Sunnyside's Fresh Houwse Grocery owners Jeremy Peaches (l) and Ivy Walls.
Sunnyside's Fresh Houwse Grocery owners Jeremy Peaches (l) and Ivy Walls. Photo by Aswad Walker.

As individuals, Jeremy Peaches and Ivy Walls are both forces to be reckoned with. Together, they are darn near unstoppable. The two entrepreneur/activists each have thriving businesses of their own, but were brought together by a like-minded love of their community and passion for fresh foods grown by Black farmers.

Enter Fresh Houwes Grocery, the pair’s vehicle of resistance from the food desert reality that undermines the holistic health of Peaches’ and Walls’ beloved Sunnyside.

Fresh Houwse Grocery is a Black-owned grocer located in the heart of Sunnyside (5039 Reed Rd., Houston, TX 77033) that offers organic fruits, vegetables and much more, all produced by Black farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs.

Frank E. Burrell, now a regular Fresh Houwse customer, appreciates the multiple opportunities the place affords shoppers.

“The first time I walked in, a young lady explained to me who she was and where the vegetables were coming from, and they look great,” said Burrell. “Plus, we need to support our own businesses. We’ve been growing vegetables just as long as anybody else.”

Though Peaches and Walls are alums of Prairie View A&M University, the two didn’t meet until later, upon discovering their shared passion for Black farming and for delivering fresh foods to Black communities.

The Defender spoke with the two modern-day heroes about how their work together over the years led to the opening of Fresh Houwse Grocery.

DEFENDER: What was the impetus behind Fresh House Grocery?

PEACHES: Fresh House Grocery actually started because in 2021, UH came out with a study that in certain neighborhoods the gastrointestinal levels of individuals and the nutrient levels of lettuce and different foods in certain neighborhoods was poor quality and it was causing gastrointestinal issues. But at the end of that UH study, a year-long study during COVID, they didn’t necessarily have a solution for it. So, Ivy and I, we both grew up in Sunnyside. We both were already doing Black Farmer Boxes. And we felt like this may be another opportunity and outlet to provide access for our community. So, we go right in. We fundraise a certain amount of money to get the grocery store going. It was really a community effort, and it’s been great. It’s almost like reciprocity, like we’re giving back, providing solutions to problems.

DEFENDER: What is this Black Farmers Box that helped birth the grocery store?

PEACHES: So, Black Farmer Box is a weekly subscription box curated from local farmers, product makers and entrepreneurs. It has a meat, bread, two eggs, a protein, and also like a hard item that changes every week. You can buy this box online or you can come in the store. Black Farmer Box came in because during the pandemic, usually the farmers, especially African-American farmers, get paid only a tenth of what a product may cost in a store. Also, our farmers were really going through it during COVID, with farmers markets shutting down, climate change issues with the heat and prices of things skyrocketing. Since we were farmers ourselves, we felt like we should put something together for us and our fellow farmer and rancher friends. It started with about 10 boxes. Now, we probably have distributed thousands of them.

  • Sunnyside's Fresh Houwse Grocery owners Jeremy Peaches (l) and Ivy Walls.

DEFENDER: How does it feel to be in this spot right here and right now?

WALLS: I think it’s still surreal. I don’t think Jeremy and I really understand what we have done and what we’re doing for ourselves and our community. I think when you’re in the fields, you imagine these kinds of moments when you’re putting the seed into your ground, and to actually see it harvested and going to someone that looks like you. Planting it for someone who looks like you and having them come shop and pick it up, it’s amazing.

DEFENDER: Where did your love of food, gardening, farming come from?

WALLS: I come from a large, agricultural family. My dad has 17 brothers and sisters and they’re all about sustenance. The way they grew up is they had to know how to hunt, fish, harvest, and things like that. And that’s just embedded in me.

PEACHES: My real last name is Peaches. So, I was doing research, and realized farming was already in me. Like, even how my family got their last name on my grandfather’s side. On my grandmother’s side, they were Choctaw Indian. They grew up on the reservation. So, we always had this connection to the land. But my grandfather, and even generations before that, they worked on one of the largest peach plantations in Orchard. So, it’s like in my blood. But I didn’t really realize that until later on in life, even with having the last name Peaches. But, I actually went to college at PVAMU for agriculture. I interned for the USDA and forest service. I always trained and rode horses around Houston. I always had a love and passion for plants and animals. So, it was just something that I love to do that eventually it turned into me wanting to do it for my community.

DEFENDER: When did y’all meet?

WALLS: Well, I slid in Jeremy’s DMs and he ghosted me for a bit. But we ended up finding people that we know in common. And he came out to my farm to help me, actually. He did a consultation on my farm for an irrigation system. Jeremy’s just a really great guy and he’s all-around when it comes to farming. He’s really set his feet in the ground and I’m proud to be a part of his journey.

DEFENDER: Where do you see Fresh House Grocery in the next five, 10 years?

WALLS: I see us in a supermarket space. I see this being a flagship and education space. I see us having multiple locations around Houston. And I see us setting citywide plans for urban agriculture in other major cities.

DEFENDER: Can you tell us something about the name Fresh Houwse Grocery?

