Urban Harvest Saturday Farmers Market Now in a New Location & Bigger Than Ever

Fresh beets, carrots, and turnips at the Urban Harvest Saturday Farmers Market.

The Urban Harvest Saturday Farmers Market, located at 3000 Richmond Avenue near Kirby Ice House on Eastside Street, has played an essential role in connecting Houstonians with small local farms and businesses for the past 15 years. Every year, the Saturday market generates up to $2.9 million dollars for Houston’s nearby farmers, ranchers and artisans. On Saturday September 22, the market enters a new chapter as it’s had to relocate to 3401 Westheimer, a parking lot diagonally across the the street from St. John’s School, in order to continue growing.

The market is maintaining its current hours of 8 a.m. to noon and parking will be free to patrons.  Perhaps the best news of all is that the parking availability has been expanded significantly. “Our customers will have two and a half times the amount of parking they’re used to. We’re adding about 600 parking spaces,” said Tyler Horne, director of farmers markets for Urban Harvest.  

According to CultureMap Houston, parking has become an issue for the Saturday market due to the popularity of their neighbor, Kirby Ice House. The bar’s parking lot shares space with the market and it’s not uncommon for cars to be left overnight by patrons that interrupt the normal set up for vendors. Additionally, during football season people arrive at the bar before the market has closed to enjoy an early game. The move will ensure that both the bar and the market can grow without the risk for conflict.

Gundermann Acres proprietors with their watermelon harvest.
Garrett & Stacie Gundermann of Gundermann Acres and their watermelon harvest at the Urban Harvest Saturday Farmers Market.

“The new location allows us to offer expanded programs, products and events, ultimately connecting our farmers to clients and creating a dependable economic source of support to local farms,” said Janna Roberson, Urban Harvest’s executive director.

Horne elaborated on the types of programs and events he’s hoping to implement at the new location. “One of the things we’ve been limited on is the amount of space that we can use to actually have events. Our goal for this space is to have more room for chef live cooking demos in particular. That’s something I’m excited about,” he said.

“We’ve partnered with Kroger, which is sponsoring that effort, and helping us build out that programming. I’m looking forward to working with our local chefs on that — just simple live cooking demonstrations showing people dishes they can make at home easily with five ingredients or less,” Horne added.

The 2017 winner of the James Beard Best Chef Southwest award, Hugo Ortega of Hugo’s, Caracol and other Houston restaurants, is a frequent patron of the market. “My wife Tracy — who went to St John’s [the new farmer’s market location] — and I have been supporters of the Urban Harvest Farmers Market since the beginning when it was called the Bayou City Farmers Market,” said Ortega. “In addition to supporting area farmers and producers, and getting great local products, it’s fun to spend a Saturday morning wandering the market with a coffee in my hand, a large bag for collecting my discoveries, finding new vendors and speaking with other chefs and Houstonians. It is a true community feeling, and I love that.”

Urban Harvest already has several fall events planned for the new location. Three “Ask The Expert” events will take place from October through December for Houston area gardeners to come and get all their questions answered by a team of experts with over 50 years of gardening experience. The Fall Festival is scheduled for October 27 and will feature a local chef demonstrating a holiday recipe with fresh produce from the market.

That event will also have activities for children including pumpkin and squash painting. Fans of citrus won’t want to miss the Citrus Fest on December 15 and get a chance to speak with Dr. Bob Randall, one of the eight founders of Urban Harvest and author of Year Round Vegetables, Fruits, and Flowers for Metro Houston A Natural Approach Using Ecology, about the many varieties of citrus that grows in Houston and the best techniques for growing them. “We also have quarterly classes on fermentation and canning that we’re hoping to expand as well,” Horne said.

Another James Beard Award-winning chef, Chris Shepherd of One Fifth and UB Preserv, eloquently summed up why the Urban Harvest Farmers Market is important to Houston.  “Supporting local farmers is a huge part of how I cook and run my restaurants, and it’s important for Houstonians to have a place to meet the people who are growing their food, raising chickens, or growing the flowers they put on their table,” he said. “I’ve said this for a long time — no farm, no food. I should probably rephrase it a little: no farmers, no farm, no food.”

Urban Harvest Saturday Farmers Market is from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday of the year. 

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