Just about everyone should know by now that Houston farmers markets are one of the best places to find great local produce. Also they are great places to make friends, taste test new, fresh ingredients before you buy, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment on many occasions.
Houston farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, and they take place in your home town, so you aren't required to travel far to find them. They've been going on for years in some locations, but they have become popular in the last few years, so you should be able to find one not far from home!
The Benefits of Farmers Markets in Houston, AK
The advantages of shopping at your local Houston farmers market are many. First off, you are assured the produce and other items are as fresh as they can be, because they come directly from the farm to the market. Most crops for sale at these markets are organically grown, so you know your friends and family won't be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.
Also, Houston farmers markets are great for the environment. Farms contribute oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air, which can help relieve global warming, and usually, farmers do not have to drive too far to the market, so the environment gets another boost from using less fuel and contributing a lower number of emissions into the air.
Typically, prices are cheaper at farmers markets, too, because the farmer does not need to mark up his prices to earn money from a wholesaler, who marks up the prices again before they get to the supermarket. So, you are actually paying less cash for a far better product, and who does not like that?
These markets benefit Houston farmers, as well, given that they have a weekly (or daily) market to appeal to customers, plus they don't need to ship their products days or even weeks in advance at low cost, so they make a better profit, too. It's always safer to purchase from local Houston farms, since the money stays in the local economy, and that means more jobs and earnings - all from buying fresh local produce!
Finding Your Local Houston Farmers Market
Farmers markets generally run from late May or early June through September or October, depending on where you live and your climate. Actually it all depends upon the growing season in your area and when farmers can get their first products to market. Houston farmers markets are such a big deal now, that typically local newspapers will print a schedule of markets in your area as the season is about to begin.
Often, you'll find a schedule from your local Cooperative Extension or county agricultural board, too. They've already become so popular, in fact, that some communities enjoy a number of farmers markets every week, so it pays to shop all of them and choose the ones that provide the produce and other products you like the best.
What to Look for at a Houston Farmers Market
You're sure to find local Houston farms selling their products at sensible prices, but there are a few things to look out for. Make sure the produce is ripe and hasn't been sitting out in the sun too long, or has been damaged in transport. Most booths will offer you a free taste of whatever you're looking at, so you can check out new flavors and crops you might not have had a chance to experience before.
Some farmers will even supply you with recipes and other ideas on how to serve their products, too. At the really big markets, organizers may bring in free entertainment, arts and crafts booths, and other amusements to draw in the crowds, and they may even provide play areas for the kids, too.
Look for other items at your farmers market, too. Sometimes local meat, cheese, and dairy producers bring their wares, and big markets are more like a county fair, with food booths, information booths, and even games for the whole family. So, check out a local Houston farmer market or two, and come home with everything you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.