July 31, 2022

Airline Farmer's Market - (Formerly Canino's) (Houston Most Authentic Farmer's Market IMHO)

When Canino's closed several years ago, no one was sure what would happen to this space. Happily a group of investors with a real commitment to Houston and history went in and rebuilt it better than ever, adding several places to eat, a meat market, and much more parking. It is wonderful to visit. One of my favorite things is to shop for really red and ripe Roma tomatoes in order to make my own sauces, and get away from the canned tomatoes that use citric acid to keep everything fresh and bacteria free.

" Canino's on Airline. Created decades ago in the 50's as a cooperative for local farmers to sell their locally produced fruits and vegetables. Hempstead melons and more. I recently chatted with the owners who gave me the following information. They have been in operation since June of 1958. At that time, the Canino's complex was about 3,800 square feet and it is now grown to over 20,000 square feet. Over time the complex has evolved. Around the periphery on this part of Airline Drive just south of 610 are the wholesale produce companies. In back of Canino's are smaller vendors, individual stalls that are so reminiscent of the markets in Mexico. This is where you come for the harder to find products used in Mexican cooking. You can find guaje, epazote, huazontle, dried and fresh chiles, and more. There is one vendor who specializes in pineapples and their prices are always significantly lower than anywhere else. Here is where you come for perfectly ripe, ready to use the day of, fruits and vegetables. And Flores Spices has an outlet here for all of your spice needs. Next door, is another long warehouse of independent vendors. And back along the eastern side you will find even more as well as several excellent taquerias."

"Canino's proper is a one stop shop for your fruits and vegetables. And worth noting is that, unlike most grocery stores that discard of their produce when the first hint that it is over ripe occurs, Canino's puts theirs out at extreme price reductions. Imagine. 4 lbs of bananas for $1.  A big bucket of perfect yellow squash also for $1. I find that I can come here and build the ingredients for a giant soup or stew for less than $5. The clearance section of Canino's is next door where they used to sell flowers, instead of directly behind Canino's as it used to be."

Photos for Canino's from Google Maps

Oh, and by the way. I offer free walking tours of the market for groups of three or more. No charge. If you want to meet up with me with your friends, contact me at ( houstonfoodexplorer@yahoo.com ) to arrange a date and time. If you would like, we can also add a lunch at Tampico Seafood or another place in the area.

Before we move on to your photo guided tour of this area, check out some of these typical bargains:

And now, on to the food tour. These photos were taken recently when chef friends and I hit the markets to buy goods for an upcoming cooking class. Photos to follow, including some shorts from El Bolillo Bakery and Reyes Produce, just down the street. Click on them to see a larger version.

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