Monday, May 7, 2012

The One Farmers' Market

Is it possible there is only one farmers' market in Dallas? It's a little hard to tell because what dominates the google search results is the Dallas Farmer's Market, which sounds like the right thing, and the wares are fresh, but with the exception of the occasional honey or nut or meat stalls, you won't find anything too much more local than the pineapples with the Costa Rica tags still on them.

Which, after much hunting, leaves only one other contender. Celebration Market's Saturday morning market seems to be the only true farmer's market, even if it is basically a few house of the Celebration Market restaurant yielding up some of the parking lot between the dine-in and take-out buildings for its usual local suppliers to sell to the locals. It may be the smallest farmer's market I have ever seen. That's including the one in Keene, NH (population 22,395) that is so strict that the folks growing mushrooms in their basement have to set up in an adjacent parking lot because they are not technically local as long as they outsource some of the ingredients they bottle in their Magic Mushroom Tea. No, Keene doesn't even need the mushroom vendors to outnumber the showing of stands in Dallas.

So, how can a city of 1.2 million people have a six-stand farmers' market? Nothing against the jams or the earrings or the special Cinco de Mayo paper flowers crowding out the vegetables, and nothing against the beautiful summer squash and bell peppers and Russet potatoes I saw fit to bring home today, even if the peppers were beginning to wrinkle by evening. But seriously: how is that possible? How is it possible that if the grocery store has a local option, for instance the mushrooms I buy every week, it has to compete with the organic option because the two are never the same?

I am going to assume Dallas has only one farmers' market because it only needs one, because the one we have is so good there is no room for competition. And maybe next week, when I buy chicken and eggs, I'll come to believe it, too.

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