WALLS: Yes. So, Jeremy is Fresh Life Organics and Fresh Life Germo. And my farm is Ivy Leaf Farms. And my store is called Greenhouwse. And like I said, I have a big family. My last name is Walls and they’re from Ohio and Pennsylvania. And so, they say “owt” (out) and “houwse” (house). And so, the “Houwse” is just homage to that “houwse” kind of mid-western pronunciation.

DEFENDER: How can people subscribe to the Black Farmers Box?

PEACHES: You can go to and order a weekly box or you can order a box for a month. You can come pick it up in Fresh Houwse Grocery. But also, if you want to come in the store and purchase the box, you can, as well.

DEFENDER: So, the Black Farmer’s Box started in 2020.

PEACHES: Black Farmer Box started in 2020. So, from Thanksgiving 2020 for a year long, we did the box. Well, a year later, in August of 2021, we started campaigning for Fresh Houwse Grocery. That took a year to even build the store out. So, at the same time we continued to do Black Farmer Box. But here now, Thanksgiving of 2022, two years later from the start of doing Black Farmer Box, we opened up Fresh Houwse Grocery. So, it’s truly been like a community effort.

DEFENDER: How has Fresh Houwse Grocery been received by the community?

PEACHES: With open arms And also inclusive, because that’s what it is. First, you’ve got to impact your community, the people around you. And we are starting to see that change. Also, we are starting to create a culture of change and acceptance and access with food, which is something we all have. But second, we have people coming from other sides of town, driving 40 minutes. We have people that travel from Florida, Colorado, California, when they’re coming to take these trips to Houston they say, “We had to stop by Fresh Houwse Grocery. I’ve even had individuals come from Beaumont just to come shop with us. It’s an awesome thing. It’s a community thing.

DEFENDER: How can the community help Fresh Houwse Grocery?

PEACHES: We just hired our first two individuals. We are also looking to open the second store, but more importantly, to reach other neighborhoods, other food desert communities. A big part of this is transportation. So, we need transportation so we can set up a program where not only can we hire people to do deliveries similar to Uber, Uber Eats, but delivery specifically for fresh, nutritious produce. So, we need refrigerators too. We also need more farmers. We need more product-makers. Ww need more entrepreneurs. So, if you have more farmers, more gardeners, entrepreneurs, you might have a product and you want to get your product in the store, come stop by and show us what you have. And if it aligns with what we’re doing with the food, it allows other individuals to have an opportunity to grow their business. So that’s what we need. And more love.

DEFENDER: Can you share how your love of farming has expanded to your total way of life?

PEACHES: It’s now with my business. And it’s like my life from a philanthropic standpoint. I’m loving it because I’m watching other young African Americans or just kids in general, people in general, change their life and want to get into farming and do farming. Because the look of a farmer has already always been associated with African Americans or Blacks as an enslaved person, to jailed prisoners; all these negatives. But it is never been honed in on as a way of life, a culture; something that we always do or have done (before slavery and beyond prison walls). And I think that’s what’s starting to change. And also technology and making it cool. Because I make farm music too. And Ivy, she has a clothing line for farming, outdoor overalls. I do documentaries about farming and gardening. It’s like this new generation, the culture is open to it. And it is in me and I’m just seeing people make the change.

DEFENDER: Do you also cultivate farming gear?

WALLS: I had to figure out how to pay for my farm’s irrigation system . And also, when it comes to clothing for farming and outdoors wear, they’re not made for Black women’s butts or bodies. So, I had to make something that I could wear and be comfortable in. I’m working on improving my design so that they’re comfortable and available for everyone.

DEFENDER: How are y’all going to pick the next location?

PEACHES: So just like when we picked it in Sunnyside, we don’t really move off money. It’s not about the money, it’s about where the need is. Traditionally, you hear these terms, “food desert,” “food access,” “food apartheid;” all these connotations. But it really doesn’t have any boundary lines. When you get to corporate companies, they pick the location based on income. So, if you’re not making $40,000 – $50,000 a year, your median or average income, a big box grocery store is not gonna come to your neighborhood because it’s about money. It’s about the bottom line. For us, we look at the statistics and the numbers and the research to say, “Hey, in these communities it’s a food desert issue. It’s a food access issue.” Also, even in Houston you have the five complete communities. All of them are food deserts. All of them are places where you see a lot of people with health issues.

So, that’s where we really want to go. Not based off the money, but based off the need. And big box companies feel as though just because these individuals don’t necessarily have the right median income from a numbers or statistics standpoint, that they won’t be able to afford these things (fresh fruits and vegetables), and it’s not true. We’re here in Sunnyside and we are selling fresh produce, fresh food, fresh products every week from local producers. So, it’s not necessarily about going big, but filling the need.

DEFENDER: Can you share a word with the young folk out there as to why they need to think about this life?

WALLS: No farmers, no food. Period.


Ivy Walls is the owner and operator of Ivy Leaf Farms. The farm is dedicated to neighborhood beautification while creating sustainable food sources for Sunnyside, Houston Texas

Jeremy Peaches is owner and operator of Fresh Life Organic Produce Co. & Agricultural Consulting Firm. He specializes aquaponics, hydroponics and traditional soil farming.


Store Days/Hours: Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Aswad Walker

I'm originally from Cincinnati. I'm a husband and father to six children. I'm an associate pastor for the Shrine of Black Madonna (Houston). I am a lecturer (adjunct professor) in the University of Houston...