If you ask people who do a lot of work with outdoor markets, they'll tell you that one of the most important components is walkability. It's not enough that shoppers be able to walk around the market, exploring stall after stall -- a vast majority of them should be able to walk to it, too. This is what helps connect a market to its neighborhood.
That's what's so exciting about the Uptown Farmers Market, which starts this weekend. After a few years without a market (previous attempts failed), the neighborhood is giving a Saturday-morning market another shot. Venders are limited, but they always are when markets get started. Let's think instead about where this market could be headed.
Picture this, residents of Uptown: You jump out of bed on a Saturday morning around 7:30, tuck your bedhead under a cap or hoodie and head out the door. After a few blocks you stop for a nice coffee and croissant, and after you're properly fueled you duck into the market with your hemp bag in tow.
Because you're there early, you spend some time pouring over the tomatoes, picking the ones with the brightest color, with a scent that jumps out of its skin. You pick up a dozen eggs, some fresh basil, and on your way out you grab a crusty baguette before you head home and assemble the best lunch you've had all month.
This kind of romance isn't as possible if markets aren't tightly woven into their surrounding neighborhoods. Dallas' farmers markets have come a long way in the past few years, with good, strong markets sprouting up around town while the Dallas Farmers Market continues its protracted overhaul.
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But it still seems like most people are driving to these markets. This new Uptown market, with its surrounding density, is Dallas' best shot at a truly walkable market so far. Now let's see how many Uptowners can drag themselves out of bed to support it.