Despite the fact that it’s a big, thriving metropolis, Dallas has an excellent Farmer’s Market, and has for almost 70 years — it was established in 1941. It’s located right next to downtown, so all the local eateries can get wonderfully fresh produce at a moment’s notice.
Canny Dallas residents shop there too, because the prices are good and you can find just about everything that grows, from petunias and peas to potatoes and pineapples to pomegranates and papayas — and even a whole lot of produce that doesn’t start with a P. Plus you get a great view of the downtown skyline.
The west side of the Farmer’s Market, where most people enter, is fronted by a series of large plant nurseries which spill over into the Market itself. Though some trees, ornamentals, and vegetables are available, you’ll mostly find flowering plants there — acres and acres of them, some sitting in the sun and others viewable under awnings or in greenhouses. These were a few of the ones sitting in the sun the clear, bright day I visited.
As you proceed deeper east into the Market, you start to encounter the typical long, low pavilions you would expect in a place like this. The first few are enclosed, and dedicated to small retail stores and refreshment stands, as well as more nurseries and similar establishments — but when I visited they were maybe half-tenanted. They were pretty hot, too, depending more on large ceiling fans than air conditioners to moderate the temperature. They’re a good place to find trinkets and such, I guess. Further back, though, is where you find the open market pavilions, where they sell all manner of things raised on the farm. For example, these papayas and other fruit, which I suspect were imported from another country. They looked delicious, though.
Fruits are very popular fare at the Farmer’s Market, in fact, but needless to say it’s very unlikely that any of the fruit sold there is local. That can’t be said of the vegetables — there are a lot of small truck farms in the area that offer every type of vegetable your little heart could desire. Let’s see, in this next picture you can see peas, potatoes, two kinds of squashes, asparagus, tomatoes…oh, lots of stuff, including more fruit — pineapples, oranges, etc.
These open-air pavilions are more what I think of when I think of “Farmer’s Market.” They’re cool and interesting, the people are friendly, and the goodies are both wholesome and plentiful. Even better, if you’re of a mind, you can drive up into the pavilions and park. See what I mean?
Sure, it adds to the crowds, but it’s way convenient, no? On the other hand, if I was a merchant at the Market, I’d feel a little worried that some over-zealous driver might just drive right into my stands one day. That possibility doesn’t seem to faze most people, though, as you can see from the previous pics. In fact, some people just like to live dangerously.
Now, that’s a lotta eggs, and if you ask me it’s just an accident waiting to happen. There’s a reason I was a long way away from these eggs when I took the picture, and it wasn’t just so I could get them all in the shot. I <> can’t imagine what would happen if someone just bumped into them wrong. But you know, four bucks for a twenty-pack of eggs? That’s a pretty good price, right?
The Dallas Farmer’s Market is open from 7 AM-6 PM, Sunday through Saturday; it can’t hurt to pay it a visit if you’re in the downtown, West End, or Deep Ellum areas. It doesn’t cost you anything to venture inside and look around, but don’t be surprised if you end up paying a few bucks for some red, ripe tomatoes or freshly roasted peanuts (one of my personal favorites). You’ll find the place at 1010 South Pearl Expressway in Dallas. One warning: be sure you arrive early, especially if you go on the weekend, or you’ll have a lot of trouble finding a decent parking spot; the Market’s very popular. For more info, be sure to check out their website at http://www.dallasfarmersmarket.org/.