For much of the country, winter means cold and snow and a whole lot of ick: roads get icy, sidewalks get slushy, and everyone heads indoors, hibernating like bears, until spring.
Obviously, Houston doesn't have this problem. One epic freeze aside, Houston's temperate climate means life here goes on pretty much the way it does the rest of the year: wine on the patio, strolling the beach, yoga in the park.
And while Houstonians didn't need anyone to tell them this, it was cool all the same to wind up No. 4 on the list of Lawnlove's Best Warm Cities for Winter Farmers Markets. It also placed second on this list for cities with the most winter farmer's markets, finishing behind L.A.
Lawnlove, a company that offers lawn and yard care, and has an extensive blog in its website, ranked 101 of the biggest cities in the U.S., dividing them into warm and cold, which they determined based on the mildness of a city's winter. To tally the availability of farmers markets, the team looked at USDA-registered farmers markets that operated at least once between November and March.
Houston's overall ranking of No. 4 put it behind Los Angeles, Honolulu, and Miami. Lawnlove gave big love to the Bayou City, which topped San Diego, San Antonio, Atlanta, and others, for the sheer availability of its farmers markets, along with its temperate climate. Houston ranked No. 2 overall for access, No. 15 for walkability, and a (surprising) No. 33 for climate.
Visit these winter Houston markets
In springtime, locals can check out our list of top spring farmers markets.
Meanwhile, Lawnlove (rightly) cited H-Town's Urban Harvest Farmers Market, open every Saturday from 8 am to noon at 2752 Buffalo Speedway as a standout. Head there for veggies, breads, honey, dairy products, meats and more from more than 100 vendors who hail from a 180-mile radius around the city.
Look for produce from Atkinson Farms and Finca Tres Robles, pasta from Casetta Cucina, beautiful greens from Animal Farm, coffee from Java Pura, eggs from Dustin's eggs, fresh fish from Airline Seafood, and juices from Juice Girl. A list of the epic number of vendors is here, and it's easy to spend a morning noshing and shopping at this weekly event.
Every Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 1 pm, Coltavare turns itself into Eleanora's Market. More than 100 vendors are there, offering fresh produce, cheese, homemade baked goods and more. Nando's Honeybee Farm, Gundermann Acres, Urban Dog Bakery, and Boomtown Coffee are among the vendors, and the atmosphere is family friendly and fun.
The Westchase District Farmer's Market, at 10503 Westheimer Rd. next to St. Cyril of Alexandria Catholic Church, is perfect for those looking for a weekday farmer's market option. From 3 to 6 pm, vendors such as Conroe's PEAS Farm, Houston Winery, and Pure Texas Honey offer a variety of artisanal foods and home goods.
Around the Lone Star State
Other Texas cities also fared well on Lawnlove's list. San Antonio ranked number 6, while Dallas cracked the Top 30 at 29, and Austin came in at 32. Lubbock (20), Corpus Christi (31), and Fort Worth (35) also made the cut.
Standout Texas markets
Pearl Market (San Antonio)
Held every weekend at the Pearl Brewery, this lively market brings together grower/producers unique to South Texas. Ranked one of the country's top farmer's markets by USA Today, the market is as much gathering spot as it is a chance to get local food and produce. Look for vendors such as South Texas Heritage Pork, Freshwater Farms, Alamo Gristmill, and Swift River Pecans.
The Dallas Farmers Market at the Shed is open weekends and has a great newsletter that lets visitors in on who's going to be there, as well as offering recipes and other foodie tips. Some vendors also set up shop at the nearby Market, which is open seven days a week.
The Barton Creek Farmers Market in Austin has two locations, both open Saturdays and Sundays. In addition to producer and prepared foods, there are vendors offering jewelry, clothes, and gifts, making it a terrific one-stop shop for stocking the cupboards and finding that special something for a special occasion.
Note: Most farmers markets are closed this Saturday, December 25, in observance of Christmas Day. Check local listings for more details.