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The best farmers markets, co-ops and CSAs in Houston: Your complete guide to eating local

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Co-op Farmers Market CSA
Central City Co-Op offers various share sizes, ranging from $16 for a small vegetable share to $36 for a large share. Photo by Julie Knutson
Co-op Farmers Market CSA
Central City Co-Op director Aimee Mobley Turney displays a local share from Gundermann Acres Farm in Wharton, TX. Photo by Julie Knutson
Co-op Farmers Market CSA
Farm-fresh honey, red potatoes, aloe plants, and goat cheese are among the sundry goods available from this Petrol Station Farmer's Market vendor. Photo by Julie Knutson
Co-op Farmers Market CSA
Shoppers flock for fresh eggs at the Petrol Station Farmers Market. Photo by Julie Knutson
Co-op Farmers Market CSA
A bounty of mushrooms available for purchase at Central City Co-Op's open market. Photo by Julie Knutson
Co-op Farmers Market CSA
Locals assemble on a Saturday morning for breakfast tacos at the Petrol Station Farmer's Market. Photo by Julie Knutson
Co-op Farmers Market CSA
Co-op Farmers Market CSA
Co-op Farmers Market CSA
Co-op Farmers Market CSA
Co-op Farmers Market CSA
Co-op Farmers Market CSA

In recent years, a number of options have cropped up (pun intended) for Houstonians in search of local, organic and sustainable food. Whether fennel from a farmer’s field or small-batch bread, a variety of markets, co-ops and CSAs happen every day of the week in the Bayou City.

Here’s a short list to keep you and yours fed in a healthful, responsible manner, Mondays through Sundays.

CSAs
Acronym for Community Supported Agriculture, CSAs offer their members fresh produce directly from local farmers in partial or full shares typically delivered on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to a set location. Often, farmers will also provide the option to purchase eggs, cheese, meat and prepared meals.

Cleveland, Texas’s Wood Duck Farm, one of many local growers featured on localharvest.org, delivers to 12 different locations from the Woodlands to Seabrook. Local Harvest's website provides a thorough list of CSAs in the Houston area.

Co-Ops
Co-ops such as Central City provide members with a number of benefits, including climate-controlled shopping during the scorching Houston summer. Central City’s open market operates similarly to a regular farmers market, with prix fixe fruits, vegetables, and dry goods. Their budget-friendly shares come in a range of options, including a local offering from Gundermann Acres Farm, a fruit share, and three sizes of mixed shares from local and national organic producers.

The holistic and community-minded ethos of the co-op’s board and management finds reflection in their practices: They accept SNAP benefits, buy from small growers in urban areas, and do regular educational outreach in Houston-area schools.

Farmers Markets
Joni Mitchell would be proud. Those former “paved paradises” turned into parking lots now play host to local veggies and honey, Gulf shrimp and vegan treats, breakfast tacos and gluten-free naan. It’s a reassertion of the natural world on these macadam urban and suburban zones.

Though vendors set up food stands in the metro area every day of the week, weekends feature some major players like the popular Eastside Urban Harvest Farmers Market with its endless array of stalls and smaller neighborhood ventures like the Garden Oaks/Oak Forest Farmers Market. In the fall and spring, Bayou City Outdoors leads bike tours of three to five markets on an eight to 12-mile ride.

Many markets, including the popular, lunchtime destination that is the City Hall Farmers Market, operate seasonally, so double-check hours before embarking on your foodie adventure. Others, like Canino Produce, are open year-round, seven days a week.

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