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New Heights Farmers Market Grows Into a Fresh Behemoth Thanks to a Food Blogger on a Mission

Heights Mercantile Development Embraces Local Vendors

BY // 11.28.19

Heights Mercantile might just have the busiest promenade in all of Houston. The tree-lined walk is dappled with sunlight, strung with twinkling lights and studded with community-driven businesses, from Local Foods to Lemon Laine.

And since this fall, there’s been more to love than ever.

The development launched the Heights Mercantile Farmers Market in September. Over the last few months, it’s only grown bigger and bigger — making it easy-as-can-be to eat farm fresh and support local purveyors.

Radom Capital teamed up with budding nutritionist and Instagram food blogger known for her love for informal grub, Casey Barbles, to create the welcoming farmers market, which boasts a bevy of health-conscious vendors promoting wellness in its finest, freshest forms.

The farmers market is typically held the last Sunday of every month, from 9 am to 1 pm. The December 22nd farmers market is slated to be the biggest one yet, with more than 30 vendors already signed on.

Barbles was approached about the project after she performed a cooking demonstration at Lemon Laine.

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She was drawn to the concept from the start. It was the perfect fit.

Barbles, currently pursuing a masters in clinical nutrition, was diagnosed with a variety of debilitating rare syndromes years ago. When her doctors were at a loss as how to help her, she turned to her geneticist — and farm-to-table foods.

“The doctors just didn’t know what to do with me anymore. I was kind of running out of options. The geneticist said you need to be vegan, with some fish, plus gluten-free and dairy-free. I was obviously overwhelmed,” Barbles tells PaperCity.

Barble created the informal grub first and foremost for herself, serving as visual inspiration for her newfound diet and commitment to clean eating.

“I started the account on the fly. And I started to heal,” Barbles notes.

Farmers Market Love

Throughout this time, farmers markets kept her going. Venturing out to Urban Harvest on Saturday afternoons kept her going — and was often the only outing she had energy for.

“I got to know the farmers. I got to know where our food came from, and the importance of knowing all of that — the quality of the soil where it’s grown, how well the animals are treated,” Barbles says.

“Shopping at a farmers market means you don’t have to go to a grocery store and get products shipped from Costa Rica or farther. The farther your food is coming from, the more pesticides and preservatives have been used. That’s the number one reason you want to eat as locally as possible.”

Barbles believes that her dietary changes may have saved her life.

“Supporting local farmers and local businesses and eating cleaner made me stronger and healthier than any medication ever made me,” she says.

When  Barbles was presented with the opportunity to start the Heights Mercantile Farmers Market, she knew it would have all the staples of a classic farmers market — and some unique twists, as she gained ground and found her footing.

There’s everything you could imagine, from grass-fed meats to produce to dairy to honey to flowers. Plus conscientious clothiers like Madewell recycling blue jeans to create insulation for Habitat for Humanity.

Chef Monica Pope has even joined forces with Barbles, selling freshly prepared, hand-crafted meals.

Other vendors include Hope Farms, Sustainable Harvesters, Rio Grande Organics, Atkinson Farm, Driftwood Meadows and more.

But that’s only the beginning.

“I have so many ideas,” Barbles says. “I want to create a nonprofit. I want to figure out how to get children involved. I want to find out how to get doctors involved and have them write ‘prescriptions’ to the farmers market.

“It’s a very typical farmers market — and a very unique one. I love bringing quality products to The Heights.”

Musician Joseph Michaels livens up the farmers market with his guitar stylings every month, and Barbles plans to incorporate even more low-key entertainment. The International Women’s Choir is even queued up for the December market, where the group will sing holiday carols.

The Heights Mercantile Farmers Market has brought a health revolution to The Heights.

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