I love farmer’s markets. About 15 years ago I discovered one on the north side of Baltimore. It was an hour’s drive from my apartment in College Park, and my mom thought I was nuts for driving that far when there were other markets much closer. But this one was huge. They had dozens of vendors selling everything you can imagine and more. And they had a vendor selling these amazing spring rolls. Yes, I drove all the way to Baltimore for spring rolls at a farmer’s market. But it was worth it. And I only did it about once a month and also stocked up on fresh produce. Once I moved to Columbia, it was a much shorter drive.
When I moved to Stillwater in ’07, I was so disappointed there was no farmer’s market in town. And when I did go to OKC or Tulsa to run errands, I was hitting all the stores we don’t have in Stillwater and honestly kind of forgot about finding a market. Then I found out that Stillwater does have a farmer’s market. But the times I went it was relatively small, and it was hit or miss to find the things I wanted.
About 6 weeks ago I was on Facebook and the Uptown 23rd Farmer’s Market popped up on my news feed. It’s in OKC, and it looks awesome. It’s only open the last Sunday of the month, and I had big plans to go at the end of May. But that was the same weekend OSU hosted the baseball regionals, and since we had lost Saturday we were playing the early game Sunday; therefore the market lost out to baseball. I’m definitely going this weekend.
Last week when I was planning my Dallas trip, I was online looking at restaurants. And suddenly it occurred to me to look into the Dallas Farmer’s Market. I knew nothing about it other than it’s Dallas, so figured they’ve got to have a big one. It’s in downtown Dallas and is open Thursday evenings, and then Friday – Sunday. Monday is the resale market, where I’m guessing farmers sell to stores.
The Farmer’s Market
The farmer’s market is split into 2 sections. The Shed is where you can find all the produce. The Market is currently being renovated. When it opens, it will have 4 anchor restaurants, local & specialty foods, and artisnal food vendors.
I wasn’t sure what the traffic was going to be like to get down there, and I knew it would get crowded, so I arrived at about 9am. There’s a lot of free parking nearby, and I was lucky enough to find one right around the corner from The Shed.
I definitely reached at the perfect time, because there weren’t more than about 50 shoppers. I love the chalkboard sign welcoming this week’s farmers
Fruits & Vegetables
There are 3 rows of vendors, selling everything you can think of. In season right now are tomatoes, onions, green beans, zucchini, melons, and berries, just to name a few
The above pictures are just a sampling of the fruits and veggies they had available. What I love is how fresh everything was! And the fact that several stands were offering samples. Everything just burst in your mouth. There’s no comparison to what you normally find in the grocery store that took who knows how long to get there.
One of the most interesting samples I came across was sugar cane juice
It’s nothing but juiced sugar cane. You would think it would be really sweet, but it’s not at all. Just very refreshing, and I really enjoyed it.
A couple other items I never thought I’d see at a farmer’s market were beans, peas, and mushrooms. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about the mushrooms, since they grow them. But I really don’t think I’ve ever seen them at a market. The baby bellas were huge, bigger than anything you’ll ever see in the grocery store. The beans definitely caught me off guard. And I saw 3 different vendors selling them.
I guess I really haven’t been to a market in a long time because I was kind of surprised at the amount of prepared food that I saw for sale. Like the fruit, there were samples at every turn. Mrs. Burk’s Buns instantly caught my eye with their desserts. I’m not usually a big dessert fan, but I couldn’t resist these. And when I started talking to the owners, I found out that they are located in Flower Mound! What a small word. They have pies, cinnamon buns, and homemade caramel corn. I absolutely couldn’t resist a sample of the almond toasted coconut bun. It was so good. Warm, moist, and delicious. I was worried it might be really rich, but it wasn’t at all. And they’ve got lots of different flavors, so it was all I could do not to sample every single one.
Even room temperature, it was excellent. I forgot to take a picture before we dug in, so this is after 2 bites. When I got home Sunday night, I warmed the rest up. It was absolutely amazing. The popcorn was delicious as well. I tried to be strong, but ended up buying the cinnamon bun and a bag of popcorn. Joni and I broke into the popcorn when I got back to the house. We devoured about 3/4 of it by Sunday morning, so I left it there so I wouldn’t be tempted anymore. We held out on the cinnamon bun until Sunday morning. I wanted her to try it before I left, since they’re right in her neighborhood
Texas Parcel sells pizza sauce and pasta sauce. Of course I had to stop by when I saw that they were doing samples over pasta!
The pasta sauce was good, but the pizza sauce was fantastic. It only has a few ingredients, but they make the sauce absolutely shine. The flavor burst of one bite is what sold me. I bought a bottle, and can’t wait to try it on my homemade pizza.
Sunnyvale Honey sells, you guessed it, honey! They also sell different types of eggs and meat.
I read a post the other day about commercial vs raw honey. I used to always buy the store brand honey. But like many other things, locally made/raw/natural is better than mass produced. I’ve been buying raw honey at the grocery store, but this honey was a lot better. Very smooth, tastes fresh, and absolutely no aftertaste. I bought a small one, but in hindsight should have gotten the bigger one. I’ll solve that when I go back in August.
The Pickle Shack Gourmet Pickles caught my eye because of the huge jars of samples as well as rows of the jarred product
I tried both the pickled cucumbers and pickles. They were both very good, and honestly I’m not sure which one I liked better. I considered buying some, but I know me. I wouldn’t eat them fast enough, then they would go bad, and then I would be annoyed. So I passed. The vendor jumped me a little when I took the picture of the pickle jars. I didn’t even really think about that, and quickly told him I’m a food blogger and that I was writing about the market. After that he was okay, especially when I mentioned that I would write about him. Note to self: always ask the vendors of packaged foods before taking pictures!
Freshly Cooked Food
Between missing breakfast and seeing all this food, I got hungry pretty quickly. At the end of the first row was homemade fried pies. He didn’t have any of the spicy meat pie ready, so I waited about 5 minutes for him to fry one up for me.
There was another food stand, this one for breakfast tacos. I went back to that one about 30 minutes after I ate the fried pie. Every time I looked there were people ordering and eating them, so of course I had to join the crowd and try them out. I was so bummed because they were out of barbacoa. That’s what I get for waiting. So I did one with chorizo & egg, and one with bean & cheese, and chose corn tortillas.
The fried pie had a little kick, and was very flavorful. But the middle was cold. I’m talking super cold. He definitely didn’t cook it long enough; I’m not sure if it was because he was rushing to cook it since I was waiting. I find it very hard to believe he would last long if that was normal. I thought about taking it back, but I was hungry and didn’t worry about it.
The chorizo was delicious. It was a little spicy, but not overpowering. The bean and cheese was very average. I added a little of the salsa, but that didn’t help much. It just didn’t do anything for me.
I’ve seen and heard both sides of the pet debate at public outdoor events. I can’t really decide where I stand. I’ve heard friends rant that they have the right to bring their pet. Maybe. But, not everyone likes dogs. And for events that are focused on food, there could be health/safety issues. The debate continues, and policies range from event to event.
The Baltimore market is not pet friendly. The Dallas market, however, is. There are even several vendors selling pet products, and some that have water bowls for the dogs.
I made it out of the market without spending my entire paycheck. Really though, the prices are really good, especially for the produce. When I got back to Joni’s house I went through all my stuff. I had some helpers immediately come running into the kitchen, thinking it was for them.
I’m really glad I took the time to visit the Dallas Farmer’s Market. I met wonderful farmers and vendors and got some great products. If I lived anywhere close I would most certainly be there every week. I can’t wait for The Market to open next spring so I can check out those restaurants and other shops.