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Dallas Farmers Markets
Shopping Local in Dallas
I'm in love with the idea of buying locally produced food, art, clothes, jewelry, and whatever else I can find. So, in an effort to expand my shopping local opportunities, I'm exploring the outdoor and farmers markets around my adopted home town: Dallas, Texas.
Texas, and especially Dallas, doesn't exactly have a reputation as a haven for green shopping. The Big D may not be Portland, or even Austin, but there's some really awesome people here selling some really awesome stuff. Read on to find out where you can get your very own steampunk ray (really water) gun, or honey so local it's got your zip code right on the bottle!
Dallas Farmers Market - The Big Cheese
The Dallas Farmers Market if the Grand Poobah of outdoor markets round these parts. Permanent covered pavilions (called sheds)that you can drive right into cover fruit and veggie stands, among other green growing things like nursery plants and fresh herbs. Buildings house local food producers. Bakers, pasta chefs, and vineyards all hawk there wares in air conditioned (or heated, depending on the season) comfort. The super cool thing about the DFM? It's open seven days a week, year round! The market only closes for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.
Merry's Tip: The DFM is a great resource, but if you're looking for local produce, be sure to get chatty with the stall owners. Not all of the beautiful fruit and veg comes from Texas, or even from the USA. Feel free to ask where the goods come from. The market provides Verified Local Farmer signs to verified local farmers, so be on the look out for those as well.
Cooking with (Local) Flavor - What To Do with All The Food You Bought
White Rock Local Market - A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That
The White Rock Local Market is a nice mix of foods, plants, and artsy/craftsy vendors. It's fairly compact, considering it's in a gas station parking lot. Yep, the Green Spot Market and Fuels, Dallas's premier "green" gas station features regular fuel as well as biodiesel, along with yummy treats like vegan frozen yogurt and fair trade coffee. On the second and fourth Saturday of March through December (see website for details), the market takes over the front lot, filling it with all sorts of locally produced fun stuff.
Merry's Tip: Carpool or take the bus to the market. Because the market is in a shopping center lot, parking can be a bit...unpredictable. Besides, if you carpool you'll have someone to chat with on the way back about all the awesome stuff you bought.
Food or Crafts? - What Do You Look For At An Outdoor Market?
Fresh air, bustling crowds, maybe a little live music wafting by. These are all pretty common at any outdoor market or fair. But, what about the goods? What gets you out of your air conditioned comfort and down to the site? Are you looking for local produce and a nice loaf of bread? Or does the sparkly jewelry and hand sewn aprons make your heart sing with delight? Sound out for your favorite part of an open air market here:
Food or Crafts: What's your favorite part of an outdoor market?
Food! Spiced nuts are a necessity at any outdoor event. Duh.
Deep Ellum Outdoor Market - Vintage Fun All 'Round
The Deep Ellum Outdoor Market leans more towards local art and crafts. Every third Saturday (except in January and February) local creative people gather together to hawk everything from vintage dresses to hand made soaps. Jewelry abounds, as well as used books and vinyl records. Food lovers aren't left out, though. Across the street from the covered pavilion there's bound to be a food truck selling lunch, as well as food vendors selling packaged yummies.
Merry's Tip: Be sure to ask the vendors for a map of Deep Ellum. The little pamphlet highlights the cool stuff to do in the neighborhood as well as provides you with a few deals on that cool stuff.
McKinney Farmers Market - Go North, Young Man!
Ok, so it may be a bit of a drive from Dallas proper, but I think the McKinney Farmers Market is worth it. I've only ever been to the Saturday morning (8am - 12pm) market at the historic Chestnut Square. Booths full of produce, canned goods, jewelry, baked goods, and flowers are tucked in amongst the beautiful buildings of this site. Trees shade the morning sun and grass borders the pathway that leads you through the market. It's a nice get away from the concrete and blacktop of the city.
Even though I've never been to the Thursday afternoon (2pm-6pm or sellout) at the Adriatica in West McKinney, I might just have to try it. Apparently, The Adriatica is a residential and commercial development modeled after a Croatian village. Usually, I'm not so fond of new developments (urban sprawl = icky), but at least this one seems fairly original.
Merry's Tip: When at the Chestnut Square, pop into the little store. They've got some refreshments as well as books and gifts. There's even a little display of tools and what-not of yesteryear. My big purchase at the shop? One of those awesome wooden fans that snap open with a flick of a wrist. I now have air conditioning stored in my purse where ever I go.
Show Some Love - Give a Shoutout to Your Fave Market
Are you a fellow lover of Dallas local markets? Give a little love and tell the world which one's your favorite. Did I forget your favorite? Vote for "Other" and drop a name in the comments. I'll go check out the market and add it to the list.
Which Dallas area outdoor market is your favorite?
Well, I hope this lens had inspired you to get out there and explore to local markets in the Dallas area - or where ever you are! Feel free to leave a comment telling me about your best experience at a market, or just why you love shopping local. Who knows, maybe we'll bump into each other at the fresh herb booth next weekend!