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Photo courtesy of Los Patios

Many locals love perusing through the produce and artisan goods offered at San Antonio’s many farmers markets, but waking up before the last tomato is plucked can sometimes be a dicey proposition. Luckily, an Alamo City development is helping night owls get the worm.

On May 6 from 4-7 pm, dining and retail destination Los Patios will debut its First Friday Night Market with an eclectic group of local vendors including Gardopia Gardens, Special Leaf, San Antonio Microgreens, Alamo City Kettle Corn, and more. Many of the restaurants and shops at the picturesque site will also stay open late to add to the fun.

The event will run concurrent to a sundown screening of animated hit Sing 2 on the property’s lawn. Guests are invited to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets and enjoy a bounce house and lawn games. Admission is free and food is available for purchase.

For property owners Christine Mayer and Dr. Paul Mayer, both events are a chance to connect with the broader San Antonio community and provide a welcoming space for families. Also the owner of Blue Heron Recovery, Mayer recently revamped Los Patios as a sober campus with popular dry spots Comfort Cafe, Naco Mexican and Olla Express Cafe.

"We're so thrilled about this event - both the movie night and the night market in tandem,” says Christine via release. “It's a great opportunity for families to come out and chill in a safe and relaxing environment, which is part of our health and wellness movement here on property.”

The Mayers are looking to make the night market a monthly tradition. And it will be the start of a busy May: In addition to the Friday festivities on May 6, Los Patios will be the setting of a virtual fundraising event for Blue Heron staged by nonprofit group Chef Cooperatives. Ticketholders for Bringing Back the Garden can pick up chef-curated picnic baskets on May 14, then enjoy an online tour of the grounds on May 17. Tickets and further details are available here.

6 things to know in San Antonio food right now: Popular brunch spot bellies up to new location

News you can eat

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of San Antonio’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.

Openings

The team behind Stone Oak’s Full Belly Café + Bar is getting a bit fuller. Real estate agent Mike Garansuay spilled the beans that the restaurant had rented a space in Olmos Plaza at 4212 McCullough Ave. for a second location of the American eatery. Though Full Belly reposted the news on its own channels, it did not reveal an exact opening date.

The Medical Center lunch crowd gained a new place to nosh on April 1. According to an Instagram post, the new Japanese concept Time To 8 has taken over the former Thyme for Lunch space at 9390 Huebner Rd #104. Guests can expect rice bowls, sushi, ramen, and bento boxes.

Austin-based coffee chain Summer Moon is continuing its San Antonio expansion with a fourth location at 21134 US Hwy 281 N. in Stone Oak. The spot, known for wood-fired beans, will celebrate its grand opening 7 am-12 pm on April 16 with giveaways, swag, samples, and discounts.

Other news and notes

Locals wondering why their Uber Eats and Favor orders take so long now have an answer. According to a study by online network Porch, San Antonio has the second-fewest delivery drivers among U.S. metropolitan areas. Using U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, the company determined that Alamo City has only three delivery drivers per 1,000 residents.

After a two-year delay, aspiring chicken parents can once again flock to the San Antonio Chicken Walk on April 16. The event, sponsored by the Food Policy Council of San Antonio, is a self-guided tour of San Antonio’s chicken coops ending with refreshments and fun at Garcia Street Urban Farm at 218 Garcia St. Guests can kick off their journey at Olmos Basin Farmers Market at 100 Jackson Keller Road between 9:30 am-1 pm. Tickets are available online.

Fans of fine dining and booze will be heartened to know that Landrace’s Dinner Series will be returning on April 21. The Riverwalk dining destination has teamed up with Fort Worth’s Blackland Distillery for a paired four-course dinner for the official return. Menu highlights include tuna ceviche and a springtime smore for dessert. Tickets are $120 and are available through Eventbrite.

Woman takes monarch butterfly under her wing for release in San Antonio

On a wing and a prayer

An Iowa woman went to great heights to heed the call of a nature center seeking help to relocate a single monarch butterfly to Texas.

Patty Loving, who’s originally from Texas but now lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa, had already booked a Southwest Airlines flight to Texas when she learned about the butterfly’s predicament. The Jester Park Nature Center in the Des Moines suburb of Granger posted November 2 on Facebook that a newly emerged monarch butterfly “desperately needs to hitch a ride to Texas ASAP.”

A group of seventh-graders discovered the monarch while assisting with a prairie-seed harvest at the nature center.

