One of the easiest ways to really get to know a city is through its markets. It really doesn't matter if it's your first time visiting a city or if you have lived there for many years, strolling through the aisles of a market can really show you, in a very fun way, that city's roots, gastronomy and people.
One of the markets that has impressed me the most, is the Tsujiki Market in Tokyo, Japan. I had the opportunity to visit it a couple of years ago and let me tell you that I had never seen such an enormous variety of fish and seafood. It was really the experience that showed me what Japan is all about.
In Houston you can find many Farmer's Markets around the city that offer great products, however, now I found a new one that’s closer to my house that opens every Saturday. Its name is Memorial Villages Farmer's Market and it's located in the intersection of Beinhorn and Brogden, 5 minutes South of I-10 on the grounds of the First Congregational Church of Houston.
I was there on opening week and even though it’s not very big, the quality and variety of their products really surprised me. And the wonderful people behind every product made it a very fulfilling experience for my children and me.
Besides coffee, bread, fruit, vegetables and jams produced by local farmers, I discovered three products I had never seen before that for sure will make me keep coming back to this Farmer's Market.
The first product I found was a skin care line called BYCCOMBE. All of their products are manufactured at the Springfield Farm, only a couple of hours away from Houston. Among the products they offer you can find lip balms of hydrating salves made with olive oil, coconut oil and beeswax as well as goat milk soaps.
All of their products are made with 100% natural ingredients. The lip balm is really good and keeps your lips hydrated for hours. Now that cooler temperatures are coming our way Yo Mariana really recommend them, besides any of their products could be the perfect Christmas gift.
On my stroll through the market I stumbled upon a local farmer who grows a typical African flower called Roselle. He brings his products to the Farmer's Market thanks to an organization called Plant it Forward that helps refugees in Houston support themselves through agriculture.
Thanks to this South African farmer I discovered that Roselle is a flower very similar to the Mexican Hibiscus but much more sour and with more flavor. When I purchased my bag of Roselle, the farmer was kind enough to give me a sample of the "Edible" magazine in which I was able to find wonderful recipes and uses for this interesting plant.
Besides tea, flavored water and a dressing, I made a sugar and Roselle reduction that turned out to be delicious and the perfect sauce for my Turkey this Thanksgiving.
Finally, I found another farm called Gulf Coast Honey Bee. They make all types of products that come from bees. Besides their absolutely delicious honey, they also have other very original products.
If you live around the Memorial area, you'll find this new Farmer's Market a place to go every Saturday. Please remember to arrive early before everything is sold out.
Good luck on your next adventure discovering a Market!