At yesterday's farmers market set-up in Mockingbird Station, turnout was relatively small but nonetheless familiar. Brandon Pollard, a favorite at the downtown Dallas Farmers Market, wore his trademark honeybee costume, complete with wings and antennae. (See for yourself in our brief slideshow.) His wife Susan wore earrings shaped like bees and a veiled beekeeping hat. Paul Wackym, who calls himself (and his cookie company) "The Baker Man," sported a jaunty straw hat with a sunflower attached to it. A tanned, wiry Marie Tedei spoke with enthusiasm about organic farming. Margie Haley, a beloved member of the White Rock Neighborhood Association, cut a pastoral figure with a red dress and a basket of home-grown eggs.
Mockingbird Station plans to host a farmers market every Thursday, from 5 to 8 p.m., throughout May. And folks behind the city-run market downtown consider the small newcomer a welcome addition: Sol Calinao, a marketing rep for the Dallas Farmers Market, tells Unfair Park, "Our biggest day here is the weekends. If [farmers] are there on a Thursday, they can bring people here on a Saturday. It's a win-win for both."
She may be right: The crowd that wanders through Mockingbird Station on a weeknight might not think to go to the downtown market -- until they get addicted to Tedei's radishes or the Pollards' local honey. Pam Baker, the general manager of Mockingbird Station, said a farmers market is a means of tapping into "the green theme."
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The Pollards, as readers of the paper version of Unfair Park will recall, have dubbed themselves "urban bee wranglers"; their goal is to rescue hiveless bees and help rebuild their hives until they can find qualified or aspiring beekeepers who can look after the hive -- sort of like honeybee foster care. They brought their buzzing hive with them, and a steady stream of young children dragged their parents toward it, pointing out the working bees with fascination.
Wackym has a less agricultural story. He used to be in product development at Neiman Marcus, where he got a feel for the best cakes and candies on the market. Last fall, he took that knowledge and applied it to a cookie business called The Baker Man, which produces all-natural (real butter, cane sugar) cookies in creative flavors such as margarita (key lime and sea salt) and chocolate snickerdoodle. The Baker Man's motto: "Life is Sweet; Eat Great Treats."
Tedei, a longtime organic farmer, usually sells her produce at her own garden shop in Balch Springs and to local restaurants, but yesterday she brought Mockingbird Station radishes, lettuce, several varieties of starter plants and a winning smile. But while Tedei's the one whose produce you want to buy, Haley's the one from whom every aspiring urban farmer can learn.
Taking advantage of Dallas' ordinance allowing chickens (but not roosters), Haley got herself nine hens last August. Every night, they go up to roost together; every morning they come down and lay eggs all day -- three or four eggs
each in the winter, and up to eight a day in the summer, Haley says. In all, since she started, Haley's gotten 870 free eggs for her family and friends. City ordinance aside, Haley says jokingly, she may have to sneak in a rooster to make sure she gets another generation of good layers.