“We need to do something to help [monarchs],” Patrice Petersen-Keys, an official with the nature center, told Des Moines TV station KCCI. “And this is kind of one of those little feel-good things to say, ‘Hey, if this little monarch butterfly can make it to Mexico, we can all rally behind it and feel good about that.’”

Loving, who used to raise monarch butterflies in Texas, answered the nature center’s plea and volunteered — with permission from Dallas-based Southwest Airlines — to escort the wayward butterfly on her 900-mile flight from Des Moines to Austin. It turns out Jen Yáñez-Alaniz, a friend of Loving, runs CIELO Gardens in San Antonio, and that’s where the monarch eventually was released.

“I’m so happy to be a part of this special adventure,” Loving wrote on Facebook.

Loving told the Des Moines Register that after she opened an envelope that contained the butterfly over some flowers, it wiggled and initially gripped her finger but finally let go. That happened November 5, a day after Loving’s flight with the butterfly. In transit, the envelope had been kept in a sealed container inside a cooler.

“The happiest of all endings ever!!! … The emotions I am feeling are out of this world!” Loving wrote on Facebook after the butterfly fluttered away.

If Loving hadn’t transported the butterfly to Texas, it probably wouldn’t have survived the harsh winter in Iowa. Much of North America’s monarch population migrates to Mexico every year, stopping in Texas along the way, to escape the cold weather in northern climates. Many of the monarchs follow the I-35 corridor on their yearly migration journeys.

“In the spring, many will migrate back to the U.S., where they will reproduce, pollinate, and also be a food source, making our world a healthier place,” Loving explained on Facebook.

Courtesy of Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey to check out as CEO in 2022

Natural progression

John Mackey, the trailblazing, high-profile, highly opinionated co-founder and CEO of Austin-based Whole Foods Market, is stepping down as the top executive at the natural and organic grocery chain.

In a letter posted September 30 on the company’s website, Mackey said he’s retiring in September 2022. Jason Buechel, currently the chief operating officer, will succeed Mackey as CEO. Upon retirement, Mackey will pursue some of his other “life passions” (including yoga), he wrote.

Mackey co-founded Whole Foods in 1980. In 2017, he shepherded Whole Foods through its $13.7 billion acquisition by e-commerce giant Amazon. At the time of the Amazon deal, Whole Foods was a publicly traded company with annual revenue approaching $15 billion. Today, Whole Foods operates more than 500 stores in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, and employs roughly 87,000 people.

“As a co-founder of Whole Foods, I’ve often explained my relationship to the company with a parent-child metaphor. As a parent, I have always loved Whole Foods with all my heart,” Mackey wrote. “I have done my best to instill strong values, a clear sense of higher purpose beyond profits, and a loving culture that allows the company and all our interdependent stakeholders to flourish.”

“All parents reach a time when they must let go and trust that the values imparted will live on within their children. That time has nearly come for me and for Whole Foods,” he added.

Mackey, a former vegetarian who now identifies as vegan, entered the grocery business in 1978 with the opening of a health food store called SaferWay near downtown Austin. Two years later, he co-founded Whole Foods, an Austin-based business that would go on to revolutionize the natural and organic foods industry.

Throughout his career, Mackey — a free-market libertarian — has never shied away from bold moves and comments.

In 2006, for instance, Mackey capped his own pay at $1 a year (while still owning a multimillion-dollar stake in Whole Foods). And for years, he anonymously published blog posts that got him into hot water over their criticism of Wild Oats Market, which Whole Foods bought in 2007 for $565 million. Also, he has been denounced for slamming the notion of public health insurance and equating Obamacare with fascism. Furthermore, Mackey routinely bashes labor unions.

Mackey, who celebrated his 68th birthday in August, grew up in Houston. He’s an alumnus of the University of Texas and San Antonio’s Trinity University.

Courtesy of Pearl Farmers Market

San Antonio harvests ranking as one of top U.S. cities for farmers markets

Ahead in its field

San Antonio has plowed through most of the competition to be named one of the best cities in the country for farmers markets.

Gardens Alive, a supplier of environmentally friendly products for gardeners, places San Antonio at No. 6 on its new list of the best cities for farmers markets. Houston, the only other Texas city to appear in the top 10, lands at No. 3.

