive, I know I’ll be having some great coffee, whether it is cold brew or fresh and hot. Usually I’ll stroll around before deciding whether I’m in the mood for lunch or just a pastry (sometimes it’s both). Once I’ve got some food in my belly, I can peruse the produce and other vendors while taking in the live music.

I feel lucky to live near this awesome market. Coffee, food, friendly beautiful eclectic people and so much more all in one place. Hope Farmers Market was recently named one of the best markets, and I am not the least bit surprised.

Whether you’re looking to socialize stock up on supplies for the week or trying to find that unique gift, the Hope Farmers Market is always there for you on Sunday.

About Valerie: 

About four years ago, I left my small cozy hometown in deep south Texas to come live in this weird ever-growing musical city that is Austin. I love the greenbelts, playing bocce at any park, and all the delicious food options. It’s not normal for me to go a day without photographing my dog Connie or anything else that inspires me. I’m always seeking to gain more knowledge about community events and organizing while photographing as many intriguing people in Austin as I can.

See all of Valerie’s photographs below! 

First Annual Mexico Day, Recap!

For the first time ever, the HOPE Farmers Market formally highlighted Austin’s sister-city connection with Saltillo, Mexico!

On May 5, we hosted this first-ever “Mexico Day” celebration, in conjunction with the Austin Sister-Cities program to acknowledge the international relationship at the place that best exemplifies it all–Plaza Saltillo! Upon its beginnings, the Plaza was actually inaugurated by a visiting delegation from Saltillo, Mexico, for which it was named. The City of Saltillo even donated the ornate traditional Saltillo benches you see at the Plaza every Sunday!

To contribute to this special day, we hosted 3 vendors from both Saltillo & Monterrey that showcased products like jams, candies, nut butters & sauces, thus connecting with food artisans in cities just 6 hours away! As we’ve mentioned before here on our blog, we aim to support our regional food system, which doesn’t necessarily end at 50 miles, 100 miles, or even at the border. We also hosted an incredible 9-person choir from Saltillo, who sang in traditional Mexican dress, and was accompanied by local Mariachi band, Mariachi Los Toros. How fitting for the day before Cinco de Mayo!

We can’t wait for another chance to host these fantastic vendors, artists & musicians again and hope that by doing so, we can all encourage everyone to look beyond borders and further this sister-city relationship. Stay tuned for more…

And for highlights of Mexico Day, be sure to take a peak at our Photo Recap here!



We’re on the Road!

We’ve got news. The Mobile Farm Stand is getting its finishing touches this week & is ready for its debut!

Although we still have a few things to figure out along the way like weekly routes, sourcing and what kind of wind chime to attach (seriously!), we got an invitation we couldn’t pass up so we’re taking it out on the road tomorrow! Find us popped-up at Kealing Middle School’s Spring Picnic this Saturday, May 13 and see the Mobile Farm Stand for yourself among the Picnic’s potluck, chef demos & community quilt. We’ll be there from 10am-3pm so come say hello! Find Kealing Middle School at 1607 Pennsylvania Drive.

And if you’d like more background on why we started the project and how it got built, be sure to check this great article, “HOPE Rolls Out Bike-Powered Farm Stand” by the Austin Chronicle.

CONTACT: Have interest in hosting the stand or a recurring pop-up market? Talk to us: mobilefarmstand@hopefarmersmarket.org 

Today’s The Day!

We’ve all been waiting for this day.

Starting at 6pm tonight, we’re officially taking donating to fund our Mobile Farm Stand! We’ll have just 24 hours to make it happen, so every little bit helps. Here’s how:

1) Give

Donate to HOPE FM!

Click HERE to land on our donation page. Any amount is a huge help towards funding our Mobile Farm Stand. Your donation is also tax-deductible & just feels really good!

2) Brag

Spread the word!

Tell em all how you supported us. Find @hopemarketatx to include us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

3) Celebrate!

Happy Hour on us!

Join us this Friday at Center 61, from 4pm-6pm, for for free beer, food and lots of great company with the folks behind 20+ local nonprofits. Help us ring in our donations these last 2 hours of Amplify Austin!

Time to Mobilize: Amplify HOPE FM!

Few times in the year do we round up our market fans, followers & supporters. But spring has sprung and it’s time to Amplify!

This month, we’ll again be participating in Austin’s largest nonprofit fundraising program: Amplify Austin. Acting as a 24-hour “festival of giving”, the program challenges the community to donate to their favorite non-profits, providing the chance for Austinites to give together. Last year, over 300 local nonprofits felt Austin’s giving power when $2.8 million dollars was collectively raised!

Lets see what we can do this year, together. We encourage you to read up about our funding goals on our donation page and stay tuned for our updates on HOPE FM projects that need your support.

Whatever the reason, we hope you’ll consider choosing HOPE Farmers Market! Here’s a few ways you can help us get started:

  • Schedule a donation. This year you can  support us early & secure your donation ahead! Simple & sure.
  • Mark your calendar. Join us for a donation celebration on March 21! Hosted by Center 61 with free drinks.
  • Spread the news. Share our page with friends & family. Every little bit helps & is appreciated, big-time!

24 hours of giving is just around the corner!

 So find our Amplify Page and get ready.

Spring Fever: Market Updates & News

My, how time has flown! Although we’ve been in a bit of hibernation this winter on our blog, we’re excited to share what has kept us busy these last few months and share new updates, just in time for spring!

Late last fall, we helped sendoff our previous Market Director, Alexa Senter, as she moved onto new culinary adventures in the Northeast. Word is her and her husband have recently started a Community Supported Bakery! Be sure to take a peek at their Instagram, @thebakelab, to follow their story in Vermont and all things farm-fresh.

Along with this transition last fall came a new Director for the HOPE Farmers Market! That’d be me. After first volunteering for the market in the Fall of 2011, I’ve gradually and happily become more and more involved with HOPE FM and its incredible community. Working with the Market for the last two and a half years, it’s likely we’re already familiar with each other!

While I previously focused on event programming and developing our HOPE FM Live music program, as Director, I’m excited to put new energy into community partnerships, business incubation and the endless collaborative possibilities we have in store.

Just take a look at what’s coming down the pipeline for this spring!

  • March 16 – Unofficial SXSW Showcase with Cilantro Boombox & Mother Falcon @ Market
  • March 21 Amplify Austin Fundraising Celebration @ Center 61
  • April 6 – Texas 4000 Benefit: HOPE Day @ Market
  • April 27 – Old Time Square Dance @ Market
  • May 4 – Sister-City Celebration: Saltillo Day @ Market!

For news on the daily, find us on FacebookInstagram & Twitter: @hopemarketatx

–Jessie, Market Director