Keeping It Fresh at the City Hall Farmers Market

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You don't need to search far and wide to find fresh, high-quality produce, dairy, and meats in Houston. More and more, Houstonians are developing an appreciation for farmers' markets, and it was only a matter of time before our city government got directly involved.

Today marked the inaugural City Hall Farmers Market, a partnership between Urban Harvest, a local non-profit which hosts both the Eastside and Discovery Green markets, and Mayor Annise Parker and the City of Houston. The Wednesday market is yet another installment of the Mayor's food initiative program; she has already teamed up with Urban Harvest to plant vegetable containers in front of the city's Public Works Building, as well as planted a City Hall Victory Garden in Tranquility Park.

Downtown office workers, area chefs, and even a group of kindergarten kids from Whittier Elementary were among the crowd as the Mayor broke ground today at noon. Graced with a mild breeze and sunny skies, it was an ideal day to check out the 25 vendor booths surrounding the calm reflection pool in front of City Hall. From garlic & oregano goat cheese from Mia Bella in New Caney to turkish eggplants from Knopp Branch Farms in Edna, Texas, offerings here are entirely different from what you find at the supermarket shelves, and most importantly, it's local and brought in fresh.

After speaking with a few of the vendors, I realized they all have one thing in common: passion. And whether they're speaking about sustainability, seasonal ingredients, or even eco-conscious insect repellent techniques, their passion is contagious. As one vendor frankly stated: "It's great that the city is supporting Houston-area artisans... farmers' markets are no longer considered counterculture, nor should it be. We're farmers."

The Urban Harvest City Hall Farmers Market takes place each Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. City Hall Reflection Pool Grounds, 901 Bagby Street.

For more photos from the farmers market, check out our slideshow.

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