An Albertsons grocery story once sat at the corner of Mockingbird and Abrams in East Dallas. It closed, and for years, that giant part of the strip of businesses has sat empty and dormant, pulling down the whole look of an area that has otherwise seen good business.
Now there’s more hustle and bustle on that southeast corner, at least on Sunday mornings. Lakewood Farmers Market is providing fresh, locally produced foods, and vendors and residents say it’s a welcome sight.
“Most of the people here are saying they’ve never even heard of the White Rock Market, so all new people are getting exposed to local food,” says John Ramos, who runs Urban Chicken Ranching and sold out of fresh eggs before 9:30 a.m. last week.
Both White Rock and Lakewood markets are operated by Good Local Markets. At both locations, shoppers can expect quality: Vendors are required to come from a 150-mile radius of Dallas and must grow or make their own products. That means the person handing you the basket of squash is the one who grew it.
“You never really know if it’s the real thing or not,” Lakewood market-goer Alejandro Cisneros says. “Here, you can smell those onions from the street when you pull up.”
The Lakewood market offers a decent number of vendors making up two rows. You can find local artisans mixed in with farmers selling food you really do smell before you see.
We’re in a good season right at this moment: For a few weeks you can get blackberries, which sold quickly for vendors Jackie and Scott Bailey last weekend.
“We just picked those this morning,” Scott Bailey told one customer who started to pick up a container, then promptly handed over cash.
“We were at White Rock yesterday. We sold more by now here than we did all day yesterday,” Scott Bailey said.
The new market’s popularity could stem from the notion that people are excited to go somewhere new. A regular Sunday morning run to White Rock Coffee can easily turn into a walk across the street to peruse something to cook for lunch.
Or it could be that the area really needs this market. Going to the other side of the lake isn’t all that far, by either car or bike. But it’s a heck of a lot nicer to feel like you’re staying in the neighborhood to hit the weekend market.
“It’s nice to have a Sunday market,” says East Dallas resident Kathy Futrell, who recently moved from Seattle and is used to seeing sprawling markets in communities. “I’ve been to the one on Garland, but we’re happy there’s one in our neighborhood. I imagine it will grow.”
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Right now you can also find peaches among the mix of fruits and vegetables for the season. Walking through any market like this reminds you what food should be all about.
“The farmers are really the reason why we’re here,” Ramos says.
Lakewood Farmers Market, 6434 E. Mockingbird Lane, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.