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Market Day: Houston!

We’ve been a bit AWOL for the last week. That is because we were in Texas. Because we were away, we missed our usual Saturday morning visit to the Union Square Greenmarket, but we did get to go to the local farmers’ market in Houston with our friends Sarah and Paul. Accordingly, this week’s (belated) Market Day post is a Houston edition!

In local eating, the grass is always “greener” (haha). Back home in New York we are now in the “Dark Days”. For eight or nine months out of the year we get a wonderful rotating harvest, but for the rest, it’s beet-and-potatoes city. If you are going to eat 100% locally, that means a long stretch getting by on potatoes, parsnips, storage apples, etc. We also eat more meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy during the Dark Days. We are lucky that the Union Square Greenmarket stays open all year so that we still get all of those things in high quality, straight from the farmer.

The cycle in Houston is quite different. They are in peak season right now. Then there will be a pause for about one month in January or February when there is a brief frost, and a second peak in the spring. Summer is so hot that more or less nothing is available between July and September. Those are Houston’s “Dark Days” (although there should be an alternate name for it down there – “Scorched Days”, maybe?). Houston’s seasonality is like New York’s turned inside out.

When we visited this past weekend, we were jealous of all things that they have that we can’t get at home right now. Even more so, we were jealous of the local food that they get that doesn’t grow up north, which includes olives and pecans, and citrus!

At the end of the day, it made us appreciate what we have access to at home. Even if we get storage crops for the time being, we do get a full four seasons of local food. In an effort to get the best of both worlds, we stocked up on some local citrus. We were the crazy people boarding the plane with a huge bag of fruit. Since we were travelling anyway, we reason that sneaking some citrus back with us isn’t considered cheating on the Dark Days Challenge.

Some pictures from Houston:

Houston’s versions of much of our fall produce are less robust. The eggplants and squash are smaller and less full.

But their sweet potatoes and swiss chard look great!

This market offers great options for local and sustainably-raised poultry, eggs, and meat.

We were jealous of their current crop of tomatoes. We miss them.

We can’t get local vinegar or olive oil back home…

… or pecans.

We were definitely jealous of the citrus!

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