Fall – perfect for strolling through Schott Park in Humble. Schott is a 24-acre paradise of wooded trails, an open-air pavilion, picnic shelters, playground equipment, a half-court basketball area, a 1 3/4 mile-long walking path – and, for the first time – a farmers market.
“Jennifer Wooden gave us a call and told us what a great location Schott Park would be for our farmers market,” says Cre Johnson, co-chair of Your Neighborhood Farmers Market Association.
Wooden normally can be found developing programs and events as director for the Humble Civic Center and the Charles Bender Performing Arts Center. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been challenged with creating safe, novel events for Humble.
Wooden thought farm-fresh produce and genuine homemade products would be ideal for a family-friendly location like Schott Park.
It just so happens that Johnson and co-chair Yohan Neal travel the Houston area setting up farmers markets for Your Neighborhood Farmers Market.
Schott Park and a farmers market. It was the perfect match.
“We talked it over with Jennifer who really wanted to do this,” Johnson said, “and Schott Park is such a great location, the kind of setting we always look for. Families can bring the kids, walk their dog, ride bikes and enjoy the experience of a farmers market.”
Humble’s first-ever Your Neighborhood Farmers Market will be held Saturday, Nov. 7, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at the park on Will Clayton Drive just east of the Humble Civic Center. Vendors will accept cash, debit and credit cards but no personal checks. Masks will be required while shopping and hand-sanitizer stations will be set up throughout the market.
Farmers markets are becoming more and more popular. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports there were fewer than 2,000 markets in the United States in 1994. Today, the USDA estimates more than 8,600 farmers markets and predicts that number will continue to grow.
Your Neighborhood Farmers Market is a nonprofit, Christian-based organization grounded on encouraging communities like Humble and Lake Houston of the importance of eating fresh and supporting local farmers and vendors.
“This is our first farmers market in Humble, but it won’t be the only one,” said Johnson. “We plan to have a market at Schott Park each season.”
In addition to enjoying the park’s walking path and outdoor amenities, farmers market attendees will find an abundance of farm-to-table items, jams and jellies, salsas, local honey, baked goods, homemade popcorn, soaps, bath oils, olive oils, farm-fresh eggs, homemade pies and all kinds of ethnic foods.
“That’s just a partial list,” said Johnson, “and everything comes from a 100-mile radius. We have quite a few nonfood items such as wood carvings, barbecue pits, even sculptures.”
Wooden is bringing to Schott Park the largest certified farmers market in Texas, backed by the Texas Department of Agriculture. This certification means the farmers and vendors can sell only their own produce or products and the products must be made by hand.
“What sets a farmers market apart from grocery stores and supermarkets is that all the vendors have a direct hand in growing and harvesting or making what they’re offering,” said Wooden, “and, best of all, the farmers, producers, crafters and artisans are right there at the market, ready and willing to talk with you directly.”
While this is the first farmers market for Humble, Johnson and Neal are currently co-chairing local open-air markets in The Groves on the second Sunday of the month and on the fourth Saturday of the month in Generation Park.
And what about growers or vendors who would like to participate?
“If you make it, bake it, build it or grow it, you can sell it at our farmers market,” said Neal. “Our vision is to provide every neighborhood with access to farm-fresh food and our mission and strategy is providing our communities a direct connection to more than 200 vendors with deep Texas roots, including farms, nurseries, bakeries, meat and seafood providers, cheese makers, pet treats, jams, farmed, mixed nuts, honey and specialty food producers.”
“Farmers market is our passion,” said Johnson, “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.”
Join the Your Neighborhood Farmers Market mailing list to receive news and updates on upcoming markets, to volunteer or to become a vendor by visiting ynfma.org.