Strolling through a farmers market is one of the easiest ways to get to know the locals, blend in with the community, and eat close to the source. Texas has the most farms of any state in the nation and some of the largest farmers markets you'll ever see to showcase its beautiful produce. These days, farmers markets offer far more than fresh produce; Texas farmers markets feature a vast array of local crafts, businesses, and gourmet and artisanal foods. We’ve rounded up seven of the state’s biggest and best to share with you.
Houston Farmers Market — Houston
The Houston Farmers Market is not only one of the state’s biggest, but also one of its oldest. Struggling to sell their produce in the early 1940s, Houston-area farmers banded together to create a cooperative, purchasing a 9.5-acre site in what is now the Heights neighborhood. Today’s nearly 18-acre site houses over 40,000 feet of open-air space and more than 80 vendors, some of whom have sold goods there for generations. New restaurants in the works will only reinforce the market’s status as a culinary destination for tourists and locals alike.
Texas Farmers Market at Mueller — Austin
Consistently voted the best farmers market in Austin by local publications, the Texas Farmers Market has two rain-or-shine locations, one in Cedar Park and one in East Austin’s Mueller neighborhood. The latter recently moved to a new dedicated structure, Branch Park Pavilion, which features nearly 20,000 square feet of covered space with overhead ceiling fans to beat the city’s summertime temperatures. With more than 120 vendors, the hyperlocal market prides itself on the fact that all the agricultural producers come from within 150 miles of Austin.
El Paso Downtown Art and Farmers Market — El Paso
A relative newcomer to Texas farmers markets, El Paso Downtown Art and Farmers Market was established in 2011 by the El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department as part of ongoing revitalization efforts in the downtown district. Located at Union Plaza, the weekly Saturday morning market offers more than locally grown produce, featuring the region’s talented artisans and a food truck garden.
Urban Harvest Farmers Market — Houston
Started in 2004 with just seven merchants, this Saturday market has grown to support over 100 local vendors and producers to become one of the largest in Texas. All producers are located within 180 miles of Houston, with most food traveling an average of 25 miles. Urban Harvest takes its nonprofit mission beyond the market, too, by providing resources and education to more than 140 community gardens in the Houston area.
Pearl Farmers Market — San Antonio
Located at the site of what was once Texas’ largest brewery, the Pearl Farmers Market has become a beloved gathering place for locals and tourists. While the Sunday Makers Market centers around local artisans and their crafts, Saturdays are dedicated to local farmers, who bring fresh produce and meat local to South Texas. Primarily a producer’s market, vendors at the Pearl Farmers Market grow, produce, harvest, and raise every product they sell, and each one operates within a 150-mile radius of San Antonio.
Dallas Farmers Market — Dallas
The Dallas Farmers Market traces its roots to the late 1800s, when farmers sold their produce from horse-drawn wagons around the city before settling into a hub at the intersection of Pearl and Cadiz Streets. By 1941, the site now known as “The Shed” became a municipally owned and operated market. Growing along with the city over the past century, the complex is now home to more than 200 small businesses and supports about 50 Texas farms and ranches.