"Farmer's Market" is a major misnomer for this category if you are going to give the award to a place lacking any real farmers! I know Houstonites tend to call Canino's "the farmer's market" but really, Houston Press, you know better.
Best Farmers' Market - 2009
We were as excited as anyone else about the early 2000s boomlet in farmers' markets all over Houston. Sadly, each of them disappointed us. Yeah, we're down with the whole "support the American farmer" and "buy local produce" movements, but when all you've got are a few tables with piles of chard, artisanal cheese and arugula on them, it reminds us less of bountiful America than of some kind of snooty version of a godforsaken nutrition-deficient Soviet backwater. Give us the majesty of the purple mountains of eggplants and amber waves of maize of Canino's any day. There you can fully stock your produce drawer, fruit bowl and tamale platter in one fell swoop, not to mention pick up a piñata and a licuado while you're at it, all at the best prices and the highest quality in town. And we also just love the experience of shopping there — the crush and bustle of the throngs of shoppers, the disarray of the box- and tamale-wrapper-strewn parking lot, the crunch of reggaeton beats, the lisping norteño accordions and the blat of tuba-driven banda music, and the beep-beep-beep of forklifts ferrying boxes of mangos to and fro.
When I was little kid, we always got free stuff from the spice man's stand because he had a crush on my grandmother.
In my opinion Urban Harvest Farmers Market is the most enjoyable farmers market in Houston, Texas. I just discovered it this year,at the same time I was becoming aware that our local farmers are depending on us to sustain their buisnesses during these tough times. It became apparent that my actions drectly affected these folks. For the record I have not been paid to say this nor am I am vendor, just a happy customer. For english speaking people most of the vendors also speak english. It's not too big,and the farmers/vendors are friendly and actually interact with the customer.You'll find organic produce, meats, fresh goats milk and cheese, Indian foods, and various honey products. There's skin loving handmade soaps for man, woman and pets, mason jar flower bouquets (picked from their very own field!),a lavender vender,gelato,and the crazy delicious Katz whole bean coffee fresh from New Orleans. The ONLY negative that I see is that the City Health Dept. forbids pets to be near any of this, which can make Mommy and Daddy a little blue, but I promise you, as soon as you mill a bit, see the lovely sights and then hear the gentle strums of the featured musician that week...a smile will come to you. Rain or Shine, every Saturday 8 a.m. to 12 noon, on Eastside near Richmond, about 1/2 mile west of Kirby Drive/Upper Kirby.You'll see the white tents set up on the East side of the street on the large parking lot. Avoid parking on the west side of the street across from entrance,rather park just past the tents on the east side. Hope to see you there!
That you would choose Canino's Market over the other Farmers' Markets is understandable. We are all drawn to the wealth, to the choice, to the richness of music and food, and folks.If I were not a farmer behind one of the tables of the other Farmers' Markets, I would agree with your review, probably. So it is not what you see at Canino's or what you don't see at the other Markets that I disagree with. It is what you don't see at Canino's and don't see at the other markets. How could you? Our economy and our society is built upon the exploitation of almost everything, then packaging it to look like something it is not.What you see at Canino's is largely the bounty of the Industrial Food System in California, Mexico and beyond. What you see at eh other Farmer's Markets is the very tiniest seed of real food movement being planted by real people under real conditions of South East Texas. Did you see the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico from Canino's? Did you taste the eggs from one of the local markets, the ones with taste and nutrition, from healthy animals, from healthy farmers, that provide healthy eating and a healthy local economy? Did you see your vegetable dollars going to Monsanto, Bayer, Exxon-Mobile while you danced to reggaeton at Canino's.We all have to eat and there is definitely not enough at the Farmers' Markets (Midtown, Rice, Bayou City) to feed all of Houston, not even a few thousand Houstonians, but to get to a place with the "Life" of Canino's, AND the LIFE of a real food grown by real people, we will need to see beyond the surface, to know something of real relationships and communities. I'll bring the Reggaeton to my markets along with some good food! Hope to see you there.david caterthe utility research garden