Morning at the Midtown Farmers Market

Overcast day at the Midtown Farmers Market

Let’s get the unpleasantness straight out of the way, so that we can concentrate on all of the wonderful things that were at the Midtown Farmers Market this weekend.

They are now charging you to park.

Listen, farmers market folks.  I know that parking is at a premium in Midtown.  I know that you’re competing with the thronging horde lined up outside the breakfast klub and people hungry for eggs and chorizo from Tacos-A-Go-Go.  Hell, you’re even competing with your own restaurant, t’afia.  But charging people $3.00 to park in a muddy pit a whopping ten feet away from the market itself is utterly pretentious and directly contrary to the entire down-to-earth, communal spirit of a farmers market in the first place.  Ya feel me?  It really sucks.  It sucks more than places like Dolce Vita and Molina’s all-but-forcing you to valet your car.  Stop it.

UPDATE:  According to Andrea from t’afia (please read Andrea’s comment below; very interesting stuff), it’s the Continental Club who owns — and is charging for — the parking lot, despite t’afia‘s attempts to contribute their own money towards the cost so that their customers won’t have to pay the fee.  Boo, Continental Club.  I thought you were a lot cooler than that.  How very disappointing.

Okay, onto the good stuff.

For Sale

We bought some greens and carrots (seen below), which were all very reasonably priced as you can see from the quaint pricing list above. 

Deformed Carrots

I was totally in love with these oddly-shaped little carrots.  They reminded me of one of my favorite books as a kid.  Trust me on this one.

Houston Dairymaids

The Houston Dairymaids were there as usual, plying their delicious, creamy wares.  They had other treats besides cheese this time, though.

Hey Honey

Honey!  It’s Native Nectar, which is guajillo honey made in South Texas.  Flowery and light; good stuff.

Keeping Cool

I wanted to abscond with every basket of fresh greens I ran across.  I could have been quite the little felon that day.

Sharpened

This delightful man sharpens and fixes dull or broken knives.  He sharpened eight of my mother’s knives for only $41.00, after which they were sharp enough to split a hair.  Seriously impressive, not to mention a hoot to talk to.  He’s also got a glut of knives for sale out of his van (what?) if you’re in the market.

Other vendors included a new group of utterly charming kids in highly-creased Wranglers with enormous, shiny belt buckles selling fresh pullet eggs and — next week — fresh beef.  The grass-fed cows will be slaughtered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, then brought to the market on Saturday mornings.  They take orders in advance and their price list was on par with what you’d pay at your local grocery store or butcher.  I’m eagerly awaiting next Saturday morning so that I can get some oxtails and a porterhouse.

We also grabbed some lettuce from the folks at Last Organic Outpost and some ready-to-eat dishes (chickpeas with olives and parmesan…NOM) from inside t’afia before picking up my mother’s knives and heading out into the day.  Next time, we’re definitely getting there early to sign up for Monica Pope’s new Green Plum Cooking School.  Maybe we’ll see you there…

14 responses to “Morning at the Midtown Farmers Market

  1. I realize that with the Breakfast Klub and Tacos A Go-Go pulling in folks for the morning meal that it’s hard to park around there, but there is A LOT of street parking too. There’s street parking all around the church (behind t’afia) and even across the rail line from The Continental Club. There are lots of options, some just include a bit more walking.

    Say no to pay parking!

  2. Just a tip for future reference, I bet if you go one block down, the lot next to the muddy pit will be open and not charging. I park down there when I go to Continental Club and sometimes they charge, sometimes they don’t.

    That crappy ass lot next to CC, t’afia, et al, is always a gamble both in terms of cost (some nights there is no attendant) and in terms of getting your car out without bottoming out the suspension.

    I definitely need to see the knife guy about my sad, dull set of really nice knives though.

  3. I love shooting at markets as well. Somehow people are always immersed in what they are doing and give me more freedom shooting them.

  4. @ groovehouse: You know me; I’m a street parker through and through. I parallel park in my sleep. I parked on a little side street off Travis. No sweat. 🙂

    @ Jeff: I know the lot you’re talking about. They were charging that morning, too. Crazy, right? But, yeah, the knife guy = awesome.

    @ myphotoscout: Normally, yes. I agree. But I was a little self-conscious this morning because not as many people were at the market as usual, which meant that the vendors were paying much closer attention to my snapping. Oh well. 🙂

  5. sweet mother of god what the hell is all that? last time I was there it didn’t have nearly the same number of vendors. sold, and I’m bringing my knives next time!

    second thought, maybe walking around with two chefs knives in public isn’t a good idea.

  6. $3 for that Farmers Handful of Booths (market is still a stretch)? Wow.

    THIS is a Farmer’s Market (with plenty of free parking, but not really within driving distance):

    DSC03017

    I think you can park on the other side of Alabama for $.75 now, though, in that space that was closed to parking for quite a while. And as others suggest, there is PLENTY of free parking if you want to walk a short distance. But we all know that many Houstonians can’t be bothered to walk more than a few steps anywhere, for any reason, so I guess those folks get to pay.

  7. Great post! Thanks for coming out (and braving the parking fiasco). The Continental Club owns and is in charge of the “muddy pit” parking lot (where they have now levelled it to the edges and put down gravel – still gets muddy in the rain, though). We are trying to get them to lower their price for parking on Saturday mornings to $1 and have offered to offset the costs by contributing money on our part every week. No luck, so far. Unfortunately, neither the market nor t’afia have any control over the lots that surround us. But we are trying to work with our neighbors to at least make the paid parking as cheap as possible. On Saturdays, you can park on Travis itself (unlike during the week).

  8. So, basically, The Continental Club is attempting to make money from *your* Farmer’s Market. Nice.

    Everyone – park on the street and walk, take the train, however you need to get there….but this is a really good Farmer’s Market and I love the fact that Monica is giving free cooking lessons!!

  9. kevin,

    i think we all agree that many towns do it better. i applaud them for at least trying. there appears to be a half-dozen or so around town, none of which have established dominance.

    remember, we’re the town with two MLK day parades.

  10. Andrea Lazar // February 16, 2009 at 2:32 pm
    Unfortunately, neither the market nor t’afia have any control over the lots that surround us. But we are trying to work with our neighbors to at least make the paid parking as cheap as possible.On Saturdays, you can park on Travis itself (unlike during the week).
    When an owner puts valet on an entire parking lot, there is definitely control being exercised. Your explanation is a weak cop out!

  11. Geo – just FYI, the market vendors are IN the parking lot on Saturday mornings. No valet then, just veg. So that’s not an issue for the FM situation.

  12. LAP! or LAA..whatever

    OK, I totally thought your ‘favorite book as a kid’ was going to be Bunnicula.
    The celery does stalk at midnight, you know.

  13. thx for the tip on Bob, the knife guy! Got my dullies touched up today! he asked how i heard about him, mentioned you and he asked for the link to the post, so i sent. he seemed pretty excited about the “press”!! 😉

    i feel like i should say, “long time listener, first time caller” since this is my first time to comment…love the blog, K!

  14. For those who might be concerned about carrying your knives around the farmers market, just drop them off for sharpening when you arrive and pick them up when you are ready to leave.
    Come see me!

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