Farm-to-table is more than a buzzword in Houston. In fact, in the restaurant scene, Ruggles Green earned Houston's first Certified Green Restaurants designation as well as the operator of the Greenest Restaurants in Texas with its three Houston locations. Many of these types of restaurants utilize Houston farmers markets to create their menu items. If you're new to Houston and looking for something other than pre-packaged supermarket foods, our local farmer’s markets are a great option.
The growing popularity of locally sourced food in the area over the last few years has helped grow our community farmers markets. Not only do they help supply farm-to-table establishments and the chefs who serve them, but for locals, they also provide what can sometimes be an affordable alternative to the large grocery stores.
Houston has a nice variety of farmers markets offering diverse goods – some are more mom-n-pop in size while others are larger. Each market has a little something different. If your kitchen supplies are still in moving storage, you can enjoy a healthy, made from scratch meal from a few of the best farmers markets Houstonians frequent daily or weekly.
Tuesdays, 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm
5600 Greenbriar (West Lot parking lot)
This is a smaller market (10-20 vendors depending on the day) but it usually has a good variety of fresh produce, meat, eggs, nuts, artisan pasta, dog treats, and more. I appreciate its vendor rules that items for sale must be produced within 200 miles of Rice University. Rice U students can use Tetra points at the market (debit funds for on-campus dining), which is a bonus.
Wednesdays, 11 am – 1:30 pm (spring and fall dates)
Situated by City Hall Reflection Pond, this market caters to the downtown community and employees during their lunch hour. Since 2010, this market comprises 30+ vendors, chef demos, live music, and prepared healthy lunch options to go. This is one of two farmers markets operated by Urban Harvest.
Wednesdays, 9 am – 6:30 pm
Grace Lutheran Church, 2515 Waugh
Central City Co-Op takes the guesswork out of buying organic or local produce with sustainable practices. At this organic farmers market in Houston, everything fits those qualifications! Shop its Open Market Wednesdays in Montrose or buy a share in advance online (for better variety and value) and pick it up Wednesday in Montrose, Heights, Med Center, or another location. Members save when Central City buys in bulk and divides the produce into shares for the community. Folks are encouraged to join as a member, but it's not necessary to purchase produce. Central City is Houston's original co-op since 2001.
Thursdays, 3 pm – 7 pm
St. Cyril of Alexandria Catholic Church, 10503 Westheimer @ Rodgerdale
Folks often refer to this market as a "little slice of heaven" right in the business district. The weekly market features locally grown seasonal fresh foods by more than two dozen vendors such as produce, beef, pork, lamb, cheese, eggs, honey, homemade jams and jellies, artisan bread, olive oils, and specialty soaps. This event is rain or shine!
Saturdays, 8 am – noon (year round)
Since 2004, folks have frequented this Saturday Houston farmers market by Urban Harvest for its huge variety. On any given Saturday, you can find organic and seasonal veggies and fruit, meat, cheese, eggs, fresh flowers, oils, bread/pastries, fresh seafood, chocolate, and more. On trend, food trucks are dishing up prepared food onsite, as well!
Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm (year round)
198 Kempner St., Sugar Land
This great little market for the residents of Sugar Land and beyond features local produce, live music, kids' activities, cooking demonstrations, and other entertainment. This event is rain or shine!
Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm
205 W. Main Street, Tomball
I love how this market was created by farmers and is operated by farmers. It's truly a cooperative effort of local families to provide healthy food options for the community. The variety of items for sale is broad including produce, meats, honey, eggs, baked goods, oils, fresh seafood, homemade salsas, jams, and more. This event is rain or shine!
Sundays, 10 am – 2 pm
This brand-new Sunday farmers market in Houston's East End stretches two blocks along the Navigation esplanade. Its inaugural weekend featured 35 vendors ranging from produce, artisan bread, fresh flowers, organic doggie treats, Mexican ice cream, wild boar meat, cooking demos, and more. This farmers market is the first to take electronic food stamps.
Daily 6 am – 8 pm
2520 Airline @ 610
This family-owned farmers market and produce company has more than quadrupled in size since its beginnings in 1958. The front operates in a more grocery-store style, with scales and produce, while out back is more flea-market style, purchasing directly from vendors – many of whom speak only Spanish. Canino's sells as much local and Texas fruit and vegetables as possible but likes to offer variety as well. You can also find nuts, dry goods, spices, beans, and fresh eggs.
More farm-to-table options in Houston
There are 38 farm-to-table restaurants in Houston, according to UrbanSpoon.com as of June 2014. One of the newer ones is Dish Society (2 locations: Galleria/Tanglewood and La Centerra in Katy). This concept is solely farm to table thanks to Aaron Lyons' dream. Each menu item lists ingredients sourced from local producers throughout the state. The menu and website lists all of its local sources.
Farm-to-table culinary tour: Where the Chefs Eat™ is a Houston culinary tour through Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau. One of its previous tours was a farm tour celebrating all things locally grown. The group visited a local farmers market and some of the chefs' favorite farms for pick your produce and a tour of the land.
Urban Harvest is a local nonprofit that has been around since 1994 helping Houston have access to healthier food options. It's definitely a leader in the local food movement with education classes, partnerships with schools, community gardens, and farmers markets. It runs Eastside and City Hall Farmers Markets.