Living and Loving Local: FORAGING AT URBAN HARVEST FARMERS MARKETS
Houston’s Leader in the Local Food Movement Celebrates its 25th Anniversary
By Robin Barr Sussman
Urban Harvest sprouted in 1994, inspired by a community garden that was built more than 30 years ago in the Fourth Ward. Since then, it has blossomed into a large organization enriching the Houston community with gardening classes, community garden programming and youth education. But most Houstonians know the non-profit for its burgeoning local farmers markets.
It started out with just seven vendors, providing an outlet for backyard gardeners and the community to sell freshly harvested produce. Today, many of the original vendors — including Atkinson Farms, Animal Farm and Pat Greer’s kitchen — are still a part of this growing farmers market supporting more than 70 local producers.
All farmers markets sell sustainable fruits and vegetables from within 180 miles of Houston, offering the freshest local meats, produce, prepared and hot food vendor fare. While produce should always be the star of a farmers market, there are many other wonderful goods on offer such as cheeses, honeys, sweet treats, jams, crafts, and homemade soaps. Oh, and live music, food trucks and cooking demonstrations. Try finding that at your supermarket!
Saturday Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon, year-round, rain or shine
2752 Buffalo Speedway, www.urbanharvest.org
By far the city’s largest and busiest, this popular weekend market recently moved to a much better location (at St. John’s school). Now there is plenty of parking, elbow room and driving ease. Don’t forget your reusable canvas tote!
Shop for: Bee Wilde’s local honey, Hattermann Poultry Farm’s eggs, Knight’s corn and melons, Gundermann Acres, Plant It Forward Farms, Laughing Frog Farm, Pat Greer’s Kitchen, Brazos Valley Cheese’s smoked gouda and white cheddar, Airline Seafood, Artisana Bread, Moravia Vineyard & Winery’s vino rosso, fun “earthy” tee shirts and more
City Hall Local Lunch Market
Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., spring/fall, www.urbanharvest.org
This work-friendly market centered around the City Hall reflecting pool offers a wide selection of prepared meals to enjoy al fresco at lunch. Look for a variety of food trucks along Walker and McKinney and tasty items to take home for dinner or the pantry. Catch a chef demo or hang out for live music.
Shop for: Bee2Bee honey, Great Harvest breads, Plant It Forward Farms, Rio Grande Organics pecans, Texas Hill Country Sturdivant Farm’s citrus fruits, Katerra Exotics’ ground bison, Blue Orange Thai Catering, Churrasco To Go, El Topo, Melange Crêperie, Java Pura Coffee Roasters, Inglorious Vegan, and more.
Northeast Community Houston Farmers Market
1st and 3rd Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round, rain or shine
Kashmere Gardens Elementary School, 4901 Lockwood, www.urbanharvest.or g
Just launched, this new farmers market northeast of downtown accepts SNAP, debit and credit cards. For those with a Lone Star SNAP Card, get more for your money with Double Up Food Bucks; learn more at www.doubleuptexas.org
What’s In Season Early Fall
September: Persimmons, figs, melons, sweet peppers, eggplant, carrots, sweet corn, fresh peas, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, red potatoes.
October: Pumpkins, greens, baby arugula, lettuces, green beans, fresh peas, potatoes, hot house tomatoes, pecans, pears, persimmons.
November: Pumpkins, beets, turnips, greens, winter squash, sweet and hot peppers, radishes, sweet corn, green beans, potatoes, eggplant, baby arugula, lettuces, culinary herbs.
GREEN BEAN, FIG AND CORN HARVEST SALAD
Here’s a gorgeous and hearty vegetarian dish courtesy of Jordan Winery — perfect for just on-the-brink of fall weather. Fresh figs, sweet corn and green beans are all making appearances at the farmers market and this salad is great for lunch or a dinner sidekick.
¼ cup aged sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 shallot, finely minced
freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
1 cup Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 ears of corn, shucked and silks removed
2 tablespoons Aleppo crushed peppers (can substitute crushed red pepper)
18 assorted fresh figs
1 cup green beans or Romano beans stringed
½ cup hazelnuts, roasted, skinned and crushed
8 cups baby arugula, stemmed and rinsed
1 cup frisée trimmed of most green
To make the dressing, combine sherry vinegar, mustard, thyme, shallot, salt and pepper in a blender at medium speed. While blending, slowly drizzle ¾ cup Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil until emulsified. Refrigerate and keep for up to one week.
In a nonreactive bowl, toss ears of corn with remaining Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Aleppo pepper and salt. Grill corn on medium high heat until it begins to brown. Let the corn cool to touch, then slice kernels off the cob and set aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. While water is coming to a boil, quarter figs and set aside. Blanch beans in boiling water until slightly tender, about 3 minutes. Shock beans in ice water and drain.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Add salad dressing to taste and gently toss. Serve immediately. Pair with Jordan chardonnay.
Yield: Four servings