Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day 1: Eat Local Challenge

As I mentioned in my previous post, with Ike hitting the Houston coast pretty hard, our CSA has been knocked out of business for the near-term. No longer do I have the luxury of beautiful seasonal fresh fruits and veggies landing on my doorstep every Tuesday morning. Alas...we decided to continue on with the challenge and venture out to the markets to stock the fridge with the starts of our local cuisine for the next month. We headed to the Houston Farmer's Market behind Rice University. Living in Clear Lake, the 36mile drive for local fare has its obvious drawbacks, but we figure we go downtown at least twice a week that is how we justify it.
Nothing against the Houston Farmer's Market, but I have always preferred the Bayou City Farmer's Market for selection. The Houston Farmer's Market seems to cater more towards prepared foods and has a smaller fruit and veggie selection. That being said, we did find some great items including:
  • Katz's Coffee (locally roasted)
  • Blue Heron Farm (Goat Cheese) -located north of Houston
  • Houston Dairy Maid's - Redneck Cheddar (made with St. Arnold's Device reserve!) and Bosque Blue (They always offer a WONDERFUL selection of Texas cheeses)
  • Figs!!! Grown by a Houston woman in her back yard(best find every year...great to be a Houstonian)
  • Plum Easy Lavender Pizzettes
  • Pecans

Next stop: Central Market. They label the source of all of their products, so it makes it super easy to find local items:

Locally Produced and found at CM:

  • Texas Olive Ranch Olive Oil!!
  • Lucky Layla Farms Natural Plain Yogurt (Garland, Texas) I plan to use it as a starter for making my own yogurt with local milk
  • Kimchee from Houston (Banyan Foods) (they also supply soy milk, egg roles, wrappers the local community with a mission to stay local)....I have been eating their Kimchee for I have tasted
  • Texmati Rice (primarily grown in Texas!)
  • Texas Texas Salsa (my favorite, all natural and SO tasty!)
  • Austin Slow Burn - Southwest Pasta Sauce. (yes, we should be making our own from all the great tomatoes, but we thought we'd try it)
  • Fresh Wheat Pasta - made in Dallas (though I'd like to try and make it myself)

Local Veggies at CM:

  • Delicata Squash (had to check to see if it was is! We'll see how it tastes)
  • Yellow, Orange, and Red Tomatoes (Hydroponically grown, but very tasty)
  • OKRA (I think it grows like a weed in Texas)
  • Texas Baby Portobello Mushrooms (they also carry shitake, cremini...good range) from Gonzales, Texas...within 100miles. Apparently the company also sells Mushroom Compost as well...

My only concern so far....lettuce...leafy greens...I am not sure I can live without them...I'll keep up the search....


David said...

For Blue Heron...they give tours of their farm, and have a great cajeta (caramel sauce made of goats milk). Try it with some Texas peaches (warmed up a little in a pan) and Blue Bell ice cream. DELICIOUS!

S- said...

Thanks Dave...that sounds awesome I'll need to try it.