Farmers' Market at Houston's CityCentre

I'm not even going to mention how stupid it is that the new retail/dining complex located way out on 1-10 and Beltway 8 is called CityCentre. Oops. Anyway, when I heard that a farmers' market was taking place there on Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m., I had to check it out. The majority of the farmers' markets are (understandably) early in the morning. But because I'm someone who loves farm-fresh food and hates waking up early, I am always thrilled with an evening market.

CityCentre's market has only been around for about three months and is clearly still in its infancy. I counted only 13 vendors last week, and only about a quarter of those were selling produce. Still, it was a nice crowd of people and the vibe was ultra-friendly and relaxed. Vendors set up small booths in white tents around a green, grassy area. A band started playing around five, and there were small children dancing and clapping. It was an unbearably hot and humid August day, but somehow everyone still seemed to have a smile on their face.

And the best part? Tons of delicious free samples. There was a company called Queen Bee that sold homemade, gourmet marshmallows using ingredients like Valhrona chocolate and real peppermint oil. They were divine.

The Slow Dough bread company was there with a plethora of freshly baked breads and cookies and some insanely yummy, soft and chewy giant pretzels -- the perfect snack to tote around while exploring the place. The folks from Swede Family Farm was hawking goat-milk products, and they were some of the nicest people I've ever met. Unfortunately I wasn't going directly home; otherwise I would definitely have scooped up some creamy yogurt and cheese.

There were beautiful flowers, squash blossoms, purple hull peas, and lots of baby eggplants to choose from produce-wise. You could also pick up readymade foods like soups, spaghetti, and pimiento cheeses. Everything I sampled was a welcome treat, and chatting with the people who had just prepared the food made for a great afternoon.

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