Coronavirus

Fruit Stands Are Essential, and That's Why North Oak Cliff Has a New One

Micho's Oak Cliff offers curbside fruits on West Davis Street.
Micho's Oak Cliff offers curbside fruits on West Davis Street. Lauren Drewes Daniels
Carlos de la Fuente initially opened a produce stand and small grocery store at an old gas station and garage in North Oak Cliff in 1989. In 2005, he hired Alex Segreto to make piñatas at the store on West Davis Street. Soon, the craft business overtook the grocery options. 

Now, anyone who passes by the spot might giggle (or cry) at the inventive, pop-culture papier-mâché creations that Segreto comes up with at ABC Party HQ. A recent example is the bright red and green COVID-19 molecule piñatas that dangle in the wind begging to get beaten with a bat. Another is the Donald Trump piñata with a trademark red tie and a blondish-orange wave of hair. Is it filled with bad decisions and regret? No one can say for sure just yet, but probably not regret.

But, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the county ordered all non-essential business to shut down, Fuente was forced to close his entire party supply store for 10 weeks. Obviously, piñatas aren't essential — unless you earn your living making and selling them. 

Fuente says he has entire families working at his business, and the stress of that had a huge effect on him. He wanted to make sure he would never again be forced to shut down because his business isn't essential, so he had a trailer retrofitted to be a fruit stand.

Selling fruit and groceries is twofold: produce is readily and easily accessible, curbside basically, for the local community, and the business is essential.

It seems to be a healthy and clever solution.

Micho’s Oak Cliff Central Market is a simple trailer topped with a turquoise canopy and stuffed with boxes of fruit.

click to enlarge The essential-deeming fruit stand - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
The essential-deeming fruit stand
Lauren Drewes Daniels
The stand opened five weeks ago, and Segreto says they’ve been staying busy. The variety of fruits and vegetables will rotate seasonally, and Fuente would like to incorporate local produce, if possible. Right now, at the end of the local farmers' season, Fuente's having to go farther south, such as the Rio Grande Valley, he says.

"Next spring, we will bring in local and as much organic as possible," he says.

Watermelons with dark red meat and bright mangos are the best sellers for now. 

Micho's is cash-only at the stand, but customers can go inside ABC Party HQ if they want to use a credit or debit card. 

“I need honey,” Fuente said recently looking to bring in products from the neighborhood.

So, if you know some bees with some extra honey in the North Oak Cliff area, have them buzz by.

Micho's Oak Cliff Central Market, 1414 W. Davis St. (North Oak Cliff). Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.