With a long family history in the community foods business, the owners of the Urban Cookhouse restaurant are no strangers to the many benefits of locally grown food. Their approach to success is simple, “Buy Local, Eat Urban.”
Using fresh, local ingredients is a huge priority for Urban Cookhouse, and therefore, so too is supporting area growers. With significant involvement in two local, separate farmers markets, owners David and Andrea Snyder are dedicated to this way of life. “We strive to support the local community, farmers and crafters of any kind, says Andrea Snyder. “We use as much local produce in our store as we can, depending on what is in season; however, the farmers markets allow us to support local farming on a much larger scale.”
Urban Cookhouse sponsors The Homewood Farmers Market, which runs from 8am-12:30pm every Saturday from mid May through the beginning of August. Having been in operation for three seasons now, the Homewood market is located in the Soho Parking Lot in downtown Homewood. The atmosphere of the Homewood Market blends well with the overall feel of the downtown area, explains Snyder. “Everyone in the community is walking around from the market to the stores—everything is within walking distance.” It’s also a very family-friendly location. “We have parents who bring their toddlers and families who bring their dogs along,” says Snyder, who also manages the Summit’s first annual farmer’s market, located outside of Urban Cookhouse at it’s Summit location.
“At the Summit, our audience brings more of a variety of people, coming from all different locations,” says Snyder. Open from 3-7pm on Thursdays throughout the summer, the Summit Farmer’s Market is unique in that it’s not only a mid-week market, but a late afternoon/evening event as well. Snyder likes the idea that it gives customers the opportunity to purchase locally grown foods another day and time than Saturday mornings.
Each week, the Homewood Market and the market at the Summit feature more than a dozen farmers, crafters and artisans, including an extended variety of vendors such as coffee masters and florists. The two farmer’s markets also provide special events, such as cooking demos that help spotlight local Birmingham restaurants. Past demos have featured Maki Fresh, Zoë’s Kitchen and Ashley Mac’s Café.
In addition to giving people the chance to purchase foods outside of typical Big Box grocery stores, these markets also provide families with a fun enjoyable outing-where even children can experience the benefits of local food. Snyder says she sees the markets as a great way for parents to help raise awareness about healthy eating. In fact, one of their vendors, Tyler Mathews of Barefoot Springs Farm, offers nutrition classes outside of the market. “He would be a great outlet for a family in need of healthy lifestyle guidance,” says Snyder.
For the owners of Urban Cookhouse, promoting locally grown foods is just part of who they are. Inspired by a great-grandfather who provided his local community with daily access to fresh produce for more than 50 years, the Snyders are dedicated to helping the Birmingham community benefit in much the same way today. Whether people are visiting the Homewood Market or the Summit Market to simply pick up ingredients for dinner or to enjoy a family outing, the bottom line is they’re supporting local foods. “Either way,” Snyder says, “we can’t wait to see you there!”
For more information, and weekly updates regarding the Homewood Farmer’s Market and the Summit Farmer’s Market, check out Urban Cookhouse on Facebook.
Written by Kate Agliata