Resident makes it easier to eat healthy
By FLORI MEEKS
Cypress resident Debbie Cross has made her share of drives to Houston-area farmers markets.
As far as she was concerned, the products there were worth the commute. It's the fresh, locally grown vegetables," said Cross, who has worked in the restaurant industry and in real estate. Anything fresh out of the ground tastes so much better."
As of September 2008, Cross has been bringing that fresh produce to her community.
Debbie's Garden and Farmers Market operates year-round from 20806 Hempstead Road, off U.S. 290 and Huffmeister.
The market carries locally grown produce from a 150-mile radius, including products from farms in Cypress, Tomball, the Klein area and Waller.
Farmers are in the field 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.," Cross said. It is a wicked life. They don't stop. They don't have time to work the markets."
Locally grown products available during this time of the year include mustard, collard and turnip greens; cabbage; broccoli; onions; pecans and squash.
Most of the farms in Texas grow sustainable crops," Cross said. They use just enough pesticide, or no pesticide, to keep pests away. With some items, if you don't put anything on them, you won't be able to grow them at all. Peaches are an example."
When products are not in season, Cross and partner Don Lile work with area produce companies to drive in fresh items, including tomatoes from Florida and yams from Louisiana.
The market also carries fresh eggs, peppers, pinto beans, honey and salsa bags" carrying all of the ingredients needed to make fresh salsa.
This spring, the market will start carrying fresh herbs.
Eventually, when the economy grows stronger, Cross would like to expand her merchandise further and offer pickles, salsas, jellies and baked goods.
We've got lots of good ideas and a nice base of customers," she said.
A number of the market's customers come because they're trying to develop a healthier life style. Cross said she sees pregnant women looking for fresh eggs and customers with diabetes and heart disease who want to incorporate fresh produce into their diet.
Others simply are looking for food that offers good taste and good nutrition.
Lile said it is the people who come to the market that make his job fun. We have fantastic, loyal customers," the former safety consultant said. We can actually have conversations and talk about their day. It's like a little country store."
Cross said she considers it important to support local farmers. They work so hard, and they're an integral part of the community."
From January through March, the market is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.
During the remainder of the year, market hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
For more information, call 832-863-5533.