Andrea and Jonathan Haskin wanted access to quality produce and products in Fall Creek, so they started their own farmers market.

— Fall Creek, Eagle Springs now have their own farmers markets —

Oprah Winfrey has good taste – at least when it comes to jams and jellies, because one of Oprah’s favorite things on her 2020 Favorite Things List are Rockin’ JR Ranch jams and jellies.

Rockin’ JR Ranch is a specialty food producer focusing on New Orleans favorites, jellies and sweet treats that carry the Texas Department of Agriculture designation of GoTexan, and Oprah’s fave jams and jellies are available at their own vending spot at the Buy Local Farmers Markets in Fall Creek and Eagle Springs.

“We believe in providing fresh local food that will support good health and promote local venders and generate community growth,” said Jonathan Haskin. “We have a knowledgeable team and our goal is to create a positive environment with the best customer satisfaction.”

The Fall Creek Farmers Market operates Sundays, rain or shine, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at The Park at Fall Creek just east of Beltway 8 near the Golf Club of Houston. Vendors accept cash, check, credit and debit cards, and some accept Apple Pay.

The Eagle Springs Farmers Market operates Tuesdays, rain or shine, 4-7 p.m. at the Valley Springs Clubhouse in Eagle Springs.

What will the discerning shopper see when they visit one of the markets?

Grass-fed beef, pastured chicken and eggs, wild-caught seafood, local raw honey, the jams and jellies that Oprah so loves, cold-pressed olive oil, lemonade, microgreens, gourmet chocolates, organic bread, fresh pasta sauces, herbal teas, raw dog food and treats, cold-pressed juice, small-batch ice cream, hot Latin food, tamales, mushrooms and salsas.

Whew! And are they organic?

Jonathan said, “Yes, although some may not have organic certification, their practices are beyond organic.”

Jonathan Haskins and his wife Andrea live in Fall Creek. The two markets are their full-time job.

“We wanted access to quality local foods in where we live,” Jonathan said. “Our markets have been successful enough that we are expanding to other communities that are looking for a quality market in their area.”

The Haskins not only encourage their community to shop local, but they also urge them to eat local, too.

“We are a registered farmers market with the Harris County Public Health Department and are deemed essential,” Jonathan said. “All products at our market are produced within 200 miles of Humble – Houston, Wharton, Navasota and the Austin area – and we do site visits on all vendors to ensure they are the producers.”

They can tick off several reasons to shop their farmers markets. Locally grown food is fresher and tastes better because it is just hours from where it was grown and harvested. When shopping at one of the Haskins’ markets, customers pay the farmer who grew the produce or the vendor who created the product and, because there is no middleman, shoppers get more value.

Farmers markets also are great places to learn about the food being eaten, said Jonathan, because shoppers can meet the producers, knowing where their food is coming from.

“Our markets are all open air. Much safer than a grocery story,” he said. “The people who shop with us are supporting local business, boosting the local economy, and meeting the people who grow their food.”

The Earth Institute at Columbia University agrees with the Haskins. In a recent blog, the institute said locally grown food is better for the environment because it travels a shorter distance to the buyer, producing fewer greenhouse emissions from trucks and jets, and it tastes fresher because it arrives at the buyer’s table soon after it is picked.

Transparency is another key, according to the Earth Institute, because the person who grew the produce is at the vendor tent explaining how that product got there.

Farmers markets are kid-friendly, too, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which claims that kids can learn all about how food gets to the table when they visit, and the USDA encourages parents to let the kids pick out something new to try, then help them prepare their own meal.

“We originally created our farmers markets because we were looking for one where we lived,” Jonathan said. “Long term, we want to organically grow the market and become cornerstones within Fall Creek and Eagle Springs. We want our customers to increase their knowledge and awareness of the importance to buy local.”

Over 200 vendors with deep Texas roots including farms, nurseries, bakeries, meat and seafood providers, cheese makers, pet treats, jams, farm mix nuts, honey and specialty food producers will be displaying their wares.

“Farmers markets are our passion,” said Jonathan, “and we want to be a part of the Lake Houston community. We want to bridge the gap between the people who grow and make things and the Lake Houston community. Our mission is so simple: Encouraging our neighbors to buy fresh and buy local.”

Harkins encourages farmers and producers of specialty products to contact them through their Facebook page. Customers can learn about products and produce through vendor spotlights and updates on Facebook and Instagram. To learn more about them, friend them on their Buy Local Farmers Market Facebook page, facebook.com/buylocalfarmersmarket.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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