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Parking at the Dallas Farmers Market was so crunched last Saturday that even the overflow lot two blocks away at Dallas Scottish Rite was full.
Good sign or bad?
On the plus side, it augers well for the market as destination — a must-visit site where folks can stroll, hang out or get a quick bite of just about anything, from soft-serve ice cream to Korean fried chicken. The longest line for grab-and-eat Saturday? Brunchaholics, hands down, where the attraction was a soul-food burrito filled with collard greens, smoked turkey, mac and cheese and fried catfish.
You can pick up handicrafts by local artisans and imported from lands afar. Or inhale the heady aroma of fresh lavender, which was part of a display last Saturday highlighting local growers of the aromatic herb, complete with a vintage, powder-blue Chevy pick-up.
But for those who still yearn for the Dallas Farmers Market of old, it’s time to turn that lavender into a wreath, as several folks were doing at a table nearby. Because that market is dead and gone.
The Dallas Farmers Market was singling out and celebrating lavender growers last weekend, which filled the shed with a heady aroma.
The farmers aren’t gone. There are still good growers, some of whom mix in produce that’s clearly labeled from neighboring farms. Last week Williams Farm from Jacksonville brought ripe tomatoes from the famous growing area to augment their own beautiful squash, herbs and more. Winona Orchards was selling gorgeous East Texas peaches. Altogether, about a dozen growers were sharing their seasonals, from Texas corn to cantaloupe.
The ranchers aren’t gone. You can still savor pasture-raised meats from longtime vendor Juha Ranch, farmstead chèvre from Lost Ruby Ranch, and eggs laid by free-roaming hens from Bois D’Arc Meat Co., to name a few.
Neither are the artisan producers gone. D’s Sourdough has expanded from fragrant loaves to include sourdough doughnuts, brioche and sweet rolls (resistance is futile). Eden Hill Winery and Vineyard from Celina is a super find. And Victoria Chefina, branching out from home-base Rockwall Farmers Market, offers swoon-worthy handmade chocolates and caramels.
Then there’s The Market building, with its own artisan lures, from Scardello’s top-notch cheeses to broths and soups at Stocks & Bondy. Market Provisions continues to be a gem — a mini farmers market filled with everything from produce, including a first for me, purple daikon, to eggs from Fruth Farms Southwest. It’s all there during the week too, after the hubbub dies down.
At the microgreens table at the Dallas Farmers Market, the little sprouts are well labeled plus a sandwich board tells which varieties are available.
So why am I not doing cartwheels? Because the droves of people that pack the Dallas market these days under the fan-cooled canopy still aren’t necessarily there for the farmers and ranchers who are the soul of a farmers market. Too many lookers aren’t translating into buyers.
At this point, the Dallas Farmers Market is what it is. You just have to take it on its own festive terms. You can still find exquisite tomatoes. Sweet corn. Tasty microgreens. But you might get ambushed by some pulled-pork cheese fries along the your way.
More parking is on the way. Shed and Market manager Beth Clem says the market is adding the garage at 2000 Elm St. with shuttle service to and from. And the market is hosting a watermelon festival Aug. 4.
A couple dozen food vendors, like Wu Dujour Asian Kitchen, line the northern edge of the Dallas Farmers Market.
Clearfork Farmers Market: 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. 4801 Edwards Ranch Road, Fort Worth (The Trailhead at Clearfork). farmersmarket1848.com.
Coppell Farmers Market: 8 a.m. to noon, Saturdays. 768 W. Main St., off Bethel Road. 972-304-7043. coppellfarmersmarket.org.
Cowtown Farmers Market: 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. 3821 Southwest Blvd., Fort Worth, under the tents in the parking lot of Texas Outdoors, on the Weatherford traffic circle (the confluence of U.S. 377, State Highway 183 and Camp Bowie). 817-763-0193. Facebook: Cowtown Farmers Market.
Dallas Farmers Market: The Shed, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Closed Monday-Thursday. The Market food hall, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily (until 8 p.m. Fridays). 1010 S. Pearl Expressway. 214-664-9110. dallasfarmersmarket.org.
Edens Organic Garden Center and CSA Farm: Market days, 9 a.m. to noon first, third and fifth Saturdays through December. 4710 Pioneer Road, Balch Springs. edensorganicfarm.com.
Farmers Branch Market: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturdays. The Grove at Mustang Crossing, 12700 Denton Drive, Farmers Branch. farmersbranchmarket.com.
Farmers Market of Grapevine: 325 S. Main St. Year-round store: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. 520 S. Main. farmersmarketofgrapevine.com.
Frisco Fresh Market: Outdoor market 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. Nain Street at Frisco Street, adjacent to the east side parking lot of Toyota Stadium, Frisco. friscofreshmarket.com.
Frisco Rotary Farmers Market: 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. 8821 4th St., Frisco. friscorotaryfarmersmarket.com.
Four Seasons Market-Carrollton: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. 2722 N. Josey Lane. fourseasonsmarkets.com.
Four Seasons Market-Casa Linda: Noon to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Casa Linda Plaza, 9440 Garland Road, Dallas. fourseasonsmarkets.com.
Four Seasons Market-Colleyville: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. 100 Main St., Colleyville. fourseasonsmarkets.com.
Four Seasons Market-Flower Mound: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. 1500 Cross Timbers Road. fourseasonsmarkets.com.
Four Seasons Market-Highland Village: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. 2230 Justin Road. fourseasonsmarkets.com.
Four Seasons Market-Las Colinas: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. 7701 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving. fourseasonsmarkets.com.
Four Seasons Market-Richardson: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Dal-Rich Towne Square, 101 S. Coit Road. fourseasonsmarkets.com.
Georgia’s Farmers Market: Open daily. 916 15th St., Plano. 972-516-4765. Facebook: Georgia’s Farmers Market.
Grand Prairie Farmers Market: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Market Square, 121 W. Main St. gptx.org.
Historic McKinney Farmers Market: 8 a.m. to noon, Saturdays. Chestnut Square Historic Village, 315 S. Chestnut St., McKinney. 972-562-8790. chestnutsquare.org.
Lakewood Village Farmers Market: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. Mockingbird at Abrams, Dallas. goodlocalmarkets.org.
Lancaster Market: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., second Saturdays. Historic Town Square, 112 E. Cedar St. Lancaster-tx.com (search for "Lancaster Market").
Local Market: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the third Saturday of the month through June, then September through November. Highland Park Village, Preston Road at Mockingbird Lane, Dallas. Hpvillage.com/LOCAL.
Lola’s Local Market: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Home of Lola the pig. 1771 Kever Main (off State Highway 5), Melissa. Facebook: Lola’s Local Market.
Luscombe Farm Market: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every second and fourth Sunday. 8649 Luscombe Farm Drive, Anna. 214-212-0814. luscombefarm.com.
Ridgmar Farmers Market: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays. 900 State Highway 183 N. (across from Ridgmar Mall), Fort Worth. 817-246-7525.
Rockwall Farmers Market: 8 a.m. to noon, Saturdays. 101 Rusk St., historic downtown Rockwall square. rockwallfarmersmarket.org.
St. Michael’s Farmers Market: 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. North parking lot, St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, 8011 Douglas Ave., Dallas. saintmichaelsmarket.com.
West Plano Farmers Market: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Corner of Plano Parkway and Chapel Hill. The Shops at Willow Bend, 6121 W. Park Blvd. Facebook: Red Tent Markets.
White Rock Farmers Market: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Lake Pointe Church, 9150 Garland Road, Dallas. goodlocalmarkets.org.