After the City of Dallas sold the Dallas Farmers Market off to a private entity, market goers were promised big changes. When the market reopened on September 1, it was a little difficult to tell what exactly had changed. Shed 2, the former home of Pecan Lodge, is completely closed as the group renovates the building for new vendors, and the newly christened "The Shed" sat completely empty.
But Shed 3 was open and totally packed with vendors. This shed formerly housed large-scale produce distributors, but now the focus is back on the farmers. Before the makeover, the produce on offer here was just like the fruits and vegetables you find at the supermarket, like Chiquita bananas and Dole oranges. Now the space is almost completely devoted to local farmers and artisan food purveyors.
There was some concern that the Farmers Market's new owners would scare off old tried-and-true vendors, but most have stayed. Market mainstay Kurry King may have been downgraded to a few card tables from their former space in Shed 2, but they were still there selling their diverse offering of spices from around the globe. Lemley Farms was still there, with baskets of peaches and tomatoes that were surprisingly good for this late in the season. Put simply, the best of the old Dallas Farmers Market is still there.
But it is the new vendors who are breathing new life into this space that was neglected by the city for far too long. If you haven't made it out to see the transformation of the Dallas Farmers Market, let these six vendors and their delicious offerings convince you to make the drive.
Pop Star Popsicles After a few years of ups and downs in the popsicle slinging business, Pop Star Popsicles has finally gotten its footing, and part of that means opening up a cart at the Farmers Market. Owner John Doumas is known for creating perfectly-frosty popsicles with nuanced flavors, a perfect way to cool off while you lug all your produce back to the car. Flavors rotate daily, but apple rose, Texas peach and raspberry limeade have recently been on offer.
Taste This Pickle All innuendo aside, you really do want to taste Taste This Pickle's pickles. Owner Valerie Currie's creative pickles are so good that Oprah Winfrey once featured them on her show. Do not walk by this booth without trying a sample of their spicy chicken pickle, which, as it proclaims on the jar, smells like a batch of frying spicy chicken. Fans also rave about the spicy mango pickle.
Hannah's Gluten Free Bakery Good gluten-free baked goods are hard to come by, but Hannah's Gluten Free Bakery has figured out the magic. Owner Larissa Wilson started experimenting with gluten-free baking when she was diagnosed with Celiac disease, and now makes donuts, cakes, cookies, and bread for people who can't tolerate gluten. Even gluten-lovers will love her surprisingly airy cupcakes and oatmeal raisin cookies. I honestly couldn't tell the difference.
Boom! Juice You're supposed to go to the farmers market to buy healthy stuff, and there's nothing healthier than cold-pressed juice. Boom! Juice used to operate in Shed 2 but has found a temporary home in Shed 3. In the little cart, you'll find freshly pressed green juice, a refreshing and sweet watermelon juice, and "the best citrus juice ever," made with oranges, grapefruit, ginger, and cayenne pepper. There are also some paleo desserts and other goodies on offer that you won't feel guilty about eating.
V. Tali Ice Cream When she's not cooking up healthy vegan and vegetarian meals for her catering clients, Olive+Oats owner Rachael Abrams is churning up dairy and egg-free vegan ice cream. If you're used to the usual stuff made with milk, the texture of vegan ice cream might be a little different, but the flavors are good enough to justify a little meltiness. Bring a cooler bag so you can pick up a few pints, because it's going to be hard to decide between banana, pistachio, and peanut butter.
Brazos Valley Cheese There's little better than fresh cheese, especially when it's made fresh a few hours away, in Waco at Brazos Valley Creamery. These award-winning cheesemakers are known for their their old-style artisanal cheeses, like the Eden, a rich and flavorful brie that is dusted with a layer of vegetable ash before being wrapped in farm-grown fig leaves. Pick up some fruit and crackers on the way out and you've got yourself the makings of a proper cheese plate.