Category Archives: Coffee Shops

Rooftop Gardening at the Local Corner Market

The Corner Market on Lower Greenville is a coffee shop, bakery, and florist for the M Street neighborhood. This is not just your regular market though; it is a community of friends, neighbors, and familiar faces.

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The baristas know most of their customers by name and even have their drink orders memorized by heart. I visit the Corner Market weekly for their chai tea latte and a slice of their “famous” cuatro leches cake.

The rooftop garden. (Photo by Alyssa Stills)

As you walk up to the Corner Market on the corner of Greenville and McCommas, you may notice their rooftop garden. I wanted to find out more about this garden, so I met with the owner, Chuck Cole, who was more than happy to give me a tour of his rooftop.

Chuck Cole, owner of The Corner Market since 2005. (Photo by Alyssa Stills)

Chuck, an engineer and graduate of University of Texas, told me how he wanted to have only the freshest ingredients for his recipies. Good ingredients can be quite costly, but he noticed that he had a great place to grow his own right on his roof.

He began growing all of the main ingredients he uses in his cold salads and sandwiches, with only a few exceptions. Using his engineering skills, he developed a self-sustaining garden ecosystem. He waters his rooftop garden by capturing an impressive 95% of their refrigerant condensate water and using it to water the plants.

I wanted to do something with all this space up here [on the roof], and it’s a great place to grow flowers for the shop. – Chuck Cole

Some eggs one customer was lucky enough to get ahold of. When I visited the Corner Market, they were unfortunately fresh out. (Tweet by Stephanie M. Casey)

Not only does Chuck grow all of his own ingredients and flowers, he also has his own beehive, and he raises his own chickens for eggs. His bees pollinate his plants, and he sells the honey they produce in the shop.

He is especially proud of one breed of chicken he owns; a swedish flower hen. This chicken lays small gray spotted eggs Chuck claims are especially delicious.