The Eating...Our Words 100: Tyler Horne, Market Manager at Urban Harvest Farmers Market
If you told Tyler Horne five years ago that he'd one day be managing a farmers' market, he'd call you crazy. Fast forward to today and that's just what he's doing.
Goats: Reason #129 why you should go meet Tyler at the farmers' market.
Who he is:
Horne is a Houston-raised nice guy with a passion for motorcycles, fishing and all things outdoors. Despite the fact that he had a full plate at the time -- night classes and a demanding career as an IT project manager -- Horne began volunteering at the Urban Harvest Farmer's Market a few years ago.
Why? Gardening had always been a hobby of his. Plus, he needed something to "make an honest man out of him." And being up and at the market by 6 a.m. every Saturday did just that.
After years of juggling his career and volunteering as a market assistant (a labor-intensive position that he enjoyed, though he claims he was pretty much a glorified trash boy), the opportunity to join Urban Harvest full-time arose.
What he does:
Now coming up on his fifth year with the organization, Horne works as the market manager of the Eastside Farmers Market (open Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon) and the City Hall Farmers Market (open Wednesdays 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.).
In addition to overseeing operations and ensuring that the markets run smoothly each and every week, he has his hand in inspecting farms, recruiting and selecting vendors, organizing marketing campaigns and outreach programs, and assisting with Urban Harvest's other core programs: its community gardens and education courses. He admits it's a small organization operating on a shoestring budget, so everyone gets involved where they can.
But no matter what it is he's doing, the farmers' markets are truly Horne's baby -- you can find him there 51 weeks a year.
What he loves about his job:
As a market manager, Horne is always building relationships and interacting with people. And he loves it, whether it is showing a new customer the beauty of heirloom tomatoes, watching as a vendor he's known for years grows both his business and his family, or working with the dedicated local chefs and restaurants that support Urban Harvest.
How Houston inspires him:
Horne is truly humbled to be a part of Houston's ever-evolving food scene. He is inspired by the integrity of our food community and just how much everyone involved supports each other. When local chefs and restaurants who have embraced and helped cultivate Urban Harvest's markets get national recognition and James Beard nods, Horne couldn't be prouder.
If not here, then where:
With a great family and loving girlfriend, fantastic cost of living, thriving food scene and proximity to the coast, Horne doesn't really want to be anywhere but here. Though his love of all things outdoors makes Colorado sound a bit enticing as well.
Where you can find him on his time off:
Mostly every Sunday, Horne goes fishing. His favorite spot is Demi-John Island right on the edge of the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge -- he calls it the most beautiful, untouched place. In town, you can find him exploring new restaurants. He confesses he's totally "on the Crawfish & Noodles bandwagon."
If not this, then what:
Horne keeps busy tending his own habitat garden with fruit trees, potatoes and basil and helping with his grandmother's garden on the weekends. If he was going to do anything else, he'd love to be a full-on farmer (he says he'd have much to learn, but that's never stopped him before).
Horne has seen Houston's farmers' markets develop from humble beginnings, but he's excited that there is plenty of room to grow.
While he's proud of what they've been able to accomplish thus far, Horne would love for Urban Harvest's markets to have a more permanent spot -- potentially with indoor and outdoor space -- where the markets can be open more often and become an even more integral part of the community. As Horne sees it, anything is possible.
For more information about Urban Harvest, visit this site.
City Hall Farmers Market
Wednesdays 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Eastside Farmers Market
Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon
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