Since 2013, six retailers and restaurants have opened in Katy to cater to consumers who want to eat locally sourced or organic foods.

Recognizing the push toward fresh local food in Katy, Aaron Lyons chose the area to be the location of his second farm-to-table restaurant in February.

"People are paying more attention to what they're putting in their bodies and where it comes from," Lyons said. "They have more access to information and research and they're responding accordingly. People like to know the ingredients in their salad, or [that] the steak they're eating came from a local farm or ranch, and not from halfway across the U.S. or another country."

According to the results of a 2013 survey by the National Grocers Association, consumers across the country are increasingly concerned where their food is being produced. The results of the NGA survey found that 85 percent of American consumers say they choose where to buy their groceries based on whether a store sells local organic produce. Similarly the survey shows that 45 percent of Americans claim to eat locally grown foods three or more times each week.

Buying locally

Since 2013 three grocery stores–Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Market and Trader Joe's–that specialize in selling locally grown and organic produce have opened in Katy.

"Since opening our Whole Foods Market Katy location, feedback from the local community has been overwhelmingly warm and welcoming," said Jeanette Webster, Houston media and community relations manager for Whole Foods. "Katy is an active, close-knit community that has been asking for Whole Foods Market for years, and we're excited to help meet their healthy living needs."

Webster said the store attempts to sell homegrown food from local farmers and producers whenever possible, including produce from two Katy-based farms.

"Most of our local products are sourced from right here in Texas," Webster said. "A few of our favorite local producers in Katy include Oriya Organics and Whole Note Food Company."

Based in Austin, Whole Foods was followed into the Katy market by Arizona-based Sprouts Farmers Market and California-based Trader Joe's. Sprouts opened in March 2013, while Trader Joe's opened at LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch in February 2014.

A fourth grocery store offering locally sourced and organic food, Harvest Natural Market, is under construction in Katy at 25600 Westheimer Parkway.

The business, which operates a restaurant and grocery store in west Houston under the name Harvest Farm to Market, will open a 28,000-square-foot location in May, said project manager Jason Ergen.

"It's going to be a one-stop shop," he said. "Whenever you shop at [other health-focused grocery stores] you also have to go to a conventional grocery store because you can't buy everything you need there. At our store you'll find pretty much everything you need."

Ergen said 70 percent of the produce sold at the store will be organic. The store will also feature several unique fresh-food concepts, he said.

"Our concept will allow you to eat different fresh cuisines," he said. "It's a combination of grocery store and restaurant with a coffee shop, a make-your-own pasta bar, a salad bar and a grill where you can order grilled steaks and other meats made-to-order."

Eating locally

For Katy residents who want to eat locally sourced or organic foods without getting behind the stove, restaurants Dish Society and Snap Kitchen opened at LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch this year.

Dish Society serves its own spin on traditional dishes such as truffle macaroni and cheese as well as healthier fare like the quinoa stuffed avocado, Lyons said.

"The idea behind our menu is letting the freshness and quality of our ingredients speak for themselves," Lyons said. "We start with the highest quality produce, meat and eggs from in or around Houston, and use them for modern takes on traditional favorites with a Southern influence–things like collards and sweet potatoes to shrimp and grits or our brisket and eggs. The menu wasn't necessarily meant to be healthy per se, but we use the best quality, locally sourced ingredients and do very little to them to let them shine."

Since opening, Lyons said diners in Katy have embraced the restaurant's focus on fresh food.

"Consumers enjoy the intrinsic value of farm-to-table offerings," he said. "It's awesome to talk directly to the source and to be able to physically see the tomatoes and kale [the restaurant serves] before they are picked. You get to really know your suppliers."

Snap Kitchen first opened its doors in Austin in 2010 and opened its first Katy location in January. The business strives to sell healthy and convenient meal options, said Claire Siegel, registered dietician for Snap Kitchen Houston.

"We prioritize local and organic ingredients and make really delicious food that is convenient and really good for you," Siegel said. "We serve a variety of different needs to a variety of different people–some people use us as a grocery store and never cook for themselves, or busy moms come in to grab lunch for the day."

The eatery sells individually portioned breakfast items, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert. Meal options include quinoa hash and green chile and chicken enchiladas.

"We like to take traditional comfort foods and have our registered dieticians come in [and] tweak it to make it much better for you," Siegel said.

The restaurant's dishes come in three different sizes that range in calories from 250-600 a serving and adhere to several types of dietary restrictions, Siegel said. The company offers appointments with registered dieticians to fine-tune meals and deliver specialty meals for people with food allergies and gluten intolerance.

"The only item containing gluten in our store is our pita chips, so we're

99 percent gluten-free," she said. "We have dietary icons that we use in the store to depict which dietary attributes each meal has. They denote if something is vegan, vegetarian, or low in sugar for those with diabetes."