Howard's Organic Fare and Vegetable Patch is coming... SPRING 2012


Craig Howard is busy building Howard's Organic Fare and Vegetable Patch

A Blue Bird Bistro cook's vision for a new kind of market.

Posted by Jonathan Bender on Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 8:30 AM

The former office in the century-old City Ice Co. Building is a raw space. It has bare brick walls, exposed ducts and a garage door that looks out on Campbell Street. But Craig Howard, standing on the plywood floor that he laid last week and sipping tea made in a nearby electric kettle, sees the potential for a very different kind of farmers market here at 900 East 21st Street, in a corner of the building that houses the City Arts Project.
“This shouldn’t be a drive-through area,” Howard says. “To me, a market is kind of a regular thing that should be part of a neighborhood. And being so close to downtown, people here need a market.”
Craig Howard stands inside the hoop house he built.
  • Craig Howard stands inside the hoop house he built.
On a wall of what will become Howard’s Organic Fare and Vegetable Patch, he envisions the produce cooler filled with local greens, eggs, milk, meat and cheese. Bricks from a stack out back will define the market’s aisles. This will be a small farmers market — a hybrid of a cooperative and a neighborhood corner store.
“You don’t need a lot of options as long as your options are good, local and fresh,” says Howard, a cook at Blue Bird Bistro.
He plans to open in March of next year. Between now and then, he’s rolling out a membership system. For $60 a year, members receive an access code that enables them to enter the market. Inside, they’ll be able to shop, fill out a receipt and have their accounts debited for their purchases. The idea is what Howard calls a “quasi honor system,” although he also plans to install a camera and keep inventory, in order to track exactly what is bought and when.
“I want this to be accessible for families to eat well, and I think farmers are also really excited about the idea of having a market where they can come and drop off their product,” Howard says...
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