Grocery Guide

Revival Market: More Than Just Basics

It's hard to decide what I like more about Revival Market right now: The fact that I can do normal, weekly shopping at the store, picking up fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy along the way, or the fact that I can indulge in some unexpected goodies while I'm there -- and I don't just mean the expertly drawn cortados from Frank Freeman.

Week before last, I found myself in need of several pounds of organic chicken feet for making chicken stock. Through the magic of social media, I direct-messaged Revival Market and asked if they could set some aside for me. A few days later, I received a message back that my feet were ready for pickup. Chuckling at how transformative a medium Twitter has become, I excitedly planned to pick them up that weekend.

I left Revival Market the following Saturday morning not only with six pounds of organic chicken feet for about $14, but also with a jar of mayhaw jam and another of freshly pickled beets. Had I gone in for those items? No. But was I thrilled to see old East Texas favorites out on the shelf like that, lying in wait as if I was in an episode of This Is Your Life? Absolutely.

You can't get mayhaw jelly -- or jam, for that matter -- anywhere else in Houston. If I'm wrong about this, someone please correct me in the comments section so that I can go buy all of it this afternoon. And it's little surprises like this that make Revival Market more than just a useful place for me; it's become a destination, an ever-rotating interactive exhibit of food that's cleverly and enthusiastically cultivated. And best of all, you can take it home with you.

The market also smartly caters to people who appreciate this kind of food -- locally grown or produced, carefully sourced from places all around the state -- but who don't always have a surfeit of time. Witness ready-to-go pie dough made with Mangalitsa lard, or pre-made pizzas topped with local vegetables and pepperoni.

And, of course, there are basics too. What good would a market be if you couldn't pick up salt and sugar in addition to your produce? Revival Market makes a fair amount of its own pantry-stocking necessities like Worcestershire sauce, jams, jellies and other condiments, lining the shelves in silver-clamped Weck jars. You can't buy these basics in any other store, but you can taste the love that's in every single jar -- two things that would make the goodies priceless, except for the equally wonderful fact that they're not. They're just as much as you'd pay in a regular grocery store.

Maybe that's what I like the most about Revival Market right now: The fact that the market has made eating local food accessible in all aspects, not just in terms of popularity. Shopping at Revival Market and eating responsibly is finally becoming financially accessible, too.

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Katharine Shilcutt