To rate the best cities for farmers markets, Gardens Alive looked at data for the 50 largest U.S. cities in seven categories:

  • Number of farmers markets.
  • Number of organic farmers markets.
  • Number of winter markets.
  • Number of farmers markets that take credit cards.
  • Average temperature difference from 70 degrees.
  • Average annual rainfall.
  • Walk score.

Gardens Alive didn’t detail how San Antonio or Houston performed in each category, but the Alamo City earned an overall score of 24.4 out of a possible 50. Houston achieved a score of 29.8.

With a score of 42.9, Los Angeles topped the ranking.

“We weren’t surprised to see a [California] city at the top of the list due to the Golden State’s reputation for trends like farm to table, sustainable food sourcing, organic farming, and more,” Gardens Alive says. “We were surprised, however, to see just how far ahead of the pack Los Angeles was.”

The city of San Antonio boasts 19 farmers markets, according to Texas A&M AgriLife. Among them is Pearl Farmers Market, which is one of the top 10 farmers markets in the country as determined by USA Today 10Best. Pearl Farmers Market, held each Saturday and Sunday, ranks fifth.

“While you’re shopping for local produce, meats, and cheeses, you can listen to the sounds of live music or watch a cooking demo for ideas on how to use your fresh ingredients,” 10Best says of the Pearl market.

Texas A&M AgriLife lists 12 farmers markets in the city of Houston. One of them is the Urban Harvest Saturday Farmers Market.

“Sparking a wave of similar markets around the greater Houston area, this market launched with a mere seven vendors in 2004. Today, it hosts more than 90 merchants, making it one of the largest in the state,” CultureMap reported in April.

Across the country, more than 8,600 farmers markets are registered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Visiting farmers markets is an inspiring way to fully realize the value of fresh, locally grown produce,” Gardens Alive observes. “It allows us to get to know the people who grow our food and see exactly where that food comes from. However, we learned that not every city makes it easy to experience the myriad benefits of farmers market trips.”

Courtesy of Pearl Farmers Market

Pearl Farmers Market harvests Sundays for makers amid continued growth

FRUITS OF LABOR

Pearl Farmers Market, a staple of the mixed-use San Antonio development since its groundbreaking launch in 2009, has grown into such a flourishing success that it’s branching out with a new structure.

Just in time for its 12th anniversary on Saturday, May 15, Pearl Farmers Market, which hosts more than 50 local vendors at its weekend market events, will split its offerings across weekend days. The farmers market will continue to take place on Saturdays from 9 am-1 pm, while Sundays will be reserved for its Makers Market.

The change will allow the Makers Market to expand and add more local artisans and producers who create culinary-inspired wares. Beginning May 16, shoppers will have access to more than 40 Makers Market vendors every Sunday from 10 am-2 pm.

With the knowledge that fresh, local produce just tastes better, some 6,000 shoppers flock to Pearl Farmers Market every week, where they can purchase produce from vendors who grow within a 150-mile radius of San Antonio.

And word seems to be sprouting up about the market elsewhere, even outside of Texas. USA Today recently noted that the farm-to-table movement has grown so popular in the U.S. that there are now more than 8,600 registered farmer markets in the country. The publication planted Pearl Farmers Market at the No. 5 spot on its nationwide list of Best Farmers Markets in 2021, making it the only Texas famers market to be ranked.

It was a welcome shout-out for the market, whose many producers have suffered recent setbacks thanks to the pandemic and the February winter storm that devastated many Texas crops.

“After such a trying year with the pandemic and the winter storm that threatened so many of our region’s producers, we are thrilled with the national recognition placing us in the top five for U.S. farmers markets,” says chief marketing officer Elizabeth Fauerso. “Pearl’s weekend markets have grown tremendously over the last dozen years. As part of our market’s evolution, we are creating a new structure that features Farmers Market on Saturdays and Makers Market on Sundays.”

As part of its 12th anniversary celebration, Pearl Farmers Market will be serving up some complimentary cupcakes to market shoppers on Saturday, May 15, while those tasty desserts last.

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Where to see the once-in-recorded-history green comet approaching San Antonio

Seeing green

The world is buzzing with news of an approaching astronomical body, Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), more often referred to in the news and social media as "the green comet." Its most recent appearance was 50,000 years ago — compared to the about 200,000 years since modern humans emerged.

"While the pictures of it have been impressive, its visual appearance differs greatly," explains Joe Wheelock, public program specialist at the McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas at Austin. "Currently you might glimpse it with the unaided eye as a fuzzy patch of light[,] but you would need to be away from city lights. Binoculars or a telescope would improve the view, and you might even glimpse a faint tail."

