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Thursday, June 01, 2023 — Houston, TX

Looking at Rice Farmer's Market


Ratatouille recipe

By Brooke Bullock     10/5/11 7:00pm

Rice students have a multitude of serveries, a convenience store, the Coffeehouse and Sammy's to choose from for food, but there is one place most students overlook.

Every Tuesday, the Rice Farmer's Market opens to the Houston and Rice community in the Greenbriar parking lot. Local vendors bring in all sorts of produce including eggplants, goat's cheese, chicken and Parisian macaroons. There is a knife sharpening company there as well to make sure shoppers are prepped and ready to cook after visiting the market.

Chef Cari Clark from Baker College's servery and Facilities and Planning Communications Manager Susann Glenn showed me the ropes around the Farmer's Market before Chef Cari made us a meal with produce from the market.

The Rice Farmer's Market may not be the largest, but it offers a variety of local Texas products — and every one has samples. Not only is the food great, but its a fresher, local way to shop compared to grocery stores because produce is coming straight from the farm to the market. Atkinson Farms brings in fresh picked produce to the market.

Chef Cari uses produce from one of the vendors, Atkinson Farms, in her kitchen at Baker.

"[I've] taken trips to Atkinson Farm before, and they are great about showing people around," Chef Cari said. "Their produce is picked the day it comes to the market. I've gotten vegetables that are still hot off the truck."

Texas Olive Ranch vendors show pictures of the last year's harvest so you know where their olive oil is coming from and Cellar Farms cracks open a pepper so you can smell the flavor.

Chef Cari took us around to buy ingredients for a ratatouille dish. We bought Mediterranean spiced goat's cheese from Blue Heron — Chef Cari's personal favorite cheese place at the market — vegetables from Atkinson Farms, sourdough bread from Angela Bakery, arugula from Animal Farm and chicken breasts from Oaks of Mamre Farms.

After bringing it all back to the Housing and Dining house — the old Hanszen College masters' house — Chef Cari whipped up the ratatouille with chicken breast in under 30 minutes. I took the recipe home and decided it would be a good one to try out on my roommates. I've always thought that cooking healthy meant long preparations and bland food, but Chef Cari's ratatouille recipe is simple, easy and quick.

The Farmer's Market offers great, fresh produce at reasonable prices. Whether making ratatouille or anything else, the Rice Farmer's Market makes it easy to buy local produce and help support the Houston and Texas community. H&D Project and Contract Manager C.J. Claverie added that the Farmer's Market offers a sense of community that shoppers do not get from their local grocery store.

"People love to come to the farmers market because they get the chance to meet the people who grow their food," Claverie said. "What with all the food scares and just the impersonal nature of the average retail experience, it is refreshing for consumers to really know the person who grows their food. You don't get that when you go to a grocery store."

For Chef Cari's ratatouille recipe, check out the Features section online at www.ricethresher.org.

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