3217 Spring Cypress Rd., Spring
Pick your own produce
In addition to its reliable presence at most Houston farmers markets, the Spring-based, family-run, 100-acre Atkinson Farms allows visitors to come and pick their own fruits and vegetables in season, seven days a week. Strawberries are the most popular item from early March through the summer, at roughly $2 per pound, but tomatoes and other kinds of produce are also usually available, in addition to fresh milk and butter.
3601 Hwy. 6, Alvin
Froberg’s Farm, like Atkinson, is open seven days a week and specializes in strawberries, which you can pick yourself for $2.25 a pound. But there’s much more to this Alvin farm, where it’s easy to scoop up a few bushels of things like kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and collard greens in March and April, as well as peppers, okra, tomatoes, watermelon, and peas later in the summer.
Matt Family Orchard
21110 Bauer Hockley Rd., Tomball
Pick your own fruit
This Tomball orchard features 40 acres of blueberries, blackberries, pears, figs, oranges, and other types of fruit, all of which you can pick yourself. All supplies are provided; all the Matts ask is that you wear close-toed shoes and pay for those bushels of blackberries before you eat them.
Eastside Farmers Market
3000 Richmond Ave.
Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon
Sundays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
This year-round farmers market is also Houston’s largest, with at least 50 vendors sprawling across a repurposed parking lot every weekend. Organizer Urban Harvest also invites local restaurants and chefs to demonstrate how to prepare seasonal produce, local experts to assist with gardening tips and tricks, entertainers for the children, and much more. In addition to produce, look for eggs, bread, honey, milk, butter, prepared foods, and a variety of other staples with which to stock your larder.
City Hall Farmers Market
901 Bagby St.
Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
There’s nothing quite like seeing a great bounty of fruits and vegetables spread out like a cornucopia among the skyscrapers and asphalt of downtown Houston. The quintessential urban farmers market, this weekly event offers plenty of prepared foods for office workers to enjoy at the picnic tables ringing the reflecting pond pool outside City Hall, as well as plenty of produce to pick up and take home. The market takes a break in the heat of the summer and resumes in the fall.
Rice University Farmers Market
5600 Greenbriar Dr.
Tuesdays, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Held for many years in the shadow of Rice University’s stadium, this popular farmers market attracts an average of 30 vendors each week. Thanks to its unusual hours—at least as farmers markets go—this is an ideal stop-off after work. Look for a wide variety of goods, from pastured (grass-fed) beef, chicken, and turkey, to goat cheese and gluten-free meals.
Canino Produce Company
2520 Airline Dr. 713-862-4027
While not a farmers market in the strictest sense of the phrase, Canino nevertheless sources most of its produce from Texas farms and orchards. Because the market is committed to bringing in the best produce at all times, there’s rarely anything you can’t find here—which also means you’ll sometimes be purchasing produce from outside the state or the country. Look for sweet 1015 onions, fresh lady creamers (a.k.a. field peas), Texas pecans, greens with dirt still clinging to the leaves, local eggs (including duck and quail), and local honey.
Farmers Marketing Association
2520 Airline Dr. 713-862-8866
The open-air market behind Canino is one of Houston’s greatest culinary treasure chests. Packed together, with only a narrow walkway cutting a path through the various vendors, its stalls offer up unusual and exotic fruits from across the world; dried herbs, spices, and peppers for only pennies; and basketsful of fresh vegetables for far less than you’d pay in a grocery store. Bring cash and come hungry; samples are passed out generously.