Last week I had the pleasure and privilege of being taken to the Rice University Farmer's Market by Rice Dining where I had the opportunity to speak and interact with several vendors there. This was not my first time here, but this was my first time to really explore and see just what the market had to offer. One of the first vendors we talked to was Chef Chandler Rothbard from Animal Farm Center. We chatted about what produce he had brought with him as well as what Animal Farm was all about. I, along with other chefs from work, were able to procure some choice produce. We got some beautiful watermelon radishes as well as some edible flowers. I personally got some Swiss chard, green onions and some cremini mushrooms.
|From left to right: Watermelon Radishes, Romanesco, Broccoli, Cremini Mushrooms.|
|Me with Chef Chandler and our haul.|
|Cooler for of deliciousness.|
|Ground pork I was able to get.|
|Bread from Angela's Oven|
Next, take advantage of the people selling you their wares. More often than not they had a direct hand in growing, making, cultivating what is in front of you. Don't be shy and ask questions. They probably relish the opportunity to talk to someone about what they have. Be adventurous and try new things. If you don't know what something is or what to do with it, don't hesitate to ask. This ties back into my previous point. Don't be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone.
Lastly, be prepared to spend a little money. I will say this, as awesome as farmer's markets are, they are not cheap. Most of the vendors don't have the luxury of mass producing what they are selling. That means they have quality premium stuff, but it also means you have to pay a little more than what you might normally be accustomed to. While a farmer's market might not be an every week shopping trip for everyone, the every once in a while splurge is totally worth it. Houston has several markets throughout the city. Go out there and experience one. After all its the only real way to experience the "farm to fork"!