Grocery Guide

UPDATED: $10 (or so) Well Spent at Rice University Farmers' Market

Update: True Blue Friends has closed its doors and no longer participates in the Rice University Farmers' Market.

I spent five years studying at Rice University and only once did I go to its farmers' market that assembles every Tuesday afternoon from 3:30pm to 6:30pm. That's pathetic. I remember my excuses being something like I didn't have time (lame) or that I didn't have cash on me (more reasonable but many vendors take credit cards).

365 days after I finished, I finally visited the market, which has grown considerably and now boasts more than 18 vendors. I was happy to find more than just produce (a girl can only eat so many vegetables) and fairly reasonable prices on most items.

For a few bucks, you can get monstrous bunches of kale, bright orange bundles of carrots, and, various species of robust squash. More exotic botanical goods are also on offer at the Lavande. Their lavender soaps, oils, and (my favorite) teas ($10-12) permeate the surroundings with a sweet summertime scent I would love to replicate in my home.

And, speaking of stuff that smells darn good--be sure to stop by the Quick 'n Ezzee Indian food stall whose tacky name belies a classy company that makes homemade chutneys, salsas, samosas, and other prepared South Asian foods.

I should have known something was up when the kind folks manning the stall stacked with jars of whimsically-flavored and creatively shaped treats did not immediately offer me a sample. Indeed, the goods at Doggiee Snack Bar are for non-humans animals--and why shouldn't our canine companions enjoy organic apple lemon and rosemary-garlic bones and mixed berry bark (get it?).

Those with tiny humans at home should also check out the Baby Fresh Foods booth, which offers samples of their home-delivery fare. And visiting the market itself is fun for small children as the True Blue Friends pet rescue group regularly makes some of its feline and canine tenants available for petting and cuddling. I almost adopted one particularly gregarious pup just so I could have an excuse to buy some of those pumpkin dog treats.

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Joanna O'Leary