As tempting as it is — and as much fodder as its made on social media — this experience will not be easy for most Texans to photograph and share. "The pictures that have been posted on various websites were taken by experienced astrophotographers and in most cases cameras designed for astrophotography," Wheelock warns.

Some logistics to note when planning a viewing:

  • The comet will be closest to Earth (thus, likely the most visible) on February 1.
  • Wheelan says placement will also be good in late January and early February, and it will be best viewed after midnight. Since the new moon was on January 21, every day the moon will compete with it a little more.
  • The McDonald Observatory posts daily stargazing tips, so viewers will have a few chances at seeing something special, even if the comment doesn't work out.
  • Getting out of San Antn is the best bet against light pollution.

Those who are willing to make a trip out of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity should consider their best chances at out running the city lights. The closest popular option to San Antonio proper is McAllister Park, which sometimes hosts stargazing events. For a more structured approach, the Curtis Vaughan Jr. Observatory at the University of Texas at San Antonio hosts first Friday stargazing nights after sunset. The McDonald Observatory, although it is an entity of the University of Texas at Austin, is in Fort Davis, about 400 miles from San Antonio.

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) maintains records of some of the world's least light-polluted skies and works to protect them, ensuring that these places stay available for reliable stargazing retreats. There are four IDA-certified Dark Sky Parks in Texas: Enchanted Rock (90 miles from San Antonio), South Llano River (120 miles), Copper Breaks (370 miles), and Big Bend Ranch (490 miles).

In addition to the certified parks, there is a smaller group of Dark Sky Sanctuaries, which are especially dark and carefully protected. There are two in Texas: Devil's River State Natural Area (170 miles) and Black Gap Wildlife Management Area (390 miles).

For more in-depth reading on the comet's trajectory and context, Wheelan suggests an article in Sky & TelescopeSky & Telescope.

San Antonio suburb among the richest places in Texas for 2023, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio suburb cashes in among the richest places in Texas for 2023. Alamo Heights has been renamed the third richest place in Texas for 2023 in a recent study.

2. San Antonio home sales slowed in December 2022, report finds. San Antonio sold 36,477 homes all year, a 10 percent decrease from 2021.

3. Here are the top 5 things to do in San Antonio this weekend. Nina Simone, Pink Floyd, the Beatles and more music-centered events made our roundup of the best things to do in Alamo City this weekend.

4. San Antonio Home & Garden Show returns with HGTV star. Ati Williams will headline the San Antonio Spring Home & Garden Show, which takes place February 24-26.

5. H-E-B opens first location in growing San Antonio suburb. The state-of-the-art facility offers 110,000 square feet of floor space, providing everything from cat food to charcuterie.


Popular Pearl brunch spot remixes with new weekend DJ nights

OONCE OONCE OONCE

Though Full Goods Diner has barely been open for half a year, it has already become a San Antonio staple for working weekday lunches and lingering Sunday Fundays. Now the Pearl eatery is looking to be a hot spot after dark.

Via release, the popular local haunt just announced a new limited-time music series, Full Goods at Night. Starting on February 2, Full Goods Diner will open select evenings throughout the month.

The Full Goods at Night series will feature popular local San Antonio DJs, including El West Side Sound, Hector Gallego, DJ Plata, Steven Lee Moya, and Cami Gee. Guests can enjoy live sets while indulging in a specially curated food and drink offerings.

The menu will include some of Full Goods Diner's best—selling items, such as French toast sticks, barbacoa waffle fries, and jumbo cheesy tots. Libations like the Attaboy Negroni, Royal Bermuda Daiquiri, Pink G&T, and more will fuel the festivities.

In addition to enjoying moonlight brunch, guests can relish some prime people-watching. And, of course, the restaurant is just a hop from other nightlife destinations like Pink Hill, 3 Star Bar, and Summer Camp Bar, making it the perfect party starter.

The series runs every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from February 2-25, 6-10 pm. The complete DJ schedule is listed below.

February 2 — El West Side Sound·
February 3 — Hector Gallego
February 4— DJ Plata
February 9 — El West Side Sound
February 10 — Steven Lee Moya
February 11 — Cami Gee
February 16 — El West Side Sound
February 17 — Steven Lee Moya
February 18 — Hector Gallego
February 23 — El West Side Sound
February 24— Steven Lee Moya
February 25 — DJ Plata