Top 5 Local Food Products

Categories: Top Five

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Liz (perspicacious.org)
City Hall Farmers Market
The local and sustainable food movement is not a new one, but for the last few years the interest here in Houston has grown as more and more chefs and restaurants have really begun to prominently feature and use local foods. The term "local" is still loosely interpreted, but in most instances it is food grown within a 100- to 150-mile radius and spends no more than a day on a delivery truck. The basic ideology is "food produced as close to home as possible."

I've always loved going to farmers' markets and picking up great local finds, and I was like a kid in a candy store on my first trip to Revival Market. It had a lot of old favorites, and I also made new discoveries of products made in Houston's own backyard -- or just a quick trip down the highway. Here are my top picks for local products.

5. Lavande - About an hour outside of Houston, in Bellville, is a lavender farm run by Houstonian Craig Stewart and his wife. They make a terrific lavender seasoning rub and lavender sugar. Lavender is a very fragrant herb and, when used sparingly, can add great flavor to poultry and fish. For those who prefer their lavender in candles and lotions, they have those as well. I usually find their stand at the Houston Farmers Market.

4. Bee Wilde - There's nothing like fresh honey. It's an excellent all-natural replacement for sugar and other sweeteners. I like to dip my fruit in it, and I use honey on waffles and pancakes instead of syrup. The Reed Family in Montgomery, Texas produces delicious honey and even sells fresh honeycomb. And you can't beat the fact that it comes in the bear-shaped squeezable jar we are all familiar with. You can find them at the Urban Harvest.

3. Katz Coffee - Katz is one of the most well-known local products and for good reason -- Avi Katz knows his coffee. Katz Coffee continues to grow in the number of blends offered and the number of Houston establishments that serve it. My favorite is the Ethiopia Harrar, a dark blend with spicy notes. You can find Katz at most of the farmers' markets and at Whole Foods.

2. Slow Dough Bread Co. - If you've been out to eat in the last few days, then you've most likely had some form of baked good from Marlo Evans and Heath Wendell. A number of Houston's finest restaurants are supplied by Slow Dough. Pick up one of their baguettes along with a few slices of prosciutto at Revival Market for the perfect afternoon snack. And you've gotta try the pretzels!

1. Fresh Produce - You could almost turn a steadfast meat eater into a vegetarian if you gave them fresh fruit and vegetables everyday. It's amazing how different a salad can taste when the produce gets picked and eaten that very same day. It can't get any more local or healthy than having your own garden, but if that's not possible, the local farmers' market has everything you need.

What local gems have you found?



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10 comments
anon today
anon today

This is an odd one.  Katz is only at one farmer's market that I know of, and it's a small one.  Urban Harvest markets feature Fontana, another local roaster. And "fresh produce" as number one? I thought this post was going to be a little more detailed.  Sorry, but this one was lame and perhaps a bit lazy.

LennieAmbrose
LennieAmbrose

The think Texas' Oldest Craft Brewery should have been in the list (it resides in the heart of the city after all)... but then again I guess I am a little biased. 

Doc Ricky
Doc Ricky

I'll admit, this is an odd list. After all, even though Katz's coffee is a local establishment, certainly almost all the coffee beans themselves are imported. I don't know where Slow Dough sources their flour, but I doubt if it's in Texas. Given the looseness of the definition for local, I'd nominate these Houston-specific items that people may not know about:

1. Pierson's smoked boudin (http://food.drricky.net/2010/1...

2. El Bolilo breads. I think their bolilos are top notch, but how about a pretty unique danish stuffed with rice pudding? http://food.drricky.net/2010/1...

3. Jungle Cafe chestnut pastry

4. Pandan waffles (referenced in a different post here) from Parisian Bakery III

5. Gulf oysters in season.

craig
craig

Chung's frozen egg rolls. 

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

The Indian food booth at the Saturday a.m. Urban Harvest market has a pepper chutney--it's bright red, can't miss it--that is one of my favorite things in the world to eat.

Ali
Ali

I'm addicted to Slow Dough bread. Their bioche? OMG. And their multigrain tastes sooo good toasted with a little butter.

Bruce R
Bruce R

This has to be the oddest Top 5 thus far. Nice to see that produce beat Katz coffee.  I'm surprised that meat didn't make the cut. And what about beer? Please tell me beer was in the top ten.

Sher
Sher

Nisha's....it's the Jalapeno Chutney....good as a relish or marinade.  It's about the only thing I truly like about their food except for the whole wheat potato lentil paratha. 

Minh T Truong
Minh T Truong

meat and beer...we'd definitely get along...maybe this should have been a top 10...would've included free range eggs too...

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