If the Urban Harvest Farmers Market had a flaw, it was parking.
Let’s be honest: Everyone is trying to do the same thing in a limited amount of time with limited space. That causes frustration, maybe some mental fisticuffs. And the last thing anyone should do when preparing to scout some garlic scapes is endure mental fisticuffs.
Well, endure no more. Last week the market moved from its limited-parking area of Eastside Street near Richmond Avenue to St. John’s School at Buffalo Speedway and Westheimer (the first Saturday in the new location was marred by some heavy rain and wind, but it went on as planned). The new location means 600 more parking spaces, including a garage with 500 spots. It also means more offerings and programs, and likely, greater economic and social impact.
“As far as being a community building opportunity, it’s really incredible,” says Tyler Horne, director of the market. “More room to grow can only increase that.”
Horne says he expects vendor numbers to grow from the current 65 to somewhere beyond 100, though “it’s going to take some time to get there.” And there will be a greater emphasis on programs, such as three ask-the-expert events focusing on gardening issues; a fall festival planned for October 27 with pumpkin painting and a chef demonstration; and a tour of the market on November 17. Horne says Urban Harvest hopes to host a different special event at the market each week.
With all this planned expansion, the focus remains on connecting people to local food sources. The market’s vendors must be located within a 180-mile radius, and Horne and his staff routinely checks up on them to ensure their practices match Urban Harvest’s mission.
“We go to their farms, we go to their kitchens,” says Horne. “They’re held accountable.”
That means only good things for Houstonians.