Farmers markets are cropping up again, ushering in a sort-of social revival just as spring temperatures arrive.
These open-air experiences are a welcome herald of normality, since they encourage healthy lifestyles, community engagement, and outdoor venues that allow for open-air distancing.
This comes as mass-inoculation sites proliferate in the Houston area, providing a growing sense of confidence in Houstonians. Though most event runners are still taking necessary safety precautions, including requiring masks, precluding onsite dining and enforcing strict sanitation standards.
Remember that most markets require patrons to wear face coverings and maintain distancing as much as possible. Mask up and put these on your calendar, and head out for some fresh finds.
2752 Buffalo Spdwy; 8 am to noon
Sparking a wave of similar markets around the greater Houston area, this market launched with a mere seven vendors in 2004. Today, it hosts more than 90 merchants, making it one of the largest in the state.
Small businesses within a 180-mile radius of the city center converge on Greenway Plaza every Saturday to sell produce, locally made wares, meats and cheese, and hot meals (COVID-19 restrictions may affect onsite dining).
Notable vendors: Atkinson Farms, Pat Greer’s Kitchen, Airline Seafood Inc., Dustin’s Eggs, Flying saucer farms and Finca Tres Robles.
Memorial Villages Farmers Market
10840 Beinhorn Rd. (First Congregational Church of Houston); Saturdays — 9 am to 1 pm
Family is at the center of this Memorial market, with its playground, children’s activities and live music.
Operated by the City of Hunters Creek Village and hosted by First Congregational Church, this pet-friendly weekly function offers a mix of quality local vendors, food demonstrations and guest lectures to educate patrons on a variety of health-centric topics.
Notable vendors: Johnson’s Backyard Garden, Swede Farm Dairy, Gulf Coast Honey, Awesome Bites, Plant It Forward.
Houston Farmers Market
2520 Airline Dr.; Open daily– 5:30 am to 6 pm
This produce market is one to watch as its grand plans come to fruition. The former site of Canino’s Produce, which launched as far back as the 1950s, is now gearing up to become a destination plaza with big-name chefs and iconic restaurants in the mix.
Canino’s 18-acre home at 2520 Airline traded hands in 2017, and it closed just a few years later, in 2019.
In the works now from developer MLB Capital Partners is a traditional produce setup alongside restaurants, a dining hall-style collection of food kiosks and retailers that include a yoga studio and clothing store. It remains open as construction is underway.
Notable vendors (and some in the works): a butcher shop form R-C Ranch, restaurant from chef Chris Shepherd’s Underbelly Hospitality, second location of Asiatown favorite Crawfish & Noodles; J.J.L Produce, Texas L&B Produce, Mi Jardin, Yanez Produce.
1320 Robin St.; Saturdays; 9 am to 2 pm
This eponymous market, near the Fourth Ward, celebrates its historic home, which was founded by former slaves in 1865. Freedman’s Towns comes alive with Black-owned businesses each week, selling fresh produce, ready-made foods, cosmetics, candles and more.
The market helps battle the area’s food-dessert status, where nearby grocers can be hard to reach on foot. It brings healthful foods to residents’ doorsteps with a festive get-together every Saturday of the month.
If you can’t make it to there, you can still lend your support by subscribing to its bi-monthly “bountiful box” service, which delivers “local produce, jams, honey, and more” to your home for $50 per month.
10503 Westheimer Rd. (St Cyril Of Alexandria Catholic Church parking lot); Thursdays; 3 pm to 7 pm
This is the spot if you’re looking for something on the west side that’s also open on weekdays. Each Thursday it welcomes a few dozen vendors that range from meat purveyors to local artisans and health gurus. Come hungry, since nearby restaurants frequently host booths here.
It’s less produce-centric than some other places mentioned in this roundup, but it offers a wealth of Houston-made goods, live music and outdoor fun all before the weekend arrives.
Notable vendors: Avila Flavor & Experiences, Be Pure Natural Products, Biryani Hut, Cafetto Specialty Coffee, Houston Winery.
2800 Navigation Blvd.; Sundays: 10 am to 2 pm
What’s better than a lively market on the weekend? One that sits on the front yard of Houston Tex-Mex institution The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation.
Let that be your motivation to get up before 10 am Sunday and discover a neighborhood gem that attracts people from all over greater Houston to its historic esplanade. The market sat idle for weeks during the pandemic but reopened with safety guidelines strictly in place.
Notable vendors: Hill Horizon Farms, Bellamex, BBQ 713, Altura Perfecta, Malva Olives.
The Feel Good Group
If your neighborhood hasn’t been mentioned above, it’s probably part of the wide web cast by The Feel Good Group, an events company dedicated to co-producing markets across various Houston neighborhoods.
It’s worked with sibling company The Informal Grub to put together Heights Mercantile Farmers Market (714 Yale St.), open every second and fourth Saturday; and the Rice Village Farmers Market, (2504 Amherst St.), open on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month.
Among the other merchant gatherings The Feel Good Group represents:
M-K-T Sunset Market: 600 N Shepherd Dr.; third Thursday of the month.
Memorial City Feel Good Market: southeast parking lot of Memorial City Mall; Sunday, May 23rd.
Bering’s Feel Good Markets: 6102 Westheimer Rd. and 3900 Bissonnet St.; every Thursday starting in May.
Spring Branch Village Farmers + Feel Good Market: 8141 Long Point Rd.: second Saturday of each month, 10 am to 2 pm
Lastly, coming soon is the Earth Day Market at Karbach Brewery (2032 Karbach St.) on April 22. This organization works with local nutritionist and self-proclaimed “market maven” Casey Barbles, an expert on healthy eating.