• Urban Harvest Farmers Market singled out as best by Cooking Light magazine.
  • There are more than 8,400 farmers markets in the US.
  • The market has more than 50 vendors and requires that product comes from within 180 miles of Houston.

According to a recent national survey conducted  by Cooking Light magazine, Urban Harvest Eastside Farmers Market in Houston was chosen as the best farmers market in the Lone Star State.

That’s no small accomplishment in the middle of a city that’s in a country that loves it’s local food: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) counts 8,411 operating farmers markets in the U.S. in 2015. That’s up from 8,268 last year, and roughly 5,000 in 2008.

The America’s 50 Best Farmers’ Markets list highlights one market from each state, and provides a favorite recipe from each.

“Markets matter. They connect you to a local economy and the pulse of a place,” said Cooking Light’s editor Hunter Lewis, in a statement. “The number of farmers markets across the country has grown 371 percent in the last 20 years, fueled by our craving for fresh local food.”

In the featured recipe for the Texas entry, Sparrow Bar and Cookshop chef Monica Pope spoke of her affection for the market.

“[Urban Harvest Eastside Farmers Market] is about 12 years old, and there’s a strong core of great vendors and new ones dropping in all the time.  I go every week and make sure I get from my faves like Animal Farm, Tavola[Pasta], Maison Burdisso, [Bee Wilde], Atkinson Farms, Renaissance [Chicken] [and] Blue Heron [Farm].

“It’s a real ‘nose to tail’ farmers market,” she added.

She was speaking of a few of the more than 50 assorted vendors– farmers and other plying their local wares within sight of skyscrapers and construction cranes. Market shoppers can find seasonal produce, fresh meats, several varieties of eggs, artisanal breads and home-pressed oils. The organizers of the market require that food comes from within 180 miles of Houston.

Pope is one of the many chefs who visit farmers markets across the country to walk the walk behind farm-to-table cuisine.

Farmers markets are now more accessible to regular shoppers, who prefer what some insist is superior quality wares, and enjoy meeting the person who grows a family’s food.

The market is open, rain or shine, every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon, in the parking lot of 3000 Richmond Avenue.

Email Kimberley Sirk.

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