There are 10 grocery stores, nine markets and five weekend markets in the area that local residents can choose from to buy their groceries.
Sometimes it’s like playing a game of eenie meenie miney mo or a matter of going to the closest store, while some strategically map out their grocery needs at multiple stops.
When shopping at a store comes down to convenience, the shopper is going there because it’s close by, it’s open when they can shop or it just has good parking. The most convenient are the larger grocery stores like the area’s three Kroger stores or the new H-E-B on North Shepherd Drive.
“I love Whole Foods in the Heights,” Suzy Jones said in a Facebook post. “H-E-B is great, too, and the old standby is Kroger. I do shop based on the time of day and what I need.”
According to resident Cathy Pawlowski, the new H-E-B in the Heights isn’t just convenient, it also has the best produce. Another local, Amanda Barringer, also says H-E-B also offers the most variety.
Places like H-E-B and Kroger offer a one-stop shop that smaller market stores or farmers markets aren’t able to offer. You can get your produce, meat and all your other needs in one store anytime during the day.
And while many people take advantage of this, especially since larger grocery stores have bigger parking lots, one Kroger location doesn’t always make the cut because of the crowds it draws, which means it’s not such a breeze to get in and out.
“(Kroger is) always so crowded and their parking lot is ridiculous,” said resident Lynne Evans, referring to the Kroger on 43rd Street.
Other local shoppers hop from store to store and farmers markets to buy certain items for certain places.
For produce, Judy Minero shops at Whole Foods on Yale Street. She goes to Costco for meat and Angela’s Oven for bread and pastries.
Jan Garver shops H-Mart for fish, Whole Foods for meat, Polonia for smoked sausage and El Bolillo for bolillos and tortillas. But Garver also shops a local farmers market to check items off her grocery list.
“I like the farmers market on Wakefield,” Garver said. “For some produce there’s a limited supply because it’s what will grow here at a specific time.”
The Wakefield market is The Farm Stand at Petrol Station, 948 Wakefield Dr., which is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
Area farmers markets provide in-season, fresh produce and are usually open on Saturdays and Sundays. For some residents who wish they could visit markets aren’t always able to because their hours of operation don’t fit into their schedule.
“I would shop at Wakefield farmers market,” resident Marcy Basile said, “but they open too late and close too early. I see clients 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m. on Saturdays. A weekday market in the area would be awesome. For now, I order from Imperfect Produce every other week.”
Imperfect Produce is a subscription service that will send you the “ugly” produce that aren’t pretty enough for grocery store standards.
Maureen Hall shops at H-E-B after having bad luck with produce at Kroger and Sprouts. And while she’d like to try a weekend farmers market, she said she’s never up early enough to have the time to stop by one.
Junior’s Produce, 2520 Airline Dr. recently took over the Houston Farmers Market space previously occupied by Canino Produce. Junior’s offers fresh produce daily from 6 a.m.-6 p.m., offering another alternative to locals who want fresh veggies but can’t wait for the weekend.
Farmers market don’t offer a wide variety of produce a chain grocery store is able to because they provide in and out of season produce, but markets still have plenty of advantages.
At a farmers market, the person selling the product is usually the maker or grower. This means you can ask questions about the product and even get recipe tips. But in its own way farmers markets have variety, too.
“We are vendors of Eleanora’s Market, LLC and it’s our favorite place to shop,” said Amy Williams, owner of Underhill Urban Farm Co. “There is everything from farm-fresh produce, coffee, goat cheese, honey, CBD products, clothing, home décor, body products and pickles.”
On top of being able to shake the hand of the product maker yourself, you also get the opportunity to support a local small business and put back into the local economy.
Other weekend markets in the area include Eleanora’s Market, 2120 Ella Blvd., open from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. on Saturdays, Little White Oak Night Market, 2623 Keene St., open from 4–8 p.m. on Saturdays, Heights Morning Market, 3106 White Oak Dr. A, open from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. on Sundays, and the Heights Epicurean Market, 1245 Heights Blvd., 8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. every third Saturday of the month.