Amy and Jim “Sevy” Severson are big supporters of the Dallas Farmers Market, especially the Days of Taste program and the cooking classes. Amy posted a comment earlier under this post about neighborhood’s running their own local markets. She brings up some great points. Our downtown Farmers Market needs some love. Let’s discuss. Thanks for your thoughts, Amy.
First, I was under the impression that the city health permits for these events were problematic. As in permit cost and requirements for food that needs refrigeration and special care.
Second, it raises the question if so many people are interested in smaller, more intimate settings for markets, is the downtown Farmer’s Market serving the city as well as it could.
Hubby and I have been big supporters of the Dallas Farmer’s Market and its programs over the last 15 years (cooking classes, Days of Taste), but it is discouraging to see how few people believe that it is truly a “Farmers’” market. Most people I talk to feel it is just the same produce that is sold by vendors to the supermarkets (and in some cases they are correct), so why bother to go?
Sporadic improvements have brought a wonderful Resource Center (truly impressive) that is out of place with the buildings around it. The other new building, built without air conditioning was a hodge-podge of vendors, which are starting to be evicted and replaced with food businesses, but is that enough to bring people down to shop?
And I am proud to live in a city that would build a shelter like The Bridge, but seeing the crowds pour out in the morning and hanging out on the corners around the market really drives purchasers away. The last time I was down there with a group of elementary kids, I had to admit, it was enough to make me not want to go back to shop.
Recently I had the great pleasure of visiting San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. All the temporary food vendors (including those cooking up sandwiches and tamales) were located in 10 x 10 white tents around the perimiter of the main building. Inside the building were market stores – as in with doors, counters, cash registers – all operated by some of the best gourmet foods of the region (fresh bread, cheeses, mushrooms). It was so crowded, so vibrant with people and food and things to watch. And they even had a little wine bar where you could take a break and have some locally made wine flights. Then back to shopping.
Not that we should follow their example, but it was stark contrast to what is available (and the numbers that attend) our main market.
So I guess my question is, are smaller markets within the sub-neighborhoods of Dallas serving the public better than our city owned facility?
I was very excited to hear about North Haven Gardens “First Sunday Market” (April 5th) here in my neighborhood, but they’ve had to limit what food items can be sold. And I really understand the need for health safety permits (pistachio anyone?), but hope there is a way to accomodate both.