The Dallas Farmers Market has stood as one of the city’s most treasured landmarks since the early 1940s, but with all its recent changes and updates (hello, food hall!) there may still be a lot you don’t know about it.
For example, did you know it’s open year-round, not just seasonally? And that there are three weekly markets offering fresh, locally grown and harvested produce? And in some cases, DFM is the only place you’ll find rare and unique items that even grocery stores don’t carry?
Those are just a few of the surprising facts about Dallas Farmers Market — read on for a few more.
It’s really easy to get to. Like, really, really easy.
Located at Taylor and Harwood streets, just a little south of downtown and west of Deep Ellum, Dallas Farmers Market has a highly coveted perk: free parking, 365 days a year. That’s convenient not only when you’re visiting the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday markets in The Shed, but also when you’re wanting to zip in to The Market building for an artisan gift from Lone Chimney Mercantile, Abundantly Aromatic candles, Bullzerk, or Dallas Antique Company.
Once you’re inside the 26,000-square-foot Market, though, you might just want to stay a while. Free Wi-Fi and a wide variety of cuisines from the food hall are pretty tempting, especially when those vendors include local favorite Nammi, Taqueria La Ventana, Scardello, Rex's Seafood, and Noble Rey Brewing Company.
And starting in January 2017, you won’t have to leave if you don’t want to. That’s when Harvest Lofts opens, letting you actually live in the Dallas Farmers Market for the first time.
You can buy produce seven days a week.
Even if you missed that week’s farmers market, you can still pick up produce and products from the Market Provisions general store in The Market. Items such as freshly laid eggs, hard-to-find meats like rabbit and beef oxtail, vegan nuts and cheese, gluten-free cakes and breads, and probiotics including non-dairy kefir, kombucha teas, and cider vinegar drinks are all there.
If you’re lucky, you’ll also scoop up what’s left of that week’s produce haul, which could range from long beans and French breakfast radishes to watercress, African mustard, and Georgia Candy heirloom Roaster squash. And that’s just a seasonal sampling.
Everything in The Shed is local. Everything.
All business that sell at The Shed are locally owned and operated, from the food to the gifts. This means that you can actually talk with the person producing the food and artisanal products that you are buying, and form relationships with the farmers. All produce is picked and brought directly to the Dallas Farmers Market — for items such as chickens, that translates to buying meat that was processed within only the last few days.
The DFM also believes that it’s the market’s responsibility to visit the farmers and ranchers out on their land to assure the quality and origin of the food. Over 40 farms and ranches have been visited this year alone.
Education is a big deal.
Dallas Farmers Market has a large education component, and that doesn’t just mean for school kids. Grown-ups can take advantage of the free local chef cooking demonstrations or poke around the teaching garden, with its labeled fruits and veggies growing onsite.
There are activities for families in the garden, AgriLife Wellness interactive booths, tours, and, of course, field trips for school groups. It helps to learn early what an amazing place the Dallas Farmers Market is, and what a lifestyle rich in local, sustainable, healthy foods can do for us all.